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Back to Basics (Deep Tissue Massage)

I see a lot of people with back pain. Neck, shoulder, lower back and sciatica. Possible causes:

  • foot problems, causing a change in the kinetic (muscle) chain upwards

  • neck problems caused by posture, job or disk degeneration

  • nerve entrapment

  • organ issues, like kidneys or even lung cancer

...and many others.

My clients description of where & how the pain started, where it is now, what eases it, & what worsens it, can be incredibly helpful to direct me where to start investigating the possible causes of the pain.

To treat the many possible causes:

I use a reflex hammer to test for nervous system issues. Also for the nervous system I test their sensitivity on the skin (dermatomes), and where there is any muscle weakness (myotomes).

I test for shortened muscles (see my earlier blog) and whether there is muscular imbalance causing the pain. Often the lifestyle of the client can lead to this sort of imbalance.

I test for special issues. For example if he issue is lower back pain, I will always rule out L5-L6 disk herneation (commonly, but incorrectly, known as a "slipped disk"), If the pain radiates down the arm I will rule out Thorasic Outlet Syndrome with Allen's, Adson's and Roo's test.

As a sports masseur I'm not able to diagnose (a physio would do that), but in order to make sure my clients are safe and that I am treating the correct area, I have to assess. Then I treat and then reassess.

It is for this reason that my learning has been ongoing (every year) for the past 15+ years. It doesn't all stay in my little brain, but repetition and practice helps some of it stick! Sometimes I just take myself back to basics and review the courses I did at the beginning of my journey, its great to remind myself. Each year I also find a course of new content to keep up to date and develop. This keeps things fresh for me and relevent.


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