Posted by: lsadler | February 16, 2017

My Massage Office is temporarily my PT rehab room!

ptroomHow did I get here?! Unable to work, temporary handicapped parking, transforming my massage office into my personal PT studio…What, what? In July 2016, I pulled a muscle in my quad and my hip flexor tendon. I re-pulled the hip flexor in October 2016 and who would have thought that it would come to this??? I’ve had to put work on hold, I’ve been in PT for the last 8 months and although my quad is better, I’ve been having issues with my hip. I see an Orthopedic hip specialist next week. Stay tuned, updates to come.

Posted by: lsadler | March 13, 2013

Neck Pain and the Computer

I have been seeing more and more clients who complain of neck pain. They also have nerve pain associated with it that runs down their arm and pain near their shoulder blade. The reason for this is that the vertebrae in their neck has compressed and pinches the nerves (it’s also possible that a disc is bulging, but regardless, my approach is the same). Most of my clients who suffer from this type of neck pain work at the computer most of the day and they have what I call ‘computer posture’. This posture is basically rounded shoulders and the chin jutting forward. This shortens the pectoral muscles, muscles in the chest and stresses the muscles across the back and also compresses the cervical spine, (one or more vertebrae in the neck). To properly treat this injury, I use a combination of spine mobilization, a technique I learned from a physical therapist where I palpate each individual vertebrae in the neck and then I massage out the Trigger Points in the neck (front and back), the arm and upper back, etc. I also tell my clients to ice their neck and any area where they have pain. The mobilization opens up the vertebrae creating some space in order to stop the nerve from being pinched.  When my clients’ pain is reduced or resolved, their posture must be corrected so they don’t re-injure themselves. I recommend a book called “Pain Free at the PC”, by Egoscue to help them correct their ‘computer posture’.

Posted by: lsadler | July 25, 2010

Acute Sports Injury-How Massage Therapy Can Help You

Normally I like to use examples based on my clients’ issues to illustrate my point, but sometimes I think it’s a good thing when you can use your own experience as an example. It gives me an opportunity to practice on myself, improve my techniques AND truly know what it feels like to be treated for pain or injury.

My greatest love is horseback riding. I am a fairly experienced rider, I love to trail ride and I also compete in the english hunter/jumper discipline. Here’s my story: I fell off my friends’ horse last Tuesday. I fell on the side of my left leg after she spooked on the trail. I was far from the barn and I had to walk over a mile to find her after my fall. I’m very  lucky I was able to walk, I wasn’t so lucky the last time I fell off her. As I walked along the trail after the fall, I could feel the pain in my leg, but since I was walking I knew it wasn’t broken. Luckily, it wasn’t excruciating and I was able to ride back to my barn once I caught my horse. I have a giant bruise the size of a saucer and swelling the size of a baseball on the side of my leg. I also have cuts as well as the bruise all in the same area.

Here is how I’ve been treating this injury:

Day 1, ice 3x and rest (I’d also recommend taking arnica, I was out of it at the time)

Day 2, ice 3x and I put a little Traumeel on the bruise (Traumeel is a creme and has some arnica in it)

Day 3, my hamstring is and has been extremely sore since my fall. It’s too acute to massage at the site of injury and it’s also contraidicated to massage a swollen or deeply bruised area. I was able to massage lightly above and below the injury which helped to reduce the intensity of the muscle spasm. This flushed toxins and gave me some relief. I also had some Trigger Points in my calf and shin, hip and glute which I massaged out. I was having some discomfort in those areas, but the main pain is coming from my hamstring. After releasing the Trigger Points, I had reduced my pain by more than half! I also continued to ice the bruise and lastly, I soaked in epsom salts. My bruise went from jet black to dark red after the soak.

Day 4 to now -the swelling is going down, but every so slowly. I am continuing to massage my hip, glute and hamstring once a day, my calf is fine, the Trigger Points never came back after the first massage. I am still only working the hamstring above and below the site of the injury. This eliminates the referred pain and I can move about comfortably and I can actually forget about it!

I will continue with more updates as I go through this healing process.

Posted by: lsadler | July 1, 2010

Tips to prevent Tendonitis of the wrist/elbow

When I was a graphic artist, I developed tendonitis in my right arm. I’m right-handed so that made life very difficult. I will go into more detail on how to cure tendonitis in another post, but for now, here are some things I did to help myself. First of all, I couldn’t stop using the computer so I switched to my left hand to use the mouse. This was awkward at first, but eventually I got pretty good at it. Later, I bought a Wacom tablet and that was the best way to mouse I’ve found. The tablet uses a pen to move the mouse, so you don’t hold your hand over it the way you do other mice, including the ball mouse, which is very popular for this issue. I also started buying more of my vegetables already chopped. I found that Trader Joe’s tends to carry a lot of pre-chopped veggies and salad. I also bought a knife sharpener. You put a lot less pressure on your arms when you keep your knives sharp. I took MSM, a supplement that reduces inflamation. A friend of mine that was in cooking school developed a really bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome and she suggested MSM to me. It’s a naturally occurring substance already found in the body, so it’s not a drug and has no side effects. I read a great book about MSM, written by the doctor who discovered it’s many uses.

Posted by: lsadler | June 30, 2010

What do Headaches, TMJ and Tinnitus have in common?

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about fullness in the ears. I talk about the SCM muscle in the front of the neck. Again, it’s a ‘quiet’ muscle, meaning that the symptoms you feel don’t necessarily lead you to feeling pain in the front of your neck. The SCM muscle runs from behind the ears to the collar-bone in the front of the neck. When this muscle develops Trigger Points, from stress or trauma, it can get very tight. Some of the issues this can cause are TMJ pain, which makes sense if you think about it. The muscle attaches behind the ear in close proximity to your temporalmandibular joint. Thus, it can effect the articulation of your joint which can lead to pain at the joint and/or in your facial muscles. If you are prone to grinding your teeth at night, this can also create tightness in the SCM resulting in pain in the jaw. A tight SCM can lead to tension headaches and tinnitus, which is ringing in the ears. Tinnitus is very hard to treat and I’ve had some success treating patients that have it. Usually, my clients that have TMJ and Tinnitus have better results than those who just have Tinnitus. Most every client I have that comes in with either headaches, TMJ pain and/or Tinnitus have Trigger Points in their upper back, back of the neck and scalene muscles and the SCM muscles. I’ve had a lot of success treating people with these issues. Please check out my article on TMJ to learn more.

Posted by: lsadler | June 29, 2010

The effects of Massage Therapy on Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition caused by an autoimmune reaction in the body. There is much debate as to the cause of Fibromyalgia, but based on what I’ve read, it is a condition caused by the sympathetic nervous system being on continuously. That is probably an oversimplification, but basically, the idea is that a traumatic event or even illness can cause the fight or flight response to activate. With Fibromyalgia, the response doesn’t know when to turn off and you get an overflow of adrenalin and other hormones flooding the system. This leads to muscle ache and fatigue among many other symptoms. I want to address the muscle ache and fatigue, since massage therapy can be very helpful to those who suffer from those effects of Fibromyalgia. Whenever you have a pain response in your soft tissue, ie. muscles, you can develop Trigger Points. Trigger Points must be manipulated in order to be released, the body won’t let go of them on its own. So, first and foremost, as a Massage Therapist, I work to release my clients’ Trigger Points. The other issue is fatigue. Massage therapy actually helps to put the body in a relaxed state, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. With Fibromyalgia, this is very helpful, since the body is always in the opposite state, the fight or flight mode. By activating the parasympathetic nervous system, this gives someone with Fibromyalgia an opportunity to reduce symptoms, sleep better and reduce the fatigue related to their condition. I have recently written an article on Fibromyalgia, you can read it on my website.

We have several muscles in our neck that help to hold up our head. The sternocleidomastoid, or SCM for short, can cause a variety of problems with our head. Even though it is a neck muscle, it runs from behind our ear to our collar bone in the front of our neck. This muscle is what I call ‘quiet’ because the symptoms you normally experience related to this muscle never feel like they actually manifest there. When the SCM and other muscles in the neck, like the scalenes get tight they can block the normal flow of fluids, thus causing a feeling that your ears are full. They can even cause a ‘false’ sore throat. By massaging the trigger points in these muscles, it can reduce the amount of tension and in effect open the ear channels to alleviate the feeling of fullness in the ears. It may take several treatments to see major improvements, but you should feel some changes even after one massage. If you suffer from this annoying condition, try getting a massage and ask your therapist to work the SCM and scalene muscles specifically. If you don’t have any results after a few massages, then it’s time to consult a doctor.

Posted by: lsadler | June 26, 2010

Avoid shoulder injury – for women

Most women don’t realize this, but a heavy purse can cause shoulder injuries. You can develop frozen shoulder or pain in the neck, scapula area and/or around the deltoids. Big purses are in right now and they are very cool, but you don’t have to load them up with everything in your house. Leave the kitchen sink at home, right? One easy fix is to empty out your extra change. Change can add up and add weight to your wallet or coin purse. If you have books or other larger items that you need to bring with you, put them in a separate bag or tote. Don’t carry everything on one shoulder. Try to distribute the weight of your purse and your other stuff evenly, use both shoulders if you have too. Get a rolly bag if you always have extra stuff to carry.

Have a great summer and keep those shoulders healthy.

Posted by: lsadler | March 23, 2010

When the doctors can’t figure out why you are in pain

I’d like to start this post by apologizing for being away for so long. I recently sent my horse to an equine therapy barn, where handicapped kids and adults have the opportunity to ride. It was a difficult decision to make, I was very attached to Phantom, but he was not a good fit for me, so instead of continuing to force it, I did the best thing for him and hopefully he’ll love being a therapy horse. Now I have the daunting task of finding another horse, I certainly learned a lot from my mistakes the first time around. I look forward to a very happy relationship with my next horse.

Now, to the subject at hand. I have been seeing a theme with some of my new clients lately and it’s this; they are in pain and they’ve had MRI’s, x-rays, other tests and even seen a variety of doctors. The results are always the same, they can’t find anything wrong. Some doctors even imply that the patient is making it up, or make them feel like they have a screw loose. Luckily, these patients don’t give up easily and opt for cortisone shots or pills, they do some research and learn that they may have Trigger Points. There is great book on Trigger Point Therapy, called, "The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook" by Clair Davies.

The majority of clients I see that have had this experience with their doctors do in fact have Trigger Points, and I have been able to give them a tremendous amount of pain relief through this massage technique.

Posted by: lsadler | February 22, 2010

Acute Pain – Muscle Spasm in the Low Back

I normally deal with people who suffer from chronic pain and injuries, but once in a while I have to address the issue of acute pain with my clients. This time it happened to be my husband. While horseback riding yesterday, he suddenly got a sharp pain in his low back and had to immediately stop riding. When we got home I had him ice his low back. I made him ice a second time before getting in the shower. Heat is NEVER recommended for an injury in the first 48 hours. Normally, you should not even get a massage for 3 days after an injury has occurred. In my husbands case, when he has had back spasms in the past, they were minor and I was able to work on him right away and relieve the spasm. This time it was much worse, but we gave it a try anyway. He was in so much pain he couldn’t lie comfortably on the table until I put a pillow under his stomach. I worked on his upper glutes, the gluteous medius and that gave him a lot of relief. Once I began working on the muscle spasms along his spine, they would calm down, but within seconds they’d spasm again. This is why you don’t get a massage for 3 days after an acute injury. Once I realized what was going on, I immediately stopped the massage and sent him off to ice again. I had him ice a total of 4 times yesterday and advised him to ice 4 times today. I had him sleep with a pillow under his knees as well. This morning he said he was starting to feel better, that it was getting easier to walk.

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