To the editor of THE EAGLE:
For much of the summer I suffered from back pain. After multiple visits to my primary care doctor, an osteopath, with no relief, a co-worker suggested a massage. I called a local studio and asked for the soonest available appointment.
A previous healthy woman who worked out four to five times a week at the gym, I pull myself up the three stairs by the railing for my first appointment. The massage therapist asked about my problems and medical concerns. As I recounted my summer to him he nodded and encouraged me to slowly and carefully get on the table. He very gently worked for a full hour and recommended three days of rest and ice. He asked me to return on the fourth day if I was up to it.
He was immediately surprised to see me still limping when I returned. After an abbreviated session, he recommended I go to the ER and get an MRI or at least some medication to help with sleep. After six hours at BMC telling my story to many kind people, an MRI was ordered. Dr. George Deering looked at the MRI and said "You better thank that massage therapist, he's the hero." He orchestrated my transition to Baystate Medical Center for an immediate surgery consultation. At Baystate, the ER doctor showed me the image and said, "Good thing you listened to the massage therapist." The surgeon who saw me said "You do have a choice not to have the surgery, but you'll be paralyzed, the massage therapist saved your life." At least my life as I'd known it.
My massage therapist's name is Steve Chapman. He left the studio where I first met him to open his own practice. I could never thank him enough. CHRISTINA KING