I wish that I could guarantee every massage client that once I relieve their pain, it won’t come back. Sadly, I can’t do that. That’s because pain can have many and sometimes multiple causes. The likelihood of the pain returning depends entirely on the cause(s).
Sometimes you sleep funny and wake up with a stiff neck. It usually works itself out by lunchtime and you’re good to go the rest of the day. When it doesn’t work itself out, you probably get a massage and that takes care of it. Until the next time you sleep funny. The cause and effect here are easy to see: Sleep funny, get pain in the neck. You wouldn’t expect a massage to prevent future neck pain if you spend all night sleeping on it wrong sometime in the future.
Let’s say that over the course of several months or years you gradually lose the range of motion in your neck (how far you can move it in any given direction) until one day, you’re checking your blind spot while driving to work and BAM you’re hit with a neck spasm that takes your breath away and now you can’t turn your head at all.
When it’s written out all nice like this it’s easy to see that there was a definite lead up to the spasm. But real life doesn’t have a nice, neat write up that we can follow back to the cause. Most of the time we don’t notice a small reduction in the amount we can move and our body gets used to not being able to move as far as it used to. At some point it will even start recruiting other muscles to help do the job of the one(s) that aren’t pulling their weight. At some point you may realize that you can’t move in one or more directions as far as you think you should, but if it doesn’t hurt it’s easy to think that it’s not that big of a deal. Nothing could be further from the truth, since failure to deal with it can lead to muscle spasms and an inability to move in one direction or another.
In these cases, chances are good that a massage will relieve your pain and increase your range of motion. Whether the pain comes back, however, is entirely dependent on what caused the problem in the first place.
Here are 4 common things that will cause your pain to return again and again, no matter how much massage you get. I’m going to stick to my neck example for the sake of continuity but rest assured, these 4 work their “magic” all over the body.
If any of these resonate with you, I urge you to pick one to change. Which one can you act on today?