What is Orthopedic Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is well-known for reducing pain and alleviating stress. For people with orthopedic conditions, massage therapy can be even more beneficial. Whether they’re an athlete pushing their bodies to compete in a sport or they’ve suffered from a disorder or injury, massage therapy can help people with aches in the skeletal structure. Massage focused on orthopedic pathologies has a variety of benefits. Learn more about orthopedic massage and why it’s so important!

Orthopedic massage centers around the tissues and muscles that surround the joints of the body. This type of massage therapy focuses on alleviating pain and easing out any tension in these areas. While it works on restoring balance, orthopedic massage also helps prevent further injury. People usually seek help from an orthopedic massage therapist after experiencing soft tissue pain or an injury involving the muscles or ligaments.

Athletes will commonly require this type of therapy because of pain from an overuse strain. This often happens because they repeat a motion that puts stress on their muscles or ligaments. Other reasons to see an orthopedic massage therapy could be to reduce pain from an acute injury or even pain after surgery. No matter the reason, these therapists are expected to help lengthen and soften the muscles and ligaments, allowing their clients to have better range of motion.

man stretching an athlete's leg

Benefits of Orthopedic Massage

Orthopedic massage therapy focuses on healing muscles and helping them build strength to prevent further pain or injury. There are a variety of conditions that could benefit from orthopedic massage. These include:

Orthopedic massage therapy is a natural method to recover from pain and prevent it from happening again. If a client wants to heal naturally after surgery, then this type of massage therapy could provide an alternative to taking painkillers. It could even act as a substitute for surgery if the pain is caught and taken care of early.

Why is Orthopedic Massage Therapy Important?

Orthopedic massage therapy can help a variety of people. Since athletes often strain their muscles or ligaments, this therapy can help them play in a safe way. This type of therapy is also beneficial to people with chronic joint pain and it can help reduce the amount of surgeries or medication they have to take. One example of this is are senior citizens. As people get older, their joints begin to ache more and orthopedic massage therapy could be a way to naturally alleviate some of that pain.

How is Orthopedic Massage Therapy Different?

Although orthopedic massage therapy provides relaxation, the main objective is to reduce muscle pain and strain through deep tissue massage. This type of massage often has clients making goals of where they want to be and their results are measured throughout the healing process.

man massaging woman's arm

It’s important that massage therapists in this area have an extensive knowledge of anatomy to help their patients recover. They should know about the body’s musculoskeletal system, injuries and disorders that can affect it, and how to treat the body in a safe and efficient way. Orthopedic massage therapists will need to communicate with their clients about the extent of the injury or disorder to determine the best treatment plan for each individual.

What Are Some Orthopedic Massage Techniques

After communicating with the client about their medical history and where their pain is bothering them most, the orthopedic massage therapist will use a variety of soft-tissue techniques to loosen the muscles and tendons. The techniques will depend on the client and their unique situation. Some techniques that an orthopedic massage therapist could perform are:

  • Trigger point therapy
  • Myofascial release
  • Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching
  • Nerve mobilization techniques
  • Muscle energy technique (MET)

These are just some of the treatments that orthopedic massage therapists could use, but it all depends on the client and what’s best for their injury or disorder. Since this type of massage therapy focuses on the client’s recovery, orthopedic massage therapists may also suggest stretches that clients can do on their own.

Want to Learn More About Orthopedic Massage Therapy?

If you enjoyed learning about orthopedic massage therapy and you want to know more, look into our massage therapy programs. Being an orthopedic massage therapist requires specialized skills and knowledge, but an education in massage therapy could help you on the path to getting there. Schedule a tour to learn more about us and our program!


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