Can a Massage Chair Help with Chronic Muscle Pain?
Chronic Muscle Pain can be a Thing of the Past
When you’re dealing with chronic muscle pain, it can be draining both mentally and physically. Aside from having to deal with the discomfort day in and day out, diagnoses are frequently quite difficult to pin down and treatments can be costly. Over 1.5 billion people across the globe suffer from chronic pain, with roughly 100 million Americans dealing with it. Chronic pain affects more people in the US than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.
Add in the fact that chronic pain can increase your risk of depression, and it seems that a lasting, debilitating impact on many lives will be the result unless people find a better way to deal with it.
Those who have chronic pain, defined as pain that goes on for more than three months, frequently feel trapped in their condition. A merry-go-round of medications and treatments and pain and doctor visits can leave so many feeling helpless and misunderstood. Those with chronic pain often experience fatigue, depression, and/or lethargy. As the pain goes on, a common tendency is to self-hinder their movement and activity, which can lead to muscle weakness, increased strain on joints and ligaments, and of course more pain.
Chronic Pain Statistics
A National Institute of Health Statistics survey indicated that lower back pain is the most common source of pain (27%), with neck pain following at a close second (15%).
According to the results, back pain is the number one cause of disability among Americans under 45 and 28% of people reported limited activity due to existing chronic conditions. Chronic back pain sufferers often have to change their lives to deal with their symptoms by doing things like taking disability leave from work (20%), switching jobs (17%), requiring assistance in day-to-day life (13%), and relocating to a more manageable house (13%).
Those living with chronic pain frequently exhaust their resources trying to treat their symptoms. Never-ending doctor visits and sleepless nights coupled with drug therapy, all do nothing for your stress level. Plus, if you’re looking for a more holistic or alternative solution, you won’t find it there.
The good news is that there’s an entire industry dedicated to studying holistic approaches to wellness- the massage industry. You may have once thought that massage is only for the elite and an impractical luxury, thanks to massage chairs you can reap the benefits of this proven form of treatment right in your own home. For those seeking natural treatments, massage chairs provide long-term benefits and relief from chronic suffering.
Common Chronic Pain Conditions
Back & Neck Pain
The most common areas affected by chronic pain are the back and neck. Back pain affects 80% of Americans at some time in their lives and is the predominant cause of disability for those under the age of 45. Back and neck pain can be acute, like that which would accompany an injury, or can be chronic and related to conditions like arthritis or degenerative vertebral discs. Reducing pain is crucial to both physical and mental well-being and maintain quality of life.
Arthritis is a frequent cause of back pain. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in joints breaks down over time. As a result, the bones rub against one another, causing irritation and pain. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the neck, back, hips, and knees. Your joints may also feel stiff and difficult to move.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s immune system attacks the joints and connective tissues, resulting in swelling, redness, and pain. It can develop in any joint and frequently occurs in the same joints on either side of the body.
Myofascial Trigger Points
Myofascial trigger points are extremely irritable areas found within the fascia (connective tissue) surrounding your muscles.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is a thin, elastic connective tissue. It connects the majority of structures in the body, particularly the muscles, which they support and protect. With trigger points, the fascia can become stiff. This results in the tissues becoming restricted and can cause cramping and muscle pain.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is used to describe the pain and swelling of this fascia, particularly around myofascial trigger points, and could have been the result of an injury to the muscle fibers, repetitive stress activities, stress-related tension, or even a lack of muscle movement.
You may have experienced what feels like “knots” that are tender to the touch and can get worse with increased stress or activity. With this, pain often radiates throughout the region around that central point. While many have experienced tightness and muscle pain, myofascial pain keeps going for long periods of time and can slowly get worse.
The condition can be difficult to confirm because it involves soft tissue and discomfort and symptoms frequently vary in location and intensity.
- Muscle pain that does not go away on its own
- Tender to the touch, ongoing knot in a muscle
- Deep, aching pain in your muscles
- Sleeplessness because of chronic muscle pain
- Muscle weakness or reduced range of motion due to ongoing muscle pain
Anti-inflammatory medications can lessen the pain of these chronic pain conditions, and physical therapy or trigger point injections in the case of myofascial pain syndrome can be prescribed to help relieve the pain. In most cases, massage is useful as a short-term pain killer, particularly when trigger point therapy and stretching are combined.
Steroid injections, acupuncture, and several other therapies can also provide short term relief. However, most of the therapies mentioned above require a person to go out of their home to receive treatment. At any time during our lives that can be a hassle, and when there is a pandemic going on that can be detrimental to our health. So, what can we do?
Massage as a Vehicle of Prevention
Regular massage can be a viable option to lessen muscle stresses that can cause trigger point pain, improve circulation that can help with arthritis, and help with chronic back and neck pain from a desk job or a life of high activity. One theory states that people are more likely to develop myofascial pain when they experience stress and clench their muscles repeatedly because of it. This is because it can cause tension, leaving the muscles susceptible to trigger point induced pain as well as many other conditions.
Reducing stress with massage improves your mental state, can give you a boost of energy, and also helps with relaxation. By relieving chronic tension, massage can help to prevent injuries while reducing swelling, improving circulation and relaxation, and lessen the risk of myofascial pain.
What is Massage Therapy?
Basically, massage therapy is a low-risk alternative treatment in which a massage therapist or a chair manipulates and kneads the muscles and soft tissue, reducing pain and tension as well as increasing relaxation.
An ancient practice, massage therapy dates back thousands of years and spans many cultures. Hippocrates, a Classical Greek physician and frequently deemed the “Father of Western Medicine”, thought highly of massage and encouraged other physicians to be skilled in its practice. Hippocrates believed that a gentle massage helps the body relax and assists with circulation. And today we know that this is the case as seen in a number of scientific studies on the subject.
A professional, high-quality chair uses specialized techniques to minimize tension and loosen tight muscles, alleviating pain. And best of all, while its often difficult to get to a massage therapist’s office or spa, having an in-home massage chair means that relief is there waiting for you whenever you need it. Plus, zero gravity models can be of particular use since they allow you to get into a pose that provides maximum comfort and fantastic spinal decompression while in use.
A great deal more than just vibrating recliners, massage chairs are equipped with special rollers, heaters, sensors, and more that simulate the movements of a therapist. Massage chairs assist to loosen and soothe muscles, stimulates the production of endorphins that helps to reduce pain, and generate a feeling of well-being. Plus, heat and muscle manipulation can promote circulation.
Benefits of Massage Therapy
As massage relaxes and soothes muscle pain, it holds very noticeable benefits for sufferers of chronic pain like that found in the conditions mentioned above. Better still, the benefits of massage therapy are vast, extending far beyond these conditions. Studies have shown that massage therapy can also be helpful for:
- Anxiety, Stress, & Depression
- Digestive issues
- Headaches & Migraines
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
- Sports injuries
- Joint pain
In-Home Massage Chairs
Massage therapy is a great form of treatment, but for some, it may have seemed out of reach because they couldn’t get to a therapist’s office and it typically isn’t covered by insurance. Luckily, there’s a modern-day solution- the massage chair. Massage chairs have a varied history and they have seen several iterations over the years.
Popularized in the 1980s when it had been introduced to the general market, the massage chairs of today use robotic technology in their internal structure, which simulates the techniques of a masseuse. Robotic massage chairs provide a number of features such as heating and zero gravity techniques controlled by a remote as well as various chair rollers that range in depths of penetration and ability to rotate. These features allow users to target specific areas of tension and discomfort while still allowing them to control the pressure and styles used to suit their requirements.
Massage chairs can reduce stiffness, pain, and muscle tension associated with chronic back pain and arthritis. And they offer so many styles and techniques that you’re sure to find something that will be the best option for your unique concerns. Some effective massage therapies include Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, Shiatsu, and as mentioned above trigger point therapy. They all use different strokes and amounts of pressure in certain areas to provide relief to various ailments. You can read more about these techniques here.
Chairs for Every Type of Pain
From chairs that have large rollers and nodes to give the feeling of the long, deep strokes common in Swedish-style massage to those with smaller rollers and nodes that are more point-specific, emulating pressure point, deep tissue, and Shiatsu massage, you’ll find the right chair for your type of chronic pain.
Another great feature is body scan technology, which locates pressure points and the top of the shoulders to ensure that the rollers are massaging the correct areas. It also allows the massage to be personalized according to the curvature of your spine and the shape of your body. If your chronic pain affects your legs and feet, there are chairs that are equipped to massage the calves and feet using both rollers and airbag compression. In fact, air compression is a standard feature in nearly every massage chair that attends to the entire body. And of course you can always control the intensity and areas massaged.
A zero gravity massage chair is of particular use to arthritis sufferers because they sometimes experience pain relief thanks to the positions that the chair can hold you in. With a zero gravity massage chair, you can adjust the backrest and footrest to almost any angle and configuration for heightened comfort. The combination of the decompressing position and the strokes of the rollers you’ll get a truly therapeutic session.
If you’re seeking an at-home way to treat and lessen your chronic pain, a high-quality massage chair can provide ongoing physical, mental, and emotional relief. A quick, 20-minute relaxation session before you leave for work, at the end of a long day, or whenever you need is as easy as sitting down. Plus, it gives you the flexibility to schedule your muscle therapy around your personal routines and responsibilities.
Of course, prior to starting any new form of treatment, it’s very important to talk to your doctor. If you have chronic pain, numbness, or tingling, you always consult a physician. A doctor can determine the cause of your pain and prescribe the right treatment therapies. If you and your doctor agree that massage therapy can be great for your treatment plan, you can start your hunt for a top-tier massage chair right here on MassageChairPlanet.Com. Your muscles will thank you.
Finished With Your Research?
You can look into the chairs, techniques, and other benefits of massage in the Learning Center on our website, and you’ll be able to see the physical benefits each of the styles offered and what to be prepared for from them.
If you have any questions or are interested in purchasing your first massage chair, check out our Massage Chair Buying Guide or give us a call. You can even reach out through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With all this in mind, don’t forget about our financing options. We understand that investing in a massage chair is a big decision, and we want to help make that process as simple and stress-free as possible. Our sales representatives are ready and excited to get you into the perfect chair!