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Posted by Anita Tandon, Aug 22 2016 11:06PM

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Clarification sought

Hi all Therapist.

I am a a bit confused as a previous elderly client ( aged 68+) approached me seeking a full body massage, but told me that she has had an operation on her spine due to a sciatia problem. She was operated on in May 2016. I told her that she should wait for 6 months before having any massage treatment but she said her consultants who she recently saw following the surgery has said that she can have a massage. Have asked her to seek permission from her GP but she has stated that her consultant has told her, and so it shouldn't be a problem. Am I wrong in thinking we should wait for 6 months? She also suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis. I know that I can adapt my treatment by using lighter pressure ,but my gut instinct is that 3 months after surgery is a bit too soon? Any advice, comments suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
Linda Morrissey
Aug 22 2016 11:32PM
It's a shame that I have just received this post when I was asleep, as I use my IPad as an alarm clock, that I am not more awake to think of anything much to say. 😴💤💤

It would be nice if these posts only happened in office hours rather than sooooo late at night !

I also take exception to you thinking that someone in their late 60's is elderly - as I myself am in my early 60's and I certainly wouldn't consider myself as elderly !!!

If you have any doubts than I would say don't - find out a bit more about the operation before you make a final decision - why is she asking you for the massage ? Is is just to relax tight muscles ? Is she having Physio? How long have you been seeing here - make lots of notes on her case history firm and spasm her to sign them

......... That's as much as I can think of in the circumstances
Amanda Clegg
Aug 22 2016 11:36PM
Normally at least 6 weeks or when the wound has healed is fine for massage - it's important to gently mobilise any scar tissue to prevent adhesions (you can learn about this with any good MFR training such as Jing in Brighton). Obviously you wouldn't use direct pressure on the spinous process anyway (we don't massage over bone anyway) so a gentle full body would be fine, in my opinion, particularly if her medics have recommended it. As long as she is comfortable lying supine/prone - you may need the odd pillow or bolster to support her, then go for it. Be aware, however, that her arthritis MIGHT not take kindly to massage - it's a very individual reaction with RA, so go gently at first.
Amanda Clegg
Aug 22 2016 11:38PM
Linda I sympathise with your reaction - 68 isn't elderly nowadays - my oldest client was 101 but really didn't seem like it! It's usually only illness of some sort that makes one feel 'old' and that applies to ANY age :)
Maureen Abson
Aug 22 2016 11:50PM
Hi Anita, it would be good to have a bit more information as to the nature of the surgery. You could alter the position of treatment so that she was seated leaning into the table if you have a massage chair or table top support if she is not yet ok to be on the massage couch comfortably or it could be that some work on her hands, arms and shoulders would be appropriate if you don't feel comfortable working close to her spine - depending on her surgery. With her surgeon's ok to massage (do you have this from the surgeon direct rather than the client say so?) it may be possible to adapt the treatment re depth, length and treatment style and aim so long as you feel confident with your own training / experience to do so, but it's also ok to say no if not.

For the lady with the iPad waking you up with notifications (sorry I can't cross check names now I'm in the reply page), somewhere in your settlings you should be able to make these notifications silent ones so the night owls don't wake you but your alarm still does!
Anita Tandon
Aug 23 2016 9:54AM
Hi Linda,Amanda and Maureen

Firstly I apologise for disturbing you and if I offended anyone - it was not my intention, so please forgive me.
Thank you all for your quick response. The information provided has all helped. The information that I have been given is via the patient and not through the surgeon, and generally I trust what the patient tells me, as often in my experience GP's and consult don't readily give any document saying massage is ok. Maybe you have had different experience, so willing to learn of alternative approaches.
I think I will follow the advice and get more information before carrying out any treatment. I certainly will look into MF training- I've been wanting to do this but something or the other comes in the way.

Thank you once again.Really appreciate it.
Maureen Abson
Aug 23 2016 11:10AM
Let us know how you get on Anita, she sounds like an interesting case and how great that her surgeon is giving the OK to massage. I certainly see a change in how massage is viewed by many medical professions and it's great that more are willing to agree to treatment much earlier that would have previously been the case.
Amanda Clegg
Aug 23 2016 11:18AM
I'm sure your client will feel better for a massage! Check out Thomas Myers (Anatomy Trains), Gimberteau, Rachel Fairweather et al for info on MFR techniques - I have found this THE most useful course since I started massage 15 years ago!
Sue Hulbert
Sep 1 2016 10:57AM
Hi Anita,

With your Client's permission I would suggest you write / email / telephone her Consultant. Ask for his/her reply to be documented & replied in writing. This way it can be double-checked and you also have it on record.

Alternatively, if recently qualified, you could seek advice from your Tutor if this appropriate.

Apologies for late reply, I've been away working in my capacity as a Mobile Therapist. Let me know how things turn out.

Sue Hulbert

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