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.

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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.

Posted by: lsadler | February 11, 2010

Low Back Pain And Muscle Spasms

The other day I got a call from a client who was complaining of low back pain. She said it was really severe and she was starting to get shooting pain down the front of her thigh. She told me that every time she went to bend forward, especially to put on pants or socks, that it was excruciating. Luckily I was able to see her right away. What I found was that she had muscle spasms in her paraspinal muscles. These muscles run lengthwise down the back next to the spine. Normally, low back pain can be caused by muscles spasms in the glutes and/or hamstrings. She had some tightness in her glutes, but I was surprised to find that the paraspinal muscles were the major issue. When I started working on them, they felt like cords or ropes. I didn’t think they would give in one session, but when I finished, my client told me that she didn’t have any pain when she went to bend forward to put on her socks. The shooting pain was also gone.

A new client wrote to me about her back pain recently. She has a slipped disc in her lumbar spine and she underwent surgery over a year ago. She told me that she still isn’t back to work and she has been getting cortisone shots to help with the pain. The missing link for her is Trigger Point Therapy. Here’s how it works: the muscles along her spine are in spasm either from the initial injury to her back or the surgery or both. The spasms apply pressure to her spine which in turn press on the nerves and cause pain. Trigger Point therapy can help to relax the paraspinal muscles to relax and potentially reduce her pain. In turn, she won’t need to get cortisone shots as often or she may even be able to eliminate them altogether.

Posted by: lsadler | January 27, 2010

Whiplash

I started working with a new client today who suffers from whiplash. The interesting thing about her case is that she has pain throughout her entire left side. This brings up the point that our muscles and soft tissue are all intertwined, like a tapestry. What happens to one muscle will affect other muscles. Here’s how it works: when a muscle experiences a trauma it goes into a guarding mode to protect the body from further injury. When a muscle guards, other muscles will do the work that the guarding muscle used to do. If the guarding continues for a long time, the muscles that jumped in to do its’ job will tire and other muscles will kick in to pick their slack, thus a domino effect. As each muscle fatigues, lactic acid and toxins build up, resulting in pain.

My client had x-rays, MRI’s and physical therapy. The x-rays and MRI didn’t show any abnormalities, and physical therapy didn’t produce any results. I have experienced the effects of whiplash in my own body and I can say from personal experience that unless the soft tissue is released, the root of the pain cannot completely heal.

Posted by: lsadler | January 24, 2010

Tendonitis – resolved

Yesterday I started out with slight hand pain, but by lunch time it was gone. I had no need to ice it at all, I just did some circulatory massage on my tricep, bicep and forearm to move out the rest of the toxins. I also applied Traumeel in the morning and before I went to bed. I was basically pain free all day. I’m so relieved that I healed up so quickly, looks like I’m heading into a very busy week next week.

Posted by: lsadler | January 22, 2010

Tendonitis

I recently came down with tendonitis in my wrist and hand. It is definitely a repetitive stress injury since I didn’t have an accident. Once I realized what it was I started with massaging the Trigger Points in my hand, forearm and tricep. I even found tension that was connecting from my shoulder and neck. I followed my massage with 10 minutes of ice on all the sore spots, mostly hand and wrist. I also took an epsom salt bath and I’ve been putting some Traumeel on my wrist and hand. I’ve iced it twice today and plan to ice it once more before bed. I am taking a couple days off and hope to be back to work by Saturday, especially because I’m booked up! Between rest, ice, massage and Traumeel I hope to have a quick recovery. I’ll post an update tomorrow.

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