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Posted by: , 1 Nov 2010 9:47PM
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Massage for musculoskeletal problems?

I have taken anti-psychotic drugs for about 20 years (mainly Stelazine, Fluphenazine Decanoate and Olanzapine). However I suffered with side effects that affected my muscles and or skeleton. So I had stiff legs, clicking elbows, seized up feet and a bad back and can click my vertebrae. It can be painful but I put up with it. At various times I have been given medication for pseudo-Parkinson's symptoms or told I was suffering from dystonia, both of which are side effects from these medicines. My current GP says that the painful back and clicking vertebrae are due to stress, and it is quite common for people suffering from stress to have this condition. Some time ago a consultant psychiatrist said massage could be beneficial for the side effects affecting my muscles. I have bought a massage chair. The massage chair is good and helps to relax my muscles. So I booked a massage with a licensed masseuse. Before she would touch me she asked lots of questions about my reasons for wanting a message and medical history etc. She was very polite and understanding. However, we could not determine which massage would be most beneficial to me (see below). So she gave my upper back a gentle soothing massage, it helped with my back being more supple for a while. However, the medication can cause pseudo-Parkinson's symptoms. The Internet provides advice that deep penetrative massage (sports massage) should not be used with people with Parkinson's. Mainly the side effects I had were labelled dystonia although I was prescribed tablets for Parkinson's. Although now my GP says it is just stress which is affecting my back. So really if someone has musculoskeletal problems due to side effects from anti-psychotics, could you find out what sort of massage would be most beneficial in words that a masseuse would understand? Or even better which physiological symptoms should be considered in making a decision as to which massage techniques to avoid?


Elizabeth Rabone
3 Nov 2010 9:50PM

Hi You don't say whether or not you're still taking the medication. If you're still taking it, I'm not sure whether any form of massage would be very effective, as you'd still be suffering the reaction to the medication.
Amanda Clegg
11 Nov 2010 8:43AM

Elizabeth's point is valid, however I would still press on with swedish massage, which doesn't have to be as deep as sports massage. Yes you may still get side effects, but hey, those need treating, so it may be the case that you will benefit from regular massage to help you cope. Any good therapist will have a wide range of techniques at his/her disposal and will be able to tailor a treatment to suit you - there is no need at all to stick to one type of routine. It sounds as if the therapist you consulted was sticking too rigidly to a 'menu' of treatments instead of mixing and matching. I use basic Swedish with sports/remedial add-ons where necessary such as trigger point and soft tissue release. I rarely use the very gentle Aromatheropy Massage routine (exept on some of my very elderly clients, or one with MS) as it just doesn't get into the muscles enough. I'm not sure that the deep work which is said to be not good for Parkinsonism would necessarily need to be avoided for you - you do not have Parkinsons! It may also be worth seeking out a therapist with the above skills and Aromatherapy, as some of the warming/anti-inflmmatory essential oils can be extremely useful in massage where there is joint pain and muscle tension. Please keep us posted of your progress! Kind regards Amanda
CThA Administrator
11 Nov 2010 9:54AM

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