Category Archives: Acute injury

Can Massage Help Heal Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. The capsule that holds the bones, ligaments and tendons of your shoulder thickens and tightens around the joint causing a restriction in movement.  The symptoms start gradually, get worse over time, and include stiffness and pain in your shoulder joint. Some people might notice their pain getting worse at night when they are sleeping.

There are typically three stages of Frozen Shoulder:

  • Painful stage. This is the stage where pain and limited range of motion start.
  • Frozen stage. In this stage the pain might decrease and, unfortunately, your limited range of motion and stiffness gets worse.
  • Thawing stage. During the thawing stage, the range of motion in your shoulder begins to improve.

Massage can break up the holding associated with Frozen Shoulder. Massage incorporated with exercises and stretches a therapist can give you, will help you to be well on your way to recovery.

Some others things that have been known to help heal Frozen Shoulder:

  1. When lifting with just one arm, lift with your unaffected arm.
  2. When lifting with both arms, do not lift over your head.
  3. Ice your shoulder after heavy activity for up to but no longer than 15 minutes.
  4. Heat your shoulder by taking a shower or using a heating pack in the morning.
  5. Heat your shoulder, if you are not inflamed, before doing your exercises.
  6. Ice your shoulder several times a day when you are inflamed or in a lot of pain.
  7. Support your elbow with a pillow when you sitting and your arm with a pillow when you are sleeping so that gravity does not pull your shoulder down.
  8. In the first painful stage, don’t do something that causes pain. Be very gentle.
  9. Do the exercises you get from your treatment massage therapist every day. The improvement might seem slow but this is very important.
  10. Acupuncture has been known to be helpful with decreasing the pain and symptoms that come with Frozen Shoulder.

Thanks for taking the time and reading this post. If you have Frozen Shoulder, I hope you recover quickly. PJ Harri, LMP


What Can You Do for Whiplash?

whiplashIf you are in a motor vehicle accident and feel any of the symptoms listed below, get to a doctor immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself. You may have whiplash. Sometimes whiplash symptoms might not show themselves for over 24 hours or even for a few days. As I have stated before in previous posts, the sooner you get treatment, including massage, the greater your chance for recovery. Until you see a professional, make sure you ice several times a day to help keep the swelling down.

Whiplash isn’t only caused by motor vehicle accidents. It can be caused by anything that abruptly jerks the neck. I treated a client once who had whiplash due to falling down.

In most cases, cervical collars are a bad idea. They promote stiffness and do nothing more than remind you to not turn you neck. The sooner you can start turning your neck the better. Using slow movements and stopping when the pain gets too severe is better than full immobilization.

These are the most common symptoms of whiplash:
~Neck pain and stiffness
~Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
~Low back pain
~Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
~Ringing in the ears or blurred vision
~Difficulty concentrating or remembering
~Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue

The treatment massage work I suggest to do on clients in the first stage of whiplash includes: 
*Gently massaging the neck
*Gentle passive neck stretches
*Work on the torso with massage and stretches to free up the rib, cage, shoulders and arms
*All followed by icing for 10-15 minutes in the acute stage.

If you have any questions about the post material, feel free to ask in the comment section below. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.

How Soon After an Injury Should I Seek Treatment?

massage-LThat is the million dollar question. So many people who come to see me at my Seattle Treatment Massage practice, show up after they have had an injury for a while because the injury is not healing. By then the body has developed holding patterns and scar tissue in reaction to the injury. These issues can create more work for your massage therapist who has to help you break up your scar tissue and relax your holding patterns. This can lead to a longer time for your injury to heal.

 Holding patterns and scar tissue are the bodies way of protecting itself from further injury. While this can be helpful during your accident to possibly protect you from more traumas, it is important to slowly encourage your body to relax and heal so that you won’t continue to develop additional scar tissue and tighter holding patterns. Massage is the best way I know to help with this process.

It is important when you sustain a serious muscle injury to see your doctor and find out if you are in need of a prescription for massage. This is especially important in cases of a motor vehicle accident or a serious fall. I believe you increase your chance for a more speedy recovery from an acute injury if you can get treatment within 24-72 hours.

I had someone on my table not to long ago that had a serious fall and came to me the very next day. Her lower back was quite sore and she rated the pain an 8 on a 1-10 scale. She received that massage and another one two days later. She was amazed how much better she felt after receiving the massages. I believe if she would have waited a few weeks for her pain to “go away” and then come to me for massage, I would be writing a much different story. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris LMP

Can Massage Help Heal Tendinitis?

elbow2I am going to give you all a quick rundown of information regarding Tendinitis. This injury can be successfully treated with patience, diligence and even massage.

Tendinitis is inflammation (swelling) of the tendon. A tendon is the type of tissue that connects muscle to bone.

* Heat and swelling
* Referred pain
* Burning and/or sharp pain

* Repetitive motion, overuse
* Tendon/muscle weakness
* Poor posture
* Sprains or strains are often accompanied by Tendinitis

Four Types of Tendinitis (symptoms)
1. Painful after activity
2. Painful at the beginning, goes away during and then returns after activity
3. Painful beginning, during and after activity and might inhibit said activity
4. Painful with all activity and is getting worse

Treatment Tips
1. Ask your doctor to give you an actual diagnosis
2. Ice after activity
3. Rest from causing activity
4. Massage
5. Painless stretches given to you from a Health Practitioner
6. Strengthening exercises given to you from a Health Practitioner

Some believe that deep friction massage helps stimulate collagen production in the damaged fibers. Others believe that using massage to break up the scar tissue is the key to healing Tendinitis. Either way, massage is most beneficial in the treatment of Tendinitis. Don’t wait, get relief. PJ Harris, LMP

Do You Need Immediate Muscle Cramp Relief?

Do you ever get a muscle cramp in the middle of the night, during exercise, or other inconvenient times? You are not alone. Many of the clients at my Seattle Treatment Massage practice have a challenge with this.muscle cramp

I am going to teach you a trick that works like a charm for some muscle cramping. This trick works using the theory of reciprocal inhibition. What reciprocal inhibition is based on is the fact that every joint has synergistic and antagonistic muscles. Synergistic muscles perform the same action. Antagonistic muscles perform the opposite action. When a muscle is contracting the antagonistic muscles must relax. For example: When you flex your biceps, your triceps must relax. That is reciprocal inhibition.

So, keeping this fact in mind, stretch out the cramping muscle halfway and give the motion resistance with your hand or an object like the wall. For example: If your calf is getting a cramp, you would bend you ankle and bring your toes towards your head while you are creating a resistance at the top of your feet/toes. You should use gentle resistance and pressure. It doesn’t take much.

Another way to look at this is if you have a muscle cramp, do the muscle’s opposite action with resistance. For example: If you get a cramp in your hand while writing, you would put your fingers around the affected hand with the other hand and open your fingers. Opening your fingers is the opposite motion of the squeezing motion of using a pen. If the motion with resistance you are using is not working, you might be getting the theory backwards. Try doing the opposite.

Does that make sense? If not ask a question in the comment section regarding which muscle or action you are having a problem with and I will do my very best to describe how to use reciprocal inhibition to relieve your pain. Thank you for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.

Can I Receive Massage If I Have a Sprained Ankle?

You can receive massage if you have a sprained ankle. I highly recommend it, just not directly on the ankle. When you have an injury like a sprained ankle, massage canankle help with the muscle soreness that comes from using crutches and/or limping. Massage helps with circulation which in turn promotes healing. When you provide massage on one leg, the other leg will benefit because they share the same nerve trunk. The other leg will actually relax.

The practitioner needs to make sure:

*Your injured ankle is immobile and elevated
*Be very gentle when moving your leg
*Not massage on or too near the injury.

What if you are not sure you have a sprained ankle? If you have these symptoms you should definitely see a doctor:

*Inability to walk on the ankle
*Significant swelling (swelling can make the area hot or warm to the touch)
*Symptoms that do not improve quickly or persist beyond a few days
*Pain in the foot or above the ankle

If your symptoms are not that extreme your practitioner could attempt massage directly on the ankle. They should do so with EXTREME caution, being very gentle, and stopping if the pain increases.

Thanks for reading. PJ Harris, LMP

15 Quick Tips for Icing Injuries

In the spirit of the weather turning cold lets talk ice. It is one of the most effective treatments of injuries such as strains and sprains. We massage practitioners emphasize this until the cows come home. You hear us do this because it works. It makes all the difference in the world on how fast you will recover. Here are some ice tips:

  1. It is most important to use ice within 48 hours of injury.
  2. Do not use heat within 72 hours for it will promote swelling.
  3. If you use heat after 72 hours and you still have swelling, be sure to end with a session of ice.
  4. Use for up to but no longer than 10 minutes for thin tissue like ankles, feet, hands, wrists, elbow.
  5. Use for up to but no longer than 15 minutes for medium thick tissue like shoulders, mid back, neck, knees.
  6. Use for up to but no longer than 20 minutes for thick tissue like gluts, thighs, and calves.
  7. Make sure to leave 45 minutes to an hour between icing sessions.
  8. Let ice rest on injury keeping a thin layer of cloth between you and the ice.
  9. You can also massage an injury with ice. You don’t need a cloth layer but don’t let the ice rest on one spot.
  10.   Homemade ice pack option 1 is freeze a Ziploc baggie or hot water bottle filled halfway with 1 part rubbing alcohol and 2 parts water.
  11.   Homemade ice pack option 2 is a bag of frozen corn or peas.
  12.   Homemade ice pack option 3 is freeze a wet cloth the size of your choosing.
  13.   Homemade ice pack option 4 is a little paper cup with frozen water to perform ice massage on an injury.
  14.   When you are icing a limb, if possible, keep it above your heart while icing.
  15.   Any concerns make sure to call your health service provider!!

I encourage my Seattle Treatment massage clients to ice and have found the ones who do achieve better results. Thank you, PJ Harris LMP.