Can Massage Therapy Assist in Pain Relief for Those in Opiate Addiction Recovery?

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The opioid epidemic has led to opioid drug overdose as the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). Opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors in the brain, sending signals to block pain, slow breathing, and provide a calming effect. For those in opiate addiction recovery, withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, depression, drug cravings, and more.

Many people who become dependent on these drugs do so in an attempt to further medicate themselves of chronic pain they are experiencing; unfortunately, as their body becomes used to the dosage, it begins to require more and more in order for the individual to achieve the desired effect. As a person recovers from opiate addiction, that pain may become more pronounced as their body begins to feel again. A 2015 study published in the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork sought to find out if Swedish massage could assist in reducing the pain experienced by opioid-dependent patients.

Massage therapy has been shown in previous research studies to not only significantly reduce pain levels, but to also enhance relaxation, sleep, emotions, recovery, and the overall healing process. Eighty participants were chosen for a randomized treatment program, to receive either treatment as usual or to engage in Swedish massage therapy for 12 weeks, with each session lasting approximately 50 minutes. Participants from the study reported their chronic pain as an outcome of a car/motorcycle accident, a sports injury, a work-related injury, a fall/accident, partner abuse, a medical condition, pregnancy, or an unknown cause. All participants had tried various remedies for treating their chronic pain. Overall, the researchers found that those in the massage group reported significant improvements regarding their pain.

If you’ve been struggling with opiate addiction, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to learn of how massage therapy can be incorporated into your treatment.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.


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