Self-Massage Techniques to Help Manage Chronic Pain

Updated on August 2nd, 2020

Chronic pain can aggravate stress levels. Continuous stress keeps your body stuck in a state of ‘fight or flight.’ This implies that all your body’s resources are sent to the body parts that would be needed for action. Unfortunately, this results in your body’s other areas, not getting the support they need, and your body becomes overstrained.

Your muscles become tighter, which can contribute to a lack of mobility and pain levels over time. Fatigue can be increased during prolonged stress because your body is literally worn out. Mental health issues can be exacerbated.

It can become difficult to sleep, and your digestive system(1) can be impacted. These are only a few of the results of prolonged stress, but needless to say, stress deteriorates chronic pain symptoms.

How to massage yourself?

Self-massages go a long way in relieving pain in the neck, head, shoulders, back, and hips. It can help in easing muscle pain and nerve pain that can be caused when a muscle presses against a nerve.

1. Massage your gums with your finger to break up bacteria and for pain relief.

How to do it:

  1. Begin massaging your gums from bottom to top with a clean pointer finger. 
  2. Apply slight pressure and make circular movements.
  3. You can also try a water flosser, instead of using your finger. In that scenario, the water should be warm to avoid discomfort and soften the gum tissue.
  4.  Turn it on, and with normal pressure apply on your gums.
  5. In both cases, you must feel the tension. You should immediately stop if you start to feel pain.

2. A tennis ball foot massage for pain relief

How to do it:

  1. Sit relaxed in a chair with bare feet touching the floor. Place a massage ball or a tennis ball under your foot and roll it back and forth from heel to toe. 
  2. Do it for a few minutes, and then repeat it on the other foot.
  3. If you experience pain in a particular area, try rolling the ball in circular rounds on that spot.
  4. To apply more pressure, you can also repeat the massage in a standing position.

3. Using a tennis ball gives your back a self-massage for lower and upper back pain

How to do it:

  1. With your back against the wall, stand and put a massage ball or a tennis ball between your lower back and the wall.  
  2. Move your body from side to side and then up and down to release any tension in the place.
  3. Don’t be hesitant to apply more pressure if you feel comfortable.
  4. Try lying down on two tennis balls tied in a sock to apply pressure on your spine and back for back pain. 
  5. Rather than moving your body, roll the balls to a different point, and just stay comfortable on top of them.

4. Lymphatic drainage massage to reduce pressure and swelling on the head and neck.

Here’s how to massage your own back:

  1. Cross your hands, and put your middle fingers on the inside of your collarbone. Gently slide your hands across the collarbone and slowly tap for 50 to 100 times. Try one tap every two seconds.
  2. Another way is to place your palms on each side of your neck – little finger just behind your ear and slowly pull down. Do 50 times and then move to the back of your neck and repeat it.
  3. Lastly, you can also do one last position. Close each ear between your middle and ring finger so that your fingers flash V sign. Pull gently downward 50 times. This is one of the best self massages for lower back pain.

[Also Read: Massage for Neck Pain]

5. For better digestion, gently massage your belly after eating

How to do it:

  1. Lie down after you’re done with your meal. Rub your belly with a palm initially and then use both hands.
  2. Perform circular clockwise movements on your stomach. This helps the digestion process.
  3. Also, do it on your baby’s tummy with warm hands. It will help with gas and belly pains.

6. Wrist and hand self-massage to ease the constant tension.

How to do it:

  1. Gently press your left wrist with your right hand as if you’re about to take your pulse. Start applying pressure initially from side to side, then from the bottom to the top of your palm. And lastly, do circles inside your palm.
  2. Move to the fingers.  Massage each finger from the base to the fingertips. Repeat a few times and then gently pull every finger to stretch the joint.
  3. Repeat on the other hand.

7. Massaging your nose with your fingers to open your sinuses.

How to do it:

  1. Release the pressure with fingers in the place just above your nose. 
  2.  Rub from the pressure point over the brow line. Repeat it a few times.
  3. Rub on the area from the top of your nose to your eyes.
  4. As a concluding massage technique,  using your thumbs, make circles on your cheekbones.

[Also Read: Massage for Headache]

8. Train chewing muscles using a pen or a stick and feel relief from jaw pain

  1. Take a pen or a stick or a pencil. Grab it with your teeth, and move your jaw from one side to the other. 
  2. Repeat a few times until it feels too comfortable. You can then replace it with a larger stick or pen, like a marker.
  3. Another exercise is instead of moving sideways, move your jaw forward until your upper teeth are behind your lower teeth.

Bottom Line

Self-massage therapy can be the perfect solution if you are feeling sore or tense. It has both mental and physical benefits, apart from the relaxation and pain relief.

However, you do not need to go to a spa or a massage therapist every time you can ease the pain at your home’s comfort. You must be aware of these self-massage techniques when trying to give yourself a massage.

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