It looks like the sun has arrived and stayed for a bit. The new BodySense is out and there are short informative articles about massage for back pain before pills, how to correctly stretch, dynamic vs static stretching, and when to integrate massage into your sumy activity routine. This read is an effective way to help you get through the late Spring and Summer injury free.
Today's blog covers upper back pain and Upper Crossed syndrome. A condition where your shoulder roll forward and inward. But why does it happen?
Leon Chaitow who wrote Fascia Related Dysfunction in the May/June Issue of Massage and Bodywork writes it is is due to four reasons. They include repetitive motions, poor posture or ergonomics, lack of exercise, injury or trauma. The changes after one of theses occurs diminishes activity, increases pain, and forces changes on the body as it attempts to adapt.
As an LMT I look to why is this happening? As Leon recommends when you come in with a specific condition I will observe, palpate, and examine (test) so I can correct movement and rehabilitative therapies. If you come in with Upper Crossed Syndrome I will be looking for tight neck (cervical) extensor muscles, shoulder (traps), and spinal muscles in the thoracic region, and weak abdominal muscles. But what does abdominal muscles have to do with the upper back equation?
Fascia is one of the the newest anatomy terms being studies. As it interconnects all the other muscle groups. The muscles groups do not work independently but collaboratively. For example, the Thoracolumbar fascia which sits in the mid to lower back connects the spinal muscles to the diaphragm abdominal region. So if I loosen up your spinal muscles but neglect your abdominal muscles that condition will just return. Since the abdominal muscles, your core, will be weak you will have a tendency to lean forward.
So if you experiencing upper back pain make an appointment with a massage therapist who understands the Fascial connections so you leave without pain for the maximum amount of time possible.
I took a couple of very exciting continuing ed classes. One in particular has some new information on how to treat low back pain. The class was presented by Ben Benjamin, a massage therapist, educator, and author, who has published articles in many medical journals.
Are you experiencing low back pain? I have new tools to help diagnose and determine if is related to you low back or gluteal muscles or if it is coming from your tendons in your low back. If there is problems with one of the low back tendon usually bending forward or backward will experience the worst pain while bending to the side will have less pain. Pain in the thigh and the lower leg means adhesive scar tissue in your sacrotuberous or sacrospinous ligaments. The important distinguishing factor between disc injuries and soft tissue is the lack of pins and needles sensation and soft tissue issues will not give you muscular weakness. Tendon issues can make you feel like you have numbness. So if you have muscle weakness along with pain it could be a disc issue.
What helps? Exercise (but not just by itself), stretches, and of course deep massage, a massage that avoids bearing down on the low back as to not put the spine into extension. Combining muscular soft tissue work along with friction therapy on the adhesive scar tissue (the fibrotic painful stuff needs to be addressed) will give the best results. I am trained in these methods and can get your back feeling better.
Many clients have been dealing with low back and glute pain. I've noticed on almost all that there is knotted tissue from the SI joint down each side of the gluteal cleft. Usually accompanied by sensitivity. With massage and trigger point work the sensitivity abates and so does the pain. The work can take a couple of sessions to a bit more depending on how long the client has been dealing with the problem. I saw this article on Sciatica which involves the largest nerve in the body. If you are dealing with any of these issues make sure to do these exercises. These exercises will help. Thank you Neil Asher for the stretches and the fantastic illustrations.
RockTape, the kinesio tape I use, along with Gua Sha, has delivered needed relief to many shoulder injuries I have dealt with over the past couple of months. I am expanding the program by offering a roll for $15.00 and free taping as long as the tape lasts. The tape decompressed the soft tissue providing pain relief and allowing more blood flow which speeds up recovery.
I am also offering RockSauce, Hot and Cold for $15.00. It's a roillon that has a nice minty smell, with the Hot meant for chronic conditions and the Cold good for new and acute conditions. The menthol and capsaicin (the most compared to related products) provides ideal pain relief for nagging trigger points and tight soft tissue.
The best part is RockSauce can be applied right underneath the kinesio tape providing relief to the pain you are are having.
So if you or anyone else is experiencing pain I have the tools to resolve your problem. Remember though, get your monthly massage so you avoid major problems later.
Also, it is that time of year and I am offering gift certificates that you can buy online for your family and friends.
So I've been using RockTape and Gua Sha to assist with pain management. They are actually a great combo too. You can look at the slideshow above to see what RockTape and GuaSha look like. GuaSha as explained in an earlier blog removes scar and fibrotic tissue so healthier tissue can form. It's the one of the first go to modalities when a client is in pain or has not had soft tissue work in a while. The effects are immediate. Applying RockTape is like having a therapist working on you even after the massage. It reduces pain and swelling and increases neurofeedback so you can make real time adjustments, for example, improve posture.
Well the results are in and GuaSha has treated several clients quite well especially in the more severe cases. Pain has been brought under control in all clients who have been uncomfortable. The taping feedback I'm getting is a reduction in pain and improvement in comfort and range of motion. So if you are in discomfort make sure to make an appointment and get these painless treatments. Keep on staying active!
I attended a kinesio tape class put on by RockTape a special cotton and nylon athletic tape that provides support while allowing full range of motion. Kinesio tape was invented in the mid 1970s by Dr. Kenzo Kase, in Japan, with texture and elasticity that resembles human skin. You may have seen it on athletes during competitive event live or on TV. Now all populations are receiving the benefits of this type of tape. Why use it? Through its recoil the tape lifts the skin upward allowing more blood flow into injured areas. The tape stimulates sensory receptors in the skin, which travel faster than pain receptors, closing the pain-gate resulting. You get less pain. Kinesio tape also improves posture, reduces swelling and provides real time feedback to you about what your muscle are doing. It comes in a wide variety of colors although the colors have no differences between them.
The tape is put on by a certified practitioner, such as myself, and stays on 3 to 5 days. The tape is waterproof and stays on until you take it off at which time you wait for a day and a half for your next taping session. Depending on the issue three to five taping sessions can have a dramatic effect on how you feel and move.
A huge advantage I see for my clients is getting continued therapy even after you receive your treatment as you go about your day. As a special I will apply the first taping for free so you can experience the improvements for yourself.
Occasionally as I work on a Trigger Point and the knit beatings to melt away a new awareness from my client appears. You mean all I have to do is put pressure on a knot and I'll get the same results. Well not really. Here's why. One of the first things that I do is to get my client to relax. Where they are not doing any work. If you are actively engaging yourself you are working and not relaxing and the results will not be the same. When you are relaxed the body heals faster and knots melt away more easily. So the next time you have knots in your body make an appointment so I can get them out and you can just relax.
An article in the March edition of Academy of Clinical Massage explores one of the more common reasons patients seek out a massage therapist in the article Massage Therapy and Brachial Plexus injury.
Why is it important to find a therapist who is familiar with shoulder anatomy and treatment? There are a couple reasons. First, radiating shoulder pain and numbness often leads you to think the source is in the shoulder. Often times its not. It's in an area in the neck where the nerves exit and pass through soft tissue and where the nerves have become entrapped. Secondly, the key to massage treatment is to apply the correct pressure otherwise you can have increased symptoms. Specifically, there are areas where nerve cords meet called Erbs, one is right above the clavicle. Erbs are susceptible to damage from outside forces, massaging too vigorously can result in pain, numbness, paralysis, and weakness can occur. Inherent muscle weakness from surgeries or overuse can make the area more vulnerable.
If you are suffering from shoulder issues know you are in good hands with a therapist familiar with the shoulder region so you get the best possible outcome.
This diagnosis has been a catch all diagnosis for those that suffer from debilitating to moderate pain throughout the body when the cause can not been pinned down. Chronic pain leads to neurological changes and brings down your quality of life. I have treated several clients with this diagnosis and massage can have significant benefit in reducing the pain if you have this diagnosis.
Simply put if you suffer from this condition you have an inflammatory muscle response, which can be triggered by stress, sleep disorders, hormonal changes (which explains the higher incidence in women). Muscle is encased in fascia which provides pathways for blood vessels and nerves. Fibromyositis an overload of tension on muscles and tendons results which leads to inflammation, placing calcium deposits at muscle and tendon attachments. Making the muscular soft tissue not so soft anymore.
The constant tension often complained about comes from the decrease in ATP, the energy for the cell. From current research, there is enough energy to contract the muscle but then ATP is depleted and there is not enough for the muscle to relax. This reduces elasticity and effects circulation. With the increased tension motor nervous commands do not coincide with blood supply and leads to pH changes and this is what begins and sustains the pain cycle, or Fibromylagia.
If you do have this condition it's important to get massage to increase the circulation and blood supply so the muscular system can begin to relax. Also when you are dealing with chronic pain, receiving massage teaches your body to relax so your body is in the parasympathetic space and is better able to counteract the effects of stress on your body.
If you have been diagnosed with this condition massage can help reduce your pain and give you your life back. Contact Gary at Four Seasons Massage and Fitness and we can discuss what frequency of massage would be best for you.