Should You Treat Massage Like An Aspirin?

If you get a headache, you might want to stay in bed and rest, but chances are you have stuff to do. So you'll probably take a pain reliever, right?

If you get a headache, you might want to stay in bed and rest, but chances are you have stuff to do. So you’ll probably take a pain reliever, right?

Most people have a selection of pain relievers at home.  Whether you have aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, or some or other common over-the-counter pills, pain relievers are likely to be in your medicine cabinet.

They are convenient to have on hand when you have a headache or an unexpected pain.  They help you make it through the day and they temporarily relieve your discomfort. Meant to just be taken occasionally and not on a regular basis, pain relievers address the symptoms of what ails you. They mask the pain but don’t address the source of your problem that is causing the pain.  They treat the symptoms but not the cause, so once they wear off your pain can come right back.

Of course needing an occasional pain reliever is understandable.  Sometimes you don’t get enough sleep, or have to be up longer than usual, and your head hurts.  Maybe you’ve taken on a project at home or at work that is bigger than you expected.  Or perhaps you overdo it with some exercise or activity or maybe use some muscles that you aren’t used to using that much.

Some people use massage like an aspirin.  They only use it when they are in a significant amount of pain.  Sometimes this happens from overuse of muscles but many times it is from a longer buildup of pain.  Massage can help in those situations, but if it took you months or years for your muscles to feel so tight and painful, one massage isn’t going to make everything go back to normal.  Since it took time and repetitive actions to cause the problem, it can take time and multiple visits for it to go away.

Massage is the most effective for you when you do it regularly.  Small problems stay that way.  You don’t allow them to develop into big problems.

Regular massage also helps to address the real cause.  One massage when you are in a lot of pain will help you feel better, but your massage therapist will be mostly working on the symptoms.  Coming back when your pain is not as bad will allow your massage therapist to work to help you with the real cause–which will let you feel better much longer.

It is good to have the convenience of a pain reliever, or a massage, when you really need it.  Regular massage can help you make progress to feeling good and even keep you from reaching for the pain relievers as often.