Monthly Archives: April 2013

Shoulder Bursitis


What is shoulder bursitis?

Shoulder bursitis is an irritation or inflammation of the bursa in your shoulder. A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between tendons, bones, and skin.

How does it occur?

The shoulder bursa can get inflamed from repetitive motion of the shoulder. Shoulder bursitis often occurs in sports with overhead activities such as swimming, tennis, or throwing. It may also occur if you do carpentry work or painting.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include pain on the outer front side of your shoulder. Your shoulder may hurt when you lift your arm above your head. The outer side of your shoulder may become swollen and may at times feel warm.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will review your symptoms and examine your shoulder.

How is it treated?

To treat this condition:

Put an ice pack, gel pack, or package of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a cloth on the area every 3 to 4 hours, for up to 20 minutes at a time.
Take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, or other medicine as directed by your provider. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days.
Your provider may give you a shot of a corticosteroid medicine into your shoulder bursa to help with pain and swelling
Follow your provider’s instructions for doing exercises to help you recover.
How long will the effects last?

The length of recovery depends on your age, health, and if you have had a previous injury. A bursa that is only mildly inflamed and has just started to hurt may improve within a few weeks. A bursa that is significantly inflamed and has been painful for a long time may take up to a few months to improve. You need to stop doing the activities that cause pain until your shoulder has healed. If you continue doing activities that cause pain, your symptoms will return and it will take longer to recover.

When can I return to my normal activities?

Everyone recovers from an injury at a different rate. Return to your activities will be determined by how soon your shoulder recovers, not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment, the longer it will take to get better. The goal is to return to your normal activities as soon as is safely possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury.

You may safely return to your activities when:

Your injured shoulder has full range of motion without pain.
Your injured shoulder has regained normal strength compared to the uninjured shoulder.
How can I prevent shoulder bursitis?

Be sure to warm up properly and stretch your shoulder before such activities as throwing, playing tennis, or swimming. If your shoulder starts to hurt during these activities, you may need to slow down until the pain goes away.


Cervical headaches


Cervical headaches are related to issues in the neck; these are commonly caused by abnormalities or dysfunctions in the muscles, nerves and tissue in the neck; common examples of these include a stiff neck and tenderness in the neck.

Symptoms of cervical headaches

The most common symptom of a cervical headache is a dull ache and pain may be heightened when the head is moved.

Treating cervical headaches

Pain relief will usually ease the symptoms but other methods will usually be required to address the cause of the headache; these commonly include massage to ease tension in the muscles and tissue surrounding the neck, acupuncture and exercises to encourage good posture.

Ankle injuries


The ankle is a complex joint, which bears the weight of the whole body; consequently, pressure on the ankle joint is considerable and ankle injuries are common.

Types of injury

The most common types of ankle injury are sprains; fractures may also be common in some contact sports.


A sprain occurs when the ligaments surrounding a joint are stretched beyond their limits; this causes them to become damaged. Commonly, sprains are caused by going over on an ankle or changing direction too quickly. Sprains are common in sports such as football, running and hockey.

Symptoms of a sprain
The most common symptoms of a sprained ankle are pain and swelling. Often, a person who has sprained their ankle will have trouble bearing weight and may experience heightened pain when pressure is put on the affected ankle.

Treating a sprain
Most sprains heal quickly with rest, ice and medication to control pain and inflammation. Severe sprains may take a while to heal and will almost always benefit from physiotherapy; this will speed up recovery and strengthen the affected ankle joint.

Ankle fractures

Broken ankles are nearly always caused by a sudden change of direction, which causes the ankle to twist.

Symptoms of a fracture
The most common symptoms are pain and swelling; the affected area will also feel tender. If the fracture is more complex, the fracture may be visible as the bone may have broken the skin.

Treating an ankle fracture
The nature of the fracture will be determined by an x-ray. Initially ice will be applied to the area to reduce swelling; pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication will also be given. Treatment will be based on the extent of the injury and will usually involve immobilising the affected ankle using a splint and then a cast; minor fractures may not require this treatment and may heal quickly on their own. Crutches will generally be used to avoid the ankle bearing any weight. Surgery may be required in some cases; this will be needed if the alignment of the joint has been altered by the injury.

Recovering from an ankle fracture
Recovery may take a while if the fracture is complex; this will involve a long period of rest and physiotherapy; this will help to gradually build up strength in the ankle and increase flexibility and movement in the joint. Minor fractures may not require physiotherapy but exercise should be resumed gradually and only when the ankle has healed fully.

Preventing ankle injuries

The possibility of suffering an ankle injury can be significantly reduced by avoiding uneven surfaces and wearing suitable and supportive footwear. Maintaining a healthy and stable weight will also help to reduce pressure on the ankle joint. Regular exercise will keep the joints loose and therefore make them less prone to injury.

Runner’s Knee


The term ‘runner’s knee’ is used due to the fact that joggers and runners are commonly susceptible to knee pain due to the repeated impact caused by running on hard surfaces.

What causes runner’s knee?

The injury is caused by the kneecap becoming misaligned. Ordinarily the kneecap sits in a groove and moves up or down as the knee straightens or flexes, however if the kneecap is slightly out of place it can rub against the edges of the groove in which it sits. As the kneecap rubs in a misaligned position, the cartilage around and behind the kneecap can wear away. Occasionally there will be a build up of fluid which can cause the area around the injury to swell, causing discomfort.

Where are when might I feel the pain of runner’s knee?

The pain of runner’s knee can be felt either behind the kneecap itself or at the back of the knee, and may develop after undertaking physical activity. You may also experience a grinding sensation around the kneecap area.

How is runner’s knee treated?

In order to prevent runner’s knee, it is important to strengthen the muscle which helps to hold the kneecap in position. This muscle is called the quadriceps, which aligns the kneecap to the centre of the groove.

What exercises will help runner’s knee?

While sitting, extend the legs in front of you keeping your heels on the floor. Tighten the thigh muscles and hold for a count of ten, before relaxing for a count of three. Repeat 10 times, several times a day.

Lying flat on your back, bend one knee to a 90 degree angle, while keeping your foot flat on the floor. While keeping it straight, lift the right leg to the level of the left knee. Hold while you count to three, then lower and repeat 10 times before chancing sides.

While sitting or lying on the floor, keep one leg straight and raise the foot around six inches up off the floor, holding for five seconds. Then lower the foot back to the floor. Repeat ten times.
Is there anything else I can do to prevent runner’s knee?

The jarring motion of running on roads and tracks can aggravate runner’s knee, and therefore it is important to wear good quality running shoes with adequate support. Running on softer surfaces such as grass can ease the symptoms and further prevent runner’s knee.


Runner’s Knee Exercises

Wall squat with a ball: Stand with your back, shoulders, and head against a wall. Look straight ahead. Keep your shoulders relaxed and your feet 3 feet from the wall and shoulder’s width apart. Place a soccer or basketball-sized ball behind your back. Keeping your back against the wall, slowly squat down to a 45-degree angle. Your thighs will not yet be parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly slide back up the wall. Repeat 10 times. Build up to 2 sets of 15.

Knee stabilization: Wrap a piece of elastic tubing around the ankle of your uninjured leg. Tie a knot in the other end of the tubing and close it in a door at about ankle height.

Stand facing the door on the leg without tubing and bend your knee slightly, keeping your thigh muscles tight. Stay in this position while you move the leg with the tubing straight back behind you. Do 2 sets of 15.

Turn 90 degrees so the leg without tubing is closest to the door. Move the leg with tubing away from your body. Do 2 sets of 15.
Turn 90 degrees again so your back is to the door. Move the leg with tubing straight out in front of you. Do 2 sets of 15.

Turn your body 90 degrees again so the leg with tubing is closest to the door. Move the leg with tubing across your body. Do 2 sets of 15.

Hold onto a chair if you need help balancing. This exercise can be made more challenging by standing on a firm pillow or foam mat while you move the leg with tubing.

Resisted terminal knee extension: Make a loop with a piece of elastic tubing by tying a knot in both ends. Close the knot in a door at knee height. Step into the loop with your injured leg so the tubing is around the back of your knee. Lift the other foot off the ground and hold onto a chair for balance, if needed. Bend the knee with tubing about 45 degrees. Slowly straighten your leg, keeping your thigh muscle tight as you do this. Repeat 15 times. Do 2 sets of 15. If you need an easier way to do this, stand on both legs for better support while you do the exercise.

Standing calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about eye level. Keep your injured leg back with your heel on the floor. Keep the other leg forward with the knee bent. Turn your back foot slightly inward (as if you were pigeon-toed). Slowly lean into the wall until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times. Do this exercise several times each day.

Clam exercise: Lie on your uninjured side with your hips and knees bent and feet together. Slowly raise your top leg toward the ceiling while keeping your heels touching each other. Hold for 2 seconds and lower slowly. Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.

Iliotibial band stretch, side-bending: Cross one leg in front of the other leg and lean in the opposite direction from the front leg. Reach the arm on the side of the back leg over your head while you do this. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat 3 times and then switch legs and repeat the exercise.

Football – Sports Massage

Hamstring strain

Massage sessions for a hamstring strain will always start with effleurage exercises; these will help to warm up the muscles and increase circulation. This will involve gentle stroking movements around the affected muscle. Movements should always go upwards towards the heart in order to keep to the direction of blood flow. Following this, petrissage or kneading techniques will be used to loosen the muscle; these exercises usually last for about 5 minutes. After this, more intensive movements will be made using the friction and stripping methods; these methods use touch to feel the muscle and apply pressure to the affected muscle.

Benefits of massage for hamstring strains

Massage helps hamstring strains to heal by loosening the injured muscle and increasing circulation.

Muscle and joint imbalance

Most footballers use one foot much more often than the other; this often leads to greater muscle strength in the preferred leg which can contribute to problems with balance, posture and movement. Massage can help to improve the range of movement in the joints and loosen muscles which can increase flexibility; this will reduce imbalances and decrease the likelihood of suffering an injury.

Groin strain

Groin strains are extremely common in football and usually result from a sudden change of direction or reaching for a pass. Massage can help to release tension in the surrounding muscles and increase blood flow to the area; this will speed up the healing process. Massage should be carried out once the acute symptoms have worn off.

Prevention of injury

Massage is not just used by footballers to speed up the recovery process following an injury; it is increasingly used as a preventive measure. Sports massage increases circulation and muscle tone, which enables the joints and muscles to move freely; massage reduces tension in the muscles and encourages recovery. Effective recovery time and a conditioned body both prevent injury occurring in subsequent exercise sessions.


The Importance of Massage for Dancers

Dance can be an extremely physically demanding activity; training, rehearsals, and performances are physically intensive. Also all our daily activities put our body through stresses; sitting for long periods, driving or working on computer creates tension in the body and physical activities such as running or going to the gym can be physically demanding. Every day life stresses, emotions mental stress all affect our physical self.

The demand for sports massage and other massage therapies are increasing and becoming more recognised as a skill that enhances our overall well being. Due to intensive training, hectic schedules and stresses of every day life we are more prone to overworking our bodies and may suffer from muscle imbalances and overuse injuries. Physical tension in our body can have a negative affect on our mental and emotional well being so releasing excessive tension can enhance our mental health and promote relaxation and a sense of calm.

Overuse Injuries in Dance

Overuse injuries occur because muscles are worked hard during training, rehearsal or performance and are not rested fully. In the next class, rehearsal or performance the muscles are not fully recovered from the last session. It is as important to have a high quality recovery practice to maintain wellbeing and enhance your true potential. Overuse is the most common cause of muscular imbalances and injury in dance. If these are not noticed early on they can impair performance or worse can lead to chronic injures.

Recovery From Physical Activity
Instinctively the body heals itself it performs the recovery process through circulation of the blood flushing out waste products that build up in the muscles during intense physical activity. It provides nutrients and repairs any tissue damage however this process takes time and a rest period is necessary. Dancers’ schedule often makes this required rest period very difficult to achieve. Massage is a safe and effective method of speeding up the recovery process.

Benefits of Massage for Dancers:

Massage aids and speed up the body’s natural recovery process
Massage helps prevent injury
Massage enhances performance by releasing muscular tension
Massage aid the healing process with minor soft tissue injuries

Massage can be an integral element to a dancers training or work schedule. If the dancer of company can budget for it, massage sessions by a qualified therapist can be programmed into training, rehearsal and performance schedule. However understanding time and money restraints dancers’ face I suggest learning and practicing simple self massage techniques as this can benefit dancers greatly.


Tailbone Injury

What is a tailbone injury?

The tailbone (or coccyx) is the small bone at the lower end of the spine. It is usually injured in a fall onto a hard surface, such as ice or stairs. The pain usually is due to bruising of the bone or stretching of the ligaments. Tailbone injuries can be diagnosed by finding tenderness of the bone located in the upper part of the groove between the buttocks.

Fractures (breaks) of the tailbone are rare and they heal fine, so an X-ray is unnecessary for this injury. Dislocations of the tailbone are also rare but they need to be put back in place by a doctor.

How can I take care of my child?

A bruised tailbone will usually hurt for 3 to 4 weeks. Apply a cold pack or ice bag for 20 minutes right after the injury. Repeat every hour if it helps. Give your child ibuprofen (Advil) for 2 or 3 days. Ibuprofen usually gives more relief for muscle and bone pain than acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Sitting down for long periods of time will be painful. Sitting on a large rubber ring or a cushion placed forward on the chair will take pressure off the tailbone. A heating pad may also help after the first 48 hours.

Sometimes stools will cause some discomfort. Temporarily give 1 or 2 tablespoons of mineral oil twice a day. Call your healthcare provider if the pain is severe.68551_10152170717454240_1523352715_n

Bell’s Palsy


Bell’s Palsy

What is Bell’s palsy?

Bell’s palsy is a weakness or paralysis of a facial nerve. There is a facial nerve on each side of the face. The facial nerves control movement of the muscles of expression. When one of the nerves is weak or paralyzed, that side of the face droops and it may be hard to smile. You may also have trouble closing the eye on that side.

How does it occur?

The cause of Bell’s palsy is not known. A common theory is that a virus may make the nerve swell. The nerve is then squeezed against the bony canal it passes through from the brain to the muscles of the face. When this happens, the nerve can no longer control the facial muscles. The muscles become weak or paralyzed and you lose part or all control of the muscles.

What are the symptoms?

The first symptom may be an ache behind the ear on the side of your face that is affected. Then that side of your face will become weak or paralyzed. The paralysis usually starts in the lower part of the face.

Other possible symptoms are:

watery eye
one eye won’t close completely
decreased taste
a change in hearing
trouble smiling with one side of your mouth
trouble drinking or chewing
slurring of your words when you talk.
The severity of Bell’s palsy can vary from mild weakness to complete paralysis of one side of the face.

Symptoms may develop within a few hours or over a couple of days. The faster the symptoms happen, the more severe the weakness or paralysis is likely to be.

See your healthcare provider right away if your symptoms develop quickly, for example, in 30 to 60 minutes. Your provider will want to make sure that you are not having a stroke. Long-term damage or death from a stroke may be prevented if the stroke is treated within the first 3 hours after you start having symptoms.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and examine you. Your provider will need to make sure that something else isn’t causing your symptoms, such as an injury, stroke, or tumor. You may have a hearing test or brain scan. Electrical testing of the facial nerve may be done to see how much the nerve is damaged.

How is it treated?

Your provider will prescribe steroid medicine, such as prednisone. Antiviral medicine, such as acyclovir, may also be prescribed. The 2 medicines taken together may do a better job of preventing permanent effects.

Using a steroid for a long time can have serious side effects. Take steroid medicine exactly as your healthcare provider prescribes. Don’t take more or less of it than prescribed by your provider and don’t take it longer than prescribed. Don’t stop taking a steroid without your provider’s approval. You may have to lower your dosage slowly before stopping it.

Physical therapy, including exercises and massage, may help you keep some muscle strength and flexibility as you wait for the symptoms to go away.

Rarely, when the paralysis is severe, surgery may be done to try to relieve pressure on the nerve.

If the eye on the affected side does not close completely, it needs to be protected from problems such as dust and getting too dry. Patching the eye or using eyedrops or eye ointments can protect the eye. If the eye is not protected, you could lose vision in that eye.

How long will the effects last?

If you have at least some muscle movement while you have Bell’s palsy, you have a good chance for a complete recovery. If you have complete paralysis—that is, no movement of the facial muscles at all—you will probably not get back full muscle movement.

Even mild cases of Bell’s palsy can last several weeks. It may be months before you know how much muscle control you will recover.

It’s rare to have Bell’s palsy more than once. If you have facial paralysis again, another problem may be causing it and you should get it checked right away by your healthcare provider.

How can I help take care of myself?

Acetaminophen or nonprescription anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen may help decrease your pain. NSAIDs may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take NSAIDs for more than 10 days for any reason.
Relaxation techniques, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, or biofeedback training may help. Ask your healthcare provider about your particular situation.
Gentle facial massage may help you get back more muscle movement as you recover.
Mild heat or cold packs used for 15 to 20 minutes 3 to 4 times a day may also help lessen discomfort. Never put ice directly on your skin. This could cause frostbite to the area.
If your eye is not closing completely, keep it moist. Some things that might help your eye from becoming too dry are:
Use artificial tears when you are awake to replace normal moisture in the eye.
Use eye lubricant ointment when you are sleeping. The ointment may be used also when you are awake if artificial tears don’t give enough protection. However, the ointment may temporarily blur your vision.
Wear eyeglasses or a shield to protect the eye. Wear eyeglasses with tinted lenses or sunglasses when you are in direct sunlight.
Take extra care to keep your eye moist when you are working on a computer. People tend to blink less often while at a computer. If your eye is dry and not blinking completely, this can be more of a problem. Keep eyedrops handy. You can also use the back of your index finger to blink your eye manually.
Food particles can lodge between the gum and cheek, so be especially careful to clean your teeth, gums, and mouth.
Get a lot of rest.

Good posture was impressed upon us



When you see this picture you might assume that the curvature in the spine does not refer to you. Perhaps you think of it as an ‘old person’s’ malady, with a curvature signature to many people as they age. As a massage therapist looking to solve pain issues, this hyper-kyphosis is commonly seen in younger and younger generations, including teenagers.

Slouching, forward head posture and rounded shoulders from carrying heavy backpacks, studying, looking down at gadgets for long periods of time, and just trying to ‘look cool’ can wreak havoc on the cervical and thoracic spine. The prolonged slouching and bad posture creates an over stretching of the middle back muscles as they are too weak to handle the forces from the front.

Painful trigger points develop in these weak areas. Headaches, neck stiffness, and back spasms often ensue.

It’s okay to tell your kids, “Sit up straight!” They may think you’re nagging but good habits need to start early!

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