You will learn specific assessment tools to determine if massage is appropriate for a certain condition, or if you need to collaborate with another healthcare professional to ensure proper and effective client care. This information is obtained through an assessment protocol known as HOPRS (History, Observation, Palpation, Range of motion tests, and Special [orthopedic] tests), a methodical and organized way to gather information about the client’s condition.
For example, a client comes in with low-back pain. It is important to determine if their low-back pain is due to a muscular problem, a nerve problem, or a joint problem. Using the HOPRS protocol of assessment and orthopedic testing, a massage therapist can assess for the likely origin of pain and dysfunction in the body. Massage therapists work with muscle and other soft tissue; when our testing indicates the possibility of a joint or nerve problem, we must refer the client to a qualified medical professional for diagnosis, and then collaborate with that medical professional for effective client care.