I didn’t expect it to hurt there

Tension-pain-graphicFollowing lines of tension finds the areas that really need massage.

It’s quite common for people to feel pain at a specific point, but following investigation we often find that the painful spot is part of a wider band of tension. A typical example is lower back pain which can result in sharp, painful twinges often triggered by a particular movement. There’s probably tension down into the hips and up into the back.

In this case I explain that I’ll work at the point where the pain occurs, but also explore a wider area. What I want to do is uncover the whole chain of tension and work along that chain so that the whole problem is reduced. I’m using my sense of touch to check the condition of the tissues – muscles and tendons – and locate the tension. Healthy muscle is soft and flexible. Muscles which feel tough aren’t able to release properly. The associated tendons, which connect the muscle to bone, feel like taught ropes.

Once I massage into these areas clients can be surprised that they are tender, but welcome the relief. It’s taking the pressure off the painful area.

The pain is often due to muscle damage so I will work carefully in that area. Pain causes more tension and that’s counter productive. People know what feels right for them so I just ask.

Once the treatment is over the pain should be eased and the client feels more relaxed. We also have a better understanding of how their body is behaving. We might talk about possible causes and explore possible solutions such as stretches or movements they can do themselves or changes they can make to their environment or activity patterns to help.

One massage can often be a turning point and indicate the next step towards recovery.