Pathology T for Massage Therapists


17Definition: inflammation of a tendon or musculotendinous junction

Causes: overuse, repetitive stress, improper healing, or tearing from sustained overloading of muscle

Signs/Symptoms: pain, persistent pain worse at night, pain referral, pain worse after use, muscle weakness,  inflammation, limited ROM; usually occurs where the tendon attaches to the bone or where the muscle attaches to the tendon or in the tendon.

Common areas: rotator cuff tendonitis, infraspinatus tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, shin splints

Indications: Massage as per your level of training.  Trigger point treatments, relieve inflammation, re-educate movement. Slow to heal because of lack of vascularity.

Contraindications: Cortisone shots may be administered; Use caution

Types of Tendon Injuries by Whitney Lowe

When Is It Tendinitis? By Whitney Lowe, LMT, NCTMB

Achilles Tendinosis by Whitney Lowe

Golfer’s Elbow  By Ben Benjamin, Ph

Tennis Elbow   By Ben Benjamin, PhD

Temporal Mandibular Joint Syndrome


Definition: inflammation of the tendon sheath – the gliding surface of the tendon and surrounding sheath.

Causes: overuse, repetitive motion, repetitive strain, improper posture, misalignment

Signs/Symptoms: pain, inflammation, stiffness

Indications: Massage as per your level of training;  Reduce inflammation, relieve trigger points, realign problem area

Contraindications: None; Check for medications – steroids may be used in treatment.

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Definition: compression of fifth cranial nerve; may cause degeneration of nerve

Causes: vertebral misalignment, cranial misalignment, TMJ

Signs/Symptoms: pain in face area

Indications: Massage for pain reduction, realign problem areas

Contraindications: None. Refer to appropriate health care provider.

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

Definition: compression of brachial nerve plexus; C8-T1; may also be referred to as Brachial Plexus syndrome which may involve C5-C8.

Causes:  tightness in pectoral muscles, intercostals, muscles around clavicle, upper back, neck; misalignment in one or all or these areas; disc protrusion or herniation, fibromyalgia, degenerative changes in the spine causing nerve impingement, inter-scalene triangle impingement, fibrositis of the cervical and shoulder area,

Signs/Symptoms: pain in arm, shoulder, hand, forearm; cold hands and fingers due to compression of axillary artery

Indications: Massage; realignment and release compression

Contraindications: none; Refer to appropriate health care practitioner; Have clear diagnosis to rule out neuritis.

see also massage treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome


Definition: inflammation of a vein

Causes: thrombus(blood clot) from trauma, environmental allergies, lack of exercise and movement, standing for long periods of time, aging, poor circulation, abnormal clotting

Signs/Symptoms: swelling, pain, discoloration of the skin (bluish)

Indications: massage above area

Contraindications: Do not work directly on the area involved


Definition: wry neck, asymmetry in the strength or function of the Sternocleidomastoid muscle causing rotation of the head to one side with a tilt in another direction (lateral, forward or backwards)

Causes: bad sleeping position, stress, TMJ, vertebral misalignment, spasm in SCM, emotional trauma,

Signs/Symptoms: pain, lack of rotation of the neck

Indications: massage to relieve muscle contraction, realign problem areas, lengthen SCM

Contraindications: none; Refer to appropriate health care practitioner.


Definition: infectious disease of the lungs

Causes: bacterial

Signs/Symptoms: flulike symptoms, cough, chest pain, fever, night sweats, shortness of breath


Contraindications: Refer to Physician; Highly contagious


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