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How to Ease Pain with a Massage

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When your muscles are tight or strained, it's difficult to concentrate on anything but the pain. A stiff neck or tight back can cause you to tense up and practice poor posture, which can worsen the discomfort and extend your recovery time. Fortunately, there are many ways to alleviate some of the tightness. Anyone who's ever had a massage is well aware of its relaxing, soothing benefits. Intense pain should always be checked with a physician, but if you're looking for a quick fix to minor discomfort, try these approaches.

Identify the Pain
Is it a tight knot, pulled muscle or stinging pain? Where exactly is it located? Depending on the type of discomfort and which area of the body it's located on, you'll need to treat it in different ways. Swelling and stinging, for instance, often require ice and elevation. On the other hand, sore muscles that develop as a result of a new workout plan sometimes just need to be stretched gently to alleviate discomfort. Experiment with different home treatments until you find a process that helps.

"A professional massage can be expensive."

Consider Your Options
A professional massage can help relax you and soothe sore muscles, but it can be an expensive option for some - especially if you go multiple times per year. Consider soothing alternatives, like using a heating pad to relax your body and provide you with comforting warmth. You can also curl up on the Sunbeam® Therapeutic Heated Mattress Pad for all-over heat when you head to bed for the night. 

Aside from heating devices, you can turn to simple household objects for some relief. If you have a tennis ball handy, you're one step closer to reaching and reducing that stubborn, hard-to-reach knot in your back or neck. Stand with your back to the wall and place the ball directly on top of the knot. Gently move your body to target the area surrounding the discomfort, and continue to do so until it eases up a little. Repeat the process as many times as you wish for a quick and easy do-it-yourself massage.

Soothe your muscles with a massage.Soothe your muscles with a massage.

Know the Different Massages
If you decide a massage would help alleviate your discomfort, you should first be aware of some of the different types that are available to you. Each one uses special movements and various types of pressure to soothe and relax your muscles.

  • Swedish - The main goal of this kind of massage is to relax the body. It's one of the most popular kinds of massages, and uses kneading and rubbing to provide comforting relief.
  • Deep tissue - Using slightly more pressure than a Swedish massage, a deep tissue massage targets what its name implies: deeper levels of tissue. This provides more relief of muscle discomfort, and should be cleared by a physician before receiving the treatment. 
  • Hot stone - Strategically placed stones provide warmth to certain areas of tension. A hot stone massage can be a way for soothing heat and pressure to be applied to the body, which helps relax muscles.
  • Trigger point - Sometimes, discomfort can start in one area of the body and cause a tight feeling in another. Trigger point massages tackle the original area of tightness and work to alleviate it.
  • Reflexology - Focusing on areas like the calves, feet and hands, reflexology uses Swedish massage techniques to promote general relaxation and comfort. It can also be referred to as zone therapy.
  • Sports massage - Ideal for those who are physically active, a sports massage can be performed before or after a workout to help ease tight muscles and promote better performance.