posted on October 26, 2022
Hello readers! I am following up on a previous blog post where I spoke on my methods for working with athletic and non-athletic individuals. This time, I’ll be discussing how I approach injured clientele. Here, when I talk about ‘injured’, I mean a site that has experienced severe to serious trauma, from a muscle tear/broken bone to chronic soft tissue dysfunction, inhibiting strength and mobility.
Massage is contraindicated for acute injuries. Ask your doctor what bodywork and therapies are advisable for your injury.
My utmost concern when I do massage, especially with an injured individual, is the client’s safety. Similar to how health care practitioners take the Hippocratic Oath, I also vowed to do no harm. So, I have vast and growing knowledge of conditions and states of conditions where I cannot do work on a client.
Though there are times where massage is contraindicated, or unwarranted due to safety, I can direct people to a professional that is better suited for them. Sometimes that professional is a physical therapist, an orthopedist, or even a nutritionist. But usually I direct them to their personal care provider, as they have more referral resources available to them than I when it comes to an injury.
Additionally, unlike a massage therapist, PCPs can prescribe X-Rays and MRIs. They are expensive, yet I strongly suggest them as they can pinpoint the injury and discern its condition. Once all the proper scans are taken and the client’s doctor has stated that massage is safe, I can then perform bodywork.
The first step is to assess the tissue at and around the injured site with some range of motion testing. This process I also conduct with non-injured persons. Active and passive range of motion show me how your tissue and joints move given the trauma of the injury. Soft tissue is resilient and often clients are surprised at how well they can move during this assessment. Though it is necessary to mobilize the site for it to heal, we will stop any bodywork that is painful so as not to exacerbate the injury.
From there, I determine which muscle groups are in need of manual therapies and get to work. These therapies can include cupping, electrical stimulation, applications of heat or cold, or other modalities. It will take more than one or two sessions to get tissue to optimal, but clients generally feel better afterwards compared to when they walked in. It is important to note that your recovery is integral after manual therapies are applied; stress management, diet, and sleep determine how well you take to the massage, injured or otherwise. The body is astoundingly proficient at healing, given the proper conditions. Work with the professionals and practitioners available to you to find which conditions are best for you.
Thanks for reading! I hope you learned something! Be sure to read my preceding blog “How I Approach Different Client Types” to see how I approach athletes and non-athletic persons. Take it easy!