Category Archives: neck pain

The Sleeping Flexion Addict and Low Back Pain

Ever wonder why your low back may hurt so much when you wake?

Many claim they need a new mattress while others often state, “I must have slept wrong.”  I agree most often with the latter.  Lets examine this concept through a 24 hr window.

Let’s start with the moment you wake.  Side-lying all tucked up in a ball, protecting the vital organs, staying safe from the lions that live in the bedroom.  (Stomach sleepers, that’s another post.)

You feel just fine in this side-lying position, protected, warm well rested; yet the moment you attempt to come into an upright position you feel that strain begin in the low back.  Why would this strain the low back, that’s not a stretch in the tissue.  It may feel better to go back toward that forward bent position, take the load of the low back.  Okay go pee, grab a cup a joe, and if you are like me, have a seat, get the news for the day, blog a little, fb, twitter and all that.

Okay, here, now.  While you read this, I would venture to say you are seated, as most of the people I come across find  it a new concept to stand while at the computer workstation.  Seem like a familiar position?  Are your legs crossed, or feet flat on the floor?  Lumbar curve locked in or sagging the low back?  How many hours will you maintain this position today?  Hips flexed; deep hip flexors (psoas, iliacus) shortened.  At this point many of you may get up and take out the dog, go for a run/walk or do some sun salutations, smart move!

Many people report sleeping on their stomach to be a major contributor to acute neck and low back pain.  I would agree.  Looking at the mechanics involved, sustained rotation of the cervical spine (neck) may certainly cram the facet joints either open or closed, the AA joint which is responsible for approximately 45 degrees of cervical rotation will become irritated and ask the brain for some protective muscle guarding.  The low back will also become unhappy as a result of the gut sagging forward as the head is held up by a pillow, cramming the facet joints closed on the posterior side of the spine.  With this decreased space in the length of the low back, the muscles will shorten (Davis’ Law) and hold the pattern of a “tight” low back.  Never good.

As a manual therapist I recommend these people learn to modify their sleeping behavior.  But what is the best way to sleep, where do we go from here?

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Filed under Back Pain, body mechanics, Flagstaff Arizona massage, Flagstaff pain relief, hip pain, neck pain, Uncategorized

TAME THE PAIN WITH MASSAGE

Baby Your Back
TAME THE PAIN WITH MASSAGE

By Karrie Osborn

Download the story here..Baby_Your_Back

Anyone with recurring, unyielding back problems knows the beast that is called back pain. While most of us have experienced back pain that comes from overexertion or muscle pulls, the effects of back pain for many can be debilitating, excruciating, and life changing. Experts say back pain accounts for $100 billion in lost productivity and health-care costs each year and is one of the primary causes of work-related disability. Managing back pain can be a daunting and exhausting proposition. One natural avenue for finding relief is massage therapy.

Whether you’ve pulled a muscle in your yoga class or afternoon basketball game, or you suffer from long-term pain caused by an injury, back pain affects us all. In fact, when it comes to low-back pain specifically, researchers
say that 70–85 percent of the population will experience it at some point in their lives.
Unfortunately, the back pain numbers are growing. A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that the rate of chronic low-back pain has more than doubled in North Carolina since 1992 (from 3.9 percent in 1992 to 10.2 percent in 2006), a statistic the researchers say reflects what’s happening across the country.
Arizona-based massage therapist Geoffrey Bishop says approximately 95 percent of his clients come to him with some sort of back pain these days, while still other therapists report that nearly all of their massage clientele—from children to seniors to weekend warriors—experience this particular pain.

Obviously, the costs associated with back pain are also growing. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low-back pain alone, which is second only to headaches as the most common neurological ailment in the United States.

WHAT CAUSES THE PAIN?
Back pain is an especially debilitating condition because every movement your body makes depends on the spine functioning optimally. When back pain shows up, your whole body knows it, and sometimes exacerbates the problem by compensating in other ways to avoid the pain. It’s not unusual for sufferers to have secondary problems related to those compensation patterns.
Experts say the cause of back pain can be the result of several factors. High on the list is stress. Hunched over a keyboard, late on a deadline, bogged down in worry—many are familiar with this life. When our body is stressed, we literally begin to pull inward: the shoulders roll forward and move up to the ears, the neck disappears, and the back tightens in the new posture. “It’s an armoring effect,” says Angie Parris-Raney, a Denver-based massage therapist who specializes in deep-tissue massage and sports therapy. She says this natural response to pain can create more problems when left unchecked. “That protective mode, with the muscles in flex, can even result in visceral problems,” she says, where the pain also affects internal organs.

In addition to stress, poor posture, bad ergonomics, lack of exercise, arthritis, osteoporosis, a sedentary lifestyle, overexertion, pregnancy, kidney stones, fibromyalgia, excess weight, and more can spark back pain.
For the on-site clients Bishop sees at a manufacturing plant, the majority have some sort of back pain related to their work. While these workers have the option to sit or stand at their assembly station, Bishop says the repetitive motion they perform throughout their shift—with their arms and hands continuously extended forward—has most of them complaining of back pain. Fortunately, this employer has seen the value of massage for its employees and brought Bishop on as part of the company’s wellness program.
Bishop, who owns Stay Tuned Therapeutics in Flagstaff, says mechanics is the main cause of back pain that he sees in his practice. “It’s mechanics, including repetitive use and ignorance about preventative postures, and neglect by employers and employees to provide rest and recovery.” The past also plays a part, he says. “Old injuries and traumatic events, left untreated and unresolved, seem to dictate where stress lands in the back as well.”

View full story..Baby_Your_Back

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Filed under Back Pain, Flagstaff Arizona massage, Flagstaff pain relief, Forward Heads, neck pain

Upper Ribs, Shoulder Pain and Breathing Pt1

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Filed under body mechanics, Breathing, Flagstaff massage therapy, Flagstaff therapeutic massage, Myoskeletal Alignment, neck pain, pain management, shoulder pain

Dalton Webinar Night, Wed. April 21.

Join us for the fun and information.  We will be broadcasting on 8 ft screen at 6 pm, at the clinic.  403 West Birch Ave, Flagstaff, AZ. Drop me an e mail if you plan to attend.

A Special Pre-Conference Broadcast as our Gift to You: (click here to preview)

The 42 Pound Head: Fixing Funky Necks

The neck is burdened with the challenging task of supporting and moving the human head. Because of tension, trauma and poor postural habits inherent in today’s workplace, it comes as no surprise that neck disorders rank high among the most common pain generators driving people into bodywork practices. In this presentation you’ll learn how to look beyond the symptoms and treat the whole to correct dysfunctional neck posture, which is key in stopping degenerative joint disease, as well as pain from headaches, rib dysfunction, TMJ, and Dowager’s Humps.

Erik Dalton, Ph.D., shares a broad therapeutic background in massage, Rolfing® and manipulative osteopathy in his entertaining and innovative pain-management workshops, books and videos. Dalton is executive director of the Freedom From Pain Institute® and developer of the Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques®. Visit www.ErikDalton.com to read internationally published articles and subscribe to free monthly “Technique” e-newsletters

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Filed under body mechanics, Flagstaff Arizona massage, Flagstaff pain relief, neck pain, outreach

Snowstorm 2010

I have heard from many clients about the back pain, neck and shoulder they are having from the enormous amounts of snow that fell in Norther Arizona.  It seems as if many folks still have a lot of work to do to clean up.  Use caution.  Give yourself plenty of time to do the jobs.  Take breaks and drink plenty of water.  Wishing you all the best.  We’ll see you on the table.

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Filed under body mechanics, Flagstaff Arizona massage, Flagstaff pain relief, Myoskeletal Alignment, neck pain, shoveling

Foam Roller For Neck & Shoulder Pain

The Foam Roll

The popularity of foam rollers is huge right now.  Many people are simply using them for rolling the iliotibial band.  I feel foam rollers can be used for so much more than IT Band – Self Myofascial Release (ITB SMR).  This handy little tool can be purchased for around $20 in most towns or on line and requires no gym membership.

Lets look at techniques for the pectoral muscles.  I recommend these movements for my clients with forward head posture, upper cross syndrome, shoulder, neck and arm pain, and as a preventative measure for all clients.

We will use two forms of ‘muscle energy techniques’ in these movement patterns:

  • Reciprocal Inhibition/Reciprocal Innervation
  • Post Isometric Relaxation

Reciprocal Inhibition~Reciprocal Innervation (RI)

from wikipedia

René Descartes (1596-1650) was one of the first to conceive a model of reciprocal innervation (in 1626) as the principle that provides for the control of agonist and antagonist muscles. Reciprocal innervation describes skeletal muscles as existing in antagonistic pairs, with contraction of one muscle producing forces opposite to those generated by contraction of the other. For example, in the human arm, the triceps acts to extend the lower arm outward while the biceps acts to flex the lower arm inward. In order to reach optimum efficiency, contraction of opposing muscles must be inhibited while muscles with the desired action are excited. This reciprocal innervation occurs so that the contraction of a muscle results in the simultaneous relaxation of its corresponding antagonist.

The significance of Descartes’ Law of Reciprocal Innervation has been additionally highlighted by recent research and applications of bioengineering concepts, such as optimal control and quantitative models of the motor impulses sent by the brain to control eye motion.

Post Isometric Relaxation (PIR)

Immediately after isometric contraction, the neuro-muscular apparatus becomes briefly refractory, or unable to respond to further excitation. Thus, stretching a muscle immediately following its isometric contraction may incrementally restore range of motion.

Pectoralis Minor

Action~

R.I. Reach back with left arm, activating posterior shoulder and back muscles. Keep hips forward, limit trunk rotation. Gently push end of roller with right hand while maintaining your left arm reach to provide length to left Pectoralis Minor.  Hold 2 seconds, repeat 10 times or go for general improvement.

P.I.R. Using the angle depicted above, push with the right hand to first motion restriction, you should feel a slight stretch.  Maintain pressure with the right ‘push’ hand at the beginning phase of the stretch.  Gently, 20% effort, push back with the left hand against ‘stretch’.  Hold for 6-8 seconds.  repeat 3-5 times or again, go for general improvement.

C.R.A.C. If you really want to get fancy, try CRAC, Contract~Relax~Agonist~Contract, alternate between the two above procedures.  First reach back with left, stretch by pushing with the right.  2 second hold, then push with the left hand against pressure.  6-8 second hold.  Reach back again with left hand, 2 seconds and so on.

Pectoralis Major

By slightly changing the angle of the direction of force, you will manipulate a variety of tissue.  For the clavicular head of pectoralis major, reach straight back, attempting to keep the foam roll flat.  As you move through a variety of planes of movement, you will likely find where you most need extensibility.  Use the techniques and theory listed above to achieve optimal movement.

In looking at the terms reciprocal inhibition, versus reciprocal innervation, we can think about the intimate relationship of opposing muscle groups and movement patterns.  When there is a tight facilitated line in the body, there is likely a weak inhibited line as well.  Upper and lower crossed syndrome, as coined by Vladamir Janda in the 1980’s, and popularised in the bodywork profession by Erik Dalton, PhD. today, is epidemic in a vast majority of our population.  So what?  If we stretch the tight line can that help make the weak line stronger?

Structure before function.  Function before form.  That’s what. Here’s an example of a condition I see in my clinic often.  Young adult, middle aged or elder man or woman.  Forward head posture and shoulders rolled forward.  Pain at the base of neck, upper back and shoulder problems/difficulty reaching over head without mild to moderate pain.

The body simply can not continue to function, with out pain, if the structure is not ‘balanced’.  Head on neck, neck on shoulders, shoulders over the ribs, low back balanced on pelvis, pelvis balanced on legs, and so on down to the feet….which is a book in it’s self.   I digress.

Back to the shoulders.  Earlier we talked about ‘forward head posture‘.  Often times when we balance the body, head, neck, shoulders it will realign the way the arm, humerus, sits in the ‘shoulder’, glenoid fossa, allowing for external rotation, and quit clipping the tissue of the rotator cuff under the acromion.

More on that later…..if you are having neck, shoulder, and/or upper back pain give these movements a try, play around with your roller off the floor and be mindful of your posture.  Until next time…Stay Tuned…

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Filed under body mechanics, neck pain, pain management, shoulder pain