Pathology N for Massage Therapists


Definition: a mass of new abnormal tissue; usually a malignant tumor

Causes: see cancer

Signs/Symptoms: lump or thickening of tissue

Indications: Massage for stress reduction and elimination of toxins

Contraindications: Avoid direct pressure on area or use caution with clients and physicians ok. Refer to appropriate health care practitioner for treatment.


Definition: inflammation of the kidney

Causes: damage from exposure to chemicals, poisons, toxins, bacterial or viral infection, chronic diseases such as diabetes or lupus

Signs/Symptoms: fever, chills, back pain, abdominal pain, fluid retention

Indications: Massage to remove toxins, increase circulation

Contraindications: Watch for drug interactions; Refer to appropriate health care practitioner.


Definition: nerve pain along the path of a peripheral sensory nerve without inflammation

Causes: trauma, injury, stress, nerve impingement or pressure on a nerve due to poor circulation, muscle spasm, arthritis, or poorly healed fracture

Signs/Symptoms: shooting and throbbing pain, tingling, numbness, paresthesia, no signs of inflammation, cold extremities due to reduction in circulation, peripheral nerve impingement, radiating pain following dermatomes, muscle spasms, weakness

Common types: Trigeminal neuralgia, thoracic outlet syndrome, intercostal neuralgia, Bell’s Palsy
Indications: Massage to relieve pain and stress; traction to relieve pressure on nerve; realignment as needed throughout body.

Contraindications: Refer for diagnostic procedures if persistent and unrelievable


Definition: inflammation of a nerve

Interstitial Neuritis: inflammation of the connective tissue of the nerve trunk characterized by dull, aching pain that follows the path of the nerve

Parenchymatous neuritis: inflammation of the internal nerve structure the axon and myelin
Causes: trauma, injury, stress, infection

Signs/Symptoms: pain, referred pain, redness along nerve, burning pain, paresthesia and pain when stretched, paralysis possible in parenchymatous, muscle spasm

Indications: Massage for stress reduction and pain relief; ice/heat as per stage of symptoms. Reduce inflammation. Relieve impingement.

Common types: Brachial plexus, carpal tunnel syndrome, sciatica, trigeminal neuritis, ulnar neuritis
Contraindications: Refer for diagnostic procedures if persistent and unrelievable; Acute neuritis is contraindicated for massage, no stretching.


Definition: night blindness

Causes: stress, eyestrain, nutritional deficiencies

Signs/Symptoms: unable to see well in faint light or darkness

Indications: Massage for stress reduction; Eye exercises

Contraindications: Refer to Bates Vision specialist


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