Posts Tagged ‘Pain Relief’

 

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

Do you suffer from chronic neck and upper shoulder pain on a regular basis and can’t figure out why? Perhaps you are one of the 66-90% of the population that suffers from a very common condition know as Forward Head Posture (FHP).42lbhead_free

FHP can be recognized when, from a profile or side view, a person’s ear is positioned in front of the shoulder rather than directly over it – in proper posture. This condition caused by poor posture causes the head to lean forward and for every inch that the head falls forward the head gains 10lbs worth of weight on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. The addition strain causes these muscles to work much harder to hold the head from flopping forward. When this type of stress is put on muscles for a long period of time, the body reacts by laying down scar tissue in the muscle fibers for stability. The strain on the muscles and the addition of scar tissue limits flexibility and causes additional pressure on the nerves in the neck which increases pain and fatigue. If left untreated and FHP becomes severe enough, it will not only cause long duration tension headaches, but can also increase blood pressure, cause disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, and even distortions in the eyes and ears that could lead to mental disorders.

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

There is hope in correcting FHP: starting by identifying the incorrect posture through postural analysis, the following step would be to stretch out the muscles the have become tightened then strengthen the weak muscles so that you are able to hold your head up in proper posture. It’s always good to seek the advice of a professional, such as a chiropractor, to ensure there aren’t any major skeletal problems as well as a massage therapist to help ease the tension in the muscles. The same professionals can show you the proper stretches and exercises to prevent the havoc of FHP!

 

“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”

David Hume

I know that I write and post a lot about the benefits of massage and how it is great for general health and well-being. It’s easy to assume that when reading this it’s biased and swayed because it’s my business and I am a massage therapist, but the real truth is that I never believed that massage was anything more than just a luxury. That statement right there is blasphemous to my fellow therapists I’m sure, but I have to be honest so that you understand that Massage Therapy has truly changed my life!

Like many of people who only understand massage from what they see in the media, I really thought that massage was all about relaxing with candlelight, incense, and ambient music. It wasn’t until I applied for the Physical Therapist’s Assistant program at my local community college and was denied due to a lack of volunteer hours, that I was introduced to the clinical side of massage. I decided it would be worth my while to at least give it a shot, so I applied and was required to take several medical pre requisites. Pre requisites for a massage class? I knew at this point massage therapy had to be more serious than what I interpreted.

After getting accepted into the program, I was introduced to the program director and future mentor Steve Jurch. From day one Steve took a very scientific and clinical approach to how massage, or soft tissue treatment, can really make a difference in overall health and wellness. Throughout the program, which was almost 2 years long total, I learned more about biomechnical movement, muscular anatomy, and kinesiology than I had ever thought I would. I was also able to see and experience first hand how different the therapeutic approach really was and how immediately the results could be. It changed the way I felt, moved, and even perceived my environment.

My belief in massage therapy became greater and greater over the years, but in the early stages of my career I was still reluctant and somewhat skeptical. I had to ask many questions and do significant continuing education before I started seeing my treatments really effect people in a positive way. There have been many clients that I have worked with since then that have avoided surgery, regained range of motion, reduced painful and stressful symptoms, and so much more! Massage therapy has been around for many years and has been used to treat people for all kinds of aches, pains, disorders, and illness with great results. How can I not believe in this after seeing first hand many different times!?

It may have taken me some time to convert my skepticism, but I have been a massage therapist for over 10 years and let me tell you…if it can change my mind, I’m sure that it can change yours as well!

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

Voltaire

This morning on a commercial break while watching the news I watched 3 back to back ads for over-the-counter pain medications. First off, I was baffled as to why they would play 3 different ads for the same product and secondly I was taken away by the fact that there are people out there take take OTC pain meds multiple times on a daily basis!

As soon as I could, I had to get to a computer and do some research and what I found was quite mind-blowing. Pain killers are the number one purchased OTC drug and many that are taking these pain killers are misusing them. In a study done by WebMD, it showed that ” nearly half of the 175 million adults who take over-the-counter pain relievers admit to exceeding the recommended dose, and few are aware of the potential risks.” The same research informs that “16,500 people die and 103,000 are hospitalized each year because of NSAID-related problems.”

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

Just like almost all medications that are ingested in pill form, they have to be processed by the liver and after time of continual use of the drugs, the liver can start having problems of it’s own. In addition, after repetitive use of drugs, the body adapts to the medication and more is require to achieve the same result. You can easily see how this is very unsafe and can potentially be fatal.

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Now I’m not knocking pain medication all together, but there should be no real reason that you have to take it on a daily basis. After all, the medication only treats the symptoms not the cause. To really be effective you need to try and figure out the cause and then treat appropriately. In my experience as a massage therapist, I have found that many people are taking pain medications due to low back pain and severe headaches. In many of these cases these conditions are accompanied by poor posture. Without getting to in depth (I will save that for another BLOG), when the body starts loosing it’s correct posture, structures start to shift. Muscles on one side of the body become tight and on the other side of the body become overstretched. This in itself can cause significant and noticeable pain, but add to that when the muscular imbalance occurs that joints that were meant to move smoothly become compressed and dysfunctional. Blood vessels and nerves can become compressed if the postural alignment is to far from the norm.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

You will read many articles that dispute the fact that there is no scientific research or proof that pain has anything to do with improper posture, but I say find out for yourself. Massage Therapy has been proven to relieve pain in the muscle fibers as well as alleviate headaches and help to restore posture, all with no real negative side effects. Ask any person who has received a massage if they felt better afterwards and if their pain was reduced and that should be proof enough that therapeutic massage is a better option than consistently over using OTC pain killers. It’s natural, it has been used for thousands of years, and it gets results!

“Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.”
― Aldous HuxleyThe Art of Seeing

 

As you have read before in past BLOGS,  low back pain is among one of the most frequent injuries suffered by most in the world. One of the main reasons for low back pain is because of Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction. The SI Joint can be anatomically defined as the articulation where the Ilium of the Hip bones meet the Sacrum. The joint itself is protected and surrounded by many ligaments and muscles. Now why is this information so important to you?SIJOINT

The SI Joint is responsible in acting like a shock absorber to disperse energy from the upper body to the lower body and vice-versa. Each SI Joint is supposed to move independently as you bend, twist, squat, and take steps. It’s easy to understand that if the SI Joints aren’t moving properly
it would cause pain and difficulty in movement in our body just the same as if the shock absorbers on a car were to malfunction, it would be a pretty rough ride.

Sudden trauma such as falls, sports injuries, and car accidents can top the list of reasons for SI Joint dysfunctions, but poor posture can also contribute as well. Whether it is an accident or just poor posture, the body will respond by tightening the muscles that surround the joints as well
as laying down scar tissue in the ligaments and tendons. This is the body’s response to protect it from additional injury, but if proper recovery and treatment isn’t followed, the scar tissue and tight muscles remain, causing limited motion in the joints which eventually leads to more problems.

The best way to keep fluid motion in the joints and avoid future
problems is to stay loose and retain great posture. Seek help and advice from professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists. They will be able to provide you additional information, assessments, treatments, and advice to optimize your SI Joint health and keeping you moving!

“Once you start replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, you will start having positive results”

-Willie Nelson

Happy New Year 2014 DTMIt’s that time of year again, in fact it’s the beginning of the year and that means many will be creating resolutions to help them become a better person or accomplish goals. Most of the time these resolutions include losing weight, getting and staying fit, as well as becoming a better person overall. These resolutions can not always be the easiest to maintain and achieve the larger goal of becoming a better you. Massage may not
always be the first thing that you think of for support, but it is a great
option in creating a new you for the new year!
As you may know massage therapy has many benefits for your mind
and body, but how can massage help your resolutions make a better
you? Massage helps to relieve muscular tension and reduce pain in the
muscles and joints, this makes it easier for you to keep to your workouts. When you are able to workout more often, not only do you feel accomplished and healthier but you can be well on your way to losing weight. Another great way that regular massage can help to sustain your resolutions and assist in making a better you is through the regulation and balancing of hormones. Hormones play an important role in body functions and mood stabilization. When our hormones get out of proper balance due to stress, your body responds by weight gain, depression, and a negative attitude. Regular massage therapy stimulates the production and balance of good hormones in the body that promote metabolism, regulate mood, and boosts a positive attitude.
Resolutions are important to those who set them, so that they can become a better and even a newer version of themselves. If you have set some resolutions this year and feel like you could use some help achieving
them, give massage a chance to be a helping hand in the New Year.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

With Spring upon us and Summer right around the corner the temperatures are getting more desirable and the days are longer which prompts so many of us to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Some of us enjoy laying on the beach or being out on a boat, while others of us enjoy more intense recreation such as hiking, biking, kayaking, surfing, kiteboarding, and rock climbing to name a few. What ever way that we choose to enjoy the outdoors there is a chance of injury. If we choose to layout on the beach or boat we run the risk of sunburn and if we choose the more intense activities we run a higher risk for injuries including strains, sprains, and other muscle related mishaps. Preventative maintenance is our best option to avoid any pain and discomfort. For possible sunburns it’s easy, sunscreen. For possible injuries, let’s look towards therapeutic massage.
The main causes of most injuries related to outdoor activities are minor traumas, lack of preparation, lack of flexibility, and overused muscles. All of these causes can be easily limited through therapeutic massage whether it is for recovery or preventative maintenance. Therapeutic massage offers a combination of stretching, sports massage, and even strengthening exercises. Stretching and massage offers a way to increase our blood flow and our range of motion. Increasing our blood flow is a great way to not only warm up our muscles and make them pliable, but also to efficiently deliver nutrients and
remove wastes allowing for a quicker recovery. A quicker recovery means that we get back to the fun in the sun sooner! Strengthening exercises are great ways to keep us in a good posture and at a higher level of fitness to enjoy our outdoor activities. All three parts to therapeutic massage add up to a perfect way to avoid possible injuries.
Whether you are paddling out surfing, reaching far rock climbing, peddling faster biking, flying high kite boarding, or going the distance hiking keep in mind that the best way to avoid injuries and have the optimum enjoyment of the great outdoors is by being prepared through preventative maintenance. It may seem like a little much just to keep up with your activities but the rewards of being able to participate more often in better health and fitness are well worth your time and efforts.

“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain”

Aristotle

    Many Healthcare Professionals and even many people know that one of the best ways to
recover from injury is to avoid pain as well as manage inflammation. Most of the time to avoid pain we take a pill or some other sort of oral pain reliever. In truth, these are chemicals that wreak having on our digestive system and liver.To reduce inflammation we use ice packs that usually require us to stay immobile and increases the risk of frostbite
and nerve damage. In our fast paced lifestyles and in our attempt to stay healthy, what are we to do to get the healing benefits of Cold Therapy and Pain Relievers with out all the
side effects and limiters? A good answer is Biofreeze.
   Biofreeze is a topical analgesic that is made from a USP-grade natural menthol that
helps with pain relief as well as reduces inflammation. This type of product is great for use
to recover from an injury or to help subdue pain before deep therapeutic massage and even chiropractic care. After application, Biofreeze works as a counter-irritant which means
that it’s effect overrides noxious pain signals traveling to the brain through a process
modulated between paintransmitting and non-paintransmitting neurons which is
known as “gate control”.
    In my experience, both personal and professional, I have had great results with Biofreeze. It works fast and has lasting effects with very little “medicine cabinet smell.” I
highly recommend Biofreeze for recovery and pain management; both minor and
major traumas alike.

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