What Is Orthopedic Massage Therapy?
Orthopedic massage therapy focuses on treating painful medical conditions which affect the soft tissues of the body, and is not as harsh as deep tissue massage. Treatment focuses on problems with the client's musculoskeletal system, and may include releasing tight muscles, stretching shortened muscles and tendons, and decompressing joints. The goal is to normalize the soft tissues of the body and to achieve balance. The orthopedic massage therapist will customize the session for each client because every person's body is slightly different. Orthopedic massage may be recommended by a physician or chiropractor, and people can also see an orthopedic massage therapist independently.
Can any massage therapist perform orthopedic massage?
Because it is designed to treat medical conditions, orthopedic massage requires extensive training. An unskilled therapist could harm a client by accident. Always ask your therapist to furnish proof of credentials and licensure. If you are considering orthopedic massage, you may want to talk to a doctor first to make sure that it is the best treatment for you.
As part of our continuing commitment to provide the highest quality care to our clients, in 2010 Joe Cinquina completed a 100-hour program and evaluation to become one of the first two LMTs in Kentucky to be certified in Orthopedic Massage by James Waslaski's Center for Pain Management. If you have chronic pain or are recovering from an injury, this work is highly recommended.
What Can I Expect During My Visit?
First, we listen. The therapist will talk with you about your problems and areas of concern. If you have been referred by a physician or chiropractor, the therapist also looks over their notes.
The second step in an orthopedic massage session is assessment, after which the therapist will work with you to establish a treatment plan.
The third step is a bodywork session. By using various soft tissue manipulation techniques, the orthopedic massage therapist can alleviate an assortment of painful conditions caused by soft tissue strain. Depending on your condition, the orthopedic massage therapist may recommend multiple sessions to treat the problem, to ensure that it is eliminated and to build up strength and resistance in the affected area so that the condition does not recur.
The fourth step is the therapist's recommendations for client self-care, which is an essential component of the treatment. You must commit to taking part in your healing process.
Typically, the first session is between 60 and 90 minutes long. Followup sessions may last 30 to 60 minutes.
What Conditions Are Ideal For Orthopedic Massage?
- Frozen shoulder and other shoulder problems
- Whiplash and other cervical spine conditions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other elbow, forearm and wrist conditions
- Knee and thigh conditions
- Plantar fasciitis and other lower leg, ankle and foot conditions
- Repetitive motion injuries
Do not eat a heavy meal before the massage.
Massage is not recommended:
- if you have an infectious skin disease, rash, or open wound
- immediately after surgery
- immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor
Always check with your doctor before getting a massage:
- if you have osteoporosis
- if you are prone to blood clots
- If you have heart disease
- if you are pregnant
Based on your pre-session interview, the massage therapist may conclude that it would be prudent to refer you to a physician and reschedule your session. Massage therapists are neither trained nor legally permitted to diagnose. However, they are trained to be observant and to be aware of signs that may contraindicate massage. In keeping with the massage therapist's code of ethics, it is always better to err on the side of caution for your protection and well-being. It is strongly recommended that you follow your therapist's advice if you are referred for consultation. Our policy is that you will not be charged for the unused session.