‘That hurts so good…’
‘Do your worst!’
‘If it means that I’ll feel better, I’ll deal with as much as pain as you dish out’
All very common statements that I get in my practice.
Lots of folks want painful bodywork when they come in complaining about tight/sore/tender spots.
They think what’s causing these spots are adhesions. They think it’s tight muscles.
They think it’ll take lots of force to undo and relieve their ailments.
I don’t have a problem dishing out the deep stuff but the relief isn’t so much that we’re dealing with things on a tissue level.
Lots of research, which isn’t actually recent, is attributing neurophysiological mechanisms for feeling relief. It’s been known for centuries now that if a client receives deep pressure on top of, or near a ‘trouble’ spot, the client recruits parts of the brain that modulate pain and releases our own drug cabinet.
This process is called ‘anti-nociception’ or DNIC (diffuse noxious inhibitory control).
Yes, we make our own painkillers! This is a more accurate explanation of how you feel better after treatment than thinking we’re working out anatomical bogeymen such as trigger points, fascial adhesions, tight muscles, etc.
- Willer JC, Bouhassira D, Le Bars D. Neurophysiological bases of the counterirritation phenomenon: diffuse control inhibitors induced by nociceptive stimulation, Neurophysiol Clin, 1999, vol. 29 (pg.379-400)
- Sprenger C, Bingel U, Buchel C. Treating pain with pain: supraspinal mechanisms of endogenous analgesia elicited by heterotopic noxious conditioning stimulation, Pain, 2011, vol. 152(pg.428-39)