Pain Relief

Determining the source of pain and the timeline for healing.

painIf you’re reading this section you are probably experiencing pain. I’d first like to say that I’m sorry you’re hurting. This page will be dedicated to informing on the different types and causes of pain; to create sections for fixing the myriad pain sources would and has taken up entire tomes full of knowledge. Rest assured that when we begin a plan towards healing, you will understand your responsibilities, my responsibilities, and what our path and timeline looks like.

The most common types of pain, at least in the Western world, are related to chronic conditions. Namely: attrition, overuse, and postural distortions. This article explains muscle tissue health and attempts to draw an analogy most can relate to. The main thrust is that almost all pain in our bodies that isn’t acute or from impact or sudden injury comes from wear and tear on the muscles and tendons, and creates knots, trigger points, microstrains, fascial adhesions, and spasms. This concept extends to joint pain, because a joint requires a certain amount of space to operate freely and smoothly. When muscles that cross that joint shorten, they create a cramped environment for the inner workings of a knee or shoulder joint, for example.

The good news is that muscle tissue health can be almost completely restored! Improving the muscle health, through deep tissue massage (removing the knots, scar tissue, and fascial adhesions) and proper strength training (bringing weak muscles up to balance the strong ones), resolves the muscular, tendinous, and joint pain.

Healing injuries with massage and light, healthy movement.

After an acute injury – be it a car accident, a hamstring tear, a knee or shoulder dislocation, or falling down the stairs – the immediate concern is limiting the length of down-time and the accompanying compensation patterns that will emerge when a body in pain is forced to move around the pain. Kinesiotape can help with bruising and lymphatic (swelling) drainage, as can ice and gentle movement (guided or otherwise). Meanwhile massage can help turn off neighboring muscle spasms attempting to guard the injured area. From there, light, healthy movement coupled with massage can help the inflammation work its way out of a body most quickly while mitigating the cascade effect (compensatory movement) that often happens after a trauma.

For example, after an ACL tear many muscles around the knee (vastus medialis, rectus femoris, etc.) will spasm and guard far more than is healthy and for far longer after the initial tear than they should. This hypertonicity will cause cramped joint space in the knee, referred pain up and down the leg, and a generally exaggerated feeling of instability and vulnerability. While surgery will almost certainly be required for the ACL, the steps taken regarding the muscles around the injured site can greatly enhance or greatly detract from the healing process, the quality of the leg and subsequent movement post surgery, and downtime. Using “exercises to strengthen the muscles around the leg” is what’s typically recommended. This couldn’t be more inappropriate since they are already in spasm. The task instead is to use deep tissue bodywork to turn off the overly guarded muscles and to encourage smooth and unguarded movement patterns until the surgery.