How does massaging relieve muscular pain?
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
The muscle consists mainly of muscle fibre, endothelial and arterial vessels which carry blood to the muscles, and nerve endings, which sense the pain. This pain sensation is stimulated by situations like bleeding inside the muscle due to tear of the muscle, prolonged contraction, prolonged stretching, accumulation of metabolic poisons which stimulates the nerve endings etc.
Moreover, the pain signals reach the spinal cord, and from there by a pathway called dorsal column with a junction in the spinal cord, where in exchange of signals are transferred to the dorsal column like a relay race. This exchange is subjected to the quantum of volleys of pain impulses, which can be allowed only to a certain extent.
This is called ‘gate control system'. If the volleys are too much, the gate naturally (physiologically) closes, and refuses to send the impulses to a higher centre, like the thalamus, and parietal brain tissue. The higher centres are only capable of realising the pain, quantum of pain, quality of pain, and the nature of the pain.
If the volleys do not reach the brain, then there is no chance of realising the pain at all. Moreover, there are lots of chemicals which makes the pain feelable, called endorphins, which play a role both for killing the pain and feeling the pain, depending on their chemical structure.
While massaging, the following reactions occur in the muscle: If the massage is gentle, then there is improved vascularity owing to mechanical rub, which carries all the accumulated bad metabolites away from the pain nerve endings.
There is a moderate stretch, hence muscles subsequently relax calmly from the contracted stage. The massage also produces multiple pain signals, which are capable of confusing the dorsal column of brain, due to increased volleys, hence the gate closes, to the higher centres so that pain is not allowed to transmit.
Massage gives a pleasant feeling due to development of good endorphins also in the brain which are capable of suppressing the pain feeling of brain, like morphine ( drug for pain ) like reactions, which stimulates an area called amydaloid in the brain which causes a pleasure sensation to body.
VN Neuro Care Center
Madurai, Tamil Nadu