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Posted by Jane Hopwood, Apr 29 2012 4:05PM

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A client of mine (who has been regular on and off) had a disturbing experience after my holistic massage at 9a.m. She has bursitis of left hip and left shoulder. I did not massage anywhere near these joints. Her adductor muscles were very tight. Feedback few hours after appointment was - good, bit achy, feel more supple, hip settled and posture better. Next day feedback was that 4.00 in the morning she woke up with a terrible burning pain that went up back of both legs from achilles to posterior thigh and then round front of shins up to anterior thigh muscles. She said the pain was horrendous. The following day she said she was achy but ok. Help!
Nicki Lee
Apr 29 2012 4:59PM
Hi Jane,

Well, that's an interesting one. I'm sorry both you and your client had such a distressing experience - pain and some fright for client, and it's hard not to feel guilty at a strong reaction even when you've done nothing wrong.

Of course this is all conjecture not knowing the client and history, but:

With bilateral sensations like that it sounds like it must be coming from the spine. It could be the treatment, quite rightly, caused the body to make some shifts and possibly when it was adjusting pressure was put on the sciatic nerve causing these sensations. If they had gone on I would certainly have recommended seeing the doctor immediately, as nerve damage could result if it goes on for any length of time.

You didn't say how long it went on, only that achy the next day, so sounds brief and I would guess was settling. Might have been the relaxtion and adjustments, combined with how she was sleeping, put pressure on her spine.

Of course there's always a chance that it was coincidence and nothing to do with the treatment.

It's easy for me to say, not experiencing the pain, but unless it happens again I wouldn't worry about it. The body does strange things when adjusting itself and it does seem it was transient. She can always see the doctor if she's worried.

And when I say adjusting, I'm not suggesting you performed 'an adjustment' as osteopaths do, just that our work quite rightly causes the body to make changes, and in doing so there can be discomfort at times.

Good luck, and I'd be interested to know how it progresses if there are any problems.

Jane Hopwood
Apr 30 2012 8:22AM
Hi thanks Nikki. She is ok now. I have massaged her many times before and nothing like this has happened. She has another massage booked but I have asked her to check with her doctor. It could be the spine as she had accident many years ago and she was booked in with the pain clinic. She said she can still contact them and I have asked her to. I will let you know what transpires.
Mike Colquhoun
Apr 30 2012 7:37PM
Hi again Jane
Nicki's advice is spot on, very unpleasant when a Patient feels that it is your treatment that has caused their problem but re-assure yourself that massage is fail safe, you can not injure your Patient in any significant way so long as you stick to doing what you were trained to do.
Unstable joints can move at any time and yes that can be post massage, despite the fact that you have decreased the chances of that happening.
We have all had the Patient who is convinced that their back problem started when they sneezed. This sort of cause is merely the last straw, the problem was there but not hurting, so the Patient was unaware of it. The sneeze allowed the joint to move and pinch the nerve.
In your case your massage will have released some of the muscles that were spasming around the problem and reduced the chance of a small movement causing the joint to move inappropriately but you will not have been working deeply enough to preclude this possibility.
I’m wondering who diagnosed the bursitis, an unlikely pain to start without warning usually after over use and you didn’t work there anyway. So not you
Now I’m going to take your description of the pain literally, Sciatica starts from the low back and goes down the legs in the middle at the back, the pain you describe also comes up the front as well. Now ‘False Sciatica’ does not cross the buttock and the pain you describe is not crossing the buttock, False Sciatica is caused by a trapped Sciatic nerve at the Knee. If the knee is misaligned then it could conceivably be trapping either the Saphenous nerve [the outside of the lower leg] or the Superficial Peroneial [inside the lower leg] so since she woke in the night with the pain and the leg adductors you say were tight the day you did her, it is probable that she turned over awkwardly due to her low back problems, caught her feet in the bedding and twisted both knees at the same time. Instant agony.
This is exactly how problems spread when a serious subluxation in one joint that is not hurting pulls other joints out of alignment causing pain there.
Your finding the adductors tight was the clue that there was a problem, but it is in the pelvis / low back and your work would have decreased the chance of her knees subluxating [twisting] by reducing the strain on them from the misalignments in the pelvis / low back. She needs an Osteopath if you have a tame one then send her to them, if not the best locally will be the one who’s Patients do not come to you [they get them better] and who takes a half an hour per session[thorough].
Trouble is if they get her better you may never see your Patient again.
Hope this helps
Yours aye Mike

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