Pain in the arms can result from a variety of causes, from acute injuries to chronic illnesses. Fortunately, simple massage techniques can improve or in some cases completely relieve arm pain for many individuals. Several self-massage techniques are discussed below.
It is important to note that the use of most massage techniques are contraindicated in areas that are inflamed (meaning red, warm and/or swollen), areas that have open wounds, or severely injured areas (potential broken bones or disrupted tendons) that have not been assessed by a medical professional. However, in some of these cases it is possible to use massage techniques at anatomical sites that are distant from the area of concern but that will still promote pain relief. In these cases, it is best to seek the advice of a massage therapist or practitioner of shiatsu or acupressure.
Using massage to quickly release pain in the arm is possible using one or a combination of the techniques discussed below. The best way to utilize these techniques is to experiment with each option and discover which work best for your individual painful issues. Vary the pressure and timing of each technique depending on what feels right for you.
Self-massage technique #1: Trigger points
This technique relies on your ability to find the most sensitive areas located in the muscles of your shoulder, upper arm, forearm and/or hand. Often, these trigger points feel like knots or lumps and are located near the ends of muscles. Do not assume that just because your bicep hurts that your trigger point will be located in or near your bicep. Explore the arm from shoulder to hand to find one or more areas that are painful when point pressure is applied with a finger or thumb. Once you have located your active trigger points hold pressure on these points till you either experience a decrease in the painfulness of the point, feel release of the tension in the knot or tense area, or for up to two minutes.
Self-massage technique #2: Short strokes
The massage option utilizes brief, short strokes to release pain in the arm. Relax your arm letting it be loose and floppy. Start at the hand and begin massaging with firm, short strokes. Do all sides of the hand, stroking up with the thumb or heel of the palm. Then move on to the forearm. Again, complete all sides before moving up to the next section of the forearm. Completely massage the whole arm in this manner. Vary the pressure depending on muscle soreness and pressure tolerance. This technique should be comfortable or mildly tender at most, not painful.
Self-massage technique #3: Long sweeps
This massage option is similar to the short strokes massage technique in that this technique starts at the hand. Using the flat of your palm, start at the hand and sweep up firmly but gently along the inner arm to the shoulder and across the pectoralis muscles. Start again at the hand and sweep along opposite side of the forearm, upper arm and up along the shoulder. This method should feel warm and enjoyable. You may decide to sweep down the inside of the arm, out to the hand and then up the back of the arm to the shoulder if this feels better to you.
These self-massage techniques are quick and incredibly easy. Self-massage is a simple way to improve or entirely release arm pain. If there is any question as to the safety of massage for your particular arm pain it is best to seek the advice of a healthcare provider before starting any massage program.
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