Pain Management

The Best of Ask the Massage Therapist

Posted on: Sat, 09/21/2013 - 5:13pm By: Alice

Sometimes an individual who has read one of my articles or stumbled across this blog is interested in reading more. I'm listing here the entries that I think are the most useful or the most representative. They aren't always the ones that have gotten the most reads, which you can find under the category of "Most Popular." (Who knew that so many people google "swelling after massage"? Certainly not me!)

So, if you are looking for what I consider to be the "meat" of what's been written here, this is it. You won't have to scroll through announcements for classes and gift certificate specials. Bear in mind, over time I've learned new things and my understanding has changed. There are some things I'd express a little differently now. However, I think this is the best this blog has to offer so far. Feel free to scroll through everything else, too. You many find something not on this list that's of particular interest to you. 

Some articles were written primarily for clients, some for practitioners, and some were written for both. They are not in a particular order. 

Pain Management

The discomfort of many chronic pain conditions can be reduced or eliminated with the right kind of massage. Extensive experience with back, neck, and shoulder pain. We do not hesitate to refer to other health care practitioners when it seems advisable.

"Deep Tissue" Massage: How much pressure is too much?

Posted on: Sat, 11/18/2017 - 10:43pm By: Alice

A 38 year old woman suffers permanent shoulder drop after a "deep tissue" massage caused damage to a spinal accessory nerve.

A 59 year old man suffers a deep hematoma, numbness, and swelling after being injured by a deep tissue massage to his hip.

A client tells a massage therapist that he wants more pressure. She complies. He again asks for more pressure. She complies. He again asks for more pressure. Unable to exert any more pressure with her hands, she resorts to using a hand-held tool to apply more pressure without hurting her joints. Shortly after, she receives an email from her employer that the client is suing their business, claiming that he was injured by the massage.

Peter O'Sullivan at the 2017 San Diego Pain Summit: A Paradigm Shift in Understanding and Managing Low Back Pain

Posted on: Wed, 03/15/2017 - 3:38pm By: Alice

Last Sunday, three St. Louis area massage therapists met to watch a video recording of Peter O'Sullivan's keynote address at the 2017 San Diego Pain Summit. The subject of O'Sullivan's address was A Paradigm Shift in Understanding and Managing Low Back Pain.

Massage, My Friend, and Cancer

Posted on: Thu, 02/02/2017 - 10:43pm By: Alice

My friend recently died of breast cancer. She was an amazing woman who lived fully until the end. Everyone who knew her loved her, she made everyone feel special. I hadn't known her all that long or even that well but she had an impact on my life out of proportion to our time spent together. When her cancer recurred, I wanted to do whatever I could to help. One of the things I was able to offer was massage.

Our first massage was a general full body relaxation massage. She loved it. She had been having trouble sleeping and it left her feeling so relaxed that she felt as if she could fall asleep. I told her I would come and give her massage whenever she wanted. She stayed pretty busy in spite of the illness and so several weeks passed before I gave her massage again.

How Does Massage Work?

Posted on: Thu, 12/29/2016 - 10:19pm By: Alice

"How does massage work?"

My late Russian Massage teacher Zhenya Kurashova Wine asked this question at the beginning of my first class with her. We sat and looked at her blankly. No one raised their hand, no one offered an answer. What kind of a question was this, anyway? We never thought about this. You know, you put your hands on people and then . . . well, massage happens!

When it became apparent that no one was going to attempt to answer, Zhenya finally said, "I'll tell you how it works," and then went on to explain.

Massage Therapy Research and Education blog, by Dr. Christopher Moyer, Interviews Us!

Posted on: Sun, 09/06/2015 - 7:36pm By: Alice

Christopher Moyer, Ph.D., is a psychologist who has done research in massage therapy and meditation. He recently began a blog on research and massage therapy and I was honored that he asked to interview me for his blog.

I first got to know Chris when I heard that he’d done a metaanalysis that overturned what a lot of us thought about massage lowering cortisol. Curious, I looked him up on the internet and sent an email asking about his paper. Shortly after, I encountered him again in online discussions and it led to a friendship that was both professional and personal as we discovered we had many common interests.

2015 San Diego Pain Summit: or What I Did on my Winter Vacation

Posted on: Mon, 03/16/2015 - 1:45am By: Alice

In late February I went to the first San Diego Pain Summit: Clinical Applications of Pain Science for Manual Therapists conference. Professionally, it was as if I’d died and gone to heaven. It was off the scale amazing.

When Rajam Roose, who deserves the highest praise possible, first announced the event, I decided immediately to do whatever it would take to be there. First, there was the keynote speaker. I have been a fan of Lorimer Moseley, who I describe as a “pain science missionary,” for quite some time, and when I heard that he would be the keynote speaker, I could not pass up an opportunity to hear him in person. Brilliant, funny, personable, and an engaging storyteller, he makes learning pain science fun and painless. I've referred countless clients and massage therapists to his videos and no way would I miss him!

Don't Let Chronic Pain Hurt Your Love

Posted on: Sat, 02/07/2015 - 1:20am By: Alice

Clients never mention it, but occasionally in more personal conversations someone will bring it up: chronic pain can interfere with intimate relationships.

Most clients would not mention it to their massage therapist and it is not within our scope of practice to treat. However, since February is the month of Valentine's Day, I thought it would be an appropriate time to bring up a pain topic that may hurt your love, is rarely discussed, that many massage therapists may not know exists, and that many people may suffer with silently without seeking help or getting proper treatment.

Common chronic pain problems can hurt your love.

Chronic low back pain and chronic headaches are two common pain problems that can interfere in intimate relationships. It's hard to feel romantic when your head hurts and low back pain may make physical intimacy difficult. When chronic pain interferes with your love life, it can erode the closeness of your relationship. This is just one of many reasons why chronic pain should be treated and not just assumed to be an inevitable part of life. The deterioration of the quality of one's life can be far-reaching.

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