Chronic pain isn’t just long-term. It’s frustratingly persistent and medication, the most frequently prescribed treatment, doesn’t always help. Pain medication also often comes with various side effects. Opioids in particular are risky, since there’s a high chance of developing a dependence on them.
Chronic pain impacts just about every aspect of your life, so finding the treatment that works for you is critical. If medications haven’t gotten you the results you want, it might be time to consider something different. The most important thing you can do on your pain relief journey is to not give up. There are several treatments for chronic pain that have been proven to get results. Myofascial therapy and cupping are two of them.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is body pain that lasts longer than three months. It can be in the form of headaches or migraines, muscle pain, back or neck pain, nerve pain or something else. You might experience it everyday or it might come and go, but all chronic pain has one major thing in common – it can interfere with your daily life. Working, taking care of your home or family, socializing and other daily activities can be affected by chronic pain. It can lead to depression, anxiety and sleep problems.
What Causes Chronic Pain?
Sometimes, chronic pain has an obvious cause. You might have experienced an illness or injury that had a lasting impact on your health. On the other hand, the cause could be indiscernible. This type of chronic pain is believed to be the result of psychological factors like stress, anxiety or depression.
Myofascial Release vs. Cupping
What Is Myofascial Release?
Myofascial release is a type of massage that is gentle and constant. It releases tightness in your fascia – the tissue that connects and supports the muscles throughout your body.
Myofascial release can help with:
- Myofascial pain syndrome – pain in the connective tissue
- Carpal tunnel
- Lower back pain
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Chronic migraines
Fascia is stretchy, flexible and very strong. It provides your body with structural support and also protects your muscles. Fascia is one continuous structure throughout your body.
Despite all these amazing qualities, there can be problems with your fascia. If your body experiences some kind of trauma, the fascia can lose its flexibility and become tight and rigid. This can lead to pain and loss of motion. And because it’s connected to everything, an injury to your fascia can even cause pain in a completely different part of your body.
Is Myofascial Release the Same as Massage?
Myofascial release uses massage, but it’s different from traditional massage therapy. For one, it focuses on fixing problems in the fascia, not the muscles. The technique is also different.
Carla Cavanagh, a myofascial release therapist and physician assistant, says that myofascial release is different from massage in that it involves interacting with the fascia until it actually elongates on its own:
“I contact the fascia layer after a couple of minutes in one place, then you put a little bit of attention on it and, as it elongates, it’s doing the elongation, I’m not forcing it. So that’s one of the biggest differences between what I do and regular massage.”
What Is Cupping Therapy?
Cupping, also called myofascial decompression, is a type of myofascial therapy. You might have seen its telltale red circles on the backs of celebrities or athletes in magazine photos. These marks can look a little scary, but cupping doesn’t necessarily hurt. And there’s a reason it’s so popular with A-listers. It’s safe and effective for helping with a variety of health problems.
- Back pain
- Muscle pain
- Injuries to ligaments and tendons
- Flu, cough and cold recovery
- Poor circulation
- Poor flexibility
The Difference Between Myofascial Release and Cupping
The major difference between myofascial release and cupping is that while myofascial release involves applying gentle pressure and stretching to release tension in the fascia, cupping therapy uses small cups (usually made of plastic or silicone) to create a vacuum effect that lifts the skin and muscles.
Where they overlap is that, while it’s not specifically meant to address issues with the fascia, cupping can also help with fascia release. Cupping also improves circulation, encourages lymphatic drainage and pulls toxins from the body.
Do Myofascial Release and Cupping Therapy Really Help Chronic Pain?
Myofascial release and cupping are both helpful for treating chronic pain. Which treatment you should choose will be based on what’s causing your pain. You should consult with your doctor, chiropractor or LMT (licensed massage therapist) to figure out what the best approach for your unique situation will be.
Dr. Micheal Weaver, D.O., says that arriving at your appointment prepared to discuss your pain history in detail is crucial to getting the help you need. He says:
“As doctors, it helps us to hear your story in your own words, allowing enough time to fully describe your experience. Hearing details about different treatments you have tried also helps us formulate an appropriate plan of care.”
If you’re not sure what you might be expected to talk about, here are some questions your provider might ask:
- How long have you been in pain?
- Was there an inciting injury, or how did it develop?
- Where is the pain located?
- How intense is the pain – how would you describe it?
- When do you feel the pain most?
- Is the pain taking a toll on your quality of life?
- Do you have any weakness, numbness or tingling?
- Are you experiencing bowel or bladder problems?
Cupping for Chronic Pain at Sage Blossom Massage
At Sage Blossom Massage, your therapist will always work with you, talking through your concerns and goals to discover your best path to pain relief and wellness. We’re here to guide you on your pain recovery journey.
For many people, cupping is an integral part of that journey. If you’re nervous about trying cupping, just know that cupping doesn’t have to be painful. You might feel some pressure during your session, but you can always tell your LMT and they will adjust to make you comfortable. Cupping might give you those small circular marks that look kind of like bruises, but it’s just temporary discoloration caused by the procedure. They might last a few days or even a couple of weeks, but it doesn’t usually hurt.
Cupping therapy is an all-natural method for treating chronic pain that doesn’t have the side effects that medications often come with. It can help you to feel better, both physically and mentally. It can give you more energy and a more positive mindset.
Maybe even more importantly, the pain relief cupping offers can make you feel like yourself again, instead of feeling held back by your chronic pain.
And isn’t that the life you want to lead?
If you’re ready to see if cupping is the missing piece that could solve your chronic pain problems, make an appointment today.
This blog post and all content and media on www.sageblossommassage.com is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.