As I ran through my intake form with a new client recently they asked why I needed to perform an assessment. This particular client had come to see me for low back pain that they had been dealing with for a number of weeks.
Their question got me thinking; I don’t often tell people why I need to perform an assessment; I usually tell them that I am going to do a few tests before we start and then go on to the treatment or move them in certain ways while they are on the table.
The reason for performing an assessment is simple; massage therapy is a restorative treatment, meaning that I am restoring function to your muscles so they perform to their maximum potential. This can mean working without pain, increasing their range of movement, restoring range of movement to an affected area by using remedial massage techniques or assisting the body to rest and repair through gentle massage techniques.
In future posts I am going to go deeper into assessment and the benefits of massage therapy. The reasons and benefits are not what you think!
The main reason to perform an assessment of a client, especially if they are injured, is to put together a picture of what could be the cause of their pain. I gather this information in two ways; first is subjective information or the information you provide me with. This is basic information on things such your health concerns, symptoms and activities that aggravate or relieve your symptoms.
The second part of the assessment is objective, or measuring things such as range of movement, checking if you pelvis is well aligned, “special tests” and certain neural tests.
All of this information sets a starting point of reference to determine your current physical status. If you chose to incorporate massage into your lifestyle, this information is important to monitor improvement over time and can also indicate change between visits.
Massage therapy has developed over the years from being a luxury and used as only relaxation. Relaxation massage is still highly beneficial as it helps negate stress which is a huge contributor to pain and dysfunction in the body, to treating and maintaining muscular injuries from sport, overuse and other causes such injuries from falls and car accidents.