“The part can never be well unless the whole is well” – Plato
What is well with you? Let’s start here. In Western health care, we traditionally compartmentalise conditions, diagnose, treat, repeat. We focus on the thing that hurts.
If you never have white space in your day to allow for relaxation and unscheduled play, are unconscious about diet, lifestyle and your internal landscape, there’s a good chance your physical ailments will linger, and it will be difficult to see beyond the pain. Sure, your symptoms may subside after treatment, but they will come back.
My scope of practice as an RMT includes diagnosing and treating your musculoskeletal condition. I can also provide a ground work for healing by helping you balance your nervous system through deep relaxation. Your body shifts into fix it mode, only when you are in this resting state. From here, you can ask yourself:
What IS well with me? What is a meaningful activity I would like to do that my pain or discomfort inhibits me from doing with enthusiasm? What is good for me? The important questions around values rise to the surface in this state of balanced nervous system.
With a sound treatment plan that may include some movement retraining through Clinical Yoga and Pilates (Active Rehab) and homework for you, I want to help you find your way to engaging in life with gusto.
Here are some conditions I can help you find your way through. There are yoga classes, exercises tips and more on my youtube channel.
Low back pain (LBP) affects up to 85% of working Canadians. It can be caused by too much sitting, poor posture and movement patterns, sedentary lifestyle (including sitting at a desk for work!), narrowing of the space through which spinal nerves pass, stress and more. Massage therapy and exercise are natural remedies that can alleviate LBP. Massage allows the muscles that ‘brace’ against the pain to relax, and lengthens muscles that are shortening and potentially causing further nerve impingement. As well, both massage and intelligent exercise help to re-align the body so muscles don’t work as hard to support faulty posture. Both therapies go a long way in promoting a sense of wellbeing, and supporting the systems of your body to better heal itself.
Home Remedy for Low-Back Pain
Lie on your back with your hips supported, right in front of a chair or sofa. Your thighs should be more or less vertical, your lower legs resting on the chair. Knees and hips should be at a right angle. It’s ok if it’s not exact. Breathe in for 6 steady counts, breathe out for 8, steady counts. If this feels hard, you can simply focus on breathing steadily. Try to breath into your belly, not your shoulders and chest. Your belly and rib cage should expand, and your neck and jaw should remain relaxed. Close your eyes, and rest here for 5 or more minutes.
The hip joint, or acetabular femoral joint, is the large synovial joint that attaches your thigh bone to your pelvis. There are quite a number of reasons your hip(s) might hurt. If we are talking about functional muscle pain, the muscles on the side, front or back of the hips may become painful from prolonged sitting, strain from repetitive movement, injury from trauma or moving beyond the range of motion your muscles, tendons and ligaments, or imbalance of strength and length of muscles.
Osteoarthritis, fractures, bursitis, labral tears, cancer are some other potential causes of hip pain. We will focus here on muscular issues:
It is common for those of us who do a lot of sitting to become restricted in the hip muscles. As we age, our muscles atrophy unless we are actively building and maintaining muscle volume. Here is a 20 minute flow you can do to stretch, strengthen and balance the deep and superficial muscles of the hip. If your hip issue is functional, doing this routine everyday will help to alleviate your hip pain.
The thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes gets inflamed with plantar fasciitis. It is quite common in runners, as well as people who work long hours on their feet, like nurses, those in retail, etc. Being overweight can increase your chances of getting plantar fasciitis.
It can be caused by less than efficient function of the toes, feet, ankles, knees or hips. The repetitive overload on the fascia or connective tissue causes small tears, inflammation, and possibly scar tissue in the sole of the foot. The pain is often worse in the morning when you first get out of bed and bear weight on the feet. Typically, the pain can be felt just in front of the heel.
Home Remedy for Plantar Fasciitis
This thick band of connective tissue we call plantar fascia connects to the back of your legs. Stretching your calves and hamstrings may provide relief from plantar fasciitis pain. Lying on your back, bring one leg up and cradle it behind the thigh with interlaced fingers. Slowly try to straighten the stretching leg without rounding out through the spine. You can try to pull the toes down toward the knee.
Strengthening and mobilizing your feet is also helpful. You may also look into getting more supportive footwear, or even changing footwear throughout your work day.
Adhesive Capsulitis is commonly referred to as frozen shoulder. It is characterized by restricted mobility in the gleno-humoral joint, the shoulder joint, due to fibrosis of this joint.
Neck pain is often caused by poor posture, too much time at the computer or looking down at your phone. Here, we are addressing symptoms for those who haven’t had an accident or have a pre-existing condition that caused the neck pain.
The muscles in your neck get sore because they are being over stretched, or working too hard and long holding your head up. If your shoulders round forward, your neck will drop forward, causing neck pain.
Home Remedy for Neck Pain
Minimize phone and computer time. Take a break every 45 minutes from your work station. Place both hands on the back of your hips, squeeze the shoulder blades together, and stretch your chin up. Hold this posture for 5 slow breaths.
Anxiety and Stress
The ripple effect of anxiety and stress that affect the body and signal pain can manifest in many ways: disrupted sleep, fatigue, tense muscles, poor diet, inflammation of the cells, decreased motivation to exercise, etc. Long term, any of these byproducts of stress and anxiety can adversely affect health. The incidence of illness related to stress is alarming. Some medical studies show that 90 percent of illness and disease can be associated with stress. You may be so accustomed to chronic stress that it isn’t recognized as such. It’s a good idea to periodically take objective inventory of your life. What are you putting up with? What are you accepting as “that’s just the way it is?” Do you sleep well and wake up happy and well rested most days?
Home Remedy for Anxiety and Stress
We demand so much of ourselves. Create a discipline to make time to simply be. Take a walk in the forest. Even 20 minutes a day can make a profound difference. Here are three things you can do to decrease anxiety and stress
- Breathing meditation: in for 8 counts, out for 6. Belly breathe.
- Take a gratitude walk every morning, even for 5 minutes.
- Enjoy one meal a day where you sit down at the table WITHOUT your phone. Take a bite, put down your eating utensil, place your hands in your lap, as you chew 10 times. Once you have swallowed, take another bite.
Sciatica is nerve pain associated with irritation and/or compression of the sciatic nerve. It can feel like tingling, weakness, burning, and debilitating pain along the distribution of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve runs from the low back all the way down the back and side of the leg. Complaints include pain in the back, buttock, thigh, and/or leg as well as possible burning or tingling sensations into the foot.
Compression of the piriformis, a muscle that crosses the back of your hip, is often the cause of sciatica. If this is your situation, the stretch below may alleviate symptoms temporarily.
Book chiropractic, massage and acupuncture appointments. You may need an adjustment through the pelvic bones or low back vertebrae. Massage and acupuncture will help to relax offending muscles. Developing core strength and postural balance are important preventative and curative measures.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the Median nerve, which travels across your wrist to your hand does not have enough space and is consequently compressed. There isn’t much space in the Carpal Tunnel, so inflammation crowds the structures that pass through it. When a nerve is compressed, it will let you know! Unfavourable biomechanics and over use can cause the tendons to become inflamed. This results in pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the palm, side of the thumb, and/or index finger. These symptoms can increase at night. These same symptoms can also be caused if the nerve is compromised higher in the arm, like in the forearm or even the elbow. Usually this is due to tight or scar filled muscle tissue compressing the nerve as it passes through the arm.
Home Remedy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When inflamed, soak arms in an ice bath for 10 minutes or so. Try to sleep with your hands and wrist in an open position, rather than curled in. Stretching and strengthening the hand and wrists may also be beneficial.
Tension headaches can occur when the muscles in your head and neck are restricted or held in one position for a long time. They can also be caused by stress, stress breathing (shallow, chest and shoulder breathing), and long hours at a computer, particularly a laptop or looking at your phone.
Home Remedy for Tension Headaches
Place two, small, firm balls in a sock. Place them under the base of your skull while you lie on your back. Close your eyes, and take deep diaphragmatic breaths, emphasizing the exhale. If you work from a laptop, get a Bluetooth keyboard, and prop up your screen to eye level.
Sinus headaches are caused by pressure in the sinuses, and are most common during pollen season.
Home Remedy for Sinus Headaches
While in a reclined position, place a hot, damp towel on your face. Press on the points shown in the image. You may also want to drop some eucalyptus oil mixed with a carrier oil (almond or apricot oil work well) to your finger tips and inhale deeply through your nose.
Mastectomy / Breast Augmentation
Scarring caused by surgery can affect mobility. Because the breasts are within the area of the shoulders, arms and neck, movement can be affected. Sensation changes can occur as well. If lymph nodes are removed, fluid retention can occur, pressing on surrounding nerves and blood vessels, causing pain. It’s really important to start moving as soon as your doctor gives the ok to do so.
It is advisable to seek treatment early on to the non-affected side to prevent compensatory injuries. I can help you regain mobility on the affected side by reducing scar tissue, and creating movement within attenuating structures. I will admit, this is not a comfortable treatment, but I will sandwich the discomfort with some nurturing, feel good General Swedish Massage.
Shoulder & Upper Back Pain
Muscles and connective tissue contain more stretch receptors than any other kind of receptor. When your muscles feel sore, there is a good chance that they are overstretched. The shoulders forward posture that develops with prolonged screen time is a common cause of shoulder pain and upper back pain.
Although an oversimplification, you pretty much want to stretch the front and strengthen the back. Here are two videos to bring you back to balance.