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Spinal Cord Injury And Massage Therapy?




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#1 libby

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Posted 01 November 2009 - 09:51 PM

I'm a massage therapy student doing research for a class on the effects of massage therapy for people with spinal cord injuries. First, I must say, this site has been wonderfully informative and educational. In my research, however, I have not found much on the use of massage therapy, specifically for those with spinal cord injuries. I'm curious as to how widely used massage therapy is, and if its use is restricted only to areas with sensitivity, or generally. I'm also interested in not only the physiological effects of massage on muscle tissue, but the emotional/social effects as well. If anyone on this forum would be interested in sharing their experiences with massage, either good or bad, it would be greatly appreciated. My class is only about 15 people and my report will be a power point presentation to the class only. I will gladly omit any names, and of course mention this site in my references. Thanks so much for your attention.

#2 wheeliebear75

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 01:25 AM

I can not speak for anyone else but I do get massages & yes it helps at times. I have an incomplete injury; what that means is that I have diminished ability to move my legs & lack the strength.....BUT my legs can also be hypersensitive so massages have to be done when the hypersensitivity is not as high.

In a good scenario: I have poor circulation in my legs & massage does help with the circulation. When the muscles are twitching if done firmly but gently it can help that as well. When my body cooperates & someone who knows where & how my pain is they can have a positive effect on me. The benefits would be improved circulation, relaxing of the muscles, & I'm pretty sure it lowers the blood pressure in a beneficial way as well.

Now the bad scenario: If someone does not know where the most damaged/painful areas are & tries to do a massage on my like the average person then they can cause an INCREASE in pain & other problems. If I'm having intense burning in the feet, legs, & buttocks then touching me in those areas is excruciatingly painful! At that point touching is O-U-T of the question! If someone pushes on the spine itself they can make my legs go even number on me than usual. Pushing on the spine also causes the burning sensation to start.

I think it might be hard to give a general bottom line answer of any sort; mainly because there are a LOT of variables. Our injuries effect us in different ways, we may have absolutely no sensation below the injury or diminished sensation OR have been made hypersensitive. "SCI is like a box of chocolates.....ya never know what you're gonna get."
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#3 Illinois Boy

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 08:19 PM

My daughter is a licensed massage therapist and when I have her give me a massage it stretches my muscles and feels good...

Although I remember my idiot doctors telling me not to have my legs rubbed, because it could loosen up blood clots or
some DUMB-SHIT.....

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#4 jane

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 04:18 PM

i have had massage therapy and found it helps to relax muscles and helps improve circulation

#5 CrazyLucky

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Posted 03 November 2009 - 05:19 PM

I have had them done a few times. I have an incomplete as well. Day to day driving for work and working in general (I stand a lot...oddly enough) cause me to have a lot of leg spasms and back stiffness, especially over the fusion and hardware. the massages have felt good. One time I did end up with the symptoms from the Brown-Sequard significantly more pronounced for a few days, but over all my muscles still felt better. I have normally gotten the hot stone massage as well. I've found that the stones disperse more of the pressure. Poking fingers around my surgical site freaks me out. It feels way too different around my surgical site. Not really a feeling I can describe, just not one I had ever felt the prior 30 years of my life. Good luck with the presentation.

#6 qbounce

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Posted 04 November 2009 - 05:56 PM

I for one, couldn't see any negatives to getting a massage. I used to get them often pre-SCI. And look forward to trying it again. It's just that I might have a problem getting on/ off that little table.

Guess I'll have to try a house call, but then I'd have to pay extra . . . . and those ones advertise "full release."
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#7 wheeliebear75

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Posted 05 November 2009 - 09:39 AM

I think the only "bad" would come from setting off any nerve pain or spasms BUT most of us especially a few yrs post know where to no touch or where to touch gently. Palms on the back AOK......karate chops on the back or deep tissue massages with thumb or fingers also no good. But I think the benefits out way any possible negative side-effects (done gingerly or not at all over certain areas). Had a nice hot bath fallowed with a massage the other night from my BF & I slept like a baby without having to use a bunch of Rx.....just a little bit of pot. ;)
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#8 twisted_ophelia

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 04:43 AM

I get massages once in a while and used to have regular massage therapy. I find it doesn't directly help with my injury but it helps relieve muscles that are stiff in my upper body and because I slouch a lot in my chair, it just feels good to be stretched. My physical therapist told me I sit kind of sideways in my chair and this causes my whole left side (upper body) to be kind of achey all the time and having a massage helps with that. I've been in a chair almost 12 years and I find that as the years go on, everything just aches more and more and even getting a friend to massage me helps a bit with that :)
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#9 ricochetred

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:08 AM

Libby,

I am a PT on disability since my Mtn biking accident last year. I specialized in MFR (myofascial release). you can look at a website www.myofascialrelease.com to read about the benefits of MFR. I was a believer in massage and MFR (not the same thing but MFR is practiced my massage therapists and PT's and some OT's) before my accident and even more so now.

I attribute much of my recovery and ability to function to receiving MFR and massage therapy since my accident. I have also received some water therapy (sometimes called WATSU or Aquatic Integration). These therapies don't cure but can greatly help to alleviate the pain and muscle tightness and to improve circulation and feeling of well being.

Joanne

#10 Hapahowlee

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 06:36 PM

I give my husband massages all the time. I just have him roll over in bed and I straddle him and start at the top and work my way down to the feet because shit floats down hill and it just makes sense. I do have to be careful when I'm doing the left foot. He's hypersensitive on the left side so I have to watch how much pressure I put on his left foot. The pressure doesn't seem to bother him on any other parts on the left side. His right side is slightly hyposensitive, so no problems there.

I've never really studied massage, I just do what I think would feels good. I do the same when I move his joints around too.

I remember the first massage I gave him, most of the time he just moaned like "Oh, that feels good," then he slowly gave me the combination to the safe and then the numbers on his bank account! He's just lucky I'm honest. :lol: He wanted to fall asleep, but it felt so good, he didn't want to miss it.

Sometimes when he's just sitting in his chair, I'll massage his head and finish off by running my long fingernails through his hair and gently grabbing and pulling the hair back. He absolutely loves it. In my hubby's case, massages are all good. We also have a jacuzzi outside and a jacuzzi tub in our bathroom that helps a lot.

I've only had massages when I went to PT to learn myofascial release for my migraines. I don't think I could go to a spa and get one though. I'm a bit of a germaphobe and can't seem to get past the idea that someone else's funk from a previous massage might be rubbing into my back.

#11 libby

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 09:18 PM

First I want to thank everyone who has responded to my post. The questions below are ones that I wrote for an interview I'll be conducting with one of my clients, but I thought I may as well post them in case anyone would like to response specifically with their massage experiences. Some may be redundant, so if you've already responded, please don't feel like you need to repeat yourself.


What is the level of your injury and how long ago was it?
How old were you when you were injured?

What are some symptoms you struggle with on a regular basis because of your injury? For example, do you have many spasms or do you have neuropathy because of your injury?

Do you take medications to manage pain or spasms, or other complications due to your injury?

How long have you been getting massage?

What massage modalities would you say have benefitted you the most? For example: Sweedish, Myofascial Release, Craniosacral, Lymph drainage therapy, Neuromuscular therapy, Reiki

What would you say are the physical/emotional benefits you gain due to receiving massage on a regular basis?

Have you had any negative experiences with massage?

What was the most challenging thing you’ve had to adjust to living with a Spinal cord injury?

In the past, research into Spinal Cord injuries has been focused on ways to improve the quality of life and independence after an injury, though there is more recent research in the field into actually finding ways to regenerate nerve tissue and repair injured Spinal cords. What do you hope for in the future of Spinal Cord injury treatment or cure?

What’s the one thing you wish able bodied people could understand about Spinal cord injuries and how it affects those living with it?

#12 MDK

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 06:25 AM

Kevin has 2 massages a week and it helps with decreasing his spasms ( he's an incomplete quad) and with fluid retention ( it decreases it)

Edited by MDK, 14 August 2010 - 06:26 AM.

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