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  • Emily McGuire

Massage Therapy for Nerve Pain Relief: Treatment & Benefits

When nerve pain strikes, it can be difficult to ignore. The discomfort, tingling sensations, and weakness associated with nerve pain can limit your mobility and detract from your overall well-being. While traditional treatments offer some solutions, massage therapy provides a holistic way to manage nerve pain. In this blog post, we'll explore the benefits of massage therapy for nerve pain, including its effectiveness in addressing common conditions like pinched nerves and neuropathy. 

Woman with nerve pain in the neck

Understanding Nerve Pain 

Nerve pain, or neuropathic pain, arises from damage or dysfunction of the nervous system. Pinched nerves occur when the surrounding tissues compress or irritate a nerve, leading to symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness in the affected area. Neuropathy, on the other hand, is caused by damage to the nerves. Neuropathy causes more widespread symptoms that can encompass sensations other than pain, and in some cases will affect both sides of the body. While pinched nerves usually respond well to treatment, the effectiveness of neuropathy treatment is often dependent on its underlying cause. 

Benefits of Massage for Nerve Pain 

Medical massage therapy offers a multifaceted approach to alleviate nerve pain and its associated symptoms. Here are some of the primary benefits of massage: 


Muscle Relaxation 

Massage for nerve pain involves targeting tight muscles to reduce tension and pressure on pinched nerves. Often, a pinched nerve triggers the pain-spasm cycle where the body senses pain and the muscles nearby spasm to protect the area from further harm. However, sometimes this muscle spasm can create a vicious cycle that results in more pain and more spasm. By targeting these muscles in spasm and promoting relaxation and flexibility, massage therapy helps alleviate discomfort, helping to break the pain-spasm cycle and improve mobility. 


Improve Circulation 

Massage stimulates blood flow to the affected area, delivering vital nutrients and oxygen to damaged nerves and tissues. This enhanced circulation also reduces inflammation, contributing to pain relief and healing. 


Nerve Mobilization 

Specific massage techniques, such as nerve gliding or flossing, gently mobilize pinched or damaged nerves, reducing compression and restoring proper function. These techniques can alleviate symptoms such as tingling, numbness, and weakness while promoting nerve regeneration and recovery. 


Pain Management 

Massage therapy triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-relieving hormones, which help reduce discomfort and improve mood. By targeting trigger points and areas of pain, massage therapists effectively alleviate pain intensity and frequency, providing much-needed relief for individuals with nerve pain. 


Stress Reduction 

Chronic nerve pain can contribute to stress and anxiety, further exacerbating symptoms. Massage therapy induces relaxation and reduces stress hormones like cortisol, promoting a sense of well-being that can help individuals better cope with pain. 


Medical Massage Techniques for Treating Nerve Pain 

Medical massage therapists, who are versed in anatomy and body mechanics, can leverage specific massage techniques to address the underlying causes of nerve pain. Some techniques a massage therapist might employ include: 

  • Swedish Massage: the long, smooth strokes, kneading, and light pressure of Swedish massage make it a popular option for treating nerve pain.  

  • Myofascial Release: releasing tension in the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding muscles and nerves, can create space and relieve pressure on a nerve. 

  • Trigger Point Therapy: applying targeted pressure to tight spots in a muscle near a pinched nerve can improve its function. 

These techniques can be used to address both pinched nerves and neuropathy however, for pinched nerves the goal is to reduce the compression on the nerve, whereas for neuropathy the goal is mostly to manage the varied symptoms that may be present as a result of the underlying damage to the nervous system.

Resolve Wellness Can Help 

Medical massage therapy offers a holistic and non-invasive treatment option for managing nerve pain. By addressing muscle tension, improving circulation, and promoting relaxation, medical massage provides significant relief for individuals struggling with nerve pain. If you’re experiencing symptoms of nerve pain, consider incorporating massage therapy into your treatment plan under the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional. Your journey to relief and recovery starts with taking proactive steps to care for your body and well-being. 


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Emily McGuire is a Marketing Associate and staff writer for Resolve Wellness. With a Bachelor's degree in International Business from UC San Diego, she is a California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.

Reviewed by: Erynne Hill, MS, ATC, HHP, BFRC, a Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer and Massage Therapist who has been a part of the healthcare field since 2002. She is the Director of Resolve Wellness, specializing in manual lymphatic drainage and prenatal massage. Erynne has extensive knowledge of both massage and physiology, even receiving her Master's degree in Exercise Physiology from San Diego State University.


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