So You Are Pain Free – Now What?

Those of you, who know us, know that we want to put you right, as quickly as we can and get you back to managing yourself. We believe taking responsibility for your own health and well-being is the only way to do it and we are just an aid to help you do that.

What we want to do here is help you avoid coming back to us too often. Whether it has taken you one or two sessions with us to become pain-free, or regular, frequent treatments over a period of months, many people ask us what’s next. For each of you there will be individual advice but it usually falls into these categories.

  1. Sleep and rest. Quite often, if you have been in pain, it will have interfered with your sleep. Good, deep restful sleep is vital for health and well-being as so many things happen during sleep: muscle and soft tissue repair, memory consolidation, boosting our immune system, regulating and releasing hormones such as cortisol (to help us wake up and be alert) and ghrelin and leptin (which regulate appetite) and dreaming. Proper sleep with help improve your pain threshold helping you to manage your pain better. To get the most from your sleep, it can be useful to set up a bedtime routine so your body begins to unwind and prepare for a deep sleep. Avoid phones, computers and tv last thing at night as the blue light may stimulate hormones that wake us up in the morning.
  2. Keep up your homecare advice. As part of your treatments with us, we will explore activities or patterns in your life that may be causing or contributing to your pain levels. You may not have been aware of these even being an issue. We will help you find real, quick and practical ways of changing or coping with those activities or patterns that are causing problems. This advice is aimed at helping you to remain pain-free and to enjoy your life.
  3. Get active and stay active. Our bodies were built to move, not stay in one position or one activity all the time. Find time in your day to fit in even a small amount of activity that you enjoy and can manage. Do it well, with warm-ups, cool-downs and stretches to stay injury-free, but you will begin to feel the difference in your muscles, joints and mood and also enjoy better sleep.  You would be a surprised at the benefit of a 20 min walk.
  4. Learn to relax and manage stress. Relaxing properly is a skill and one many of us don’t know or forget from time to time. Giving your body and mind adequate time to rest and relax is essential. Quite often if you cannot relax before bed your sleep will be disrupted or not restful, leaving you feeling fatigued in the morning. If you think you don’t know how to relax, try Yoga or meditation classes or a treatment like massage or reflexology. Any of these will introduce you to what it feels like to be relaxed, which will make it easier for you to find your own way back again. When you find ways that work, write them down and have the list somewhere obvious that you can turn to when you are stressed.
  5. Seek help before the pain returns. When your new habits are slipping, or are no longer working for you: when you feel that the stretches you have been given are no longer giving you relief, before you feel the pain returning, seek help. Don’t let yourself slip back to that level of pain. Listen to the signals and get treatment then. This will help you avoid the full level of pain you experienced before, keep you moving forward and in control. Ask yourself is there any extra stress recently? Have you been in one position or activity for long periods of time? Have you stopped doing your stretches and exercises? Are you sleeping well? Answering these questions will help you recognise why you have slipped back into pain and where you need to turn for help. At this point, treatments will help you get back on your feet quickly and will motivate you to do those things that have been working for you up to now.

And when you are pain-free and you have all these points working in your favour, it’s time to do the most important one of all…

6. HAVE FUN AND ENJOY YOUR LIFE!

Are You a Weekend Warrior?

Do you go from Zero to Hero? Are you a Weekend Warrior?

No! We are not asking if you run around at the weekend in chain-mail with a battle axe, but if you live a sedentary life Monday to Friday only to take on the world at the weekend – a long mountain hike, a race cross-country on your bike, redesigning your garden from scratch? If so, could you be doing yourself more harm than good?

Simple answer – yes!

Being sedentary during the work week especially if it is seated work, like desk work or driving, is allowing your body think that that is the norm and that static muscles are too.  When you then go for that long run or hill hike you are pushing your body beyond the normal limits it thinks it has, leaving you prone to injury.

There are simple ways to help avoid this, to be the Hero without the human weaknesses. By following these simple steps you will avoid injury, get more enjoyment from your activity, feel less stiff and sore after and generally be healthier.

  1. Spend just 2-3 minutes doing some gentle stretches each day after you have been static for long durations. This will allow your body come out of that position and recognise that it does not have to stay in that position.
  2. Take any opportunity to walk, even for a few minutes. Walk that flight of stairs, even just coming down, find a reason to walk around the office, walk to the shops, get off the bus a stop earlier. Every time you move allows your body to recognise its ability to be flexible.
  3. Do short stints of exercise during the week like a 10 minute brisk walk. Your body is well able to move and will respond positively to exercise. It doesn’t need to be much.
  4. Always do appropriate warm-up and cool-down for your chosen activity, to prepare and relax your muscles.
  5. Get a massage every once in a while, either a therapeutic massage or relaxation massage. Your body will relax and loosen up and settle into a more neutral position but also you will become more aware of your body and where you need to focus your stretches.
  6. Enjoy your weekends even more without falling back to Zero!

 

Looking forward to seeing all you Weekend Warriors when you charge in for your treatment. Please have consideration for the regular folk though and leave all weapons at home. They might be put off seeing an axe lying around.

 

Muscularskeletal Pain and Deep Tissue Massage

Muscularskeletal pain and myofascial pain are experienced locally in an affected area and sometimes distally from the source of your pain. This referred pain pattern can be experienced through the fascial network, trigger points or nerve impingement. The majority of these kinds of pain conditions throughout your body are the result of muscular imbalance due to poor posture, repetitive movements and compensatory patterns of movement from old injuries and scar tissue.
The aim of therapeutic deep tissue massage is to assess your posture and movements to determine your unique pattern of imbalances in your musculoskeletal-fascial system and to understand why this is the case. Treatment focuses on soft tissue release which frees and lengthens short and tight muscles and frees and shortens overstretched, painful, weak and inhibited muscles, as well as breaking down any scar tissue.
Once this is achieved, we focus on making you aware of your unique holding pattern and the reasons for it, like daily repetitive movements or old injuries and help you to rebalance your body. We demonstrate and recommend appropriate stretches and strength work and occasionally refer you to a movement educator to work more specifically on this area.
Repetitive movements and holding patterns build up over time. One we regularly see is hunched shoulders and a forward head posture from long hours at a computer. This often leads to upper back pain, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, thoracic outlet syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and migraines. Sometimes it affects the alignment of cervical vertebra and puts undue pressure on disks, leading to move severe conditions.
Occasionally, holding patterns are a left over from a previous injury, when weight had to be distributed away from an injured area for example. If this was not corrected at the time, this compensation pattern can continue and cause problems for you further down the line, as undue pressure is put through your supporting body parts. Equally, if an injury is not allowed to heal properly and helped to return to normal function, it can leave you with a pattern of weakness and a susceptibility to future re-injury.
Scar tissue from surgery or injury causes a unique set of issues. After injury, with proper rehabilitation, scar tissue can help restore strength and function but your body prioritizes repair over function. This means, left to its own devises, your body lays scar tissue in a multi-directional organisation, leaving a weak spot especially in muscle/tendon/ligament tissues. When aligned with the muscle/tendon/ligament tissue, scar tissue can create a strong link in the injured area that is unlikely to be re-injured.
Scar tissue adheres to surrounding tissue in an attempt to stabilize the injured area. Often this starts to cause a local pull, especially noticeable after abdominal surgery. The local pull can spread and your overall posture can be affected. Breaking down and realignment of this scar tissue is needed to allow your posture to return to normal and so reduce musculoskeletal pain in your overstretched, weakened and inhibited muscle groups.
Hands on massage and body work goes a long way towards helping reduce musculoskeletal pain but it works best in conjunction with re-training of your postural and movement habits. Because of that, we spend a significant amount of your treatment time re-educating you on this and working closely with specialized movement educators.