I worked with a client today and an MRI confirmed she has an advanced degenerative issue in her lumbar spine. As you may know this is a structural problem, not a soft tissue one, so is massage able to help? Absolutely!
When I know there is a structural problem, whether it’s an acute minor misalignment causing intermittent pain, or a chronic situation such as the client I mentioned above, I usually recommend a chiropractor and/or a physical therapist, along with massage therapy. Surgery and relying completely on pain medications are always a last resort.
When bones are unable to adequately support the surrounding musculature, those muscles are forced to move in a different way so our movement patterns are changed. Certain muscles will atrophy while others will become overworked.
Massage therapy helps keep the muscles ‘fed and watered’ by reducing trigger points and improving blood supply. It also keeps muscles at maximized resting length so they can better respond to our constant demands.
Massaging the surrounding areas helps alleviate pain and improve compromised posture. It helps your body recover from movement/exercise so you can keep going.
Because massage therapists can help in so many ways when the problem is not strictly a soft tissue one, we are getting more referrals from health care professionals today than ever before.
Why do physical therapists and chiropractors refer so many patients to massage therapists?
1) Physical therapists and chiropractors understand the important role massage therapy can play in recovery.
2) It frees them up to focus on the important things that massage therapists can’t do.
3) Massage therapists will happily work under the guidance of a physical therapist or a chiropractor.
4) Lastly, and this is the biggest reason, there is often a better outcome for the patient when chiropractic, physical therapy and massage are used concurrently.
Remember to include your massage therapist in your wellness plan for less pain, better movement and an improved final outcome.