Massage from quacks could result in paralysis - Health experts warn
Getting a massage for back pain without assessment from a professional could result in complications such as paralysis, Dr Abena Tannor has cautioned.Subscribe
Dr Tannor who is a Family Physician and Sports and Rehabilitation Physician based in Kumasi said in her 14 years practice, she had managed two patients who had become paralysed after getting massages for back pain and the situation could not be reversed but only managed.
“Even after referrals to other specialists, not much could be done because the harm had already been done,” she added.
In an interview last Wednesday on the current increase in the number of masseurs, some of them itinerant, Dr Tannor said there was the need to regulate such activities to prevent harm from being done to those who unknowingly employed the services of quacks.
“It becomes a potential danger to massage if the spine/bones at the back is the problem. You can make it worse by breaking them or you can be paralysed”, she explained.
Dr Tannor said some types of massage irritated nerves and worsened pain, adding that massages could have potential side effects such as skin irritation, bruising or increased muscle pain.
“People with certain medical conditions such as blood clots or nerve damage may also be at the risk of certain complications from massages,” she explained.
She said while massages may be helpful for some people with back pain, they were not a one-size-fits-all solution making it important to consult a rehabilitation doctor to determine the best approach for managing back pain which may include a combination of therapy, medication and lifestyle changes.
In another development, an Acupressure therapist of Kaiser Reha at Adjiringanor in Accra, Mr Charles Ntsisem, said even though massages could be helpful and provide temporary relief, it was very important to find out the cause of the pain and even check the vitals of a person who had visited for a massage or acupressure before proceeding.
He said acupressure was a type of massage therapy in which manual pressure was applied to specific points on the body. It uses fingertip pressure and is based on the concept of life energy which flows through "meridians" in the body.
Mr Charles Ntisem, an Acupressure therapist of Kaiser Reha Physiotherapy and Massage Centre working on a client
Mr Ntsisem who has been practicing for six years said acupressure helped circulation, revitalised and nourished organs.
He showed this reporter certain points on her wrist which he said worked on the heart when massaged and other points which treated back pain when massaged.
He also pointed at a spot under the belly button and the wrist which when massaged could relieve back pain.
A session of such massage costs about GH¢ 200 and patients could also be trained in simple ways to relieve some discomforts by themselves.
Massages have long been touted as an effective treatment for various types of pain including back pain with some people even asking others to walk over their back as a form of massage to relieve pain.