Tag Archives: massage at balancediet

Identifying Pain with the Comparative Pain Scale

What is pain to you? How do you experience pain? What does pain feel like? Where is your pain on a scale of 1-10. Almost every patient in the ER has been asked this, and questions like these can be very difficult for massage clients to answer during an interview.

Let’s face it, pain is subjective. Have you ever heard someone say ‘I have a high pain tolerance’? I hear it all the time in the treatment room and this can make it very difficult to gauge the client based on what level of pain they are experiencing.
Thankfully, there are pain scale’s out there to help client and therapist better communicate pain.

Some of my favorites are the funny meme pain scales with the Lego faces or the funny looking stick figures. They make me laugh, but when it comes to my client’s pain I’m not laughing and neither are they.

lego pain scale

The most effective pain scale I like to use is one an instructor in massage school gave to me, and was very useful when working with my Case Study client called the  Comparative Pain Scale. The scale is broken down so the client has context to which they can relate the experience they are having. For example: minor, moderate or severe pain if 1-10 is too broad. If numbers are easy for you then the descriptive word associated with a number is helpful ex. 3=tolerable, 6=intense or 9=unbearable. Further the scale lists descriptions you can compare you’re current experience to.

Understanding the client’s pain isn’t the only reason why therapists use a pain scale. As I was working with my case study client in research class, the number the client gave to me before and after the treatment was used as measurable data. Something that is very difficult to gather in massage therapy because so much is subjective. This information is very valuable down the road when I look back at your SOAP charts (a post about SOAP charting and why massage therapists chart will be linked here). It’s one of the ways we can track a client’s progress over time. So if I seem real pushy about where you are on the pain scale and insist a number, please remember it’s because achieving measurable results really matters to me.

The comparative pain scale is printed and laminated in my office for clients to use as a tool together in understanding pain, for specific techniques and has been proven useful in gaining results in my massage practice.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Websitebillingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebookfacebook.com/billingsmassage/

 

Lower Back Pain, Repetitive Motion and Massage Therapy: A Case Study

This is a retrospective case study of a client who came in for low back pain. I prefer to present the data in a story format without the SOAP charting jargon for those of you who are not familiar with charting terms. If you would like more information on the objective findings and exact treatment please contact me.

The study is a 57 year old female who works full time at UPS in shipment/package processing. She complained of low back, upper shoulder and neck pain. She described a feeling of her breath ‘taken away’ when laying on her back.  Her job at the time was very stressful as it was the beginning of November and the busiest season for shipping.  She describes to me what her job consists of daily. Lifting boxes with both hands and twisting to the left to place them elsewhere. Over and over again.

The postural assessment revealed a short leg of about 1 inch difference.  The left side of the back was severely elevated in comparison to the right (see photo below). She also presented very limited neck, shoulder and hip ROM.

benson_1
Severe L side elevation causing low back pain and tension in the shoulders and neck.

Over the next 5 months the client received a 30 minute treatment once a week. During the first month we were able to decrease pain symptoms in the low back, shoulders and neck with Swedish Massage and Trigger Point Therapy allowing her to lie flat on her back without the sensation of not being able to breath. We then addressed the leg length discrepancy and balanced the hips with Myofascial Release. Around month 2 the short leg length began to decrease and stay consistent of 1/2 inch. The following months consisted of maintenance massage over the entire back, shoulders, neck and hips.

At month 5 we were able to increase the time between massage to 2-3 weeks. The client began yoga at home, and exercised regularly. She was no longer feeling the neck and shoulder tension, some low back pain on occasion and commented that she was finally able to enjoy the massage without the presence of therapeutic pain.

benson_2
Change in elevation treated with Swedish Massage, Trigger Point Therapy and Myofascial Release.

This case study was 100% dedicated to finding relief through massage therapy.  With patience and persistence she is now taking control of life with out the pain.

 

Alex Stenger is a licensed Massage Therapist practicing inside BalanceDiet Billings.

Website: billingsmassage.amtamembers.com 

Contact: Office (406) 652-9142 Cell (406) 780-0535

Facebook: facebook.com/billingsmassage/