Who doesn’t love a good massage? Not only does a massage feel great on tired, aching muscles, but it can also help relieve stress and get rid of sore muscle knots that can make even routine movements uncomfortable. Still, as beneficial as an occasional massage may be, it can also have some undesired effects – especially if you have deep vein thrombosis or blood clots located in veins located deep inside your body. Most often, these clots form in the legs, and if you have deep vein thrombosis or DVT, having a massage could actually be dangerous to your health.
DVT: Risk Factors and Symptoms
According to the CDC, as many as 900,000 people in the U.S. have deep vein thrombosis. Lots of factors can contribute to an increased risk for DVT, including:
- Being obese
- Hormone treatments, including birth control pills
- Blood clotting disorders
- Venous diseases or disorders
- Injury or surgery involving your deep veins
- Prolonged bed rest, such as being immobile following an accident or surgery
- Sitting still for long periods of time
- Older age
- Having a family history of DVT
Clots form when your circulation is blocked or slowed, allowing components of blood to “stick” and clump together.
Even though DVT is a serious medical problem, some patients may not know they have deep vein thrombosis until a serious medical event occurs. When DVT causes noticeable symptoms, they can include:
- Leg swelling
- Pain or cramping in your leg
- Redness or other skin discoloration in your leg
- Warmth in the skin over the affected area
Symptoms almost always are restricted to one leg.
DVT and Massage: Possible Dangers
If you have aching, sore legs, it’s natural to think a massage could help relieve those symptoms. And if your soreness is caused solely by muscle fatigue or strain, you could be right. But if those symptoms are caused by a DVT, massage should be avoided. That’s because massaging the tissues of your leg could cause the clot to break loose. Once the clot is free, it can circulate through your bloodstream and eventually reach your lungs, where it can cause a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs).
Does that mean you should avoid massage? Not necessarily. But if you have symptoms or risk factors for DVT and you have pain in your leg – especially localized pain, it’s a good idea to have those symptoms evaluated by a doctor before having a massage. Even if you aren’t planning to have a massage anytime soon, it’s still a good idea to have leg pain symptoms evaluated so you can make sure you get the care you need to prevent a serious medical event like a pulmonary embolism or stroke.
Are you at risk for DVT?
The symptoms of DVT can be very easy to overlook or to ascribe to another problem, like overworked muscles. If you have symptoms like leg pain, swelling or warmth, or if you have risk factors for DVT, having an evaluation is the best way to make sure you stay healthy. As a top vein clinic in the greater Nashville area, Siragusa Vein & Laser is committed to helping patients get the state-of-the-art care they need to improve their vein health and their overall health too. To schedule your free vein screening, call Siragusa Vine & Laser at 615-777-0744 today.