Let’s talk about contraindications.

First, let us outline what is what. The definition of Contraindication means there may be a risk of worsening a client’s condition if we were to treat them. Contraindications can be split into two categories; localised and systemic.

Localised- An affected area that manual therapists should avoid

Systemic – where a client may need a GP or other specialist referral. Or, in more common cases, has conditions such as a cold or other infectious disease.

We can further subdivide contraindications into three subsections, dependent on severity.

Common Sense Contraindications: These can include acute infections and disorders when it is evident that massage of a specific area should be avoided or, in the case of highly transmissible illnesses, treatments avoided altogether until the client has recovered. 

GP Contraindications: These can include severe medical conditions and needs. Treatments may worsen or help the condition, but they are contextual.

Precautionary Conditions: Conditions where it would not harm the client, but we must consider the nuances of how the treatment is given. 

Now that you know what defines a contraindication for massage let us talk! First, you want to get a good rub-down, but certain areas may not be safe. Luckily the three most common conditions have been compiled here, so read on and find out which ones apply most closely to your needs: 

Acute Muscle ruptures: Manual therapy treatments have a higher risk of increased bleeding and tissue damage, prolonging recovery. However, treatment may become possible after the initial 48 to 72 hours, depending on the injury. 

Recent or Current infectious illness: Common sense would dictate that any form of close contact in this situation presents an unnecessary risk.

Acute Inflammation: The acute stage of a soft tissue injury is the first 48 – 72 hours post-injury. 
Overall, there are set contraindications for specific conditions, including many more not listed above, such as medications, burns and cuts, blisters, periostitis (avoid massaging the bony areas directly), and Bursitis. 

If you learned something today or would like more info, get in contact today!
Aaron Gibson
Aaron Gibson
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