I recently had a client who was in active posterior neck spasm. She had been putting a 1,000 piece puzzle together over the course of 8-10 hours, woke up the next morning and was in extreme pain. She called her physical therapist and they weren't able to see her so she ended up at her primary care physician, who prescribed her a muscle relaxer. It was day 3 of the extreme neck pain when she arrived for her massage appointment with me, on little to no sleep and unsure what the muscle relaxers were actually doing for her. Remembering my training in regards to not digging right into the problematic area (not slaying the dragon), I started with getting her comfortable using a variety of pillows and bolsters (and a warm table, she had mentioned she'd been applying heat because it was comforting).
I did gentle myofascial arm pulls and a diaphragm release on each side. I noticed her nervous system was beginning to down-regulate but her eyes were still open and darting about. I had her close her eyes and take deep breaths in & out as well as guiding her through an eye yoga series (looking as far as she could left, right, up and down- pausing in each direction.) I was then able to do some work on her neck, face, scalp, pec region and upper/middle back. She left with more mobility and a decrease in pain level overall.
As a massage therapist, I am relieved that I was able to help this client. Massage has a unique ability to treat not only the nervous system, but the musculoskeletal system, in a fast and effective manner. I hope sharing stories like this helps spread awareness for massage therapy as a go-to treatment option for people in pain.
Tiffany Rodriguez, LMT