When the accident happened I knew that I wasn’t going to let the pain, or the fear of what might happen if I push through the pain stop me from doing the sports and activities I enjoy. I was going to live my life, because I knew sitting and doing nothing wasn’t going to fix the issue. People live in this fear every day, I live with this fear every day too.
Patients tell me that they don’t have any injury but they have pain, that they have an injury from years ago that just never got better, or that they are having to prove to people that their pain is real. I hear stories about how people were injured and details about the pain they are experiencing.
Sometimes, I’m the first healthcare professional a patient sees after an accident. Sometimes, coming in for Massage Therapy is a last resort after everything else has failed to help them with their pain.
I want to be different from the rest, I believe your pain is real weather it is physical, neurological, or psychological. If you tell me you’re in pain, I will believe you. And, I will do everything I can to help alleviate your pain and get you back to your normal pain free life. I want to be the change in the healthcare profession. My ultimate goal is to assist, facilitate, and support each of my patients to return to their life.
Regardless of how long it takes, I will not turn you away; I will not tell you that you can’t. Instead, I will try to help you modify the way to you do things, I will do everything I can to ease your anxiety and fear of being in pain every day, and hopefully I will be able to help you get back to living the life you love.
By: Savannah Merk, RMT
Many of my patients ask me, “what got you interested in treating pregnant women?” They glance around my treatment room, noticing the pregnancy and birth inspired art on my walls and books on my shelves – a nod to my clinical focus. I explain that my interest in perinatal care goes back to my college days, where I first laid my hands on an expectant mom. I remember the days spent learning about reproductive systems, gestation, and the stages of birth. I was hooked, and I wanted more. I continued on to participate in both the pre/postnatal in-reach clinic and the BC Women's Hospital outreach, where I was able to treat moms who were experiencing high-risk pregnancies. Thus began my obsession with all things pregnancy and birth.
A few years into my practice, I had a good number of prenatal treatments under my belt, and I had a good feel for some of the most common complaints that moms-to-be have. It was around then that I learned I was going to experience it all for myself, as I was expecting my first child. I was lucky enough to have a complication-free pregnancy, though I still had my share of complaints! Lower back pain nearly did me in, and I had to decrease my work hours in order to manage. At 36 weeks along I was finally able to pass my patients on to a locum therapist, and I enjoyed almost a month of down time before my son arrived. I was fortunate enough to have a lovely home birth, and two and half years later, my daughter was also born at home in the comfort of a birth pool. My own experiences really showed me how amazing and powerful women’s bodies are, and how normal and primal birth can be when the process is allowed to unfold as it may, free of medical interventions. I also understand that sometimes, things don’t quite go as planned. In those cases, we’re very fortunate to live in a country where medical care and technology are so advanced; postpartum complications can be well-managed, and micro-preemies now have a chance at life. Having experienced pregnancy and birth myself, I became even more passionate about treating women going through the same process.
Over the years, I’ve completed several post graduate courses in pregnancy, labour, birth, postpartum, and paediatric care, and I've treated hundreds of expectant moms with a variety of pregnancy complaints. I understand that women have a lot of choice when it comes to care providers, and I always feel humbled when women entrust me with their bodies during such an important time. I have been there to witness the happy tears of first time moms very early in pregnancy, the nervous anticipation of impending birth, the heartbreak of fetal loss, and everything in between. I’ve felt babies roll and kick as I treated pelvic ligament pain, and then snuggled those babies (or worn them on my back!) in their first year of life when their moms came in for postpartum care. I’ve heard stories of triumphant home births and emergency caesarean sections, stories of sleep deprivation and breastfeeding challenges, stories of changed lives and unconditional love. Oh, how I love all the stories!
While some may see pregnant women as fragile flowers who need to be treated gently and with caution, I see those same women as strong individuals who are doing the miraculous job of growing life within their own bodies. I’m not afraid to get into those tissues in an attempt to make each woman a bit more comfortable as her pregnancy progresses. The journey to motherhood can be difficult and emotional, and I find it very rewarding to be able to support women along the way.
By: Holly Henry, RMT
In June 2016, at the ripe age of 20, I started on the fast-paced and laborious journey to become a Registered Massage Therapist. I have known for a long time that this was the profession for me. I want to work with people in the healthcare field.
So there I was, Day one of my first Term in Massage Therapy College. We met our teachers, and the medical acronyms that followed their names made my head spin. They all looked so young to have achieved so much. To say that it was intimidating is an understatement. But they were all so interesting to talk to. The first day was pleasant, and included scheduled time to meet our classmates and ask questions about the classes. I left that day feeling confident. I’ve got this. One day down, roughly six-hundred and fifteen more to go.
Day Two was quite different.
I felt like I was on a leaky row boat on the ocean during a hurricane. The storm raged on for the duration of the Term. Then came Finals Week. One complete week of literally nothing but tests and exams, written as well as oral and practical. The hurricane turned into fire, and now I had metaphorical sharks circling my boat. If I were as good at test writing as I am at imagery and metaphors, I would have passed all my classes. That being said, I didn’t. Many of us can relate to having that one class in school that we couldn’t really wrap our heads around. Unfortunately, due to my admitted lack of understanding, I had to retake the class with the next group of students next June.
Flash forward to February 9, 2017. Here I am, 21 years old, newly engaged, still working on getting back into the groove of school, and I’m employed at the most amazing place I have ever worked for, and with the best team of people I have ever had the privilege of working with. I have never worked somewhere the Associates care so much for not just their clients, but each other as well. Since I found out that I would have to retake a class, I had been feeling discouraged and self-conscious. Now, being here with this amazing team of RMT’s at the Maple Ridge Massage Therapy Clinic, I have a newfound sense of determination. I have found an amazing support system and a handful of mentors who have already helped me and given me so many resources to aid in my schooling. They have shown me that even though there may be a few bumps, twists, and detours in the road to my success, that doesn’t mean I won’t get to my destination. I can’t wait to see what the future holds, not just for me, but for the entire team here at the Maple Ridge Massage Therapy Clinic.
Myofascial Trigger Points: "Death of an Empire"
Our present "Myofascial Pain" caused by "Trigger Points" theory is conjecture and has been thoroughly and quantifiably refuted by science. The following are important pieces of research, links, and discussions in the Manual/Massage Therapy profession, because a significant amount of education was built on the trigger point theory. Moving forward with the current body of science is part of the obligation of regulated healthcare professionals, and
Those pesky scientists have spoiled another theory which I paid a small fortune to learn, and which the current curriculum in Massage Therapy schools still teaches. That’s right; I paid for an education that was obsolete shortly after I graduated. That’s the thing with the field of medicine; it is constantly advancing, changing, and growing. We are learning more and more each day, month, year…and isn’t that a good thing? I think so.
It’s kind of like Star Wars…. Well ok, maybe not, but these are definitely not the trigger points you’re looking for….
"An extensive review identified at least 19 different sets of diagnostic criteria used for the MPS/TrP syndrome, and concluded there was a lack of consistency and consensus on case definition."
"The theory of myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) caused by trigger points (TrPs) seeks to explain the phenomena of muscle pain and tenderness in the absence of evidence for local nociception. Although it lacks external validity, many practitioners have uncritically accepted the diagnosis of MPS and its system of treatment. Furthermore, rheumatologists have implicated TrPs in the pathogenesis of chronic widespread pain (FM syndrome). We have critically examined the evidence for the existence of myofascial TrPs as putative pathological entities and for the vicious cycles that are said to maintain them. We find that both are inventions that have no scientific basis, whether from experimental approaches that inter- rogate the suspect tissue or empirical approaches that assess the outcome of treatments predicated on presumed pathology. Therefore, the theory of MPS caused by TrPs has been refuted. This is not to deny the existence of the clinical phenomena themselves, for which scientifically sound and logically plausible explanations based on known neurophysiological phenomena can be advanced."
"The construct of MPS caused by TrPs remains conjecture. All working hypotheses derived from this conjecture have been refuted and therefore the theory can be discarded. In contrast, evolving insights into the neurobiology of nociception and pain suggest plausible hypotheses that form a basis for advancing knowledge and therapeutics in this challenging area."
Some of my favourite quotes from "A critical evaluation of the trigger point phenomenon" By John L. Quintner, Geoffrey M. Bove, and Milton L. Cohen
Discussion and explanations from the authors HERE and HERE
The wonderful wit of Paul Ingraham’s “Critical evaluation of the trigger point phenomenon” is also really great. "Why do I feel the need to challenge the clinical concept of trigger points? Because the science of trigger points is weak and has yet to produce a proven, reliable way to treat pain. Because many serious, earnest experts have declared their annoyance with dogma and wild speculation about trigger points. Because it’s all a bit half-baked … after decades in the oven."
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the disillusionment!
Please feel free to leave any comments or suggestions on topics you'd like me to blog about!
Fascia, Scars, Adhesions, & Fibromyalgia
This Blogpost is a small collection of various sources I have read on the subject. I hope you find it useful and informative. Current research in fascia science challenges old theories that I was taught in school. I enjoy this part of my profession, the part that challenges me to be a constant student, forever learning....
"The formation of scars and adhesions is a ubiquitous and naturally occurring process that most often, is not pathological. As a profession, manual therapists have long held the belief that local restrictions in tissue movements can result in a more global dysfunction. There is little support for this concept. There are little data available that would suggest validity of applying manual treatment to existing scar tissue. As well, the innervation of fascia is poorly understood, with obvious clinical implications for local pain and presumed pathology."
Read the full article here
"I think "adhesion" is too general a term for precise, clinically meaningful use. Mechanical "adhesions" can occur in various tissues in the body, but failure to differentiate between the types will probably preclude any meaningful conclusions. It probably is a good idea to avoid manual lysis of abdominal adhesions that are secondary to surgery, as there may be a risk of a full thickness tissue tear."
"Upon previous research, I have only found one definition of the word, "adhesion". I have, then, assumed that massage therapists have taken the word and have applied it with other definitions."
"Common complications from abdominal and pelvic surgery include adhesions and chronic pain. Laparoscopic adhesiolysis is sometimes used with the intent of reducing adhesions and related pain. Physical therapy interventions, such as soft tissue mobilization (STM) may be used for this condition, but evidence to support its effectiveness is lacking"
"The outcomes on this patient suggest STM as a conservative treatment option for pain and dysfunction presumed related to intra-abdominal adhesions from abdominal/pelvic surgeries. Higher level of evidence studies, including potential comparison between STM to traditional laparoscopic adhesiolysis are needed to further determine benefits of non-surgical care for this condition."
Abstracts for the upcoming 4th International Fascial Research Congress (September 2015),
"To demonstrate clearly that managing widespread pain must include treatment of the fascia as we are structured determined systems, and to decrease pain is to invite change in the structure through the fascial matrix in order to have a correlating change in the central nervous system. In this way we restore homeostasis in the client."
"The culprit appears to be chronic tension within the fascia responsible for causing micro-injuries (i.e. tears) in those with a “dysfunctional” healing response. Such a response is said to result from insufficient growth hormone release consequent upon inadequate deep sleep.
In summary, Liptan argued that: “Fascial dysfunction and inflammation may lead to widespread pain and central sensitization seen in fibromyalgia.”"
"But over a century later, direct histological evidence to support the related concepts of “fibrositis” and “fascial adhesions” is still lacking."
To date, the search for underlying peripheral musculoskeletal pathology in fibromyalgia has not been fruitful. Yet, a recently published book – Fascial Dysfunction: Manual Therapy Approaches (2014) – is being advertised to manual therapists with this rather astounding claim appearing in the blurb:
Fascial dysfunction is now recognized as one of the main underlying causes of musculoskeletal pain leading to impaired and reduced mobility. [Link: http://www.amazon.com/Fascial-Dysfunction-Manual-Therapy-Approaches/dp/1909141100]
Could Gowers have been right after all? Should we now discard the term fibromyalgia and revert to his “fibrositis” model? It seems a most unlikely possibility but a critical review is urgently needed to once and for all resolve this important question."
RMT/Owner & Director
Maple Ridge Massage Therapy Clinic
My First Blog
Dec 20, 2014.
So this is my first official blog.
My plan is to blog weekly about current research in the manual therapy industry, share resources, abstracts, videos, and practical information with my audience.
I am not a research scientist. I am a mere RMT with an interest in providing evidence informed care.
If you have any questions about specific injuries or conditions please leave a comment below or email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org and I may write a blog about your question.
Thanks for reading my first blog post! ~ Jenny