My last client came in with signs of carpal tunnel, but had sensitivities around the elbow and tight neck muscles in the front. So I talked to her about thoracic outlet syndrome as well as lateral and medial epicondylitis. It may be carpal tunnel as she does repetitive tasks at work, but it’s always good to have a diagnosis and rule out other causes.
So I referred her to a sports medicine doctor to do the special tests and diagnose the issue. She was so happy to have someone simply tell her their opinion. There are many reasons why doctors, for instance, often don’t clue in patients. Either they don’t have time or they think the patient wouldn’t understand much of the time. I think it’s important to tell clients what you think, even if you don’t know. Although massage therapists can’t diagnose, we can theorize. And when it’s only your first or second session, it is often theory. A plan and strategy tends to evolve as you palpate, muscle test and gain more information.
Knowledge is empowering. So I try to talk to clients about possible causes. For instance, posture is often emotional. Yes, sometimes an imbalance is created simply through physical acts that you might repeat throughout the day, but often, it is emotions. So you may need to unravel some messy emotions or unfinished business from the past in order to really heal. Still, massage therapists can act as a catalyst and start you on the right path.
One cool thing about Stockbridge Massage, is that we are staffed from 11:00-7:00 every Friday and Saturday in the spring, summer and fall. So you can pop in for a free consult and talk to a professional about what ails you. There’s no obligation to book and although we don’t have all of the answers, we can typically tell you the best questions to ask. In my client’s case, the questions were: medial or lateral epicondylitis, thoracic outlet syndrome or carpal tunnel? Importantly, it could be more than one. We often see a combination of problems in clients. It’s up to the therapist to parse these and treat them individually to get you a good result.