Therapeutic massage may relieve pain by way of several mechanisms, including relaxing painful muscles, tendons, and joints; relieving stress and anxiety; and possibly helping to “close the pain gate” by stimulating competing nerve fibers and impeding pain messages to and from the brain.
Therapeutic massage is an active area of research. In particular, it has been studied for its effect on pain in the back, hands, neck, and knees, among other areas. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice showed a reduction in hand pain and an improvement in grip strength among people who had four weekly hand massage sessions and did self-massage at home. They also slept better and had less anxiety and depression than people in the control group who didn’t receive hand massage.
A study published in Annals of Family Medicine in 2014 found that 60-minute therapeutic massage sessions two or three times a week for four weeks relieved chronic neck pain better than no massage or fewer or shorter massage sessions.
Massage therapy can involve varying degrees of pressure. Some people find certain forms of massage, such as deep tissue massage, to be painful. Massage doesn’t have to be painful to be therapeutic, so be sure to tell your therapist the type of touch you prefer (light touch, firm pressure, hard pressure). Lighter may be more relaxing and therefore more beneficial, depending on your situation. People with certain pain conditions such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome may only be able to tolerate light pressure.
What We Do
Chiropractic Spine and Joint Adjustments, Therapeutic Exercises/Activities, Modalities, Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, and more
We are a multidisciplinary injury clinic that utilizes the synergistic power of chiropractic massage, acupuncture and exercise therapy so patients can recover from injury naturally.
Our Clinical Director, Dr. Jonathan McClaren is a licensed Chiropractic Physician with advanced certification in whiplash biomechanics and injury traumatology. He is also certified in spinal biomechanical engineering and MRI interpretation and is an accredited traffic accident reconstructionist. The clinic prides itself on striving for above-average recovery rates and including both in-office and at-home active care in our evidence-based treatment plans.
With our combined expertise of providers in chiropractic, massage and acupuncture we offer a variety of treatment modalities all under one roof.
Computers Can Be a Real Pain in the Neck
It’s a posture so common we almost don’t notice it anymore: someone sitting at a computer jutting his or her head forward to look more closely at the screen. But this seemingly harmless position compresses the neck and can lead to fatigue, headaches, poor concentration, increased muscle tension and even injury to the vertebrae over time. It can even limit the ability to turn your head.
“When your posture is tall and erect, the muscles of your back can easily support the weight of your head and neck — as much as 12 pounds,” explains San Francisco State University Professor of Holistic Health Erik Peper. “But when your head juts forward at a 45 degree angle, your neck acts like a fulcrum, like a long lever lifting a heavy object. Now the muscle weight of your head and neck is the equivalent of about 45 pounds. It is not surprising people get stiff necks and shoulder and back pain.”
Peper, Associate Professor of Health Education Richard Harvey and their colleagues, including two student researchers, tested the effects of head and neck position in a recent study published in the journal Biofeedback. First they asked 87 students to sit upright with their heads properly aligned on their necks and asked them to turn their heads. Then the students were asked to “scrunch” their necks and jut their heads forward. Ninety-two percent reported being able to turn their heads much farther when not scrunching. In the second test, 125 students scrunched their necks for 30 seconds. Afterwards, 98 percent reported some level of pain in their head, neck or eyes.
The researchers also monitored 12 students with electromyography equipment and found that trapezius muscle tension increased in the scrunched, head forward position.
So if you suffer from headaches or neck and backaches from computer work, check your posture and make sure your head is aligned on top of your neck, as if held by an invisible thread from the ceiling. “You can do something about this poor posture very quickly,” said Peper. To increase body awareness, Peper advises purposefully replicating the head-forward/neck scrunched position. “You can exaggerate the position and experience the symptoms. Then when you find yourself doing it, you can become aware and stop.”
Other solutions he offers include increasing the font on your computer screen, wearing computer reading glasses or placing your computer on a stand at eye level, all to make the screen easier to read without strain.
The team at Cascade Spine & Injury Center wants to extend a hearty ‘thank you’ to all of our subscribers. We endeavor to bring you useful and timely information. If you’re not a regular just yet please visit our website www.cascadespineandinjury.com for more information.
Tips to Make Working from Home Less of a Pain
Dr. Kevin Ritzenthaler, DC, DCBCN
Many people have been asked to set up a home office with little or no notice – without a proper desk and office equipment to do so. But beware, hours spent hunching over a coffee table or sunken into a couch puts your body in an awkward posture which can result in injury. Here are some tips to help combat the stress and strain of your new work environment so that working from home does not become a literal pain in the neck, back, and shoulders.
Set up an Ergonomic At-Home Workstation
Employing proper ergonomics will help keep you pain free by maintaining the natural curves in your spine. This will protect you from strains, fatigue, and injury. Key components of an ergonomic at home workstation include:
1. Sit or stand at a table or desk.
2. Forearms should be parallel to the floor whether sitting or standing. If sitting, thighs should also be parallel to the floor.
3. Use a chair with a back support, or “perch” on a stool. Add a thin cushion or a folded blanket to adjust your height and soften hard chairs. A small rolled up towel can also act as a lumbar support.
4.Computer screens should be at eye level. If working on a laptop, consider elevating the laptop with a stand or books and investing in a separate mouse and keyboard (which start at around $20).