When Pain Misleads Us: An Interesting Approach to Massage Therapy Care

There is a very important, key factor in how we experience pain in our body that is often overlooked – by pain sufferers and body therapists alike.  Many RMT’s, osteopaths, and bodyworkers, including the  Vancouver Massage Therapists at Broadway Wellness, are using some basic myofascial and osteopathic principles which take some of the mysterious ways of pain as outlined below into consideration.

How does pain lie or lead us away from the problem?  Pain often shows up in places other than where the actual problem resides.  How does this work? When we have an injury or a long term holding pattern in the body, the tissue in the area of the holding pattern or injury becomes thickened and dense.  What then happens is it begins to pull on surrounding structures nearby.

Photo credit: Tips Times

Did you know that it is often stretched, weakened tissue that will let your central nervous system know it’s in trouble? These stretched, weakened areas are being distorted and pulled on by the compressed, non-moving, dense, thickened areas mentioned above.  You may hear about areas that “compensate”.  The areas in the body that are “adapting” or “compensating” will let you know they are in trouble by causing you all sorts of pain.The part that often gets overlooked is this: until the dense, thickened tissues are addressed, the areas that cause your painful symptoms will continue as long as they are forced to adapt and compensate.The problem is our minds are trained to think that we must address the symptom.  The area that hurts must be the problem – otherwise, why would it hurt so much? And in truth – yes, the area that hurts is the problem, but it is being held prisoner by another area in your body that desperately needs to be addressed.  A much quieter area, a hidden culprit.  The reason the dense, thickened area pulling and distorting other areas of our body is quiet is because compressed tissue in our body rarely will be distressed such that it lets the central nervous system know it’s in trouble.  It is in essence protected and tougher than the stretched compensating areas nearby, if it’s tough, rigid, and protected – what’s the problem? Therefore, these areas often don’t hurt us.

Many of the RMTs at Broadway Wellness in Vancouver, BC are looking at the body this way.   It is a combination of a fascial approach, and osteopathic principles that many of our RMT’s are trained to use to both assess and treat the body.  They do this by looking for areas of non-movement, adhesion (several structures bound together), density, and thickness that might be causing secondary sites in your body to adapt and compensate.  The Massage Therapist then uses a fascial approach to release these areas of non-movement.  More information on fascia can be found here (link to the 5 fascial tips article in our blog if we’re allowed to do that).

As an example:  when your shoulders and back cause you pain, meanwhile you’ve been sitting at a desk with your arms in front of you during your work week – for years, your RMT addresses the structures on the front of your body: diaphragm, chest, pectoral muscles, to help the pulled and strained musculature in your shoulders and back relax.

Broadway Wellness is a friendly and community focused, Vancouver massage therapy based clinic, with additional focus on naturopathic medicine, and as a chiropractic clinic, offering services in a beautiful and expansive centre, conveniently located in the heart of Fairview – near Broadway & Oak, in Vancouver BC, Canada.

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