Why Adhesions Cause Pain And What To Do About It

Ad-whatnow?
Adhesions. You may hear your massage therapist use this word. It sounds medical, and usually comes out during your massage as an explanation for why this or that stroke hurts like crazy.

As in, “It feels like you have some adhesions in there!”

What are adhesions?
Adhesions are scar tissue that forms between muscle fibers and organs. They’re a natural result of stress on muscles or organs. They’re one of the reasons you feel stiff and sore after a heavy workout or after surgery.

Usually, however, adhesions have no symptoms at all. This is why you may come out of a massage saying “I’m feeling places I didn’t even know I had!” The adhesions were pulling on your muscle tissue, causing a stinging pain.

Most adhesions are fairly innocuous, and result as a part of normal muscle function and exertion. Most have the consistency of wet tissue paper. With repetitive stress and motion, however, they can get strong, firm, and can begin to adhere tightly to muscle fibers.

Abdominal adhesions
Abdominal adhesions are a special case, and can cause major health problems and chronic pain. Adhesions in the uterus, also called endometriosis, can even cause infertility and painful periods.

Solutions
There’s really very little that can be done for adhesions. There’s no miracle drug, and adhesions won’t even appear on x-rays, CT scans, or any kind of imaging. There’s not even a test to confirm their presence definitively, and Doctors won’t even diagnose endometriosis without surgery.

For severe cases of abdominal adhesions, laproscopic or open surgery is the primary method of diagnosis and treatment.

But there is hope outside of surgery.

Massage to the rescue!
The biggest benefit of massage for adhesions is prevention. Regular massage helps prevent adhesions from becoming so strong that they cause pain and affect your posture. The more they’re broken down with regular massage, they less likely they are to become a problem.

Keep in mind that breaking down adhesions in muscle tissue isn’t for the faint of heart or those who only want massage for relaxation and not treatment. When your massage therapist encounters adhesions in your muscle tissue, you’ll know it. Massaging adhesions causes a distinct, stinging pain you’ll feel on contact.

As the massage therapist continues the strokes, the pain will decrease. This is a good kind of pain! Still, if you want your therapist to ease into it or back off the pressure, please say so. Don’t suffer in silence.

To help manage the pain of having adhesions worked in a massage, remember to relax. Easier said than done. Relaxation takes a real conscious effort in this case, but it’s well worth it.

Breathing is also key here. Focus on your breath, and by no means should you hold your breath through the pain. Slow, deep breaths help decrease the pain and takes your focus off how much it hurts. You’re also sending more oxygen to the area in pain, which can only do it good.

Abdominal massage
The Good Life Massage offers a distinctive abdominal treatment designed specifically to ease the suffering of those who have a large number of abdominal adhesions. It consists of a series of half-hour treatments focused wholly on the abdomen. It was devised by our own Amy Gunn, LMP and is based on scientific research indicating the benefits of massage for treating endometriosis. This treatment is ideal for anyone experiencing abdominal pain that might be a result of adhesions.

Need pain relief? Book a massage now!
For general work on muscles throughout your body, any massage session will work.

For a specialized session for abdominal adhesions, be sure to select Visceral Manipulation when booking.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.

Tom Gunn is the blog editor and marketing director for The Good Life Massage.

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Get Free From Abdominal Pain: A Primer on Visceral Manipulation

The following is a guest post by one of our founders and therapists, Amy Gunn, LMT. To learn more about her, please see our previous blog post or our website.

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Amy Gunn, LMP, Co-Founder of The Good Life Massage

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my personal experience with endo. I also wanted to tell you about what a massage technique that changed everything for me–and which could change everything for you if you suffer from any kind of chronic abdominal pain.

I was diagnosed with endometriosis after suffering years of severe chronic abdominal, hip, and back pain. I was also unable to conceive. While abdominal surgery and hormone-altering injections helped with my pain, the benefits didn’t last.

I started to use my knowledge of massage to create a treatment plan for myself. I directed others as they performed bodywork on me. After just a few of these treatments, I had the first pain-free period of my life. I continued these weekly sessions for a year, at which point I was able to conceive naturally and carry a child full-term.

While I can’t promise an identical outcome for everyone who receives these treatments, I’ve made it my mission to offer an alternative to others with chronic pelvic pain. I’ve seen amazing results. I love helping my clients find the relief they’re looking for.

What is visceral manipulation good for?
Many people suffer from chronic pelvic pain from female disorders (e.g., endometriosis or fibroids), surgical scarring, old injuries, or other underlying conditions. Some have to put their lives on hold because the pain gets so bad, nothing they try seems to help.

If you fall into this category, you may be looking for some alternative to pain meds or surgery. Some people have found regular abdominal massage to be an effective pain management tool.

Studies have shown that massage can:

  • Reduce pain spasms and cramping
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Promote tissue regeneration, reducing scar tissue and stretch marks
  • Decrease inflammation
  • Reduce post-surgical adhesions and swelling

The benefits of massage compound and multiply with consistent sessions over time. A single treatment can be beneficial, but regular massage will have deeper and longer-lasting results.

What can I expect during these sessions?
A typical abdominal treatment at The Good Life Massage only takes 30 minutes. Since we want to be able to spend the entire session length on the actual treatment, we ask that you arrive a few minutes before each scheduled appointment. That way we can take the necessary time discussing your health and treatment plan before we start.

Our goal is to help you feel safe and relaxed on the treatment table; you are encouraged to let us know if you are uncomfortable with the pressure or focus of the treatments at any time. Professional draping techniques are always used to keep you warm and secure.

Firm pressure and friction are used throughout your abdominal region to break down adhesions and scar tissue. The pressure can feel temporarily uncomfortable to some, but your practitioner will work to help you breathe through each stroke so you can get the most benefit out of every session.

While your abdomen will receive treatment every time you come in, each session will have a different focus (e.g., lower back, hips, side wall muscles). Because of this, you will probably notice more freedom in your movement over time through your back, legs and hips, as well as a decrease in your chronic pain.

What sort of treatment schedule will I need to set up?
It takes regular treatment to break down scar tissue and adhesions, so it is essential that you start up a consistent treatment schedule. Most people start out with weekly sessions and then cut back on the frequency as they feel more relief from pain between visits.

We have discounts on pre-paid packages available in either a 5 or 10 week series, depending on your needs. For more information on these packages and how they work, you can visit our website or our previous blog post.

Please feel free to contact us with any quesions or to set up a free consultation. Let’s get started on a treatment plan that works for you so you can get back to living the life you’ve been missing out on.

Our email address is thegoodlifemassage@gmail.com
Our phone number is 425-243-7705.

You can also contact us or book your first session on our website.

As with everything on this blog, none of this information should be construed as medical advice or care. The employees of The Good Life Massage, including the writers of this blog, are not medical doctors. Consult with your physician before making any changes to improve your health.