Degenerative disc disease (DDD) is a medical condition where one or more discs in the back lose strength. Despite the name, degenerative disc disease isn’t technically a disease but a progressive condition that worsens over time due to wear and tear, or injury.
The discs in your back are situated in between the vertebrae of the spine and act as cushions and shock absorbers. They help you stand up straight and move through everyday motions, such as bending over or twisting around. As people age, DDD can worsen and cause mild to extreme pain that can interfere with your everyday activities.
Symptoms of Degenerative Disc Disease
Some of the most common symptoms of degenerative disc disease include pain that:
- Primarily affects the lower back
- Could extend to legs and buttocks
- Stretches from neck to arms
- Can be worse from sitting
- Worsens after bending or twisting
- Comes and goes in a few days or extends to several months
People with DDD might exhibit less pain after walking or exercise. Additionally, DDD can cause weakened leg muscles and numbness in your arms or legs.
Causes of Degenerative Disc Disease
DDD is primarily caused by natural wear and tear of spinal discs. Over time, discs tend to dry out and lose their support and function, leading to pain and other symptoms. DDD can start developing in your 30s or 40s and progressively worsen as you age. However, the condition can also be caused by overuse from sports or repetitive activities, or injury. Once a disc is damaged, it can’t repair itself.
Age is the major risk factor for degenerative disc disease. The discs in between the vertebrae often shrink down and lose their cushiony support as people age. Almost every adult above the age of 60 has some form of disc degeneration. However, not all cases cause pain.
Long-term repetitive activities that place a lot of pressure on certain discs can also increase your risk. Other risk factors include car accidents, overweight or obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Diagnosis of DDD
An MRI can help detect degenerative disc disease. Your doctor may recommend this type of imaging test based on a physical exam or an investigation into your symptoms and health history. Imaging tests can reveal damaged discs and help rule out other triggers of pain. When you receive a diagnosis of DDD, it does not mean that you’re disabled or headed for a downward spiral of spinal degeneration. In fact, DDD is often a part of the natural aging process that we all go through at some point in life. And the good news is that you can mitigate the associated pain through a variety of treatment solutions, including massage therapy.
Massage Therapy Treatment for DDD
From a Massage Therapy point of view, the approach in treating DDD is to strike a balance between reducing muscle tension and enhancing traction (decompressing the targeted vertebral segments). Finding a “green zone” of treatment is critical since the spasms that occur through the neck or low back happen because the body is trying to protect that area. By applying slow, repetitive, methodical massage between soft tissue and joint mobilization (spinal decompression), massage therapy can help relieve pain and allow you to move easier and execute strengthening exercises efficiently.
Massage therapy generally helps in these three ways:
- Increasing Blood Flow and Circulation: Proper blood circulation ensures that critical nutrients flow back fully to the strained muscles and tissues. This makes the muscles/tissues stronger, helping relieve the strain coming from the degenerating discs.
- Decreasing Tension: The muscles can become tense as they struggle to compensate for the weakening discs. When these muscles are manipulated during the massage, they become relaxed, which improves the range of motion and flexibility.
- Increasing the “feel good” chemical: Massage therapy releases Endorphins, a mood-enhancing chemical that is released in the brain. This “feel good” chemical helps in reducing pain and enhancing recovery.
Without treatment or therapy, DDD can gradually progress and cause more adverse symptoms. While surgery is a treatment option, other less invasive treatments such as massage therapy have been found to be just as helpful yet less costly. A clinical study involving a 66-year-old female patient with cervical degenerative disc disease in her lateral left facet joint recorded impressive outcomes. The patient was experiencing symptoms of severe neck pain accompanied by restricted cervical range of motion. She also exhibited radicular left shoulder and arm pain. The objective of the study was to determine the effect of therapeutic massage on the patient’s symptoms and impairments of cervical DDD.
After multiple treatment sessions, the patient’s symptoms had decreased and cervical ROM had moderately improved. There was also a reduction in reported pain and an improvement in functional daily activities. This is an indication that massage therapy is a favorable treatment intervention for DDD symptoms.
Massage can help improve the symptoms associated with Degenerative Disc Disease for a prolonged duration of time as long as you continue to follow the maintenance schedule that your Massage Therapist lays out. Massage therapy typically reduces muscle strain, improves flexibility, and mitigates pain. However, you can achieve the best results by working in conjunction with other health care professionals. Keep open communication between your doctor and your massage therapist to ensure the best treatment.
Is your career in the health industry? Do you want to join a career that will enable you to promote healthy lifestyles? If this is the case, going to Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage school may be the best option for you. Clinical massage therapy is an effective form of treatment of different kinds of ailments, diseases, and injuries. As a clinical massage therapist, you will use specific techniques that will ease muscle pain, reduce stress, and contribute to the overall wellness of your clients.
5 Benefits of Attending a Seattle Clinical Massage Therapy School
- Graduate with the essential skills: Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage school involves a lot of hands-on training. The qualified instructors will train you in anatomy, musculature, and other massage therapy techniques. After graduating, you will have the needed practical experience to work in clinics, hospitals, and spas.
- You will become licensed: Most states require that massage therapists be licensed. For you to obtain your massage therapist license, you have to first complete a certification or degree program at a recognized Seattle clinical massage therapy school and obtain the necessary massage therapy experience. One of the main reasons why massage therapy has become a respected profession is due to the strict requirements that massage therapists have to meet.
- Qualified and licensed massage therapists are in high demand: The value of licensed massage therapists is now widely recognized. This has led to job growth in this industry; in fact, the BLS has predicted that it will experience a job growth of 26 percent more than the average. This means that it has a faster growth rate than the nursing profession which is at 15 percent. There are always new massage therapist jobs being created in places such as office buildings and nursing homes.
- It takes a short time to become a licensed clinical massage therapist: When most people think of starting a new career, they imagine spending two or four years in college. However, a typical training program at Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage school takes between seven months and one year to complete. Training programs are designed to equip you with skills, safety precautions, and techniques you will need to enter the employment field. Therefore, if you desire to switch careers, the short massage therapy training programs are a real plus.
- Flexible class schedules: If you’re thinking about switching careers or enhancing your career with additional training, your busy work schedule and personal life may prevent you from achieving your goals. Fortunately, Northwest Academy’s Seattle clinical massage therapy school can tailor a training program that can fit your lifestyle and schedule.
Take the Next Step to Become a Massage Therapist
Now that you know the several benefits of attending a Seattle clinical massage therapy school, enroll for a massage therapist course at Northwest Academy. You will learn anatomy and physiology, kinesiology, massage theories and practices, pathology, first aid and CPR that will prepare you for a massage therapist career. For more information contact an admissions assistant today.
Have you stopped to ask yourself why a healing method that has been used for over 4000 years is now getting popular? Perhaps it’s because people are finally respecting this old healing method. Today, medically modeled massage is one of the fastest growing fields in the massage profession. Whether you have a desire for offering relaxation massages or you are passionate about assisting your patients with injuries or specific conditions, your education and experience from Seattle Massage Schools will help you succeed in your career.
4 Tips on How to Choose the Right Seattle Massage School
There are numerous Seattle Massage Schools and finding the right one can be an overwhelming process. It’s hard to choose a massage school that can provide you with the best training. Ideally, you need a Seattle massage school that:
- Has small classes: You should only consider Seattle massage schools that have the smallest classes. Small classes will help you get the one on one attention you deserve which is essential for you to succeed in this career path.
- Flexible class schedule: Life is often busy for most people, especially if you’re juggling between work and family. Therefore, you need a Seattle massage training program that can design a massage program to fit your lifestyle and schedule.
- Experienced faculty: Ensure that the Seattle massage therapy school you choose consists of licensed massage therapists, chiropractors, kinesiologists, naturopathic physicians, and physical therapists.
- Research or evidence-based curriculum: According to the Massage Therapy Foundation, massage therapists should have the necessary skills and knowledge to assess the available research and make effective clinical decisions. This can only be possible by choosing a Seattle massage school that has developed its curriculum around both theories and practices that are evidence-based. Additionally, the institution you choose should also utilize different classroom assessments.
More and more patients and physicians are realizing that medically based massage isn’t just an alternative treatment but a necessary one. What’s more, many insurance companies are now paying for medically modeled massages that have been prescribed by doctors for different ailments such as falls, work-related injuries, sports activities, auto accident injuries, and diseases.
Consider a Second Career in Massage Therapy
Psychologists agree that loving what you do is necessary to achieve job satisfaction. Therefore, if your current job is very demanding, you should consider a career change. Among all health care careers, the U.S. News has ranked massage therapist as the fourth best in terms of job prospects, salary, and work-life balance. Follow the above tips to find the best Seattle massage therapy schools. If you have any questions, visit Northwest Academy or call a helpful academic adviser at 206-932-5950 today.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in every 4 American deaths is directly related to heart disease. Conditions like coronary heart disease, cardiomyopathy, and other cardiovascular ailments kill over 600,000 people each year.
Massage therapy offers clients with cardiovascular issues many benefits that can help them improve their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack.
What Contributes to Cardiovascular Disease?
There are three major factors that contribute to the development of heart disease.
These conditions are caused by structural abnormalities present at the time of birth.
- Viral infections
Myocarditis is damage to the heart due to certain viruses.
- Lifestyle Choices
Daily habits are currently the biggest contributor to heart disease.
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Chronic stress
How Stress and Pain Affect the Heart
When a person experiences a painful or stressful event, the brain releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These chemicals prepare the body to fight or run away from dangerous situations. The body responds by tensing muscles, shortening the breath, and increasing the heart rate.
This response, however, is only supposed to be short-term. Too much of these hormones can fatigue the body, especially the cardiovascular system. Without relief, long-term stress or chronic pain will weaken the heart muscle. Combined with less-than-healthy lifestyle choices, these factors can lead to heart disease.
How Massage Supports Cardiovascular Health
Massage therapy helps patients with cardiac issues address some of the factors that may be contributing to their condition. In conjunction with doctor-prescribed protocols, massage also helps patients manage some of the side effects of treatment.
- Induce states of physical and mental relaxation, which can help alleviate the effects of chronic stress and anxiety on the whole body.
- Loosen tight muscles and increase blood flow, which improves overall circulation and decreases the chances of stroke-causing clots.
- Alleviate chronic pain, which helps interrupt the brain’s “fight or flight” response.
- Reduce anxiety before or after surgical procedures.
Some common side effects from traditional drug therapies used to treat heart disease can be treated effectively with massage.
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle aches
While massage is generally safe and effective, there are some cautions to keep in mind when working with cardiac patients.
- Those on blood thinning drugs should avoid vigorous or deep tissue techniques, as these can cause bruising, inflammation, or tissue damage.
- Massage is not recommended for those with low blood pressure.
- Patients with a history of blood clots should avoid Swedish techniques.
- Therapists should avoid manipulating the area around pacemakers, stents, or other implanted devices.
- Patients with signs of congestive heart failure should start with short massages, and slowly work up to longer sessions, as tolerated.
Recent studies also who that consistent massage therapy can reduce blood pressure and heart rate. High blood pressure and rate are major factors in heart attack risk.
Patients who combine traditional medical treatments with massage techniques experience an increase in energy, physical relaxation, and mental focus. This can help them recover faster from surgical procedures, or avoid major cardiovascular events.
When evaluating massage school cost at a leading massage school or any college, you may calculate the costs of college through the typical “Room & Board” or “Per Credit Hour” cost advertised by colleges throughout America. However, a bulk of your massage school costs may not often be associated with the advertised price of your massage school education. Massage school, like life, can add up in many ways unseen, unexpected, and sadly, unplanned for. Knowing what the costs can be and strategizing how to limit them are vital skills any college student can and should learn.
What Are Some Examples of Hidden Costs Not Advertised in the Price of a Massage School Education?
- If you ever get in a bind financially and you have to use a credit card for your school fees, the interest payments are added costs. They could range from 3% – 30%. You could be paying for an extra semester or two alone just in interest payments.
- Some colleges and universities charge extra fees for extra services. Find out if your massage school has any added-on fees for services that you want or need. These could include health center fees, athletic center fees, student activity fees, graduation fees, academic transcript fees, etc.
- Books and media can be one of the largest added costs. There will be required texts, but you will also have recommended texts that are used to enhance your knowledge of the material.
- Technology can be as pricey as you want or need it to be. Do you need a new desktop, laptop or tablet? Do you need a more advanced phone? Do you need to purchase a software package such as Microsoft Office?
- If you drive a long distance to massage school, gas, tolls, auto insurance, general wear and tear on the automobile, and parking can all add up.
- It’s no surprise to anyone who has lived life in a dormitory that the staples of the college cuisine are ramen noodles, microwave popcorn, and pizza. If you buy one pizza per week, it can add up to $2000 in pizza costs over a four-year education.
- Outfitting a apartment or dorm room can be expensive when you add up the costs of televisions, bedding, cable or satellite fees, lamps, linens, posters, waste baskets, toiletries, hygiene, bulletin boards, and the rest.
How Can You Save Money and Still Get a Great Massage School Education?
- Go local! – One of the major ways you can save on any school is to attend a school in your area. Not only are toy helping the local economy, but you can save on full-time parking costs, dormitory costs, eating on campus, eating out daily, laundry service, mailing expenses, etc. Going local may be the best way to save the most money on college expenses.
- You may be able to rent or trade texts on campus or online, depending on the course, your region, and the site. Trading, borrowing, or buying used may be the way to save hundreds of dollars on books.
- Take advantage of student discounts such as specials on computers, software packages, and other technologies.
It has been estimated that students spend $250 to $500 per month on costs not directly associated with the advertised price of the school. Staying local can not only assist you in saving money, it can also help you stay focused. Being away from home for an extended period of time can be hard on the psyche and the emotions, as well as time consuming dealing with the everyday demands of dormitory life. Staying local can be a key factor in maintaining a focus that will make you a success.
When selecting which massage school to attend, many people do not think to ask about the program’s class sizes. Research has shown repeatedly the benefits of smaller class sizes in the primary and secondary grades. These benefits can be seen in licensing programs as well, especially in hands-on programs, such as massage therapy. Students receive many advantages from attending a massage school which recognizes the importance of smaller class sizes.
Every student learns a little bit differently than their peers. When there are fewer students in the classroom, it is only logical that the teacher will have more time to devote to providing individualized instruction to each student. This valuable one-on-one teaching time allows the massage school instructor to observe and correct each student’s technique before bad habits can be formed. This is so important in massage therapy, as poor techniques can cause injury to the patient or therapist.
Studies have shown that students in smaller classes tend to be more knowledgeable and perform better on standardized assessments than those enrolled in larger classes. This leads to increased confidence for these students, a very important and desirable attribute for anyone who is just getting started in a new professional career.
If you are interested in becoming a message therapist and would benefit from studying in a smaller class setting, contact Northwest Academy by calling 206-932-5950. Our massage school offers the smallest class sizes in the Pacific Northwest, so you always get the individualized attention you deserve.
You want to lead a deliberate life. That’s part of what led to your decision to join the massage community which includes therapists, healers, herbalists and acupuncturists. Creating a balance between work, school and extracurricular activities is one part of the exciting journey you’re undertaking when choosing massage school. Choosing massage school means taking time up front to research all certification options. This research is perhaps the most important first step down the rewarding career path.
Choosing Massage School: Picking the Right Program
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is what type of practice you would like to establish. Consider the following questions when choosing massage school:
- Is your goal to work with athletes in therapeutic massage or would you like to focus on just providing comfort and relaxation to your clients?
- Would you like to open a solo practice or are you planning on joining a team of providers?
- What technique most interests you? Swedish? Reiki? Deep Tissue?
Look at your options when it comes to choosing massage school. Does the program meet state licensing requirements? Is the school accredited? What type of degree or certification will you receive?
How many hours of training will it take? What are the corresponding costs per credit hour. Can the school assist you with financial aid if you need it?
How large are the classes and do they work with your schedule? Small class size means a higher teacher to student ratio, allowing for individual attention. Are there flexible online classes in addition to on-site training? Does the school have multiple locations, which could allow scheduling flexibility in the future.
Choosing Massage School: Community Matters
Just as important as class size is the internal and external community that supports your studies. Massage school can be intense as the best clinical curriculum includes:
- Anatomy and physiology
- A gross anatomy lab including cadaver dissection
- Massage theory and practice
- Business management
- First aid and CPR
This is a medically-based class load that could include up to a year of intensive study. Choosing massage school within a community of like-minded individuals that support your decision to learn these skills is very important. A community focused on holistic healing, organic and natural foods will likely be a positive fit for your study and practice. Having similarly focused healers within your classes will also provide you with the understanding and support you will need to excel in your studies.
When choosing massage school, take time to visit each potential school, paying particular attention to classrooms, class sizes and cleanliness. What is the neighborhood like? Ask if you can sit in and monitor a class to get a feel for the level of professionalism. Do they have alumni that you could speak with to get a sense of the real life job outlook?
Finally, will the school help with externships or job placement as part of the package? Of course the cost is a consideration for most students. But if the school has a high graduation rate and the majority of students pass the massage license testing for your state, coupled with a high rate of job placement, this could easily offset the cost factor of massage school.
Choosing Massage School: Ensuring Your Success
Massage certification will not only positively impact your life, but the also the human beings you’re seeking to help. Taking the time to make a careful decision about choosing massage school will go a long way toward ensuring your success.
Becoming one of the best massage therapists starts with taking massage therapy classes that provides hands on experiences that help you learn and grow. In fact, some of the best classes to join too receive your massage therapy education are ones that are small in size, and here we will discuss why this size is best while in massage school.
Students are able to Excel Faster
Smaller class sizes allow students to have more one on one time with their instructors and more hands on experiences to help them excel faster in their profession of choice. The more experiences you as a student can have when learning a particular trade the better you will become at the profession of choice, which will allow not just some doors of opportunity to open up for you career wise, but many. The better therapist you become the better income you will have when you are out in the world using your expertise to help provide services to others.
Helps Boosts Self-Confidence
Being in a smaller class of students in massage school also forces you to be more involved in projects and helps you develop the proper skills necessary for being the best massage therapist you can be, which in the long run helps you boost your self-confidence. Anytime your self-confidence is being boosted, the more eager you are to want to learn even more and fine-tune your skills.
Allows Students to Strengthen Weak Areas
When learning a new profession such as massage you will run into strengths and weaknesses. The wonderful thing about smaller classes is teachers tend to notice the areas you are struggling in sooner than later. This allows the teacher to help you strengthen your weakened areas through different teaching techniques with one on one time before, during or after massage school hours so you can be the best you need to be in your profession of choice once you graduate from massage school.
Fewer Distractions in the Classroom
Sometimes with larger class sizes, distractions can happen that take away from your learning experiences going on within the classroom. Joining smaller classes allows you to stay focused and learn all that you possible learn from the information being taught in massage school. After all, you are there in massage school to receive the best education possible so you can go out into the world and put your newly developed skills and education to use helping and serving others in need of your expertise.
Bottom Line for Massage School
As you can see the benefits of receiving an education in a smaller classroom of students is outstanding. You want to leave massage school feeling confident and well educated in all areas necessary to be the best massage therapist you can be for healing people through physical touch, which is one of the best alternative medicines out there.
Four weeks till the doors open and this massage school becomes a home for many aspiring massage therapist.
Construction is well underway at our newest Tacoma massage school location, an addition to the Northwest Academy family. As you can see below, the lobby demo is complete and new plumbing almost done. We are headed toward drywall repair and painting through the week, with a goal of flooring next week.
As you might notice, I included a picture of the traditional massage therapist work boot. This footwear is a staple to massage therapist construction workers around the world. 🙂
Well, I suppose I should get back to work as this new school build out won’t do itself. I will update you all again soon as I progress through the project.
Learn more information about our massage school campus locations!