Pain and dysfunction in muscle tissue is a huge subject to simplify. Pain can come from local changes in the muscle tone caused by a nervous system response to threat or perceived danger. In other words, the nervous system tries to defend you with increased muscle stiffness according to one theory.
Following recent intense exercise, muscle fibres effectively have to heal themselves. This makes them sore for a short period. It’s likely that good circulation to and from the area helps to facilitate this process.
Longstanding or chronic pain problems usually have a strong element of ‘centrally maintained pain’. This is the process by which the central nervous system changes its sensitivity to give the experience of pain, even when there is no healing process in the area affected. This can be experienced anywhere in the body and chronic muscle pain is no different.
Sports massage is perfectly positioned to have a positive impact on these issues. Appropriately placed pressure serves to reduce excessive muscle tone, increase local circulation to and from the tissue and reduce pain by effectively desensitising the nervous system.