My Client’s Progress

By Amanda Wolfe, Student July Class 2017

I have a client that came to me several weeks ago for a practicing massage for a homework assignment. Since then I have had the opportunity to work with him frequently for homework and clinical practice. He came to me with chronic problems that seemed untouchable. His main problem areas were in his major neck muscles, as well as his supraspinatus, trapezius, rhomboids, and whole upper back in general. Although these were the main area of focus, he also had extremely tight calves, glutes, and erector muscles in the thoracic region. His problems mainly stemmed from his job, which includes standing on concrete all day and constant repetitive upper body actions.

Upon palpating I felt developed scar tissue, large trigger points and extremely tight muscles in his neck and upper back muscles. The first time I worked on him I gave him as much pressure as I could muster, and he did not seem phased and told me that he did not really feel much. The first session I accomplished little more than warming his muscles up and tiring myself out. After the session, I put my thinking cap on and quickly realized that I was going to have to figure out how to work smarter, and not harder. I knew this client was going to be a challenge for me, but it was one that I was ready and willing to accept.

After that first session, I was determined to come up with a treatment plan that would help me help my client. The same time that I was brainstorming new techniques that would help my client feel a difference without wearing me out, the president of our school just happened to be coming to town to teach us some new hands on methods. What fantastic timing! The new tools and methods that we learned that week were perfect to bring to my client that had problems that seemed untouchable.

My challenging client was the first that I scheduled for another assignment, wanting to try these new techniques on him before anyone else. The results were incredible. While I knew that this client’s long-developed, chronic problems would take weeks, if not months to completely work out, I knew that these new techniques were the answer to doing it.

Before we learned these new techniques, my client barely felt my work. It seemed no matter what I did I could not reach deep enough to touch on his problems. He said that I worked deeper than many therapists he had seen, but still, I had not quite been able to get to the heart of the issue. The first session I worked with the president’s new techniques he and I both knew that I was now able to reach the problem and address it. It gave me a new level of confidence, and him a new level of hope that someone would finally be able to help him with his chronic tightness, pain, and limited range of motion.

The new techniques that I learned and used were not new modalities or anything earth-shattering, but they were simply taking things that I already knew and adding to it new details, intention, angles, accuracy, and purpose. The president taught us how to utilize all sorts of different client and therapist positioning in order to reach all points of the problem with new stretches, easier targeted compression, finding new angles to get into a trigger point, and how to efficiently warm up, work on, and cool down the problem. We learned how to do all of this without compromising ourselves!

After several sessions with this client, I did notice several changes caused by these new techniques. The second session that I worked on him after starting my new methods he was much more sensitive to my pressure and could feel me getting into the problems quicker than before. This was due to the fact that one session with the new techniques had already begun to break up trigger points and scar tissue, and it began peeling away layers of the problem. These new techniques were cutting right to the quick, whereas before I was barely getting to the issues by the end of the session. His problems were now more reachable, and he could feel the effectiveness of stretching, trigger point therapy, and friction right away.

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