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Supporting pain management with massage and movement

By Michael Stamkovski

When we are experiencing pain, like we all do, there are many good ways that we can help to improve and reduce pain. Two main ways that help support and reduce musculoskeletal pain is through massage and exercise or movement.

Massage, which is sometimes considered an indulgence, has been shown to effectively relive pain through the use of relaxation, remedial, and sports massage to name a few. These types of massage can really help with relieving stress or anxiety, and relaxing painful and tight muscles by stimulating nerve fibres and impeding the pain messages being sent to and from the brain.

This then opens up the door for initiating movement practices to further help manage pain and allow yourself the opportunity to continue to do everyday activities that are important to you. Although it may seem that exercise or movement will aggravate your pain, this is often not the case. A lack of movement and exercise can actually cause you to become even more stiff and painful. This is due to inactivity weakening supporting muscles and creating more stress on your joints. Recent evidence from the British Journal of Medicine has shown that, compared with no exercise, doing any form of exercise or physical activity significantly reduces pain and improves function.

Some benefits of movement supporting pain management are:

  • Helps to improve musculature support for joint movement
  • Helps reduce stress
  • Helps regulate sleep
  • Helps control your weight
  • Improves immune functions
  • Improves mood (including depression and anxiety)

Best types of exercise for pain management:

  • Cardio based movement: walking, running, swimming, bike riding 
  • Balance, agility, relaxing and stretch: Yoga, Tai Chi, stretching, breathing exercises
  • Strength and conditioning: lifting weights

There is no "one size fits all" option however, and sometime exercise and movement will need to be specific to your general pain problem. You will need to start slowly to ease your joints and muscles into exercise if it has been a while.

Some tips to getting started:

  • Keep it low impact to keep stress on the joints low
  • Apply heat to help relax your joints and muscles and relive any pain you have before you begin
  • Move gently to let your joints and muscle warm up
  • Go slowly, use slow and easy movements

If you're in doubt as to where to start, please ask the Prana team - we are here to help you.

Have a great month everyone!

Michael :)