The Role of Massage Therapy in Addressing Psychosomatic Dysfunction Linked to Anxiety Attacks, Headaches, Back Pain and Acid Reflux: A Case Study

Eddy Lugo

Abstract

Objectives: To explore the effectiveness of massage therapy in treating anxiety, headaches, back pain and acid reflux and how psychosomatic mechanisms may play a role in rebound accommodation and the refacilitation of root causes of the patient’s symptoms.

Methods: A 56 year old woman was treated with 9 massage therapy treatments over the span of 5 weeks.  Each session included at least 60 minutes of neuromuscular, deep tissue and visceral massage therapy treatment.  Interviews and discussions were conducted before and after treatments.  Bournemouth questionnaires for neck and back pain were completed by the patient once per week before treatments. 

Results: The patient experienced relief from her headaches after the first treatment session and experienced the most restful sleep in 2 months that very night.  By the 4th week of treatment the headaches were completely gone.  She also experienced substantial relief from the symptoms of acid reflux after one treatment releasing a possible impingement of the splanchnic nerve from T12 to T5.

The patient reported that she experienced the nearly complete  dissipation of an unexplained rash, thought to be stress related, during the 5 week treatment period. 

Both the patient and the author experienced substantial revelations about the effects of psychosomatic and somatopsychic mechanisms involved in the lasting effects of treatment and effecting meaningful positive change in the patient’s symptoms.

Conclusion: Massage therapy is an effective tool for treating acid reflux, headaches and back pain, but more than one treatment is very often needed to reconcile the root causes of these symptoms.  Psychosomatic as well as somatopsychic mechanisms may play a role in the failure of some patients to return for necessary, subsequent treatments.  These mechanisms may also be involved in the failure of treatment plans due to the refacilitation of the root causes of the patient’s pain and dysfunction. 

Key Words

Headache,Psychosomatic,Rebound Accommodation, Acid Reflux, Splanchnic Nerve