Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common peripheral entrapment that causes neuralgia in the median nerve distribution of the hand. Wait, what? Translated from “medi-speak”. The carpal tunnel is an archway of bones in your wrists. When you palm is face-up, the bony arch is upside down. Across the open end of the arch, a thick band of connective tissue (flexor retinaculum) crosses to close off the arch and forms a “tunnel”. This tunnel is the way for tendons in your forearm to control muscles in your hand. There’s also a median nerve that supplies nerve function to some of the muscles at the base of your thumb and first two fingers. Sometimes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is referred to as Median Nerve Syndrome. Continue reading “Carpal Tunnel: Is this You?”
A recent study conducted at the Center on an Aging Society at Georgetown University found that back pain is the most common cause of workdays lost in the US. It is the 2ndmost common cause of visits to the doctor’s office and experts estimate that 80% of the population will have a back pain issue at some point in their lives. Not only are we a society in pain, but when it gets bad enough we lose work, money, and then have to pay in an attempt to relieve the pain. Many of us are currently facing these problems and are met with the question of how do I get better and how do I decrease the likelihood that the pain will return. One answer is understanding and breaking the pain cycle.
There’s a reason that lower back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting Americans. More than 80% of us have it at least once in our life. More women suffer from chronic back pain than men. Older-age adults are more susceptible to back pain than younger adults or children.
The bones and muscles in your back work hard to keep you upright and serve as pivot points for everything from running to grabbing the pen you’ve dropped on the floor. Turns out there are some very common ways to mess your back up. Knowing these helps be proactive to avoid the pain before it’s too late, or, at least, recognize a possible cause of back pain if (and when) you get it.
1. Don’t take your eyes and fingers off your smartphone–ever. Today’s always-connected lifestyle is creating new problems with more aches and pains in shoulders, necks and backs. Look around. See anyone else hunching over thumb-scrolling for many minutes at a time? The research is growing about the impact all the poor posture created by mobile device use is having on all of us.
The solution: Limit the time you spend on any hand-held electronic device to no more than 15 minutes without a break. Sit up straight and don’t hunch over when you’re texting. Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle.Watch the screen time on your laptop or desktop computer, too. Take breaks at least every 45 minutes for at least 2 minutes per break. Continue reading “Seven Ways to Mess Up Your Back”
Like any fast-growing profession, the field of massage therapy is evolving all the time. As licensing and certification standards rise, and more and more massage therapists graduate from education programs that treat massage as a holistic skill, the profession is gradually expanding from a focus mainly on relaxation and overall wellness to a focus on outcome-based treatments.
Outcome-based treatments allow qualified massage therapists to use evidence-based analysis to create highly personalized session strategies focusing bodywork on achieving a specific goal or goals. Clients report longer lasting relief from pain and therapists get intense satisfaction knowing they have created real and positive change.
How is it outcome based massage different?
When you seek out a massage therapist, your goals for the session can vary widely. Sometimes you want to relax, sometimes you have a specific complaint about an ache or pain, sometimes you’ve been referred by a medical professional or physical therapist.
Pain affects every facet of daily life, our work, our attitude, our relationships, and our outlook on our future. For some, controlling pain with medications results in unpleasant side effects. Americans are reaching out in record numbers to find the best options for pain relief without the unpredictability traditional medicine. The CDC reports that the top four reasons adults used traditional medicines were to treat pain including back pain or problems, neck pain or problems, joint pain or stiffness/other joint condition, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread muscle aches and pains often accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression and more. Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.
Fibromyalgia is more common in women than men. While treatment with medicines can relieve some symptoms, many say that following a careful diet can help with the rest, or even replace medicines over time. Here are a few tried and true dietary fixes:
Everyone gets angry sometimes. Anger is a normal emotion with a wide range of intensity, from mild frustration to outright rage. Anger is usually a reaction to a perceived threat to ourself, those we love, our property, or our identity. It’s also a red flag that tells us something is wrong.
Anger, if managed well, can prompt us to make positive changes in our lives. Managed poorly, however, it leads to poor decision making and creates problems all around you. It can also affect your health.
Any massage therapist will tell you that your emotions like anger can contribute to or aggravate muscle tension and pain. When they work on you they can feel the extra tension, more knots, and observe physical signs that there are unexpressed emotions. There is strong evidence that suppressed anger can lead to heightened pain and aches (www.pubmed.gov) and the body tension and tightness that accompanies anger can have long term affects on your health.
The ability for us to consciously sense the tension and release in our muscles describes a state known as sensory motor awareness. That ability’s functionality depends on how actively we engage it. Humans tend be creatures of habit, forming routines in the way we relate to both our internal and external worlds. As we put ourselves on “auto-pilot”, especially when it comes to posture and movement patterns, the relationship between our conscious minds and the parts of bodies that may need attention can enter a state of sensory motor amnesia, where the internal sense of awareness becomes muted.
Pain Free Isn’t Problem Free
Massage therapy isn’t magic. It’s a research-based therapy that can have incredibly effective results and improve the overall state of wellness in your body, mind, and spirit. Here are a few myths about massage therapy and the “real story” that goes with them.
1 If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t effective. The goal of massage is to relax the muscles to allow proper tissue release and effective healing. If you find yourself holding your breathe, or tightening the muscle being worked because it’s painful, the pressure is too deep and the massage is counter-productive to its purpose. Always talk to your therapist during the session if you’re uncomfortable. Good massage therapists cause results, not pain.
2 Massage is only for women. 35% of women and 24% of men have received a massage in past 12 months. The number of professional athletes receiving therapeutic massage has doubled in the last 2 years.
3 If you’re pregnant, don’t get a message! Not at all true. Touch can convey comfort, awareness and induce relaxation. It can also help alleviate aches and pains. Prenatal massage is different from a regular massage–both in technique and intent. Ask if your therapist has had specific training in pre-natal massage and run away from any practitioner who doesn’t ask questions of collect additional information about the stage and condition of your pregnancy. Massage can be incredibly effective for mothers-to-be.
Anecdotal evidence and several studies have shown that a massage can help reduce or eliminate the pain associated with a migraine headaches.
Millions of people, mostly women, suffer from migraine headaches. Sometimes they are sharp and quick, other times they can last for hours or days. Sufferers are always on the lookout for relief that doesn’t make things worse or have side effects, and that’s why massage therapy is such an attractive option.
Anyone who has ever suffered a bump, bruise, sprain, strain or other injury likely knows that ice works well to relieve pain. Modern day cryotherapy (cold therapy) offers more options than the traditional ice bag. So when is it appropriate to seek pain relief from natural cold therapy compounds like Biofreeze and when is a good old bag of ice called for?
The purpose of cold therapy is primarily to reduce swelling, to lower skin temperature, and to desensitize and temporarily deaden pain receptors around the muscles and skin involved in an injury.
What is Biofreeze?
Your biceps (biceps brachii) are one of the most used muscles in your body. The muscles are also the target of many fitness training programs. It’s no wonder that overuse, strain, or trauma in these muscles is common.
Where’s the bicep?
Your biceps are muscles on the front part of your upper arm, extending between your elbow and shoulder. They have a “short head” and “long head”, meaning the muscle itself has two parts that work together as a single muscle. The biceps attach to your shoulder joint in two places and the other end of the bicep connects to your forearm bones (radius and ulna). Biceps flex your forearms at the elbow and also assist with twisting the forearm (supination).
The biceps can ache for many reasons, the most common is overuse. That’s when you attempt to lift something that’s too much for the muscle, or you do too many reps on your curls, or overdo the pull ups. In some cases, the over stretching can cause micro tears in muscle fibers or related tendons and cause a strain. Pain and swelling typically come with a strain.
Compared to chimpanzees, the human foot is more adapted for walking upright. Your toes are smaller and your big toe is better suited for stability than for grasping tree branches. We’re hard on our feet though, and they often need our attention.
Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 muscles (intrinsic and extrinsic), 31 joints and over 100 ligaments. The feet contain 1/4 of all the bones of the body (52 bones in a pair of feet)
The body lines up over the feet, when a foot goes out of alignment the ankle, knee, pelvis and back follow. Analyzing the way you stand, walk, run and sit helps determine the cause of misalignment, which is most likely the culprit of pain. Finding and targeting the misalignment with massage and/or chiropractic work usually relieves the pain.
“One in six people in the US have foot problems. Eighty percent of all foot problems occur in women. Two-thirds of foot problems can be attributed to shoes.” Web MD (2013)
A recent study conducted at the Center on an Aging Society at Georgetown University found that back pain is the most common cause of workdays lost in the US. It is the 2nd most common cause of visits to the doctor’s office and experts estimate that 80% of the population will have a back pain issue at some point in their lives. Not only are we a society in pain, but when it gets bad enough we lose work, money, and then have to pay in an attempt to relieve the pain. Many of us are currently facing these problems and are met with the question of how do I get better and how do I decrease the likelihood that the pain will return. In order to determine the best way to answer these questions, we must first understand what is causing the pain from a structural and physiological standpoint.
Webster’s dictionary defines pain as “the physical feeling caused by disease, injury, or something that hurts the body.” So how do our bodies interpret these “hurts.” What it boils down to is the irritation of nerves. Nerves form an extensive meshwork that traverses every square inch of our bodies and allows our brain to interpret our environment. Nerves can be irritated either by direct trauma or the processes of inflammation. Inflammation is a cellular/chemical storm that takes place at the site of pain to conduct the healing process. This brings us to the standard pain theory diagram illustrated in figure 1.
Fibromyalgia symptoms include muscle pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance, depression and more. While treatment with medicines can relieve some symptoms, many say that following a throughful diet can help with the rest, or even replace medicines over time.
And research shows that even if you don’t have Fibromyalgia, you may reduce similar symptoms with some small changes in diet. Check out these five food rules that may help you keep your body balanced.
1. Cut back on the caffeine. There is pretty good research that stimulants like caffeine are linked to temporary imbalance of brain chemicals, some of those that can deprive you of sleep or cause fatigue. Caffeine may give you a quick boost, but it’s borrowing again future energy reserves.
2. Eat fresh. Eating preservative and additive-free foods can ease fibromyalgia symptoms (like irritable bowel syndrome) in increase the health of your skin and body tissues.