Chronic and acute pain are common in society. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than three months. This is often thought of as persistent pain that can be physically and mentally intrusive.

Acute pain is new or recent pain, and can be defined as pain that is within the first phase of injury, where there is inflammation present. Acute pain can be intense or low-level, and is often quantified on a pain scale from zero to ten.

Pain can be intrusive and cause quite a disturbance for people, thus ways to alleviate pain are extremely helpful. Massage therapy can often have a role in pain reduction or even eliminate pain altogether. Depending on the type of pain and what the person is experiencing, there are certain techniques that may be more helpful than others. Here are some examples of massage techniques for pain reduction:


This technique helps with pain caused by muscle guarding. It can decrease swelling if that is a source of pain, as well as relax the muscles. This technique is very light and gentle, thus good for someone who is in an acutely painful phase. It is also very relaxing for the nervous system and allows the person to get out of the “fight or flight” response that is often associated with pain.

Deep Tissue Massage:

This helps to reduce muscle tightness and eliminates trigger points related to pain. This is often useful for sports-related injuries and is a technique that uses more pressure. This is also helpful for back and neck pain, especially when related to tight muscles and spasms.

Lymph Massage:

This type of massage helps to improve a lack of circulation or inflammation in the body. It is important to reduce inflammation and have proper circulation of the lymphatic system so our body can heal and not get stagnant. Especially in the acute phase of pain, this technique may be helpful.

Your massage therapist can help to guide you in terms of which technique will most benefit you based on what you are going through. Be sure to tell the massage therapist where the pain is located and any other descriptive terms, such as the quality and level of your pain!