Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious disease and much more frequent than one can imagine (estimated incidence around 1.6 – 1.8 per thousand).Also known as ” economy class syndrome ” or “traveler’s thrombosis”, it is typical of aging but does not spare young women and children; the risks are also greater for those who remain motionless or simply sit for a long time, perhaps behind a desk, at the theater, on a train, in a car or on a plane. How can we treat this issue? Is deep tissue massage a good solution or just makes it worse?
What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis
Physiologically speaking, deep vein thrombosis(DVT) is the consequence of an anomalous coagulation process of the blood that flows inside a vein, often located in the legs, but which can also be found in other parts of the body. In these locations, a blood clot ( thrombus ) forms inside the vessel which slows down, up to in some cases blocks, the blood circulation, with consequent suffering of the anatomical structures upstream of the obstruction.
As we said, deep vein thrombosis(DVT) is a problem that mainly affects people who remain in a sitting position for a long time, as happens during an intercontinental flight. The sloping position of the legs, in fact, can give symptoms of overload of the deep venous circulation, as the return of blood to the heart is hindered by the force of gravity and the propulsive action of the muscles, which occurs when you walk. Very often the mistake is made of traveling with pants or socks that are too tight and this certainly does not help the circulation, because it further slows down the return of blood from the veins to the heart. By plane, there is also the problem of dehydration induced by the particular climate that is created inside. We, therefore, speak of “economy class syndrome” because business travelers have more space to relax and take a comfortable position and less subject to this problem.
The Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis
The symptoms nonspecific linked to a suffering of the venous circulation in the lower limbs are very common and are limited mostly to the emergence of a sense of heaviness and swelling in the legs. If their onset is sporadic, they should not cause excessive concern, especially if we have given the legs a good reason to swell (air flight and all the other conditions seen above). However, all those who in the past have already had problems with the venous circulation of the legs, overweight or obese people , smokers, women who are taking the birth control pill should not make the mistake of underestimating these symptoms. and especially people with familiarity with the disease (those individuals with relatives who have already suffered from the same problem).
From the symptomatic point of view, deep vein thrombosis is a subtle disease, in the sense that the symptoms can be different and, in some ways, opposite. The leg, for example, can be very swollen or not at all swollen, be hot or not at all, you may feel a pain inside it or not. It must be said, in fact, that the classic symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (edema, redness, tension and pain) occur only when the blood occlusion is extensive and affects very important veins located in depth.
In any case, in the presence of one or more risk factors, it is fundamental to contact your doctor, that is, when the phase is still acute. An early intervention makes it possible to avoid potentially serious consequences, such as pulmonary embolism, which generally do not develop immediately but only after a few days.
What are the risk factors
Particular attention should be paid to people with past experiences of thrombosis, in whom the risk of encountering this problem again is higher, because it means that a certain basic predisposition is present.
Deep vein thrombosis can in fact be favored by small genetic mutations in the coagulation factors, which can be transmitted by inheritance and predispose the subject to the development of thrombosis and embolism even at a young age (under 45 – 50 years).
Hormone-based therapies, such as “oral replacement” treatments undertaken in menopause , slightly increase the risk of developing deep thrombosis. However, this is a moderate increase, but one that must still be taken into consideration by particularly predisposed people. However, there is no important correlation between arterial hypertension and deep vein thrombosis. On the other hand, those with high blood pressure run a greater risk of blood clots forming and breaking in the arteries, with different and in some respects more fearful consequences.
Deep tissue massage while having deep vein thrombosis
If you suffer from aching or sore legs, it’s possible to think a massage could help relieve those symptoms. In case that your soreness is result of a solely by muscle fatigue or strain, you could be right and message can release tension. However, if those symptoms are caused by deep vein thrombosis , massage should be avoided. That’s because getting deep tissue massage on the tissues of your leg could cause the clot to break loose. When the clot is free, it can circulate through your bloodstream and possibly it might reach your lungs. If this happen in your lungs, a fatal pulmonary embolism can be expected afterwards. (It’s a blood clot in the lungs).
Should you avoid deep tissue massage? It is not necessarily threatening for you. But check out the symptoms and risk factors for deep vein thrombosis we mentioned earlier. Simply, check if you feel localized pain in your leg, in this case we suggest you to see your doctor to make some evaluations on your symptoms before having a deep tissue massage. Even if you’re not going to have a deep tissue massage anytime soon, still it’s better to see your doctor. If you had this issue in your legs you can take care of them and prevent your legs from getting other serious problems like a pulmonary embolism or stroke.