What does our awesome Remedial Massage Therapist Molly love to treat?
Of course when you see a remedial massage therapist with an acute injury, pain or tension you feel relief and a sense of wellbeing post-treatment. Did you know that your therapist feels this same way?
It brings me a huge sense of satisfaction when I can relieve my clients of pain and discomfort, but some presentations deliver more than others.
So what are my top 3 favourite conditions to treat for my amazing clients?
Number 3: Migraines and headaches. Personally, I suffer from headaches so I know how exhausting and painful they can be. Mine originate from my temporomandibular joint (TMJ) but headaches can be caused by a myriad of things. As a therapist I have to rise to the challenge of discovering what is causing the headache in the first place. Is it a facet joint dysfunction? Is it a trigger point referral pattern? Is it originating from disc pathology? Once we figure out what’s causing it we can then treat it appropriately. The treatment approach that I take has to be gentle enough to not aggravate the original pain, but firm enough to get into the tissue that’s perpetrating the headache and release it. The effects can be immediate, or they can be seen over time with fewer and less intense flare ups. When my clients say they’ve been having fewer headaches or none at all and they’re feeling better, that’s when I know I’ve done my job!
Number 2: Hypertonic hip flexors. As a runner and a cyclist, I understand the pain and restriction involved with having tight or hypertonic hip flexors. Your hip flexors are a group of muscles that, as their name suggests, pull the hip into flexion. The muscles that belong to the hip flexor group are; Iliacus, Psoas, Rectus Femoris, Pectineus and Sartorius. When you are doing activity that flexes and extends your hip, ie. running or cycling: your hip flexors are doing a lot of work. But for many people, sitting for 8+ hours a day is normal too; this means your hip flexors are constantly in a contracted state. So you can understand how common it might be for clients to have hypertonic hip flexors without even realising it!
Treating hip flexors, it can be uncomfortable and tender for the client but after some release, it gets easier and easier. This immediate improvement in movement and decrease in pain is really rewarding for me as a therapist. Often, after a client has their hip flexors released, they feel like they can move again, and they are much less stiff – just another reason I love to treat hip flexors. Other ways you can help your hip flexors include getting up once in a while if you have a job where you have to sit down for long periods of time; set timers and stand up or walk about every 15 minutes. Gentle lunges can help to stretch out your hip flexors and give them a well-deserved break from being contracted. Hip flexors respond well to stretching after they have been released, so remember to give them a gentle stretch after your treatment!
Number 1: My favourite condition to treat: TMJ syndrome! Just like number 2 and 3, number 1 is one that I can relate to. Your Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is where your mandible and temple meet; it is a sliding joint that connects your jawbone to your skull and it is comprised of the articulating bones and little cartilaginous discs. TMJ syndrome can refer to the deterioration of these discs, the misalignment of these discs, pain associated with the jaw, clenching or grinding of teeth, etc.
Someone who suffers from TMJ syndrome might suffer jaw pain, headaches, inability to open their mouth wide enough to eat a burger, ‘clicking’ or ‘popping’ when they chew, facial tension, and sore teeth. It’s a pretty awful thing to suffer from so when I can temporarily ease my clients symptoms it is a deeply rewarding experience. The Masseter, Temporalis, and Pterygoids can all be really really sensitive in someone who suffers from TMJ issues. All these muscles are involved in either retracting or elevating the jaw. When we treat them we are very gentle and careful and the treatment is quite personal and therapeutic. When these muscles are released, the face feels relaxed and the pain associated with the TMJ is relieved. I consider myself so lucky to be able to deliver this relief to my clients who struggle with TMJ issues. You can self-massage your masseter for some relief between treatments.