By The JOI Spine Team
Research studies have shown that Medical Massage Therapy is beneficial in the treatment of multiple medical conditions. A Massage Therapist perform Medical Massage Therapy. Medical Massage Therapy specifically focuses on a specific diagnosis or sports-related injury. Medical Massage Therapists work directly with Physical Therapists and Physicians in coordinating a patient’s care.
Conditions Medical Massage Therapy Can Treat
Adhesive Capsulitis (“Frozen Shoulder Syndrome”)
Massage is helpful in relieving the pain that may occur with Frozen Shoulder Syndrome. It helps by targeting and loosening tight rotator cuff muscles that contribute to “locking” the shoulder joint down and making it a challenge to move. Massage is one of the most effective treatments for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.
Massage is show to promote relaxation and alleviate pain and anxiety throughout the body.
Massage is helpful in treating Arthritis by increasing blood flow, warming the tissue, and increasing joint mobility.
Inflammation of the bursa, fluid filled sacs that act a surface cushion for comfortable and healthy joint mobility in known as Bursitis. When this occurs, limited joint mobility can occur due to pain. Medical massage therapy can relieve pain and increase flexibility while the bursa heals.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Massage effectively treats Carpal Tunnel Syndrome by eliminating inflammation, adhesions, and relaxing muscles throughout the wrist joint causing more range of motion in the area.
Cervical Strains (Torticollis, Whiplash)
Torticollis and Whiplash effects the hypertonicity and shortening of the anterior and posterior cervical muscles, using medical massage modalities you can elongate the and relieve pain in the musculature and restore full range of motion throughout the neck.
Chronic Muscle Pain /Tension
Massage causes a natural relaxation response throughout the body, thus effectively changing the overall tension and pain throughout an area of musculature in a positive way.
Headaches (Tension, Migraine, Sinus)
Massage is helpful in treating headaches by increasing relaxation and thereby decreasing blood pressure. Additionally, it increases the output of analgesic or “pain killing” endorphins. It also warms and loosens stiff, tight muscles connected to the cervical spine that may otherwise limit range of motion.
Joint Stiffness (General)
Massage Therapy may provide relief to joint pain. As the muscles surrounding the joints relax from different massage techniques, joint stiffness decreases and allows better range of motion and mobility.
Mild Soft Tissue Injuries
Mild soft tissue injuries such as strains, are commonly misconceived by individuals who experience them. A muscular strain is when is when excessive stretching of the muscle occurs or it is mildly torn. Medical massage therapists are effective at correcting compensation patterns that ensue due to these mild injuries, while helping in the healing process by relieving pain and avoiding improper use of modalities on the affected area. Muscular Spasms are quite the opposite and occur when a contraction of the muscle occurs and will not release. In these cases, massage therapy is THE most effective treatment for this injury. Medical massage therapy is outcome based, and follows protocol that is followed by our entire PT department. This treatment is effective in the relief of spasms and the healing of strains.
Nerve Impingement / Entrapment
due to muscle tension can often cause sharp pains that are sudden and uncomfortable. These sharp sensations occur when muscle tension occurs in a way that it should not and hinders the regular pathway of a nerve, triggering a pain response that is sharp or unexpected with certain bodily movements. Similar to treatment for muscle spasms, medical massage utilizes modalities that relax and reset the tense muscle and surrounding tissue to their correct pattern, releasing nerve compression and relieving symptoms.
Massage is helpful in treating Plantar Fasciitis by loosening tight calf muscles, which is often the root cause of Plantar Fasciitis. Plantar Fasciitis occurs when the connective tissue located on the bottom of the foot becomes inflamed.
Postural Distortion / Deviation
Massage can relax and loosen the musculature made sore by bad posture, allowing your body to position itself in its natural-and pain-free position.
Range of Motion Deficits / Painful Range of Motion
By working on muscles, tendons, connective tissues, ligaments, and joints, regular massage can improve your flexibility and range of motion, keeping your joints more fluid and less prone to injury.
Repetitive Overuse Injuries
Repetitive overuse injuries occur from simple and repetitive daily tasks. They can affect your muscles in the same way that a sudden injury would, causing long term symptoms. Medical massage can be very effective with assisting in the identification of the soft tissue impairment and helping to correct it within your Orthopedic and Physical Therapist’s Plan of Care.
Sports injuries are typically sudden and occur with over exertion or over extension, disrupting the soft tissue. At times, these injuries may not require surgical intervention but still require correction. Your Physical Therapist may advise that soft tissue work is necessary for healthy recovery of the soft tissue. In these cases, medical massage modalities are effective in treating the affected area with focused modalities within your PT’s Plan of care.
Stress Induced Insomnia
Insomnia is often associated with a lack of serotonin, and medical massage therapy is a natural remedy to increase serotonin levels for people that are sleep deprived.
Massage is helpful in treating TMJ Disorder by loosening the “muscles of mastication” (muscles used to chew food, clench teeth, or grind the jaw) as well as the connected facial muscles or “muscles of expression” which can become tight and therefore may prohibit proper function and range of motion of the Temporomandibular Joint.