Resolution of Postsurgical Diplopia, Paresthesia, and Weakness Following Inpatient Massage Therapy: A Case Report

Jennifer Hauschulz, Stephanie Clark, Brent Bauer, Tony Chon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Massage therapy is utilized in hospitals for patients experiencing pain, anxiety, sleeplessness, among other symptoms. Postsurgical pain is one of the most common reasons massage therapy is ordered. We present a case of a 45-year-old woman who underwent ventral hernia repair. Postoperative day 2, she began to experience multiple symptoms, including double-vision, left-sided facial numbness, tremors, pain, and weakness in her left fingers, arm, and leg. A static magnetic resonance image of the brain and cervical spine were obtained, which revealed disc protrusions at C3/C4, C5/C6, C6/C7, and mild deformity of the spinal cord. The patient’s pain was difficult to control and she was unable to be weaned from intravenous pain medication. Massage therapy was ordered on postoperative days 6 and 7. During both massage sessions, as upper neck muscle tension was reduced, the therapist and patient observed several audible “pops” of the cervical spine with immediate relief of symptoms. In this particular case, massage therapy, though requested to address pain, had a secondary benefit in relieving her diplopia, left-sided facial numbness, tremors, and weakness. Although the mechanism of action is not clear, this case highlights the significant secondary beneficial effects that often occur with massage therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGlobal Advances In Health and Medicine
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • integrative medicine
  • massage therapy
  • pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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