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Jun 18, 2021

A client had brain surgery and now has severe and painful spasms in their back. Is this a complication of surgery? Is this a precursor to total paralysis? Will massage make it worse?

Listen for a brisk review of nervous system function and what happens when parts of the nervous system are injured. Upper or lower motor neurons—it makes a difference!




Anatomy Trains:      


Books of Discovery: 


Host Bio:            

Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and an NCBTMB-approved continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, now in its seventh edition, which is used in massage schools worldwide. Werner is also a long-time Massage & Bodywork columnist, most notably of the Pathology Perspectives column. Werner is also ABMP’s partner on Pocket Pathology, a web-based app and quick reference program that puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips. Werner’s books are available at And more information about her is available at            


Recent Article by Ruth:           

Critical Thinking, Massage & Bodywork magazine, May/June 2021, page 54,  


Check out ABMP’s Pocket Pathology:           




Bell, Kathleen and Craig DiTommaso. “Spasticity and Traumatic Brain Injury.Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 97 (2016): 179–180. 


National Brain Tumor Society. “After Brain Tumor Treatment: Consequences of Treatment.” Accessed June 4, 2021. 


Stanford Medicine. “Spasticity Versus Rigidity (25 Skills Symposium, 2015).” April 5, 2016. 


Watanabe, Laurie. “Spasticity & Seating.” February 1, 2018. 


Image of Spinal Fiber Tracts:

Cross section of spinal cord: note that the anterior horns are wider than the posterior horns. This is because the exiting motor neurons have their dendrites and cell bodies within the anterior horns.

Descending motor tracts are in purple. Ascending sensory tracts are in green.


Anatomy Trains is a global leader in online anatomy education and also provides in-classroom certification programs for structural integration in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and China, as well as fresh-tissue cadaver dissection labs and weekend courses. The work of Anatomy Trains originated with founder Tom Myers, who mapped the human body into 13 myofascial meridians in his original book, currently in its fourth edition and translated into 12 languages. The principles of Anatomy Trains are used by osteopaths, physical therapists, bodyworkers, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and other body-minded manual therapists and movement professionals. Anatomy Trains inspires these practitioners to work with holistic anatomy in treating system-wide patterns to provide improved client outcomes in terms of structure and function.