Orthopedic Massage

May 28, 2008 by admin  
Filed under Massage & Wellness, Physical Therapy

Orthopedic Rehabilitative Massage is an advanced form of bodywork in the current mainstream health care community. This type of massage is indicated for post-surgery, chronic pain, overuse, and repetitive stress injuries. It is indicated for people of all ages and body types. This deeper (more pressure, deeper layers) type of massage is very useful when patients/clients are in some sort of discomfort or pain and is useful (and in some cases more results with) as preventative medicine, which seems more important in this day and age. It compliments treatments by physical therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, osteopaths, and medical doctors.

This advanced style of bodywork requires more training from therapists specifically in the areas of anatomy, physiology, and pathology of injury. This work can be applies to any body part ranging from the neck all the way down to the feet. You will find practitioners of this work in multiple work settings, whether it is in a physical therapy or chiropractic clinic or day or resort spa. But if you decide to receive this type of therapy, please do your research. Not every massage therapist is qualified or for that matter good. So do your homework, find out the massage therapist’s history, education, and experience in body work. At North Tahoe Physical Therapy we are constantly increasing our understanding of how to address pathology, as continuing education is required for all licensed therapists.

Orthopedic Massage is a form of manual therapy that specializes in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. In addition to the benefits of traditional massage such as relaxation and increased circulation, orthopedic massage has several other treatment goals. These include increasing the range of motion, decreasing and managing pain, and normalizing musculoskeletal function. The therapist works to dissolve adhesions in muscle and connective tissue, lengthen connective tissue, balance muscle function by strengthening weak muscles and releasing tight ones, as well as normalize the position of soft tissue, restore joint function, release entrapped nerves, and facilitate normal neurological function.

What to expect from Orthopedic Massage

You may ask, why a deeper more rehabilitative massage as opposed to your traditional Swedish massage? I prefer to label what I do as body work as opposed to massage. For a few reasons; when people think of massage they tend to correspond it to your every day Swedish massage, “which is nice to get”. Yes, I am doing tough “massage strokes”, but I am providing the body the therapy is desperately needs to return it to normal working order. I provide this type of work when everything else fails with traditional massage therapy and the pain and dysfunction persists. Also, I will incorporate other therapies such as Myofascial Release, myofascial stretches, manual traction, muscle energy techniques, and craniosacral therapy. So it is not necessarily massage strokes.

A session typically lasts from ½ hour to 1 hour. The work will be both gentle and deep. For lasting results, the therapist will want to see the patient 2-3 times a week initially, as frequency is the key. During the course of a session, the therapist will evaluate the entire body and address the body as a whole, to see how is responding to the injury. The therapist will then specifically address the area of trauma to increase the fluidity in the tissue and range of motion in the effected joints. This can be done by a postural evaluation, checking passive range of motion, or movement analysis.

-Brian Hrindo, MT

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