Pathology K for Massage Therapists

Kidney Disease

Definition: Many types of diseases; impaired kidney function

Causes: exposure to drugs, toxins, chemicals, poisons

Signs/Symptoms: edema, excess protein in urine, chills, fever, abdominal pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, groin pain

Indications: Massage for stress reduction

Contraindications: Work with physician

Kidney Stone

Definition: accumulation of mineral salts that may lodge in the urinary tract

Causes: high intake of foods with oxalic acid (eggs, fish), high intake of fatty foods, dehydration, high intake of calcium or calcium absorption problem.

Signs/Symptoms: pain radiating from the upper back to the lower abdomen and groin, frequent urination, blood in urine, absence of urine formation, flulike symptoms

Indications: Massage for increase in circulation and detoxification

Contraindications: Refer to appropriate health care practitioner

Knee Pain and Knee Problems

The knee is the largest joint in the body. It is made up of the lower end of the thighbone (or femur), which rotates on the upper end of the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap, which slides in a grove on the end of the femur. The knee joint also contains several muscles, which straighten the leg and bend the leg at the knee; tendons, which attach the muscles to the bones; ligaments, which help control motion by connecting bones; and cartilage, which serves to cushion the knee or help it absorb shock during motion.

Because of its size, and because it is such a complex structure, it is also one of the most frequently injured joints. Knee injuries can be caused by several factors. Most complaints of knee pain result from some form of trauma, such as a torn or ruptured ligament; a broken or fractured kneecap; torn cartilage; or an accident that causes damage to the area or strains the knee beyond its normal range of motion.  Being overweight can also contribute to knee problems by causing excess strain on ligaments and cartilage.

The main structures that can be injured are the meniscus, anterior cruciate ligament, patella tendon and the medial cruciate ligament.

Knee pain and injuries are usually a result of an imbalance in the muscles of the leg and hip.  This can lead to pronation or supination of the foot.  When the knee is out of alignment, wear and tear occur in the knee joint and surrounding ligaments and tendons.

The Iliotibial band (IT band) is a common cause of knee pain especially in runners.  The IT band acts as a shock absorber for the knee and keeps the knee straight in walking/running.


Definition: abnormal increased convexity of the thoracic spine; rounded shoulders, rounded upper back

Causes: weakness in psoas, tightness in pecs and abdominals, weakness in rhomboids, poor self image, poor posture, shortness in SCM and Scalenes

Indications: Massage to realign posture. Be sure to look at whole body and how it is affected or is affecting posture.

Contraindications: Removing kyphosis too quickly may cause more pain.


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