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When you work as a massage therapist, you'll find that a lot of the clients who come through the door of your clinic complain or back or neck pain, headaches, and stress. You'll be so acquainted with treating such clients that you'll know exactly how to proceed, but you'll sometimes find yourself facing a client with a health issue that is a little less common. Gout is an inflammatory condition that only affects about four percent of people, and this means that while you might not get gout sufferers making appointments with you frequently, you will likely encounter someone with gout at some point. Here are some tips for effectively treating clients with gout.
Avoid Heavy Pressure
Putting direct pressure onto an area that is inflamed because of the gout — generally, this will be the person's big toe — can cause the person to experience pain. You'll usually want to apply very little pressure to the area, if any, and instead focus on treating the surrounding tissues. Always strive to maintain regular communication with your client, and start with lighter pressure and work up to heavier pressure. That way, your client can indicate whether your touch is appropriate or whether it's causing some discomfort.
Check Before Working On New Areas
Although gout is most common in the big toe joints of the sufferer, he or she may also have it in other joints throughout the body. If the client complains of gout pain in the toe, don't automatically assume that it's not present elsewhere. The last thing you want to do is to begin to vigorously massage an ankle, knee, or wrist, only for the client to quickly indicate that he or she has gout symptoms in these areas, too. Always talk extensively about the client's symptoms and communicate before you treat new areas.
Offer Lifestyle Suggestions
Many massage therapists take a holistic approach to treating their clients. This means that in addition to hands-on therapy, you may also want to talk about a client's ailment and give some advice for him or her to fellow. While you need to be clear that your feedback shouldn't take the place of that of a physician, you may want to talk about making dietary adjustments, icing the affected area, and perhaps even reducing stress — massage can directly help with the latter — if you've taken some additional courses that make you comfortable with discussing these topics.
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