Balancing Relief and Treatment
Chances are you are like most people who visit my website and have some pain. Your body broke down little by little over time, in such small amounts that you didn’t even notice it. Then, one day, something happened and POP! Your back “went out”. Or your neck seized up. Or maybe you’re just constantly tight and uncomfortable.
In my clinic 95% of the cases I see can be described above; only 5% are from traumatic accidents where a patient went from “fine” to “definitely not fine!” (And if that happened to you, I have a fantastic lawyer recommendation that you should at least have a free consultation with!)
When you come to see the first thing we do is spend time together discussing your case, your goals, your history, and then completing the consultation with some gentle testing and movement. This helps me determine how I think you’d benefit from treatment the most, so that I can maximize your relief and help you progress over our sessions together.
There is a fine line to walk here, however. And it’s a line most therapists tend to forget about.
Just because you hurt in one place, does not mean that’s where you actually need bodywork!
There is a saying that “it is where it isn’t, and it isn’t where it is,” that sounds confusing but is accurate for many massage clients needs.
Here is a very common example: Just because your neck hurts and levator scapula (a common culprit of “I slept wrong-itis”) doesn’t mean you need to wham and jam on that muscle. Lev scap often is throwing a tantrum because of postural distortions. Chances are you have forward head posture, your shoulders are rounded in, and your abdominal muscles are shortened and compressed, and your sleeping position needs a serious overhaul. Levator scapula is using pain as a signal to tell you something is wrong.
So let’s talk about your standard massage session; the one where the therapist doesn’t specialize like I do. Your consultation is likely to last 2-3 minutes before you disrobe and climb on the table. Assuming that you’re getting more than two minutes of attention in that area, most therapists will focus on lev scap and work it over and over until it starts to release. The patient feels better, leaves happy, but then within a few days (and often within mere hours) levator scapula starts to tighten right back up again, recreating the pain.
The patient usually doesn’t make another appointment because “massage didn’t work”. They add it to the long list of things they’ve tried that have failed and resign themselves to long-term pain or sometimes even surgery!
This is extremely frustrating for the patient, but also for those of us bodyworkers who have advanced training and experience in this kind of complicated pain-relief work. We are competing against other massage therapists who have different specializations (for example, relaxation therapists, spa therapists, hot stone therapists) but the public doesn’t realize there is a difference. The average Joe is going to look at price and convenience and assume all massage is the same. (It’s NOT!!!)
In a session at Lakewood Ranch Medical Massage, I’m going to be balancing giving you the relief you crave (so you can actually sleep at night and turn your head while you’re driving) but also dealing with some of the common issues that are creating your problem. Which means, typically, opening up the chest, the front of the neck, and the shoulder girdle, so that levator scapula has less tension and can calm down.
A session I had recently involved a woman who was extremely skeptical. She’d had massages before and hated deep work and roughness. She presented with back pain and hip pain. During our first session, after the consultation was over, I worked with her face up for the whole hour. I worked on the anterior (front side) muscles that tend to influence the back.
When she got up, she was (her words) 70-80% improved, and shocked because I hadn’t even touched her back! She was also surprised that I was able to do such deep and specific work without hurting her or being even remotely rough. We’ve had several more sessions and she’s continually improving. Sometimes I work directly on the areas that bother her, other times it’s completely different sections of the body. Most of the time it’s a mixture of the two.
Remember that this is a partnership. You and I are working together to reach your goals. It’s a dance. I help you in the office to the best of my ability, and I give you the tools you need to carry that healing forward between session. Over a series of sessions, you will slowly improve. You’ll feel better. You’ll function better. And those improvements last longer and longer as we go.
If you’re ready to see how I can help you, call 941-321-5311 today.