Massage after stroke

Question:Is it okay to massage shortly after a stroke? (1 week). Is there a risk of another stroke happening?

Answer: Massage can be beneficial to stroke patients, but some recommendations I have regarding massage are as follow:
1) Make sure the neurologist and other M.D.s involved with the stroke patient's care give an okay for the patient to receive massage
2) Make sure the massage therapist has medical massage training or is experienced in working with individuals who have experienced stroke
3) Make sure an accurate history regarding medical conditions is given to the massage therapist including medications

Massage itself does not increase a person's risk for stroke, but there are precautions that need to be addressed with certain individuals. If blood clots exist, there is a small chance they could be dislodged through massage. Individuals on blood thinner bruise more easily so deep tissue massage may be avoided. Care should be taken around the neck area in the region of the carotid artery, but this shouldn't be an issue with an experienced massage therapist.

Is Massage Important for Walking After a Stroke

By Anonymous

Question:My best friend had a stroke and can't walk. It affected his left side. He was walking a bit with a walker assisted about 2 months ago but now he says he can't walk and that his leg is stiff and hurts. He says he needs aggressive massage therapy and he will walk. I don't see how that can make him walk again. I think he needs aggressive exercise therapy and that will help more. Am I wrong about that or not? What will benefit him more?


Answer: Physical therapy involves many techniques to help individuals recover their ability to walk including massage and exercise to name a few. I would say that all aspects of therapy are important. If your friend has high tone in his leg, he may need help with reducing the tone as well as stretching to help him walk again. It's also important to strengthen muscles, but if he has high tone, this will interfere with trying to do strengthening exercises. He may feel that he needs massage to help reduce the tone.

A physical therapist is the professional to consult for learning to walk after a stroke so hopefully that is the professional your friend has consulted. Massage therapy can be a nice adjunct to physical therapy since massage therapists may be helpful in relaxing tight muscles and reducing spasms. I must stress, however, that a stroke patient should have approval from a physician to receive massage and that one should choose a massage therapist that has medical knowledge and past experience in working with stroke patients.

*The material contained on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Massage for Stroke Victims

Question:My mother had an ischemic stoke 5 months ago and I want to buy her a pillow that massages the head, back, and shoulders. Do you think there is any danger in doing so?

Answer: Massage can be quite enjoyable to stroke patients, and it is most likely fine, but I would ask your mother's neurologist just to be sure. Some people have had strokes due to tears in the neck arteries from chiropractic manipulations of the neck or "beauty parlor syndrome" where the neck is bent backward in the sink and turned side to side. I doubt that a massage pillow would put this type of stress on the neck, but I would examine the neck posture when applied and make sure the neck is not in a strained position or overly extended. You also want to avoid massage in the area of the carotid artery particularly if she has carotid artery plaque, stenosis or other carotid artery disease.

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What kind of massage is appropriate?

Question: What kind of massage for a recent L CVA with R hemiplegia/ synergistic pattern to increase strength, movement ,coordination in scapular area?

Answer: Before initiating massage with a stroke patient, make sure that it is cleared by their MD. You have to be aware of a patient's medical status and look out for problems such as high blood pressure, recent blood clots or history of blood clots, and edema/fluid problems such as congestive heart failure to name a few. As far as the best type of massage, I would consult a massage therapist that has experience in working with stroke patients. There are many different forms of massage, and one individual may respond better to one type of stroke than the other. Some individuals may enjoy very light strokes and others deeper pressure. It also depends on the size of the individual and skin integrity. If released by the MD to receive a massage, then you can try various strokes and see what the patient enjoys and responds to best. Here are a couple of articles about massage and stroke patients:

http://www.massagetherapy.com/articles/index.php/article_id/300/Stroke-Rehab-Part-3-

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12035687

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