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Massage for Pain

How Massage Can Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Pain in your wrist has caused you to have difficulty to type and work. You’ve found that you are starting to have difficulty to do things that you enjoy like cooking, writing, and even holding a cup of coffee. At night you wake up with numbness and tingling in your hand and it makes it difficult to sleep. You have tried using splints and other conservative measures and although they’ve helped a bit you still have pain, numbness, and tingling in your wrist and hand.

Massage may help with the pain of  carpal tunnel syndrome in the short term and may help other long term treatments be more effective.

Massage therapy can best help carpal tunnel syndrome that is related to overuse of the muscles of the forearm and fingers. It may also help with other sites of nerve compression in the neck, shoulders, and arms that can also create symptoms similar to carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and How Does it Develop?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression of the median nerve in your wrist. The compression can be caused by anything that narrows the carpal tunnel and can be caused by conditions such as hypothyroidism, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Pregnancy can also be a cause of swelling in the wrist and create carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel Syndrome can also be caused by overuse of the muscles of the forearm and fingers. There are other sites in the neck, shoulders, and arms where the median nerve can be compressed that can create symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Massage therapy goals are to reduce inflammation, reduce muscle tension, and reduce trigger point activity.  

The carpal tunnel is made from the carpal ligament which forms [...]

What Causes Leg Cramps and What to Do About Them

There’s nothing worse than being snug in your bed during a deep sleep when suddenly you jump up in agonizing pain in your leg. Writhing around and trying to find that magic position to relieve your leg cramp while also trying to not make your cramp worse.

Usually the advice that I hear is a condescending “oh just eat more potassium.” That’s just bad advice  because as you get older there are some relatively serious conditions that can cause leg cramps.

This article will discuss what leg cramps are, some causes, and what you can do when they happen and how you can prevent them.
Cramp vs Spasm
A cramp is a sudden, violent contraction of your muscle. While a spasm is a gradual guarding or protective splinting and tightening of your muscles. A spasm is usually due to an injury. A cramp happens when the muscle is quickly shortened.
Why Do Cramps Happen?
The reason for cramps is not completely known. Usually it happens when a muscle is suddenly and quickly shortened.  The muscle groups that are most susceptible to cramps are your hamstrings, back of your calf muscles, and the bottoms of your feet but can also happen in your arms and hands. The common reasons for muscle cramps are overexertion, electrolyte imbalance and other medical concerns such as:

Less Severe:

Dehydration
Muscle overexertion, exercise, or injury
Not enough calcium, potassium, and other elctrolytes in your blood
Sitting for too long with your muscles in a shortened position
standing for long periods on hard surfaces

Medical Conditions

Kidney problems
Anemia
Circulation problems (arteriosclerosis)
Cirrhosis

Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism

Type 1 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

Neuromuscular disorders 
Osteoarthritis
Parkinson’s [...]

When to Use Ice and Heat for Pain and Injury

It can be confusing to know when to use ice or heat for pain and injury. Most doctors and professionals recommend ice and rarely recommend heat.  Ice and heat can be very effective and  cost effective ways to treat your own minor injuries and pain.

Ice and heat can also be used not just for pain but as a means to prevent pain. They both have physiological effects on your tissues. This is different than products like icy hot where it just numbs pain.  Products like Icy Hot are skin irritants and take your brains’ focus off of the pain.  While there is nothing wrong with stopping pain with these products they do little to heal.  Ice and heat  have healing effects on your tissues.

As there isn’t an absolute measure to know when ice or heat should be used, if one doesn’t feel right or makes you feel worse, switch.

Here are some guidelines on when you should use ice or heat.

Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal and necessary response to injury.  Your body sends white blood cells to the site of injury with the intent of cleaning the area from infection and to rebuild damaged tissue.

There are two different groups of  white blood cells for this purpose.  The white blood cells that clean the area are only present for the first twenty four to seventy two hours.  After that they leave.

After the first seventy two hours the white blood cells that rebuild tissue will be there until the area is completely healed.

It is not recommended to use heat on acute inflammation. It will make it worse. Conversely, it is not recommended to use ice on chronic inflammation or pain that is associated [...]

Massage for Upper Back Pain

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Your upper back tension may start out as minor. You catch yourself in awkward positions in an eager attempt to stretch out your shoulders.  Your friends and co-workers give you funky looks as you try to crack your back or press up against the corner of a wall to get those tight spots.

At other times your upper back tension may flare up into really sharp pain as you move your neck or shoulders. Sometimes it might hurt you to breathe which really freaks you out.

Worse still, you may experience pain that radiates into the shoulder or into your arm which causes you to seek out medical help. These symptoms may seem out of the blue and unrelated to your normal upper back tension.

Muscle strain, tightness,  and trigger points in muscles of the upper back can cause these symptoms and massage therapy can alleviate this stress. 

 

 

 

Soft Tissue Problems

Upper back pain is a common complaint from people seeking massage therapy.  Upper back pain is common because it is a complex structure made of many spinal joints, rib joints, and the shoulder blades. 

The muscles that make up the upper back belong to the shoulder blades, the spine, and the neck. Many of these muscles act as posture stabilizers of the neck, shoulders, and spine lending the upper back to lots of misuse and abuse. 

Also interesting to note, many muscles of the upper back attach onto the ribs and aid in breathing.  If these muscles are tight or strained many people may report pain as they breathe in. Coughing very hard may strain some of these muscles as well. This commonly [...]

Massage Therapy Treatment for Sciatica Relief In Greenwich, CT.

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You don’t know what you did but this pain in your leg is driving you crazy. Sometimes it’s a sharp pain like a knife that keeps you from being able to just sit down. Other times it’s just a deep ache that bothers you while just sitting down to have dinner. In other instances it seems fine except certain positions bother it and you can’t seem to figure it out.

You go to a doctor and they tell you have a herniated disc. They tell you to go to physical therapy and if that doesn’t help you, you may need surgery.

You look it up on the internet and talk to freinds, and everyone is telling you horror stories of having surgery and the back pain doesn’t get better or other problems that crop up after surgery. What other treatments are there?

Massage therapy can be a very important complement to other treatments for sciatica and provide relief as well to help heal sciatica.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is a symptom of pain down the leg and involves impingement of the sciatic nerve. The impingement can occur from bulging discs, narrowing of the spinal canal, soft tissue, or irritation of spinal ligaments.

The ability of massage therapy to be helpful in sciatic pain depends on what is impinging the sciatic nerve, such as spinal narrowing or disc material, and the severity of these conditions.

How Does Massage Help Sciatica?

Treating the soft tissue around the spinal joints can be essential in healing sciatic pain. The discs can go back into place and anything that can help facilitate this process is essential. 

Massage can help this process by [...]

Massage Therapy for Treatment of Neck Pain and Stiffness in Greenwich, CT

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When your neck is in pain, nothing seems to work right. Turning your head is a task which forces you to turn your whole body making you feel like a robot. Just holding your head upright is a painful ordeal. Even laying down to bed causes you to brace your body to keep your neck from excruciating pain.

Massage therapy can be a great help to many types of neck pain. By helping to decrease tension, helping to heal muscle strain, and increasing circulation that helps to bring fresh nutrients to your muscles.

Whether you have pain from muscle strain, bulging discs, or pinched nerves massage can help!

The main types of neck pain can be related to soft tissue dysfunction and structural disorders.
Soft Tissue Disorders
The most common neck pain you may feel is in the back of the neck and into the shoulder blades. The muscles of the neck commonly work as anti-gravity muscles and it is easy for them to develop overwork and strain patterns. As they work to hold your neck and head in postures such as looking down to read a book or phone, looking at a computer screen with the head forward, or carrying a bag on the shoulder.

Many of your neck muscles also attach in the shoulder blade and collar bone and have a close relationship to the shoulder. Any sports or exercise that use the shoulder can also help to cause strain and overwork the muscles of the neck.

Pain from neck muscles can cause the neck to feel stiff, limit movement in turning the neck, cause a pinching of the joints as [...]

Massage Therapy for Low Back Pain

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By Matthew Snow, L.M.T

There is nothing like low back pain to let you know how much your low back is involved in even the simplest of movements. Something as simple as sitting down is excruciating and involves all of your concentration to avoid severe pain.  Low back pain can be frustrating as the pain can be just fine and dandy as you move about your day but the minute you lie down to go to sleep the pain keeps you up at night and prevents you from restful sleep.

Massage therapy is an effective treatment for many types of low back pain. Even for conditions involving arthritis, bulging or herniated discs, and pinched nerves: massage can help!
Soft Tissue Disorders
The low back is a complex structure with many joints and tons of soft tissue to support and protect the sensitive joints and nerves in the area.  The low back is a truly remarkable design as it provides you with a great deal of ability to move. But that in itself is the problem with the low back. It provides the great ability to move while also having the burdensome task of providing stability of the weight of your upper body and transmits the force of your lower body through the pelvis.

Once upon a time it was thought that most low back pain was to have a structural component to it and often surgery was used as a treatment. But that is no longer the case and most low back pain is thought to have soft tissue components. Most Doctors do not want to do surgery as it is [...]

Massage Therapy for Treatment of Tension Headaches in Greenwich, CT

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By Matthew Snow, L.M.T

You know the feeling. A dull ache at the back of your head that seems connected to your eye forcing your eye half closed. All you want to do is lay down and sleep off your throbbing headache.

The people conversing and laughing are totally unaware that your head is splitting. You try rubbing your temples because somewhere you read that can help headaches.

In desparation you see your doctor or neurologist and have tests only to find out you have tension headaches.

They give you medicine which mildly helps and they tell you to reduce your stress,  but you still get headaches. And they give you no other treatment options.

Great. Now what?

There is hope for those of you suffering from tension headaches. Massage therapy is an extremely effective treatment for tension headaches.

What Are Tension Headaches?

Tension headaches are the most common type of headache and can be unbearable to the point that you think you have a migraine headache.

Tension headaches are caused by muscular tension. Muscles create a pulling force(that’s tension) to create movement, stop movement (like holding a bag on the shoulder,) or to slow movement down (lowering your coffee cup on the table.)

The most commonly involved muscles are muscles of the upper back, neck, and shoulders.

A common cause of tension headaches happens when the head, neck, and trunk are too far forward. This puts stress on the spinal joints and puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels as they exit the head.

This also forces your muscles to work hard against gravity. As the muscles work to hold you up they create waste that is irritating [...]

The Top 5 Ways Massage Can Help You

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What comes to your mind when you think of massage? Fancy white robes with slippers, incense, and candles? Most promoters of massage focus on the relaxation side of massage and while relaxation is a noble goal this neglects most of the very important benefits of massage such as pain relief and normalizing soft tissue dysfunction.

Massage therapy is gaining acceptance more and more as being effective in healing soft tissue disorders.

What exactly is massage and what can it do? Massage is the use of the hands to affect the health of the soft tissues. If you look up neck and low back pain on Web MD you will find that most neck and low back pain is considered to have soft tissue problems and not structural problems as once was thought.

There are many soft tissue problems that can create a whole slew of very confusing and scary symptoms. These are the most common soft tissue problems and how massage can help.

Those Dang Muscle Knots

Muscle knots, or trigger points are considered the most common soft tissue problem and are the most under diagnosed. Many people claim that trigger points are just made up by massage therapists and chiropractors but this is not true. One of the first people credited with  studying trigger points was a medical doctor [...]

Rotator Cuff Injuries and How Massage Therapy Can Help

 I am sure most of you have heard of the rotator cuff.  You may equate the rotator cuff with baseball.  But most clients I have seen with rotator cuff injuries don’t play baseball, or sports at all, and many are sitting at a computer all day.  There is a reason for this.

What Are Rotator Cuff Injuries?

The rotator cuff is actually a group of 4 small muscles.  The function of the rotator cuff is to stabilize the arm into the shoulder socket.  Stabilization of the arm into the shoulder socket is required for all movements of the arm and shoulder and the rotator cuff is subject to muscle strains and tendinitis. The most commonly injured rotator cuff muscles are the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor.  The subscapularis is the least injured.  The supraspinatus attaches on the top of the scapula and passes through the acromial arch to attach on the top of the arm.  The fact that the supraspinatus passes through this arch is one of the reasons it is the most injured and talked about rotator cuff muscle.  When the supraspinatus tendon is injured from the subacromial arch it may also be diagnosed as impingement syndrome. Other muscles and soft tissue that can be affected through impingement syndrome is the long head of the bi-ceps tendon and the sub- acromial bursae.

 
Impingement Syndrome
When the arm is raised into abduction (out to the side), or into flexion (in the front of the body), or internally rotated the space between the acromial arch and the arm is narrowed.  This space is occupied by the supraspinatus, the long head of the biceps tendon, and the sub-acromial bursae.  This is one reason why sports with an overhead movement can injure these structures. [...]