Tag Archives: Pain relief

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/

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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

How To Give a Great Shoulder and Neck Massage

I spent quite a bit of time reviewing online how-to-videos for neck and shoulder massage. Before I share my favorites, I want to give you some quick tips about giving massage.

1. Start with asking them to take a deep breath.
2. Breathe regularly and relax and it will rub off on your massage recepient.
3. Start gentle and work slowly and only work to a quicker or firmer pressure if your recipient wants that.
4. Check in from time to time, asking if they would like more or less pressure.
5. Be especially careful when working around the spine. Don’t use too much pressure in this tender area.
6. Have them sit facing a table or turned around facing the back of their chair and put a pillow in front of them so they can relax into it and not hold themselves up.
7. If you can’t do number 6 then make sure you are not pushing them to far forward.

This list of neck and shoulder massage videos is in order of preference.

Thanks again for reading (and watching) PJ Harris, LMP http://www.pjharris.com/

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/

Can Massage Help Alleviate the Discomfort Associated with Arthritis?

handYes and most definitely, massage can help with alleviating the discomfort of arthritis. It is not a cure and will not stop the progression of this disease, but many find relief on the massage table.

The Arthritis Foundation list more than 100 forms of arthritis and related diseases exist affecting approximately 46 million Americans today. But first off, lets cover the two main types of Arthritis:

1.  Osteoarthritis is sometimes called degenerative joint disease and occurs when cartilage in your joints wears down over time. It can affect any joint in your body, though it most commonly affects joints in your hands, hips, knees and spine. Osteoarthritis typically affects just one joint, though in some cases, such as with finger arthritis, several joints can be affected.

2. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory form of arthritis that causes joint pain and damage. Rheumatoid arthritis attacks the lining of your joints (synovium) causing swelling that can result in aching and throbbing and eventually deformity. Sometimes rheumatoid arthritis symptoms make even the simplest activities — such as opening a jar or taking a walk — difficult to manage.

Here are some of the ways massage can ease the symptoms associated with inflammation and help improve the quality of life of someone affected by arthritis.

The benefits of massage include:
• increase in circulation
• increase in flexibility and mobility
• decrease in pain and inflammation
• relief of muscle aches and stiffness
• a sense of overall relaxation and wellness

Massage is just one of the ways sufferers of Arthritis can find relief. Ask your ND for some other tips. Thanks for reading, PJ Harris LMP http://www.pjharris.com/