Tag Archives: Pain recovery

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
~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. 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/

What Is Chair Massage?

chair-massageA chair massage is a massage provided to the client while they are seated and fully clothed. Chair massages can vary in length. A massage therapist can help clients a lot with only five minutes in the chair. Some massage practitioners offer chair massage at their clinics, but most of the time you will see chair massage provided at an event or on-site situation. A chair massage and an on-site massage are basically the same thing. While I have seen practitioners use massage tables for an on-site event, the more common equipment used is a massage chair.

Some of the benefits of chair massage are:

*Instant relief of the stress created at your workplace
*Increase circulation
*Helps clear your mind
*Clear mind brings about more efficiency
*Decrease in the pain also created at your workplace including but not limited to; headaches, neck pain, and upper, mid and lower back pain.

Here is an interesting video by David Palmer about the history of chair massage.

I offer on-site chair massage through my massage practice. I think it is a wonderful way for people to get a sample of how I work. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

Core Strengthening Part 3 of 3

As stated in the last two week’s posts, core strengthening is not just limited to working your abdominal muscles by doing crunches. It also includes exercising other muscles that help stabilize and strengthen your back, trunk, pelvis and hips. In this three part series, I will be writing about three different muscles that I like to encourage my Seattle Treatment Massage clients to strengthen if I find they are weak. Strengthening these muscles is a great addition to any core workout program.

In the last two parts of the Core Strengthening Series, we talked about the hip flexors and the adductors. The final third section is really going to get to the core of the matter. I am referring to the blue pelvismuscles know as the pubococcygeus muscle or the PC muscles. This muscles is located between the pubic bone and the tailbone. The PC muscle and the pelvis make up the bowl that holds your internal pelvic organs. When this muscle is weak it can contribute to hip instability and incontinence in men and women. A strong PC muscle can also aid with child birth and prevention of pelvic organ prolapse.

To exercise the PC muscle, you must first be aware of this muscle. Awareness can be found by attempting to cut of the flow of your urine midstream. The muscle you feel clamping down is your PC muscle. It is important for men and women to have strong PC muscles. If you are having a hard time feeling your PC muscle, see if a health practitioner can help you.

Exercises strengthening your PC muscles are generally called Kegels. One way to do a Kegel is to squeeze and hold your PC muscle for as long as you can. You might feel your PC muscle start to weaken and other abdominal muscles take over. That is fine. With time you will get stronger and getting a little abdominal strengthening with this exercise can be an added bonus.

Another way to strengthen these muscles is to picture them tighten like an elevator climbing your pelvic muscles, tightening at the bottom and working your way up.

You can also just do repetitions. One thousand and one, one thousand and two- squeeze.  One thousand one, one thousand two – release. You can use Mississippis, if that is your counting preference.

This concludes the core strengthening series. I hope it has been helpful and thank you for reading. PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

Core Strengthening Part 1 of 3

Core strengthening is not just limited to working your abdominal muscles by doing crunches. It also includes exercising other muscles that help stabilize and strengthen your back, trunk, pelvis and hips. In this three part series, I will be writing about three different muscles that I like to encourage my Seattle Treatment Massage clients to strengthen if I find they are weak. Strengthening these muscles is a great addition to any core workout program.

The first core muscles we are going to talk about are the hip flexors. This muscle group consist of three muscles; the iliacus, psoas major and the rectus femoris. The responsibility of the hip flexors are to bring the thigh towards the abdomen. When these muscles are weak, the hips can tilt forward and contribute to an extreme curve in your lower back. This is commonly known as a sway back or lumbar lordosis. Someone with lumbar lordosis can have quite a bit of low back pain.

I am introducing you to two levels of exercises to help strengthen your hip flexors. Do the first level of exercises for a few weeks until you feel the front-upper part of your hips and thighs become stronger, then incorporate the level 2 exercise.

PHASE ONE Exercisepelvic tilt – Pelvic Tilt
1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
2. Starting by flattening your low back.
3. Tighten your buttocks and lift your hips up off the floor.
4. Lift until your lower back is totally flat on the floor and your hips are totally off the floor.
5. Breathe out when you lift your hips and breath in and lower your hips.
6. Start off with 10-20 of these depending on your strength.
7. Do this twice a day.
PHASE TWO Exercise – Single Leg Pelvic Tilt
This exercise is similar to the pelvic tilt exercise above. If this exercise is difficult for you go back and just do the Phase One exercise for a week more and then try again.
1. Lie on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
2. Starting by flattening your low back.
3. Raise your left foot a few inches off the ground.
4. Tighten the front of your right thigh and hip and lift your hip up off the floor.
5. Lift until your lower back is totally flat on the floor.
6. Breathe out when you lift your hips and breath in when you lower your hips.
7. Repeat with the other foot and opposite hip.
8. Alternate raising each foot, start off with 10-20  of these depending on your strength.
6. Do this twice a day along with the Phase One exercise.

The intention with strengthening these muscle is to help correct that forward pelvic tilt and bring more stability to your core so that your back gets some assistance with being upright and moving.

Stay tuned for next week and the second part in this three part series. We will learn about the adductors. Thank you for reading, PJ Harris, LMP.  http://www.pjharris.com/