Frozen shoulder (also known as adhesive capsulitis) is a poorly understood condition where movement in the shoulder causes great pain and is eventually restricted by inflammation and scar tissue. Similar to CTS, it is often treated with drugs, physical therapy, and possible surgery.
Surgery can release the restrictions inside the joint, but creates MORE of the scar tissue and inflammation that caused the problem in the first place. Drugs and physical therapy are focused on treating the symptoms, and may not target the root causes of the restrictions. However, massage treatment for frozen shoulder is focused on reducing scar tissue through gentle joint manipulation and deep connective tissue work. A therapist moving the shoulder while the client is relaxed- passive motions- can often get more movement than the client can actively. While painful, this often helps improve joint health by gently breaking up scar tissue, and encouraging movement and decreased viscosity of the synovial or joint fluid.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by overuse of the forearm muscles which results in swelling and scar tissue in the wrist. Doctors often proscribe muscle relaxers, physical therapy, or even surgery for this condition.
Massage helps CTS by breaking up knots and trigger points in the forearm, breaking down scar tissue in the wrist, and promoting good blood flow throughout. Muscle relaxers are a temporary fix, at best- you release the tight muscles without addressing any of the other problems. Physical therapy can help to some degree, but is mostly focused on strengthening other muscles to shift the burden, and is largely self directed, which can lead to over- or under- training. Surgery can open the carpal tunnel, but creates MORE of the scar tissue and inflammation that caused the problem in the first place.
Plantar Fasciitis is essentially a tendonitis. The arch of the foot is supported largely by a wide band of connective tissue along the underside called the plantar (bottom) fascia (connective tissue). Tension thru the band helps keep the bones of the feet from falling to the ground. Pronation (rolling “in”) or supination (rolling “out”) of the foot changes the tension thru the band as well as the position of the bones it supports and connects. If you habitually roll your feet- because of poor posture, weak foot muscles, unbalanced calf muscles, etc- this can stretch the fascia.
While some stretching of the fascia is inevitable with use, continual stretching can cause the body to react as to an injury. Swelling occurs, and the body starts laying down adhesions to support the ‘injured’ area. Repeating this process over and over lays down more and more adhesions which eventually cohese into scar tissue. Scar tissue is not as flexible as connective tissue, and is much more sensitive. Pain begins to affect the gait, and this causes even more swelling as the fascia is stretched in a new direction. In extreme cases, bone spurs begin to form as tension affect bone growth, and the body attempts to shorten the fascia itself.
Massage can help plantar fasciitis in several ways. Relaxing and balancing the calf muscles can reduce pull on the bones of the feet and help relieve stress on the fascia. If scar tissue has already begun to form (as is usually the case when pain causes the need for treatment), massage can help break it down. This reduces sensitivity and helps realign the bones. Postural realignment of the entire body can also help reduce pronation or supination of the feet. Massage can NOT remove bone spurs, but once the fascia is relaxed, bone spurs will stop growing.
Chronic Low Back Pain
Back Spasms or Chronic Low Back Pain-
There are several causes of back spasms and low back pain. Most commonly, poor body mechanics lead to muscles being over used, or used incorrectly. At Essential Therapy, we work to not only release your back, but also to help you correct body mechanics through stretching “homework”, postural assessments, and suggestions for ergonomic improvement of your workspace.
Massage for back pain can help eliminate micro spasms that you may not feel by encouraging proper blood flow, and stimulating the ‘emergency override’ nerves that tell your muscles to relax. Therapists at Essential Therapy can also tell you if the problem is in your core muscles or hip flexors- common problems for people who sit at a desk for large portions of the day.
PLEASE NOTE: if you have a sudden increase in pain or pain down the legs with sneezing or coughing, or if it started suddenly after heavy lifting or twisting, you may have injured the disks in your spine. SEE A PHYSICIAN immediately if you notice these symptoms. If you cannot get to a physician, ice the area and rest on your back with support under your knees until you can.
Scar Tissue – You Don’t Have to Live With It- See our Blog Here!
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