Body in Balance MN

Best Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork: injury treatment and prevention with relaxing massage for stress release


Massage - Efective Treatment for Computer Related Tennis Elbow

Posted by Katrina Koller on January 20, 2012 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Effectiveness of Myofascial Release in the Management of Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) in Computer Professionals

Ajimsha MS, Chithra S, Thulasyammal RP.SourceMyofascial Therapy and Research Foundation, Kerala, India; School of Physiotherapy, AIMST University, Kedah, Malaysia.

AbstractAjimsha MS, Chithra S, Thulasyammal RP. Effectiveness of myofascial release in the management of lateral epicondylitis in computer professionals.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether myofascial release (MFR) reduces the pain and functional disability of lateral epicondylitis (LE) in comparison with a control group receiving sham ultrasound therapy in computer professionals.

DESIGN: Randomized, controlled, single blinded trial.

SETTING: Nonprofit research foundation clinic in Kerala, India.

PARTICIPANTS: Computer professionals (N=68) with LE.

INTERVENTIONS: MFR group or control group. The techniques were administered by certified MFR practitioners and consisted of 12 sessions per client over 4 weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The Patient-Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation (PRTEE) scale was used to assess pain severity and functional disability. The primary outcome measure was the difference in PRTEE scale scores between week 1 (pretest score), week 4 (posttest score), and follow-up at week 12 after randomization.

RESULTS: The simple main effects analysis showed that the MFR group performed better than the control group in weeks 4 and 12 (P<.005). Patients in the MFR and control groups reported a 78.7% and 6.8% reduction, respectively, in their pain and functional disability in week 4 compared with that in week 1, which persisted as 63.1% in the follow-up at week 12 in the MFR group.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence that MFR is more effective than a control intervention for LE in computer professionals.

How Massage can Enhance Chiropractic Care

Posted by Katrina Koller on January 3, 2012 at 10:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Soft tissue components of your pain

Addressing soft tissue problems is an important complement to chiropractic care. This is because muscles move joints, while ligaments and fascia support them. If your are getting adjustments and are not getting complete relief, tight muscles and shortened or unhealthy fascia (the white web or casing around the muscle) may need to be addressed with advanced massage techniques.

Structural Massage for healthy soft tissue

Massage therapists use a variety of techniques to address soft tissue problems. Gentle kneading and stretching lengthens contracted muscles and fascia. Techniques such as sustained pressure, ice massage and stretching can release trigger points. Painful sprains and strains, as well as myofascial adhesions, can be addressed directly with massage techniques that improve circulation and stimulate healthy separation and realignment of injured fibres.

In general, massage increases circulation. This reduces painful swelling and inflammation, and promotes healing by removing waste products and bringing nutrients to your tissues. Like a sponge absorbing water, both fascia and muscles begin to soften and lengthen.

Supporting your Home Care

To the extent that massage therapy can help resolve your pain and improve mobility, you may find it easier to stretch and exercise. This can help you maintain and even improve the flexibility, strength and balance needed to prevent tension, injury and new subluxations.

Massage is also a powerful tool for helping you to become aware of areas of chronic tension or postural problems, and to understand how these affect your body mechanics. You can then take preventive measures on your own before pain develops.



Ice or Heat - which is best?

Posted by Katrina Koller on January 3, 2012 at 3:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Ice is best for accute injuries and reducing inflammation. Heat works well for relaxing tense muscles.  This article spells it all out:

Maintaining Healthy Soft Tissue

Posted by Katrina Koller on January 1, 2012 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

After helping clients to restore the health and balance of their soft tissue, the next important question that comes up is often related to maintaince.  Scheduling a massage proactively or before pain and stiffness becomes compensatory (and difficult to manage) is key.  Postural awareness, stretching and a solid fitness plan are equally important in maintaining healthy soft tissue.  An ideal time to start a stretching and fitness program is after a massage or series of massage sessions.  Here are some things to consider:

1) Any mix of strength, cardiovascular and flexibility/stability/balance training will help you build lean muscle mass, improve the health of your soft tissue, reduce stress and increase your energy levels. Does your routine provide a good mix of all of these?

2) Functionality: is your fitness activity helping you to function with more energy, less tension, and less pain in your work or daily activities? Does it challenge you appropriately and allow you to improve your strength, stamina, mood and pain/stiffness levels in your work and daily activities?

3) Scheduling: is scheduling a factor in your ability to committ ? Are you and/or your exercise partners keeping committments? If not, perhaps it's time to re-prioritize.

4) Convenience: can exercise be squeezed into your day and lift you up wrather than drag you down?  If not, it's time to get creative.

5) Social , "fun factor" or "zen factor":  does the activity meet your need to escape, be with friends/family or be inspired by a group or trainer?  These are important motivating factors.

6) Pain/ injury risk:  do you have injuries or conditions to work around? How supportive is your trainer/ activity / environment?

7) Nutritional Support: is your fitness plan supported by proper pre-workout and post work-out nutrition and a balanced healthy diet?  Nutrition can not only affect your performance and energy levels, but it can definitely play a role with pain, inflammation and stress levels in the body.

Hip Strengthening Exercises Reduces Knee Pain

Posted by Katrina Koller on December 29, 2011 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Hip strengthening exercises performed by female runners not only significantly reduced patellofemoral pain — a common knee pain experienced by runners — but they also improved the runners’ gaits, according to Indiana University motion analysis expert Tracy Dierks.

“The results indicate that the strengthening intervention was successful in reducing pain, which corresponded to improved mechanics,” said Dierks. “The leg was going through more motion, suggesting that the (pain) guarding mechanism was reduced, and coordination or control of many of these peak or maximum angles in the leg were improved in that they were getting closer to occurring at the same time.”

Only in recent years have researchers begun studying the hips as a possible contributor to patellofemoral pain (PFP). This study is the first to focus on hip strength and gait changes during prolonged running.

Before starting a hip strengthening regime, it is best to begin with healthy soft tissue.  I often recommend a one hour deep tissue massage followed by a strength training routine to improve balance/gate and prevent  "guarding" and bi-lateral (one-sided) pain or stiffness in the hip, outer thigh and knee.  Most bodyworkers agree that nearly all mild to moderate chronic knee issues can be addressed with proper structural massage (deep tissue massage) and strenth training.


What to do about a torn muscle or tendon

Posted by Katrina Koller on December 29, 2011 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Injury Prevention Pulled Muscles, Scar Tissue and Re-injury

The reknowned Athletic Trainer Brad Walker explains how scar tissue affects recovery and re-injury of pulled muscles:

Have you ever had an injury that just will not heal? And then when you think it has healed, you go and re-injure it again. You may have a problem with scar tissue.

So you have pulled a muscle. Over-stretched it, torn it, strained it or sprained it. Call it what you want. From an injury point of view, the initial healing process is all the same.

Sprains (ligament) and strains (muscle or tendon) are the most common type of soft tissue sports injury and are often caused by activities that require the muscles to stretch and contract at the same time. A lack of conditioning, flexibility and warm up can also contribute.

While most people are well aware of the importance of applying the R.I.C.E. regime to a sprain or strain in the first 48 to 72 hours, it is after this that most people get stuck. Let us start by having a look at what happens during those first 72 hours and then move onto what is needed for a full recovery.

The First 72 Hours Without a doubt, the most effective, initial treatment for soft tissue injury is the R.I.C.E.R. regime. This involves the application of (R) rest, (I) ice, (C) compression, (E) elevation and obtaining a (R) referral for appropriate medical treatment.

Where the R.I.C.E.R. regime has been used immediately after the occurrence of an injury, it has been shown to significantly reduce recovery time. R.I.C.E.R. forms the first, and perhaps most important stage of injury rehabilitation, providing the early base for the complete recovery of injury.

24 hours after soft tissue injury, when R.I.C.E.R. has not been used, there is a large amount of uncontrolled bleeding and swelling. However the application of rest, ice, compression and elevation will significantly reduced the amount of bleeding and swelling.

The Problem with Scar Tissue When a muscle is torn, you would expect that the body would repair that tear with new muscle. In reality, this does not happen. The tear, or rupture, is repaired with scar tissue. When the R.I.C.E.R. regime is used, this limits the formation of scar tissue.

Now this might not sound like a big deal, but if you have ever suffered a soft tissue injury, you will know how annoying it is to keep re-injuring that same old injury, over and over again. Untreated scar tissue is the major cause of re-injury, usually months after you thought that injury had fully healed.

Scar tissue is made from a very brittle, inflexible fibrous material. This fibrous material binds itself to the damaged soft tissue fibres in an effort to draw the damaged fibres back together. What results is a bulky mass of fibrous scar tissue completely surrounding the injury site. In some cases it is even possible to see and feel this bulky mass under the skin.

When scar tissue forms around an injury site, it is never as strong as the tissue it replaces. It also has a tendency to contract and deform the surrounding tissues, so not only is the strength of the tissue diminished, but flexibility of the tissue is also compromised.

So what does this mean for the athlete? Firstly, it means a shortening of the soft tissues which results in a loss of flexibility. Secondly, it means a weak spot has formed within the soft tissues, which could easily result in further damage.

Lastly, the formation of scar tissue will result in a loss of strength and power. For a muscle to attain full power it must be fully stretched before contraction. Both the shortening effect and weakening of the tissues means that a full stretch and optimum contraction is not possible.

Getting rid of the scar tissue To remove the unwanted scar tissue it is vital that you start a course of deep tissue sports massage. While ultrasound and heat will help the injured area, they will not remove the scar tissue. Only massage will do that.

 About the Author Brad Walker is a prominent Australian sports trainer with more than 15 years experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is a Health Science graduate of the University of New England and has postgraduate accreditations in athletics, swimming and triathlon coaching. He also works with elite level and world champion athletes and lectures for Sports Medicine Australia on injury prevention.


Best Stretches for Upper Back Pain (Rounded Shoulders)

Posted by Katrina Koller on December 22, 2011 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Rounded shoulders can turn into pain in the upper back (ache between or around the shoulder blades) or pain in the front of the shoulder.  This is most commonly aggravated by the overabundance of activities we perform with our arms in front of us (everything from doing desk/computer work to cooking, cleaning, driving or doing dishes).  Add to this any repetitive movement at work or with fitness or sporting activities, and we end up with strong chest muscles and biceps and weak muscles that support our shoulder blade (scapula) in our upper backs. 

Here are my top two recommended stretches to help keep this common soft tissue imbalance in check. Note: if you are at all concerned about your ability to perform these stretches safely, then see your Dr., Physical Therapist or Chiropractor.  A great time to start a stretching regime is following a massage so that you can work with healthy pliable soft tissue.  Be gentle and refrain from holding a stretch for more than 2-3 seconds at a time and come out of the stretch and into a resting position each time in order not to trigger a stretch reflex.  Muscles prefer to ge gently coaxed rather than pushed. Do 10-12 repititions or fewer if you are stretching a particular muscle group for the first time.   Good luck! 

1) Pectoralis Minor and Major (chest muscle) stretch

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2) Bicep Stretch (bicep tendon stretch) - This video below gives a nice explanation and demonstration, however, I would recommend holding for 2-3 second intervals (rest in between). 

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#1 Stretch for Low Back Pain: Hip Flexor / Psoas Stretch

Posted by Katrina Koller on December 6, 2011 at 12:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The psoas muscle (hip flexor) is a common hidden cause of low back and hip pain that is often overlooked. It is common with back pain resulting from lengthy periods of sitting followed by or preceded by a sudden burst of vigorous exercise. Here is an excellent stretch and detailed explanation. Fast forward if you would like to skip the explanation.