In the October/November 2003 issue of Massage & Bodywork (“Injuries of the Knee: Essential Principles and their Applications,” page 16), I described how discovering and learning new information about the injury process revolutionized my understanding and changed the way I treat clients in my practice. Because of the essential principles I learned, I am able to identify the source of clients’ pain quickly and recommend the type of treatment most likely to help them recover.
“My father was in a recent auto accident and has whiplash. Can massage benefit him, and will insurance pay for it?”
Anyone who performs bodywork has encountered this situation at one time or another: the client presents with an episode of sharp, severe, low back pain. There may be a history of pain with lifting or prolonged sitting and the pain is usually greater on one side more than the other. The pain may radiate into the buttocks and sacrum and perhaps to the lateral thigh and into the lower extremity. The pain may worsen with extended sitting and with any forward flexion of the spine.
The gastrocnemius is one of the most easily visible muscles in the human body—the structure that gives the calf its characteristic bulging shape. It is this shape that inspired the name of the muscle: “belly of the leg,” from the Greek gaster (belly) and kneme (leg).