Blog - Northwest Pain Relief Centers in Washington and Alaska, USA

The Importance of Stretching

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The importance of stretching

The Importance of Stretching

Among the methods applied in sport training, one that has been used more and more lately is stretching. The word, English in origin, is used as such in many other languages and it comes from the verb to stretch (meaning, in this sense, ‘to make your arms, legs and body as straight as possible so that your muscles become long and tight’). More exactly, we talk about stretching the muscles, the joints, the tendons, the ligaments, etc.

Even before the term itself and the specific methods gained individuality, stretching was used a lot, especially in sports or activities which require a very good mobility of the joints and special muscle suppleness (gymnastics, martial arts, ballet, etc.). The positions specific to hatha yoga were a source of inspiration for the different movements practiced in stretching, but these positions underwent many transformations, adaptations and simplifications.

The most important effect of stretching is suppleness of muscles and joints, which enables increased effectiveness during the training. There are different opinions about the exact time when stretching should be introduced in the training program.

Thus, there are authors who support the idea that stretching is indicated for both warming up and relaxation, and even for the main part of the training. On the other hand, there is the opinion that stretching must be done only in the relaxation faze, because the movements that are specific to it induce a state of relaxation that you do not want at the beginning of the training. This state comes as a result of maintaining the passive faze of the positions.

Anyway, everybody agrees that stretching needs to be anticipated by general warming up, this way the practitioner will avoid tightening of the muscles.

General warming up takes about 5 minutes and it contains aerobic exercises. Stretching muscles that have not been warmed up might be dangerous for the integrity of the muscle fibers, which could rupture easily.

Both weight and resistance training should include stretching; the effectiveness will only increase once this type of movement is done during training.

Another reason for higher effectiveness is the fact that a bigger number of motive units are involved in the movement and they are mobilized faster once the volitional order is transmitted, through the motive impulse, to the muscles. Given the fact that the range of the movements is larger, the sportsman can cover bigger distances, larger scopes, saving, at the same time, energy, which is important especially in very demanding sports (athletics, canoeing, etc.).

You can have a whole training only with stretching exercises. However, this is not advisable: the muscles will quickly get used to only relax, without contracting, which can produce a certain misbalance.

Another possible negative effect of exaggerated stretching movements (over the physiological limit of a joint) is laxity of the joints or even accidents like sprains, dislocations, tightening of ligaments or tendons, etc.). The main joints (knee, shoulder, elbow, etc.) are protected not only by their own mobility, but also by the elasticity of the muscles which surround them (periarticular).

In conclusion, stretching must be accompanied by other forms of training so that the sportsman will have a complete and secure fitness program.


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What you should know about massage therapy

What Should You Know About Massage Therapy

What should you know about massage therapy? Well apart from it being able to help relieve sore muscles, a few other things like what are the different types, what are the risks, if there are any side effects and whether or not it should substitute conventional medicine.

For starters, there are more than 10 types being used to date. Some examples of these include reflexology, shiatsu, back massage, Thai, hot stone, deep tissue, aromatherapy and Swedish.

There are only a few serious risks with regards to massage therapy and this can be avoided if you take the proper precautions. The best thing to do will be to consult with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to see a masseuse.

Patients who have the following conditions should not undergo massage therapy. These include deep vein thrombosis that happens to be a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in the legs, a bleeding disorder or taking blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin, damaged blood vessels and weakened bones from osteoporosis, a recent fracture, or cancer.

You also should get a massage if you have a fever, have an open injury, been diagnosed with a tumor, have damaged nerves, have an infection or acute inflammation.  Certain conditions could also be dangerous if you decide to have a massage. These include pregnancy, cancer, fragile skin, heart problems, dermatomyositis and a history of physical abuse.

There are certain side effects associated with massage therapy. These include temporary pain or discomfort, bruising, swelling and sensitivity or allergy to massage oils.

Massage therapy should not be used a substitute for regular medical care. If your doctor tells you that you can see a specialist, do some research about the person.

You should check on their credentials or licenses, years of experience and training.  If you need massage therapy to help cure medical condition, find out beforehand if they have specialized training in this field.

It wouldn’t hurt to also ask if they use other CAM practices aside from massage therapy to help their patients. Some examples of these include the use of herbs and requiring the patient to go on a special diet.

If everything checks out, then this is the time you find out how many treatments will be needed, the cost and if this will be covered by your insurance. In most cases, this will not be honored. Some people may even ask for a free ten-minute test to see how well they perform.

Part of the criteria should include giving you privacy when you change, he or she covers your body for modesty and warmth, inquires before beginning the session what part of the body you want worked on, asks for feedback as to how they are doing and accommodates requests for less or more intense pressure.

The best part about massage therapy is that it can provide relief without the need to ingest pain killing drugs and knowing some facts about it is good so you know what you are getting yourself into once you visit the place. You can read more about this by doing some research which isn’t bad even if you just go for a session to relieve some stress or pain and not have to visit because of a medical condition.


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Your Spinal contour and good posture

Your Spinal Contour and Good Posture

Spinal contour

Either you are sitting, standing, working, sleeping or relaxing; your back spine is most comfortable in what is called a neutral posture. The neutral posture is a position about halfway between full bending and arching.

Your neutral back spine has three natural curves: the inward curve at the neck (cervical lordosis), the outward curve at the upper back (thoracic kyphosis), and finally the inward curve at the low back (lumbar lordosis).

The neutral spinal curves differ in shape from person to person. Neutral spinal curves can change for the better with exercise and training; And sometimes for the worse with injury, aging, poor posture habits or a disease.

The amount of curving in your spine when you are in a neutral posture determines your support needs. A spinal support product should be deep enough to support your particular curves without pushing beyond your neutral postures. Meaning it should feel natural and not too arched; you should also feel supported; meaning there must not be a gap between you and the support.

Good posture

Time and again some people still have back pain while sitting with a back support. That is because there are three main components to back spinal pain: movement, load & Posture. Movement refers to the effect of excessive or inadequate motion on the body’s circulatory and neuro-musculo-skeletal system; Load is the weight one puts through one’s back spine; Posture refers to the curve of the back spine.

Unfortunately, not everybody can avoid back and neck symptoms by correcting their posture. Cushions can only improve one’s Posture, not necessary take away all the pain.

If you show signs of any of the following symptoms, you might need more than good posture support from your spinal care product.

1) Impaired tolerance for upright postures (weight-bearing loss)

2) Inability to stay in one posture, even a good neutral posture, for prolonged periods of time (constrained posture intolerance)

3) Discomfort when furniture or supports come in contact with your body (pressure intolerance)

If a good posture can reduce or help you to control your back or neck symptoms, a trained product consultant can help you find the best product fit. If a good posture cannot do that, you should talk to your Chiropractor. In some cases, a comprehensive fitting evaluation might be necessary.


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4 Easy ways to relieve headaches

4 Easy Ways to Relieve Headaches

Having headache is annoying and sometimes it is difficult for us to avoid. Mostly when we are under pressure, headache appeared automatically. If it gets worse, we might faint due to the pain we felt.

A headache is a condition of mild to severe pain in the head. It can also attack at our upper back or neck. There are different types of headache, but most of the time headache brought on by stress, too long in front of computer, noise and others.

One of the main causes of headache is tension in the muscles of the neck, scalp and jaw. We usually deal with it by taking some sleep or consume over-the counter aspirin to release our pain. However, can we do this at any place?

Obviously, we cannot sleep at the office or at the mall. In addition, we might run of aspirin when headache strike us.

Do not worry! The easiest way to handle headache and we can do it everywhere is through massage. Massage is the practice of applying pressure or vibration to the soft tissues of the body, to heal injury, relieve psychological stress, manage pain, improve circulation and relieve tension.

When we suffer from headache, we can help ourselves with self-massage. Simple and everybody can do it, either at work or home.

Here are four easy ways in massage to heal our headache.

  1. Eyes Area Massage – Close your eyes. Place your middle fingers to your eyes that are above cheekbones. Massage that area gently but firmly in circular motion for 1 minute,
  2. Eyes to Nose Massage – Using thumb, go along the underside of eyebrows (along the bone on top of eye socket). Feel where this bone meets the bridge of your nose and eyes and find a point where there is a small indentation. Very gentle pressure, press your thumbs into the points. You can do it four times by holding and press that area for 10 seconds in each press.
  3. Neck Massage – Massage a point where you can feel it by moving the middle fingers of your hands to the back of your head and feel the base of your skull. Specially, at the tops of your neck that meets the base of your skull. Massage for a minute using finger tips gentle in circular movement.
  4. Scalp Massage – Let your palms of your hands massage your scalp on the top of your skull for a minute gently.

Once you have done all those massages, start taking a deep breath. Lift your shoulders towards your ears for five to 10 seconds to relief remaining pain, and then let them drop back down into their natural position.

You are going to feel better when you can do that for a couple of times. Your massage will relief your headache and your head will feel less weighty.


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Is Lower Back Pain a Barrier to Your Fitness Routine?

Regular exercise is an important component of any balanced, healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, for many people chronic lower back pain makes exercise-or just about any other type of activity-painful and sometimes impossible.

Lower back pain affects each of us at some point in our lives and is one of the leading causes for physician visits. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), approximately six million Americans each year see their physician because of lower back pain, and nearly 500,000 require hospitalization.

However, as medical professionals learn more about the causes and effects of chronic back pain, their approaches to treatment are changing. For example, fewer doctors prescribe bed rest. Not only can that course of treatment result in stiff or weakened muscles, but physical inactivity can lead to more serious long-term problems, such as weight gain, heart disease and diabetes. Today’s patients have a range of treatment options, with most encouraging at least some type of physical activity.

Experts say that moderate exercise, three to five times per week, will not only improve overall fitness but will also decrease the likelihood of further back injury. Here are a few tips from the North American Spine Society and The Physician and Sports medicine Journal to help get you back to a regular exercise regimen:

Use physician-approved stretches to loosen the lower and upper back and related muscles, including hamstrings and quadriceps.

Strengthen muscles that support the back and work to improve the back’s flexibility.

Do exercise with proper form to maximize benefits and minimize strain.

“We always try to perform treatments that help patients maintain and even increase their level of activity. A person in good physical shape is much less likely than an inactive one to injure their back during work or daily activities,” says Nagy Mekhail, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of the Department of Pain Management at the Cleveland Clinic. “Healthy living means lower-back-pain sufferers see better results. Those who cannot be active take longer to recover.”

When lower back pain interferes with daily activities and exercise, patients should consult a physician to learn more about their condition and treatment options.

For some patients, nonoperative therapeutic treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and physical therapy may provide relief. For others, lower back pain can be traced to the slow degeneration of the vertebral discs, a condition known as chronic “disc-related or disco genic” lower back pain. With age or injury, cracks and fissures may develop in the wall of the disc. Small nerve endings find their way into the cracks causing chronic pain. Patients with this type of pain may benefit from aggressive procedures such as spinal fusion and disc replacement surgery or minimally invasive approaches, such as the Intradiscal ElectroThermal Therapy procedure.

Clinical studies indicate that 60 to 80 percent of IDET procedure patients achieve a 50 percent reduction in lower back pain following the procedure. Studies also show that patients require less medication after the procedure to manage pain, and are more likely to return to work.


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Back Support Pillows

Back support pillows can be quite helpful in reducing back pain. Sitting for long periods and that too without any support can create muscle tension and result in pain in the lower portion of our back. The use of a right kind of a pillow, plays an important role in reducing or alleviating back pain or neck pain.

These pillows fill the natural gap between the lower spine and the chair on which one is sitting. Such pillows provide the requisite support to our head, neck and shoulders, besides keeping them in alignment, thus relieving pressure and tension from our body. The back-support pillows also provide a comfort feeling and enable one to relax, enabling the person to have a sound sleep

People with spinal disorders can benefit a lot by using support pillows. Pillows filled with firm material are more effective in providing support than feather pillows. People suffering from spinal disorders are likely to benefit more from pillow filled with firm material, such as grain or buckwheat hulls.

These pillows not only provide comfort, but also provide adequate support to a person’s neck and back. However, it is very essential that the pillow be placed at the right height. If you place a pillow at a high height, it can result in muscle strain in the back or the neck. Similarly, if the height of the pillow is too low, the neck tends to get strained. Therefore, you must be careful in using back support pillows for back pain relief


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A Very Effective Way of Avoiding and Relieving Neck Pain

Are you one of the million Americans who suffer from neck pain? If not, it’s very probable that you know someone who does. Indeed, neck pain is a very widespread problem because the head and neck area is very susceptible to several stresses. Besides, neck pain can be produced by muscle strains, osteoarthritis, herniated intervertebral discs. In fact, something as trivial as a bad position can produce an unhealthy alignment of the neck and spine; consequently, neck pain will take place. Thus, what measures can you take to avoid or relieve neck pain?

One of the most common causes of neck pain is a bad posture while sleeping. Well, most people have incorrect posture habits not only when they sleep but also during the day without noticing. Even when you perform a task that you may judge harmless (like reading in bed without a posture pillow) can eventually produce to neck pain or even more serious issues.

A basic suggestion is to avoid sitting in the same position for a prolonged periods of time. Unfortunately, most of us have to because of myriad reasons. We have to not curve or bend the neck forward during long periods, as the neck and back should have enough support to achieve a better posture.

As you can see, the sleep positions you take while you rest in the night are more important than you believe because they are the most frequent cause of neck troubles. Why this happens? Because most of us use regular pillows, which make you sleep with your neck at a too high or too low angle and does not maintain your spine straight; consequently, it causes neck pain, back pain, discomfort and exhaustion. This drooping sleep surface typically provokes an unhealthy spine alignment; thus the muscles of the back will attempt to balance by tensing up trying to restore a more natural posture of the spine. However, this muscle tension produces the morning stress and the neck and the back pains.

Therefore, the best way to avoid and relieve neck pain is to maintain a correct posture. That is reason why the a great pillow is so beneficial, because a well-designed neck pillow easily adjusts to the form of your neck and brings you correct spine alignment. This pillow should be made with memory foam technology, which effectively redistributes the weight of your head, neck and body, encouraging better circulation and eliminating neck and spinal pressure.

Besides, it is not a problem if you prefer side sleeping or back sleeping because this memory foam pillow let you sleep comfortably in any position you may sleep and helps you wake up energized the next morning.

An orthopedic neck support pillow is necessary to have a relaxing night’s sleep without neck pain and other problems. With its hypoallergenic urethane memory foam that provides full support to the neck and head’s contours, the Better Sleep Pillow brings the most restorative sleeping experience alleviating strain on the neck and back.

You don’t need to keep suffering neck pain. Just try the Better Sleep Pillow to start sleeping well and pain-free.


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I have Strained My Neck, What Do I Do?

If you have hurt your neck in any way, the best thing to do is rest and call your Chiropractor. Lie back with an ice pack wrapped around the painful area for 30 minutes. Take an anti-inflammatory medicine such as ibuprofen 600 mg four times a day. Repeat cold packs 30 minutes, four times a day for two days. After a few days, gentle heat may be used intermittently to relax the area. Don’t overdo the heat, it can make you more sore. Limit it to about 20 minutes four times a day. Get back to your activities as quickly as you can. After a day of activity, an ice pack in the evening can reduce the next day stiffness.

Once you feel well enough, you will want to move onto the Rehab stage. Begin to restore your neck’s mobility. Begin by warming the neck for 10 minutes. Some light aerobic activity may help loosen the muscles. While sitting, tilt your neck forward until you begin to feel the stretch. Hold there for 30 seconds, relax a minute, then repeat 5 times. Do the stretch in the backwards direction, then tilting to each side (ear towards shoulder), then rotating (chin towards shoulder). Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, repeating 5 times. If the discomfort has increased after the stretches, cold-pack the neck for 30 minutes. Repeat the exercises twice a day.

For more active exercise, use the palm of your hand as a ‘graded resistance machine.’ Put your palm against your forehead, and push your neck against it. Slowly push the hand forward with your head until the neck is fully bent, then let the head return to the neutral position while continuing resistance.

Repeat 10 times. Do the exercise for backward motion (with both hands behind your head), then with side-tilt (with a palm against your scalp just above the ear). Do the exercises twice a day.

As with all exercise, you need to listen to your body, keep the back of the neck and spine lengthened and the rib cage lifted. Remember to breathe as you work with the different exercises.

However, seeing a doctor is vital for all strains with a significant mechanism of injury or for severe, persistent, or unexplained symptoms or problems. As with other conditions, supportive self-care is often enough for you to have a complete recovery. Your Chiropractor will be able to give you great advice on how to best treat a neck condition.


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Arthritis, Join Pain, Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Muscular Ache: Herbal Approach

Arthritis is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world. According to Ayurveda arthritis is primarily a vata (air) disease which is due to accumulation of toxins in the joints and is known as amavata. This can be caused by poor digestion and a weakened colon, resulting in the accumulation of undigested food and the buildup of waste matter. Poor digestion allows toxins to accumulate in the body, and problems with the colon allow the toxins to reach the joints.

Symptoms: Fever Immense pain & stiffness in affected muscles in case of chronic muscular rheumatism. Pain or tenderness in a joint which is aggravated by any movement or activity, such as walking, getting up from a chair, writing, typing, holding an object, throwing a ball, turning a key. Excruciating pain and stiffness in the joints in case of chronic articular rheumatism.

The following are a few simple cures that might just help relieve you from the pain of arthritis. Try any of them to see what works for you.

Two teaspoons of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey mixed in a cup of warm water taken twice a day is good for curing arthritis. Two teaspoons of juice from fresh leaves of bathua, drink every day on an empty stomach for 2-3 months. Half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with warm water helps cure arthritis. Taking alfalfa tea twice a day makes a good cure. Two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of honey dissolved in a small glass of warm water taken once or twice a day brings relief. Rub the aching joints with hot vinegar to get some relief from pain. Two parts pure olive oil and one part kerosene makes a wonderful liniment to bathe afflicted joints. Add one tablespoon cod liver oil to the juice of one orange, whip and drink before sleeping. One raw clove of garlic every day is very beneficial. This clove can be fried in ghee (clarified butter) or castor oil. Take for 2 months. Guggulu is very helpful in curing arthritis. Eat half a teaspoon twice a day after meals with warm water. Exercise the afflicted joints in a tub full of hot water. Drink carrot juice, cucumber juice, eat cooked vegetables and/or vegetable soups, and drink coconut water for a healthy body & massage your joints daily to cure arthritis. On an empty stomach eat 2-3 walnuts or some coconut. Avoid mental tensions that lead to stress. Lose weight, if necessary, to get close to your ideal weight. If you weigh less, there is less weight on your joints and less pain.

Effective and Proven Results For – Arthcare Oil (Anti Inflammatory and Muscle Relaxant Herbal Massage Oil):

Arthcare Oil is the best natural solution for your problem, manufactured under the guidance of renowned MD Ayurveda Specialist doctor. Arthcare is an anti-arthritic herbal oil which not only gives a sure relief in rheumatic arthritis but also strengthens the bone tissues, the skeletal and the neuromuscular systems, giving a comfortable movement of joints and muscles. It is a powerful antioxidant and increases the energy level. Arthcare penetrates the body tissue faster than any other ointment because of its strong anti-inflammatory action. It removes stiffness and improves mobility of limbs. It brings relief from backaches, muscular strains, rheumatic pains, joint pains etc. Body massage with Arthcare oil, relaxes an asthmatic person. Arthcare is scientifically proven Ayurvedic formulation containing the herbal combination of well-known traditional herbs described above. Within few minutes of application, you will feel relaxed from pain. For Best Results Take 2 Arthcare Capsules twice a day and massage the affected area with Arthcare Oil 2-3 times a day.

Herbal Remedies:

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. The following have been used traditionally to treat rheumatoid arthritis:

Shallaki also known as boswellia (Boswellia Serrata), comes from a tree that yields gum when its bark is peeled away. In clinical trials, promising results were observed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic colitis, Crohn’s disease. Researchers found that standardized Boswellia extract significantly reduced swelling and pain and usually reduced morning stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum) is an Asian plant of the potato family. Its roots have long been used to treat “rheumatism,” high blood pressure, immune dysfunctions, erection problems and also to ease inflammation. Because of all this, it’s sometimes called the “Indian ginseng.”

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) may be among the best-studied of the four. Research suggests ginger root inhibits production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, which are involved in pain and inflammation. In an uncontrolled 1992 Danish study, 56 patients who had either RA, OA or muscular discomfort took powdered ginger. All of those with musculoskeletal pain and three-fourths of those with OA or RA reported varying degrees of pain relief and no side effects, even among those who took the ginger for more than two years.

Herbal oils are applied to the arthritis to loosen stiff joints, restore mobility, remove pain, inflammation or swelling, nourish tissues and relieve pain. The experienced hands dipped in the pleasantly warmed oil will travel all over the body with pressure. Arthcare not only increases blood circulation but also gives a sure relief for rheumatic arthritis, spondylosis, paralysis, muscular disorder, slipped disc, asthma and tuberculosis. Brings in relief from stress, strain and tensions. It is also very good for toning of one’s muscles and nerves. Get instant relief within minutes of application of oil. For more information please read at

Advice:

Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate): Magnesium has both anti-inflammatory and anti- arthritic properties and it can be absorbed through the skin. Magnesium is one of the most important of the essential minerals in the body, and it is commonly deficient in the American diet. A New England remedy for arthritis is a hot bath of Epsom salts. The heat of the bath can increase circulation and reduce the swelling of arthritis.

Dosage and Directions: Fill a bathtub with water as hot as you can stand. Add 2 cups of Epsom salts. Bathe for thirty minutes, adding hot water as necessary to keep the temperature warm. Do this daily as often as you’d like.


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Neck Pain: Simple Ailment with Complex Effects

Having a neck pain can be frustrating. It may bring uncomfortable and painful feeling that may lead to the decline of one’s physical or mental performance. This condition may be experienced by countless individuals at some point of their lives. Studies show that two-thirds of American adults have experienced at least one episode of neck pain in their lives. Neck pain can be developed because of strain during exercise or other vigorous activity, at work, or while sleeping. A simple muscle pain may hinder one’s movement and therefore hamper their daily activities. Because of these effects, the search for the perfect muscle relaxant to treat neck pain has become scarce for many individuals. In order to know the treatment for this ailment the causes and health risks of this ailment should be understood.

Some cases of neck pain can be traced to the disks that support the joints from the vertebrae. These disks in the neck may experience wear and tear by putting too much pressure on the joints of the neck. A neck problem may also result from improper head support while sleeping, sitting improperly for long hours, or by lifting or pushing heavy objects. The muscles and ligaments in the neck are tough and flexible but like many things, they have their limits. Stretching the neck too far or twisting it too quickly may lead to strains, sprains, and other injuries to the muscles and ligaments. Intense pain upon waking up may indicate strains that are developed while sleeping. Sprains and strains are common among individuals who experienced car accidents and falls. In addition to these factors,

Common activities that may cause injuries to the neck may include the following:

Holding the head on a forward position while engaging in activities like typing, watching television, or reading.

Spending too much time resting the forehead on the upright fist or arm.

Improper work or exercise routine that uses the upper body and arms.

Neck pain may go away with physical therapy, taking muscle relaxants, and help from a Chiropractor. In some cases, time is the best treatment for neck pain. The body needs sufficient time to heal and rejuvenate itself.  Further stress to neck area should also be avoided for the pain to gradually fade. This process may take several days or even weeks. These individuals may also try to lose tight muscles by taking a hot shower or by using a heating pad.  If pain in the neck area is felt in the morning, using a firm mattress or a flat pillow may help speed the healing process and prevent future neck problems from happening. However, if these adjustments fail to improve the symptoms of neck pain, individuals should consult doctors before trying any muscle relaxants. Self-medication is not encouraged and may do more harm than good.

Just like other ailments, this neck pains can be prevented by engaging in physical activities. Frequent exercise and stretching may improve blood flow and prevent the  occurrence of neck pain. However, these activities should be done properly and in moderation to reap its health benefits. Understanding the causes, treatments, and preventive measures for neck pain are essential improving one’s overall health.


 
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