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How Getting a Massage Affected My Fibromyalgia Pain

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As a gift for my birthday my husband set up an appointment for an hour-long deep tissue massage. Having only had one professional massage in my life, I didn’t know what to expect. Especially considering that today is what I call “a bad fibro day.” Which can mean a variety of things. In this case it means that my whole body hurts from head to toe, and my skin sensitivities are extremely heightened. I was slightly apprehensive about getting the massage, not knowing if it would hurt too badly to be worked on or if I would feel relief. Well, the answer is both.

Yes, it hurt to have her knead her hands across my lower back where most of my pain is centralized. At points it was almost unbearable as she worked on the backs of my arms, or my shoulders. But after she worked from my back to arms to my legs, I felt something I had forgotten I was capable of feeling. Relief. Complete and utter relief from pain. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I didn’t have pain anywhere. I had forgotten what this was like, and the sudden realization of this was so overwhelming that my eyes welled up with tears of joy. I thought, “This. This is what I’ve been searching for these past five years. I want to jump up and down. I want to run a marathon or go rock climbing.” Then I was hit with the realization that this amazing, liberating feeling I had so longed for was fleeting. I laid there just hoping I could stay in this moment forever and dreading the moment I knew it would end. As she finished and I stood to get dressed I knew it was over. My back began to seize and pain returned to my joints.

Now I am sitting on the couch, incredibly sore from being worked for over for an hour and feeling completely drained. My shoulders feel like I’ve been beaten with a bat and my back feels as though I have been lifting heavy boulders all day. So what did I learn? I learned that an hour-long massage is way too much. I learned that I saw a glimmer of my former self I had thought was long gone. Most importantly I learned that even with the after-effects, it was all worth it for just a few moments of normalcy.

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Photo via puhhha on Getty Images

Originally published: January 23, 2018
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