Positional Release Self Care for Soreness and Other Pain
If you ever become sore after a massage therapy session there are a lot of things you can do to decrease your discomfort. Below are a few suggestions.
Are there strategies that you might be able to teach patients to manage this adaptive stage? What else might you offer your patients as self-care for minor reactions to treatment? Depending on the specifics of the individual's problems, a number of options are available, ranging from simple hydrotherapy (hot and cold compresses, ice massage) to relaxation methods, self-stretching (if appropriate) and from my perspective the most potent self-care we can teach patients in pain is self-applied positional release.
Derived from osteopathy, Positional Release Technique (PRT), or that version of it known as Strain-Counterstrain (SCS), can relieve pain by relaxing tight (shortened) tissues and improving local circulation. Unlike massage and stretching, PRT is safe to apply even on damaged or inflamed tissues. If painfully shortened (hypertonic) soft tissues can be gently placed into a position in which they are made even shorter, pain is usually temporarily removed. If that "position of ease" is maintained for a minute or so, the tight, tense muscle (and often trigger points housed there) are likely to release and relax, sometimes permanently, but at least for a while with pain diminishing subsequently.
Try the following exercise, self-treatment of tense suboccipital muscles, and consider teaching it to patients as an example of this remarkable method of self-care. This is adapted from Chapter 5 of my book, Positional Release Techniques.
Patient instructions for suboccipital self-treatment using SCS:
General Guidelines For SCS Self-Care Of Pain Anywhere Else
If a painful point/local area is on the front of the body, bend forward to relieve it; the further it is to one side, the more you should slowly turn toward that side. If the point is on the back of your body, bend slightly backward until the pain reduces a little, then turn away from the side where you feel the pain, and "fine-tune" to release the discomfort. If the point is on a limb, try to shorten the relevant muscles (don't stretch them) by slowly moving the area to find the position in which the pain is most reduced. When there are many areas of pain it is often best to start with those nearer the head and nearer the middle of the body, using this extremely noninvasive and effective form of treatment.