What is Remedial Massage
Most patients find great relief from muscle pain and soreness with Remedial Massage. At Manchester-Bedford Myoskeletal LLC, remedial massage refers to working on specific muscle tightness and spasm causing pain, limited range of motion, and function. We also work with the deep layers of fascia that sometimes adhere to surrounding tissues, which also restrict movement of those tissues and creating pulling sensation or pain.
Some reasons you may receive remedial massage include:
- Muscle overuse
- Muscle pain of unknown origin
- Muscle strain
- Vehicle accident recovery
- Recovery from surgery
- Workplace soft tissue injury
- Fascial adhesions
- Scar tissue release (no matter how old the scar)
- Pain from repetitive motion injury
- Reduction in appearance of surface scars
- Muscle inhibition/facilitation/dysfunction
- Surgery avoidance/delay
- Many diagnosed, functional soft tissue pathologies such as:
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- Frozen Shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)
- Sciatic nerve entrapment/compression
- Groin pull
- Plantar fasciitis
- Shin splints
- Soft tissue-related headaches, eyestrain
- Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD)
- Cervical, thoracic, lumbar neuralgia
- Medial/lateral epicondylitis (golfer’s/tennis elbow)
- In correlation with postural correction
What Remedial Massage is Not
Typical western massage is best known as Swedish massage, and is most often found at spas, resorts, and is the primary massage type taught in US massage schools. Swedish massage, while considered therapeutic, is mainly for relaxation purposes. Oils, lotions, creams, and other lubricants are used to reduce friction of the therapist’s hands and arms against the client’s skin.
Here at MBM, lubricants are rarely used in remedial massage. When used, it is done so sparingly and wiped off immediately afterwards. Some patients already being seen for myoskeletal or remedial massage may choose to have a traditional “relaxation” type massage at MBM if they wish. However, “relaxation massage” is not offered as a regular service.
What Happens During Remedial Massage
Clinical history is taken and an in-depth interview is conducted to learn about and discuss patient’s complaint, circumstances of situation, possible causes, etc. A functional assessment is made and evaluation follows. A treatment plan is then drawn up and discussed with the patient.
Minor patients must be accompanied by a parent/guardian in the office and treatment room during the assessment and at least the first treatment. After the first session, parent/guardian may opt to remain in the office while the minor patient is being treated if both parent and minor agree. Exception to this is if minor’s complaints involve pelvic or chest work. If that is the case, parent must remain in the treatment room as long therapist is present.
Treatment begins following the treatment plan. Depending on the patient’s situation, a temporary-acting treatment may be applied immediately, with a more thorough treatment beginning afterwards if time allows.
Patient may be asked to wear sport/activity wear for their assessment and/or treatment. However, some assessments require partial disrobing and most treatments are conducted on bare skin. Patients will be asked to disrobe to their comfort level only and will be properly draped throughout.
Patients will be asked to report soreness levels throughout their treatment. Since pain is very individualized, a relative pain rating of 1 to 10 as the patient considers it will be used. Generally speaking, pain is undesirable during massage. But muscles may already have pain appearing without any treatment whatsoever, and the therapist simply coming in contact with the patient will likely increase that sensation. Therefore, we attempt to work at patient’s perceived pain levels of less than 6 on the 1 to 10 scale. This will be reiterated by the therapist during treatment. Pain is almost always reported as a “good hurt” by our patients. Pain/soreness typically drops as treatment progresses.
Anytime the patient feels uncomfortable with pain/soreness or area being worked, we ask that they report this immediately. Patient may pause or cease the treatment at any point during the session simply by saying so.
Communication between patient and therapist is extremely important throughout remedial massage work. During a relaxation type massage, aside from the occasional “How’s the pressure?”, very little communication is necessary or desirable on the part of the patient.
During remedial massage, two-way communication is nearly a constant companion. The reason is to gauge soreness level, comfort, location of pressure points, conveyance of state of mind of patient, explanation and results of techniques, anything evident occurring within the patient’s body, such as referred pain, relief of pain, range of motion sensation, etc.
Many people are not substantially in touch with their bodies. This tends to change during remedial massage work. Patients become very self-aware, particularly when asked to look inside and describe what they feel. Often, patients report realizing pain or pulling sensations where they were previously unaware of any in existence. Patients often find they become aware of their heartbeat, breathing patterns, emotional revelations, and other such manner of awareness. This is normal.
Patient participation during their sessions is necessary to the success of the treatment. The protocols and techniques we use require the patient to actively participate as needed to test muscles, assess movement, gauge function, check range of motion, apply resistance, and such other movements as called for by the therapist.
Equally as important, every patient will leave the clinic with some type of “homework”. We here at MBM are facilitators in a patient’s treatment, only. The patient is responsible for following suggestions for continuing treatment between sessions. Muscle release techniques, movement pattern retraining and strengthening take place outside the clinic at the patient’s own pace. Patients find that if they are active participants in their own recovery, results happen more quickly and more permanently than work during treatment sessions in clinic alone.
Should you have any questions regarding remedial massage, be sure to ask your therapist or you are welcome to send us a question or comment.