Pathology for Massage Therapists
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
clot in deep veins ( responsible for 90% of blood flow to the heart from
the legs) usually in the legs such as posterior tibial vein, anterior tibial
vein, popliteal vein, femoral vein; May lead to pulmonary embolism
in which the thrombus dislodges and moves to pulmonary artery or postphlebitic
syndrome which consists of edema, pain and skin changes due to the destruction
of the venous valves.
May be due to injury, tears in the vessel lining, abnormal clotting tendencies,
poor circulation, varicose veins, local infections, surgery, hormonal factors
such as high estrogen birth control pills, nutritional deficiencies that
weaken blood vessels: Factors that increase the risk include childbirth,
surgery trauma, birth control pills, aging
swelling, bluish discoloration of the skin, warmth, fever, chills, itchiness:
occurs more frequently in women than in men; occur mainly in calves, thigh
and pelvis. Difficult to diagnose - may be confused with phlebitis
or muscular injury.
Indications: Do not
massage until physician checks condition: Warm moist compresses.
Do not apply massage directly to area as it may dislodge thrombus: May
be on blood thinner medications such as heparin, coumadin or aspirin -use
caution. Refer to appropriate health care practitioner.
body illness affecting the body, mind, spirit. Unipolar disorders - depressive
episodes that reoccur several times. Bipolar disorders usually begin
as depression and progress to mania. Seasonal affective disorder
- become more depressed during winter months with reduction of daylight.
stress, chemical imbalances in the brain, heavy metal toxicity, nutritional
deficiencies, thyroid disorders, sugar related problems, poor diet, allergies
to foods or chemicals, dysfunction in neurotransmitters ( dopamine, serotonin,
norepinephrine) caused by inadequate diet.
chronic fatigue, sleep problems, headaches, physical pain, digestive disorders,
suicidal tendencies, irritability, anxiety, weight gain,
Indications: Massage for
stress reduction, reduce muscle pain and fatigue, restore sense of self
worth through touch
Caution: watch for side effects of drugs such as dizziness, irregular heartbeat,
constipation, insomnia. Some common drugs include Prozac, Zoloft,
Asendin, Wellbutrin, steroids.
Refer to appropriate health
care practitioner for care. Bach Flower Remedies.
insulin production in the body. Type I- insulin dependent.
Type II - non-insulin dependent
improper carbohydrate metabolism, hypothyroidism, obesity, high fat intake,
vision, itching, unusual thirst, fatigue, skin infections, tingling or
numbness in the feet, flulike symptoms, loss of hair on the legs, increased
facial hair, small yellow bumps on body, frequent urination
to increase circulation, stress reduction.
Work with appropriate health care practitioner with diet and lifestyle
changes. Caution with diabetic neuropathy and other complications
such as cardiovascular disease, ulcers, kidney disease, amputations, impaired
Institute of Diabetes
that nourish the retina leak fluid or blood that can damage the rod and
disturbances, loss of vision: may have no symptoms until relatively
Work with physician for diabetic condition
and loose watery stools
viral, food poisoning, parasites, caffeine, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's
disease, incomplete digestion, stress
for stress reduction: May occur after massage due to release of toxins
and increase in circulation
Dehydration may be present: Refer to Naturopath, Acupuncturist for
treatment. Physician may be needed if problems result.
Disc problems: ( deterioration, protrusion,
category of problems that occur with the discs in the spinal column
degenerates over time until the disc loses integrity and presses on surrounding
structures (protrusion). Herniation or rupture ( leakage of nucleus) may
Causes: injury, trauma,
nutritional deficiencies, allergies, stress, poor posture, weak ligaments.
of lordosis, pain, referred pain down leg (usually along dermatome), numbness,
shooting pain, tingling, muscle weakness.
to reduce inter-disc pressure; psoas, adductors, erectors spinae; realignment
therapy; Movement re-education; Hot, moist peat packs. Correct posture
and body mechanics.
Refer to appropriate health care practitioner for accurate diagnosis;
Osteopaths and Chiropractors that deal with disc problems. Acupuncturists/Naturopaths
to address lifestyle changes. Physical therapist for strengthening.
of a bone from a joint with tearing of ligaments, tendons and articular
Causes: trauma, injury;
trauma usually from a pulling out of the joint; increased risk of dislocation
after first time
swelling, inflammation, hypermobililty in joint or lack of mobility, muscular
contraction holding joint in place
after initial injury is realignment from a MD, ND, DC or other professional.
Massage to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, realign structure, restore
ROM, reduce scar tissue formation and muscle spasm.
Caution advised. Have injury assessed by appropriate health care practitioner
of mucous membranes of the lining of the colon forming diverticuli ( sac
like outpouchings of the wall of the colon when the muscles become weak);
particles get caught in diverticuli and become infected or inflamed
Causes: lack of sufficient
bulk in the colon during segmentation (movement of the small intestine),
food allergies, low-fiber diet, hereditary, obesity, coronary artery disease
bloating, diarrhea, pain, stress, cramping, nausea, constant need to eliminate,
tenderness on left side of abdomen, constipation
for stress reduction, increase peristalsis, reduce pain; Visceral manipulation
Refer to Naturopath or Acupuncturist for diet modification and treatment.
Inflammation may cause obstruction in colon or abscesses.
headed feeling or feeling of imbalance
inner ear problems, vertebral misalignment, Trigger points in Sternocleidomastoid,
premenstrual symptom, pre-menopausal symptom, stress induced, anxiety,
virus, brain tumor, cerebral circulation blockage, thyroid imbalance, fibromyalgia.
Massage for stress reduction, muscle trigger point release; SCM's,
Longus coli, Occipital ridge, trapezius; balance alignment.
May be worse from turning head certain way, or getting up quickly:
Refer to appropriate health care practitioner for therapy: Refer
to Physician if condition worsens. Chiropractic may help with vertebral
of oils and moisture in the skin
poor diet, environmental factors such as wind and cold, cosmetics, nutritional
deficiencies, constant hand washing
looking skin, readily wrinkles, chapping, cracking
Aloe Vera, Vitamin E based oils and lotion
cracked and bleeding skin should be avoided; Refer to appropriate health
like lesion in the first part of the duodenum
of acidic gastric juice: may be caused by stress, emotions, food reaction
or drug reaction, over stimulation of the vagus nerve
pain that feels better after eating
to reduce stress
Work with guidance of Naturopath, Acupuncturist, Physician. Diet
modification and lifestyle changes needed.
Dupuytren's Contracture (palmar fasciitis)
Definition: thickening of
the palmar fascia that restricts movement in the fingers - usually the
Causes: repetitive stress,
genetics, nutritional deficiencies; may be related to alcoholism and epilepsy.
Signs/Symptoms: loss of
movement in fingers, hardening of the palmar fascia.
Indications: Massage to
may be necessary to stop the contracture and restore movement.
contraction of the uterus, may be caused by poor diet, stress, chemical
toxicity, endometriosis, overproduction of prostaglandins, lack of progesterone
nausea, vomiting, fatigue, nervousness, heavy periods, clotting, pain,
sacroiliac subluxation, fibroids.
for stress reduction, castor oil packs for abdomen; psoas and iliacus work
may help ( Ask client first)
Refer to Naturopath, Acupuncturist for nutritional support: Have
client checked for endometriosis or other pathology.
Definition: sustained muscular
contraction with abnormal posture
Causes: chemical imbalances,
Signs/Symptoms: foot cramps,
illegible handwriting, foot drop, tremor, speech problems, spasmodic torticollis,
jaw problems, writers cramp; Associated with Huntington's disease, ALS,
Links : National
Institute of Neurological Disorders