In your massage practice, regardless of the setting (e.g., clinic, spa, cruise ship, home office), you will encounter clients with pathologies, many of which cause chronic pain. Some of these clients seek massage purely as a luxury, while others are looking to massage to help them manage their conditions. In any case, you must have a strong understanding of how the body works, how massage techniques affect systems of the body, and how to use critical thinking skills to determine if massage is safe or contraindicated for each client’s particular condition.
This chapter discusses pain in detail before introducing common pathologies you are likely to work with during your massage career. Because it is almost impossible to know everything about every pathology you might encounter in your massage career, you should have a detailed pathology textbook for reference in your massage practice and know how to gather information and apply it in treatment planning. Ruth Werner’s A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology is highly recommended.
Having read the chapter and used the related student learning tools, the student will be able to:
- Define the terms pain, suffering, and chronic pain.
- Outline the anatomy and mechanisms of pain.
- Describe two ways in which chronic pain affects the quality of a person’s life.
- Discuss four ways that massage can assist in the process of pain management.
- Define the term fibromyalgia, identify one cause, and choose two treatment goals and techniques to use in a session for fibromyalgia.
- Define the term rheumatoid arthritis (RA), identify one cause, and choose two treatment goals and techniques to use in a session for RA.
- Define the term osteoarthritis, identify one cause, and choose two treatment goals and techniques to use in a session for osteoarthritis.
- Compare and contrast tension headaches with migraine headaches.
- Define the term cancer, identify one cause, and choose two treatment goals and techniques to use in a session for cancer with a client in a weakened state undergoing treatment.
- Define the term AIDS, identify its cause, and choose two treatment goals and techniques to use in a session for AIDS with a client in a weakened condition.