Tag Archives: Injury Treatment Approaches

What Can You Do to Relieve Hammer Toe Pain?

What is hammer toe?

The term hammer toe came from the way the toe hits or hammers on the floor with each step. Hammer toes are generally caused by a tendon imbalance in your toes and tight muscles in your feet. The discomfort from this and cramping in your toes can radiate to your entire foot and lower leg, and this might lead to posture and balance changes (affecting the way you walk). Often people will develop hammer toe from leaning too far forward causing the toes to grip the ground to keep them upright. People with hammer toe may also have difficulty finding comfortable shoes due to the pain they feel in their toes or feet.  The toe first affected will generally be your longest toe and will only affect your middle three toes.

There is conflicting beliefs in the medical community whether or not shoes might be part of the cause of hammer toe. Shoes that narrow toward the toe may make your forefoot look smaller, but I believe they also push the smaller toes into a flexed (bent) position. The toes rub against the shoe, leading to the formation of corns and calluses, which further aggravate the condition. A higher heel forces the foot down and squishes the toes against the shoe, increasing the pressure and the bend in the toe. Eventually, the toe muscles become unable to straighten the toe, even when there is no confining shoe. Also, the chances of getting hammer toe increases from 2-20% as you age.

What can you do?

SHOES and FOOTWEAR
Make sure your shoes are:
Properly sized
Low-heels
Adjustable
Lots of room in the shoe box
Made out of breathable and flexible materials
Avoid vinyl or plastic materials

Cushioning or supportive items such as straps, non-medicated felt pads, moleskin, splints, toe shields or caps protect and reposition your toe and relieve pain. Talk to your doctor, podiatrist or chiropractor about corrective footwear, orthotics or other foot devices. These can provide support and alignment (check to see if you wear out the soles of your shoes on one side) You should also avoid super-snug stockings, nylons and socks.

MASSAGE and PAMPER
Professional massage, physical therapy, foot manipulation and reflexology are so very good for hammer toe. You could also give yourself a gentle foot massage after vigorous activities or long periods of standing. To take care of your corns and calluses you can soak your toes in alternating warm and cold water baths; gently rub your corns or calluses with a pumice stone or nail file while your feet are in warm water.

EXERCISE
Exercises that stretch and strengthen your foot muscles and tendons keep your muscles balanced. Stretching your toes manually by taking each one individually and stretching them in all directions will help increase their flexibility. One exercise can be done by placing corks or foam separators between the toes and squeezing for 5-10 seconds, performing 10 repetitions. You can also use your toes to pick things up off the floor. While you watch television or read, you can put a towel flat under your feet and use your toes to crumple it. Another exercise involves stretching a thick rubber band around all five toes and stretching the band as wide as possible by flexing the toes outward. Repeat on each foot 10 times.

There you go folks, a lot of information about hammer toe. Believe it or not I pared it down. Thanks for reading PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

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 http://www.pjharris.com/

A Frequent Culprit of Shoulder and Upper Back Pain II

bad postureIn the original post “A Frequent Culprit of Shoulder and Upper Back Pain” we spoke to the issue of having a bound up Subscapularis and how that can pull your shoulders inward causing them to be rounded. There have been so many hits on that post. So, I thought I would write about another issue that is a culprit for medial shoulder rotation or rounded shoulders and sunken chest. I see so many people at my Seattle Treatment massage practice with this issue.back-bones-muscles

Often if you have a bound up or tight muscle pulling a joint in one direction out of alignment while you have another muscle on the other side letting it go. How does this happen? Usually, one of the muscles is weak and not pulling it’s weight, literally. Often with medial shoulder rotation the muscles that are weak are your upper back muscles.

 To help with upper back muscle strengthening I have posted videos of a few great exercises below. Always consult with your physician before doing any new form of exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

Remember if you want to get rid of pain and stiffness in your shoulders and upper back from sitting, standing, walking or sleeping with poor posture, you need to make sure your upper back is strong enough to correctly hold your frame. Thanks for reading this post and watching the videos. PJ Harris, 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
~Headaches
~Pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades
~Low back pain
~Pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand
~Dizziness
~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. http://www.pjharris.com/

Common Culprit of Wrist Pain

wrist flexorsDo you have frequent wrist pain? Do you spend a lot of time on the computer or playing video games? Do you do strength training but ignore your wrists?

You might be one of the many people who have wrist pain because they have tight wrist flexors. What are wrist flexors? They are the muscles on the inner side of your forearms and are responsible for bending your wrist inward. Most of the people who come to my Seattle Treatment Massage practice with wrist pain need work on their wrist flexors. Often the work I do in tight wrist flexors is Myofascial work. This will help stretch the wrist flexors and the connective tissue around them.

If you have tight flexors you could probably benefit from stretching them. Always check with your health practitioner before you try any new stretching exercise. Here are a few movements that can help you alleviate your pain:

 

AND

 

prayer-stretch

 Slowly move your hands and arms into this position breathe and hold for 20 seconds.

Many folks who do strength training have tight wrist flexors and weak wrist extensors. Make sure that you are strengthening the whole wrist in all four (up, down and both sides) linear wrist movements, especially if you work on a computer all day. Ask a personal trainer to help you with this.

There is a lot more we can say about the wrist, but that will have to wait for another post. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris LMP. http://www.pjharris.com/

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 http://www.pjharris.com/

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

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

Cause
* 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 http://www.pjharris.com/