I had a client in my massage therapy treatment room that told me she had recently suffered from severe head pain at the top of her head. It was so bad she put Biofreeze gel right on the top of her head hoping for relief. She didn’t seek medical support because she hadn’t injured her head and it wasn’t bleeding. Massaging the Biofreeze into her scalp worked enough for her to get some rest and that seemed to reduce the pain more. When I worked with her we found a latent trigger point (muscle knot) in her Splenius capitis muscle (a muscle in the back of the neck). I performed trigger point therapy to break up the knot and relieve her pain. I was telling this story to the members of Harbor Professionals BNI Chapter in Punta Gorda, Fl. BNI (Business Networking International) is a networking group with chapters all over the world. Kind of like the chamber of commerce only better, in my opinion. One of the members speaks out and says…” If she is putting Biofreeze on the top of her head, she needs more help then a massage!” While it really may seem ridiculous to do that. It is amazing what people will do to get out of pain. At least in her case there wasn’t any terrifying side effects just some greasy hair.
Below is the story that is the opposite to my client. This person was referenced in an online class that I completed with the University of Minnesota called Preventing Chronic Pain: A Human Systems Approach. This client ended up in the Pain clinic at the University with severe jaw and mouth pain. But first, lets’ look at this person’s dental x-rays that she presented to the clinic.
The professor explained that all those lines are root canals. If you look at the x-rays long enough you will see that every tooth but 2 were given root canals. This person was treated by her dentist for a long time and kept coming back to get pain relief. Would it surprise you that the pain did not originate in her teeth? What about her masseter muscle instead? When they performed trigger point therapy and physical therapy the pain went away.
Count the root canals multiply by $500.00 then add all the hours of misery this person went through. It is not always soft tissue issues but with science crediting 80% of pain to muscles and soft tissue. It is worth thinking about other ways to reduce pain. I have good assessment tools in my medical massage therapy tool box. Referring out to doctors when necessary is always part of the assessment considerations. It is worth hearing some of these over treatment nightmare stories to keep in mind that in many cases it is good to get more then one opinion. If the top of my head hurt, I would probably not put Biofreeze gel on my head in my hair, but I would try that first before I would do a lot of other things.
Washing my hair is not a bad thing. If trigger points seem stranger than fiction to you give me a call I can explain trigger points and trigger point pain, so it will make sense. Lorrie @ Lorraine Ross Massage Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte Florida 941-343- 8619. Certified Medical Massage Therapist. www.lorrainerossmassage.com