Massages Make Me Tense!

7176612_sNothing like a massage to tense up those muscles!

Now, I’m not talking about a rough and tumble sports massage but one of those coveted Swedish gigs that cost upwards of $150 at a fancy spa…

During breakout sessions at a patient symposium, a massage therapist offered her services to our group, hoping to bestow a haven of relaxation. She was utterly baffled by the dearth of volunteers for a free massage until I explained how our muscles react to stimulation. After all, I port a history of educating massage therapists about the Mexican jumping beans in my legs at the touch of their fingertips.

Aaaah, we achieved clarity. Perhaps she could work on locations that relieve sinus congestion, avoiding contact with my upstarts. Didn’t do much for my aching muscles but I went home breathing easy!

20 responses to “Massages Make Me Tense!

  1. Tracey Gillibrand

    I actually studied & qalified in Aromatherapy, Anat. & Phys. & Reflexology a number of years ago, but of course had to give up physically massaging people due to my Dystonia. A really good aromatherapy massage should leave you feeling a little sore the day after, though the last one I went for I realised afterwards the pressure was too deep so was more in pain, but you only learn this from experience & of how your Dystonia affects you or begins to affect you more. I think with conditions such as ours, we will try anything that may or may not work to help at least ease the pain or make us feel better in any way whatsoever. If it made your breathing easier, have you not thought of investing in an oil burner & some good essential oils to burn in it in some water, such as Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lemon, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Lavender or Pine? You only need a drop of one of them at a time in a little cool water. You can even put them into a small bowl of water either near a heat source or close to your bed as you sleep. Hope you find something soon that helps.

    • Tracey, So nice to hear from you again. I appreciate your suggestion, which actually brought a smile to my face. I used to love all things aromatherapy…until I developed a hypersensitivity to fragranced products (even essential oils like eucalyptus) that sends me running in the opposite direction! Now, I’m a scent free kind of gal! My solution to the massage issue is to explain to therapists the areas where my muscles tense and have them concentrate on my back and shoulders, which is where my muscle pain tends to be localized. As for congestion, I have my own mini steamer. I’ve found it’s all a matter of trial and error. When something does’t work, it’s back to the drawing board. Sending you my warmest wishes in the New Year. Take care. -Pamela-

  2. Hi Pam, love your comments ref. the massage therapist …I am seeing my acupuncturist today and hope my sinus and lower back see some results…..will let you know……(iris)

    • Iris, First I hope you enjoyed the Holiday Season and I want to wish you a happy and healthy(ier) New Year! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you. Might be trying acupuncture myself and I’m eager to see how it goes for you. Please feel free to come back with an update. Best of luck. -Pamela-

  3. My mom trying to be a sweety purchased a full body massage once and sat there while I got the relaxation of a life time! Untill I kept saying Ouch, Easy, that hurts, not there, and then………….spasm, spasm. VOMIT!!!! Massages are a no no unless they avoid my right side. Smells are tough for me as well. I loved the dark room and background sounds!

    • Christine, So nice to hear from you. One thing’s for sure, we know our bodies best and must be vigilant gatekeepers. Would love to know more about your issue with smell, do you ever wonder if it’s related to Dystonia medications, assuming you take any? Remember, I’m always here if you need a friend. Happy January! -Pamela-

  4. sherryl klingelhofer

    good post! I have a friend with fibromyalgia who can’t be massaged in the normal sense of the word. However, we tried passive tui na and she could REALLY relax! I used it to relieve inner tension with my Dad who had PD, and here is a brief synopsis you may find interesting:

    • Sherryl, Welcome and thanks so much for your comment and your information. I visited the link you posted and I’m thrilled your father found some relief from Parkinson’s through the practice of acupressure. Sharing these types of success stories can be helpful for so many people and I urge readers to visit your link. I wish you the best of luck and hope to see you again here soon. Take care. -Pamela-

  5. I have never had a massage. I kind of thought it might be a bad idea.
    My muscles don’t need that kind of stimulation.

    • Angela, I don’t think massage is across the board negative, it’s more a matter of knowing your body and choosing your spots. I actually find it helpful for back pain, an area of my body that isn’t impacted by Dystonia. If they work on my legs, my muscles tend to contract in response and I find myself growing tense. I’m careful to educate the masseuse and all therapists about Dystonia. Hope you are well. Always lovely to hear from you. -Pamela-

      • Not all massages are too stressful if you get the right therapist & explain your needs, just as you are saying Pamela. Studying it myself I should have known better to tell the girl whom I knew doing my last one how my Dystonia actually affects me, but won’t make the same mistake again. I was that stressed to start with I had forgotten even my own training. lol Sometimes pain is good, as it shows the areas needed to work on & afterwards a little soreness or pain can help with the healing process, as muscles need at times to be stretched but not overly & it should never be too painful. Knowing your own body is a must when having conditions like Dystonia, ET, MS, etc., as we are the best judge of what works or does not for ourselves & are our own worst enemies if we don’t at least try to listen to it, what helps, heals or doesn’t do either. If more people listened & even tried to look after their own bodies, then there would be less waiting times for appointments, etc.. I found not eating or using foods or products for laundy, personal washing & hygeine, round the home, etc., with nasty chemicals or additives in have helped me considerably over the years. I also have a science degree in the environmental field so my studying has helped me immensely with my own life & health, though unfortunately I cannot do paid work due to the 3 complex movement disorders I have but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to at least help others along the way who are suffering too 🙂

        • Tracey, Don’t I know the “no pain, no gain” theory when it comes to massage! I’ve had deep tissue sports massage on my back to tackle knots…watch out when they find those pressure points! I’m with you, we need be our own gatekeepers and it’s worth trying anything within reason that may improve our lives over the long term. I certainly need to pay more attention to nutrition, which an acupuncture therapist I spoke with recently mentioned to me. I so admire the knowledge you’ve expressed here and your advice will be helpful to many. I just hope people take the time to read these comments, which I take as seriously as my posts. As for my issues with “smell,” I was diagnosed with a condition called MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity), which I’ve yet to share on this site – though I guess I just did (lol)! Do you have hypersensitivities yourself on top of your other conditions? Gosh, those health issues sure can pile up! Thank you for sharing so much about yourself here. -Pamela-

  6. Hi Everyone & a very Happy New Year to you all. Yes I haven’t been on this site for ages Pamela, am glad I made you smile 🙂 I was getting extremely depressed with my living conditions, which as you can imagine was badly affecting my health, but took the plunge & have moved house yet again, though I seem to be settling well into the little village I have come to live in 🙂 I tried acupuncture for Trigeminal Neuralgia a few years ago, although I was crying with pain, which is unusual for me as I have a very high pain threshold, even after treatments, I persevered & it hasn’t come back since. It was around 7 or 8 years ago & the pain had become much more severe, though I wasn’t to know then that I was on my way to reaching a peak for my Dystonia, as hadn’t been properly diagnosed then. As I think you are aware, I can’t have injections now & have gone back to treating myself with a good mainly organic diet, with food generally prepared by myself though the kitchen can get a little messy with me having Myoclonus involuntary hand movements & the permanent tremor of Essential Tremor in both hands. 🙂 A positive outlook is well recommended too, especially when struggling on your own but laughing is a good remedy too. I swapped my megastress vitamin B complex with herbs for ‘balance for nerves’ which has calmed me quite a lot & has helped my brain considerably, especially with memory loss. I have also begun taking Ashwaghanda again as my energy levels seemed to be suffering more. The latter also helps with pain, as does the homoeopathic tincture I use when it’s really bad – Zincum Valerianicum. It can make the pain worse, but then it goes away for a good while. Of course this may not work for everyone, I also find drumming helps me a lot as has strengthened my muscles & long periods without doing it I have suffered a great deal with muscle pain & severe weakness. Anyway hope whatever you try next works for you. I would also add to please ensure if you are ever using pure essential oils, to make sure they are 100% pure without additives of other carrier oils or anything else. Peppermint oil can relieve sickness, but only use 1 drop at at time. There are a lot of synthetics on the market, but if you choose a reputable health food shop, aromatherapist or someone like essential oils online who are accredited you should be fine. Keep warm & home you stay as well as can be xx

    • Tracey, My, oh my…again, you’re an amazing repository of health information and a real boon to this site. I’m certainly taking notes. What I really need is a “red line” to your home (lol)! Trigeminal Neuralgia, I came across that one while researching my own hypersensitivity so I know that’s quite a lot to deal with in and of itself. Seems you’re making all the right moves with the healthy lifestyle you’re embracing, certainly you’re my personal Health Hero! I hope to hear from you again in the not to distant future. You’re a lovely human being and I’d love to know how everything goes with you. Warmest wishes. xxx -Pamela-

  7. Before my dystonia really developed, there was a long periods where I got myofascial release and craniosacral massage and such. So in my first year with out of control dystonia, my muscles were so sore and tight, I thought, “Must go get a massage.” Fortunately, my therapist was familiar with dystonia and knew what not to do on me (apparently she was taught *not* to do craniosacral because of its effect on the nervous system.) She told me to let her know any time when things felt “weird” during the massage so she would know to back off. It was disappointing not to get the full treatment I was used to, but I completely appreciated her awareness and precaution.

    • Renee, Dystonia puts a “spin” on so many aspects of our lives. I’ve had mine for 40+ years so for me the craziness seems to be “business as usual!” Glad you found a way to incorporate massage even if it may not be quite the same as before. Life becomes a search for strategies that accommodate us. I find massages helpful for back and neck pain and I just educate my therapist. What form of Dystonia do you have and where does it impact you? The variety in this condition never ceases to amaze me. -Pamela-

  8. Amanda Rodriguez

    I just happen to stumble upon your world of information. My dystonia just began recently. I also have RSD/CRPS(Regional Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). But what caught my attention more than anything is your mention of MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity). I have had a problem with “smells” longer than all the other problems. It makes me extremely “sick.” I have had this problem this problem for years and it can be extremely debilitating. Where or who were you able to go to to finally come to this conclusion?

    • Amanda, I’m so thrilled you found this site. My MCS was diagnosed by the Yale Medical Group in New Haven, CT, which has a specialization in Occupational & Environmental Medicine. I don’t know if you are anywhere near New Haven but you could always call them to ask for a recommendation closer to home. Certainly worth a try. I would love to know more about how your issues manifest and your coping strategies. I spend a good deal of effort trying to control my surroundings and eliminating scents and chemicals from my life. Seems you have a whole bunch of health issues to manage, I can certainly relate to your situation. Looking forward to learning more about you. -Pamela-

  9. There is definately a great deal to learn about this subject.
    I love all the points you made.

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