Clinical massage for pain relief

Case Study

“The pain, to my astonishment, disappeared entirely.”

Esther* had been suffering from back pain for over 20 years when she first made an appointment with massage therapist Naomi Johns at The Forge Clinic in October.

The pain Esther experienced was on the right side of her thoracic spine (upper back) between the inside of her shoulder blade and her ribs. “The pain was so intense in the afternoons that it felt as though I was being stabbed with a knife,” she explains.

Initially Esther’s only relief from the pain was to lie down for an hour on a hot pad or take the painkiller, Ibuprofen.

However, over the years, she tried all kinds of treatments with the hope of easing her chronic back pain. These included physiotherapy and acupuncture on the NHS; private osteopathy; sports massage, and Alexander Technique. She also practised Pilates.

While she felt that Alexander Technique and Pilates were generally beneficial, she says: “No treatment or regime did anything to relieve the pain.”

Thoracic pain is notoriously difficult to diagnose, and this can be frustrating. Every specialist Esther consulted diagnosed her back pain problem as being caused by her career as a writer, which involves spending a great deal of time at a computer. Esther says: “One suggested that I switch using the mouse from my right to left hand. This made no difference.”

In search of some much-needed temporary relief, Esther decided to try a massage treatment at The Forge Clinic and arranged to have a consultation with Naomi Johns. After a full physical assessment and discussion of her symptoms, Naomi suggested that Esther needed a clinical massage.

Clinical massage aims to treat specific conditions such as an area of pain or an injury with the focus on achieving an outcome of therapeutic benefit.

Esther’s treatment session began with a gentle manipulation of the fascia. This is the fibrous tissue that encloses the muscles, supporting and reducing friction during everyday movement.

During the treatment session, Esther says: “Naomi discovered that the source of my pain, which seemed so specifically located, was in fact coming from my neck, where the muscles, she said, felt like rocks.”

“After that first massage, the pain, to my astonishment, disappeared entirely for one week. For the first time in 20 years I was able to work or garden or see friends or whatever I liked in the afternoons without lying down or taking painkillers.”

Esther has continued to have clinical massage treatment with Naomi at The Forge Clinic. After four sessions she is pleased with the results. While the pain still recurs occasionally, Esther says it is not as severe as it was and the intervals between what she calls “knife attacks” are getting longer.

Naomi Johns is a qualified Advanced Clinical Massage Therapist. She is trained in a range of techniques to help relieve chronic pain. She says: “In the treatment of my patients I use a variety of different procedures, depending on the specific needs of the individual. Together with massage, this may also include the use of assisted stretching, myofascial release, trigger point therapy and soft tissue release. This combination is designed to help relieve tension and pain and to get a better range of motion for the impacted muscles.

Clinical massage therapy for pain relief in Richmond

If you would like to book an appointment with Naomi Johns or one of our other Richmond Massage Therapists, please call 020 8332 6184 or email us at Alternatively, you can book online.

Please note that our treatments do not replace medical advice and treatment. If you have any concerns, please consult your GP.

*Name changed to protect patient confidentiality