What is the Benefit of a Diagnostic Based Pain Assessment for treating Chronic Pain with Medical Massage?
Medical Massage Therapy, when combined with Diagnostic Testing, as part of a Comprehensive Pain Assessment, can be a highly effective tool for Chronic Pain Management.

Can Medical Massage treat Chronic Pain effectively without a Diagnostic Based Pain Assessment?
Without a Diagnostic Testing based Pain Assessment, the Massage Therapist can only guess and make assumptions at what the appropriate Chronic Pain Treatment Plan for a patient should be.

Is the Pain Assessment the same thing as a Diagnosis?
Although it uses Diagnostic Testing, a Pain Assessment is not the same thing as a Diagnosis. A diagnosis is made by a Doctor and is used to specifically identify an illness, disease, or medical condition. A Diagnostic Pain Assessment is a compilation of information that is gathered and evaluated in order to derive an appropriate plan of treatment.

What kind of Information is used in the Pain Assessment?
The assessment information that is used to develop a treatment plan includes the patient’s Pain Scale, their Medical History, an objective observation of symptoms, biomechanical (analysis of posture, and body locomotion) diagnostic testing, and palpation (analyzing soft tissue by feel).

Is the same Assessment used for all parts of the Body?
The same type of assessment is not used for all parts of the human body. A Lower Back Pain Assessment is not the same as a Shoulder Pain Assessment or a Elbow Pain Assessment, but a Fibromyalgia Pain Assessment can consist of all of the above.

What is a Pain Scale?
The Pain Scale is defined as the amount of pain that a person is experiencing in a specific part of the person’s body on a scale of 0 to 10, where zero is no pain, and 10 is un bearable pain. 1-4= functional, 5-7=extreme discomfort and difficulty with functionality, 8-9=pain so great that the person is bed-ridden. As part of the Assessment, the patient is given pictures of the human body and is asked to list the specific pain levels on the pictures that give the representation of the patient’s pain.

Why is Medical History so important?
It is very important for the patient to reveal their Medical History because it helps the health practitioner to better understand the historical factors effecting a person’s pain, such as the medications that the person is taking, the time of day when the pain is at its worst, what forms of treatment has helped the patient, and what forms of treatment have not helped the patient.

How does Observation help the Assessment?
Observation of a patient’s symptoms may involve a Postural Analysis, to determine if a patient has good posture or bad posture as a possible source of their pain and will help to improve posture where improvement can be made. An externally rotated foot can indicate a leg length difference that could have a factor on Lower Back Pain. Forward Shoulder rotation can reveal posterior Shoulder Pain as well as Thoracic Back Pain. A Gait Analysis can reveal a limp or favoritism of a limb.

What is Biomechanical Testing?
Biomechanical Testing involves the analysis of body motion and movement within identifiable specific planes of that motion and movement. This could involve AROM-Active Range of Motion, PROM-Passive range of Motion, Resistive and other special tests that could possibly help to uncover the source of a person’s pain.

What is Palpation and what does it involve?
Palpation is the analysis of soft tissue by feel and is an important part of the information gathering process. Texture, temperature, and tone are important factors that let the practitioner know the health of the soft tissues that are involved with a person’s chronic pain. The Joint Mobility Test is a critically important diagnostic Palpation test that is used to determine whether or not the spinal column is a chronic pain syndrome contributor.

A Diagnostic Based Pain Assessment enables a systematic approach to Chronic Pain Management.
An organized Diagnostic based Pain Assessment is the first critical and mandatory step in systematically developing a divide and conquer treatment strategy for the reduction and possible elimination of chronic pain. It is one of the factors that determines the ability and skill of clinical and medical massage therapists to provide patients with new hope, strategies and tactics in the battle against chronic pain.

Author's Bio: 

Stephen (Steve) Akamine has extensive experience as a specialist in the treatment of Acute and Chronic Myofascial Pain. Steve is one the very few Medical Massage Therapists in Honolulu and the State of Hawaii that conducts a Diagnostic Pain Assessment for Medical Massage Therapy. Steve strives to achieve minimum pain with maximum functionality beyond symptomatic pain relief for each and every one of his clients. “The goal of Medical Massage Therapy at Honolulu-Chronic-Pain-Management.com is to resolve Acute and Chronic soft tissue conditions that are related to musculoskeletal pain, lack of range of motion, ischemia (restriction in blood supply), biomechanical (mechanics of movement of living beings) dysfunction, nerve compression or entrapment, or injury or rehabilitation from surgery or some form of pathology (study and diagnosis of disease)”. You can find free tips and information about soft tissue treatment for Chronic Pain at his Chronic Pain Management Resource Center.