The most effective pain relief that I have found, without exception, has been massage. Not just any massage – there are many, many types. I mean Sports Massage.
Sports massage is targeted therapy specifically for athletes. Many sports massage therapists are athletes themselves, including mine; an ultramarathoner. They have a deep appreciation for the types of injuries and pain that athletes suffer. This knowledge comes in handy for stroke survivors. I thought I knew what pain was, but I really had no idea how bad it could get until I had my first stroke. A subluxated shoulder taught me just how little I knew.
My massage therapist also does Myofascial Release Massage, which targets not just the muscles, but the tough, thin membrane between your muscles and your skin. This membrane can bunch up and be the source of pain too. Myofascial release massage smooths myofascia out. That’s not a true medical description, but my explanation. My therapist also seems to possess some sort of supernatural healing ability (cue the Twilight Zone theme), where her touch alone relieves pain. She can locate the area of injury just by hovering her hands over your skin without touching it. It sounds like BS, but it’s true.
A good sports massage session will leave you more flexible, with increase range of motion, reduced spasticity, and great reduction or even complete elimination of pain. With me, it required weekly visits spread out over a few months to get permanent relief. Totally worth the investment in time and money, not to mention having the ability to sleep. Something I could not do with my shoulder screaming in pain for hours and hours on end.
If you are experiencing severe chronic pain, I suggest that you seek out a good Sports Massage Therapist. Plan on multiple visits. It’s the best thing in the world for stroke survivors. If your budget can’t cover a massage pro, try this: Jeanie Rub Massager.