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Posted by Rebecca Howitt, Oct 16 2012 9:03AM

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Trapped/Pinched nerve

I recently had a client who had seen a nerologist who said they could have a pinched/trapped nerve in their neck and was waiting on a scan to find out. I decided not to treat as i was told this was a contraindication when i trained as a Therpist and my gut feeling was not to treat until this was confirmed.
I have been advised otherwise that in the future i should treat regardless as its generally muscular.
Your views would be appreciated
Janice Hamilton
Oct 16 2012 10:30AM
Dear Rebecca

I'm not sure who is advising you to go ahead and treat as it's "generally muscular", but if a client has gone to a GP and is being sent for further medical tests to confirm initial diagnosis, I would do exactly as you have done - after all, we are not medical experts and do not diagnose - once you know what you're dealing with you can then make a decision as to how to proceed.

Rebecca Howitt
Oct 16 2012 11:09AM

My thoughts exactly Janice i thought i did the right thing and i told the client when we know more we could take it from there. This client was on very strong painkillers and could hardly move her neck and it kept her awake at night.
At the end of the day its my head on the block and if i think a client should not be treated then i will not treat regardless.
Thank you for your feedback Janice its nice to have someone in agreement to i have done the right thing.
I took my training very seriously unfortunatly some people think they know best! "muscular"
Thanks again :)
Mike Colquhoun
Oct 16 2012 11:53AM
Hi Rebecca
I see you have trained in deep tissue massage, was it on that course or your basic course that you were told that a pinched nerve was a contraindication to massage?
The thing about contraindications to any therapy is that no one who writes a book or who lays out a curriculum for a course wants to be sued by a student’s patient because they said it was OK for the student to treat this condition. Consequently lists of contraindications tend to be totally inclusive and no condition should be treated. Include me in please, in this group.
Having said this Osteopaths, Chiropractors and people like myself [practising Musculo-Skeletal-Lymphatic –Therapy a very advanced form of massage] regularly treat people with pinched nerves.
So it comes down to having the right training and experience so that you can recognise when to refer as say in a severely prolapsed disc or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and do not delay a patient who needs a surgeon’s skills or a doctors drugs immediately from seeking them. On the other hand the vast majority of pinched nerves will benefit far more from a good skilled massage than from either of those interventions.
The rule is simple ‘If you do no good it is acceptable but to do harm is not’, so unless you are confident about that, always refer. You are much less likely to do any harm than Ostepaths, Chiropractors and Myself as we think we know what we are doing and we only have to be wrong once to do harm.
Good training is the key to confidence in your ability and that means expense I’m afraid. Choosing which training course to attend is difficult. I have attended courses that were both brilliant and a complete waste of time that were expensive and well accredited and I had one Tutor who was little short of a genius, who didn’t teach courses and who was not ‘recognised’ by any awarding body, but who changed my life’s course and my understanding of the body. The only way to find out is to do taster days in things that interest you.
Hope this is of some help Yours aye Mike

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