Transitional Healing

Facilitating Life’s Transitions

Archive for the ‘Injury Prevention’ Category

Carpal Tunnel and treatment with Craniosacral Therapy

Posted by Michael on March 26, 2007

Carpal tunnel syndrome manifests many symptoms, including fatigue, pain, and weakness of grip, loss of dexterity, stiffness, cramping, numbness, cold, and burning.  Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)  may take years to develop and often progresses rapidly if ignored.  This syndrome is often brought on through repetitive use, improper ergonomics, and bad body mechanics.  If CTS goes untreated, loss of work and income often follow.  It has been estimated that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects approximately 1% of the U.S. population.  It is estimated that 1 million surgeries for carpal tunnel syndrome are performed each and every year.  Often overwhelming demands and stress at work contribute to the syndrome.   Reducing or managing stress, proper ergonomics, frequent stretching and positional changes can all help to reduce or prevent repetitive injuries. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome usually affects the median nerve between the carpal bones of the hand or hands.  Other factors that can cause or contributre to carpal tunnel syndrome are edema or water retention in the hands or wrist area, subluxsation or misalignment of the carpal bones in the hand, and Myofascial hyper tonicity (tightness in the fascia of the wrist and arm)

There are other injuries that can cause or mimic carpal tunnel pain. Other potential causes or contributors include neck injuries, such as a bulging or herniated discs, shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff problems, and arthritis and tendonitis.  Thoracic outlet syndrome, which is caused by nerve impingement or a lack of or blood supply due to tight muscles in the neck or chest region can also mimic or contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The most common first aid treatment is drug therapy.  The use of anti-inflammatory and rest reduces swelling and pressure on the median nerve, resulting in the return of proper wrist function.  In very advanced cases surgery is an option. It does seem that with the dramatic increase in surgeries that the possibility exists that surgery options are promoted too often and too soon in the course of treatment. 

Even with the dramatic numbers of surgeries, there are many – both clients and physicians – who explore alternative health solutions prior to surgery.  Massage therapy is probably the most often recommended alternative therapy for many types of repetitive strain injuries, and can help in many cases with carpal tunnel syndrom.   Massage has the ability to reduce swelling, remove toxins from the injured site, stretch and release traumatized tissue.  All this is done safely and without drug or surgery side effects. 

Craniosacral and Myofascial Therapies are also indicated for carpal tunnel syndrome.  The therapeutic light pressure of these treatments allows the body to unwind congested fascia around the injured area.  Fascia wraps muscle unit and fiber, muscle fibril and fascicle, and each muscle cell.  This ensheathing layer also wraps the nerves that accompany muscle movement.  So it makes sense that safely unwinding this tissue thorough fascial therapy will result in decreased pain and improved range of motion.

Advertisements

Posted in Craniosacral, Healing, Health, Injury Prevention | 2 Comments »

Common Back Pain and Craniosacral

Posted by Michael on March 20, 2007

Low back pain is a very common condition in our society.  There are literally countless ways that our bodies manifest back pain. The low back conditions I see most in my private practice are usually manifested from a few main causes.

The first is occupational posture syndrome, caused by sitting for long periods of time, improper body mechanics, and occupational stress (both emotional and physical).  Sometimes it’s the way we sit at our computers, such as sitting on our wallets, sitting with one leg under our buttocks,  or an setup that  leads us to often sit with the weight of our body to one side or the other.   Any emotionally stressful situations that may occur while we are already in a compromised physical position work like synergy and exponentially increase the physiological impact.   All of these scenarios may cause and/or contribute to hip rotation and low back discomfort.

The second important cause of low back pain is bad exercise habits. No argument that exercising is a good thing for mind, body, and spirit, but improper exercise can be harmful. Bad exercise habits may cause back pain by pushing our bodies beyond tolerable levels, faulty loading, (exercising only one side of the body or one part of the body while ignoring the rest), poor body mechanics during exercise routines, and exercising when pain is present. 

A third common cause of back pain can result from car accidents, often resulting in whiplash injuries. Whiplash is a traumatic event that causes the head to move swiftly in one direction and then back into an opposing direction. Whiplash injuries are not to be taken lightly. They can cause significant damage to the ligaments of the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (mid back), and the lumbar region (lower back). Along with ligament damage, the vertebral discs of the spinal column and joints can be compromised. One of the main reasons why whiplash is so devastating to the body is that often you are in a somewhat relaxed state prior to the injury and you are not prepared for sudden impact or trauma. The muscle tissue of the body is somewhat relaxed or supple, which allows more force to internal structures of the body such as ligaments, tendons, discs, joints, and bones. 

Craniosacral Therapy can have a positive effect on relieving low, mid, and upper back discomfort. This profound therapy intimately works with the fight or flight syndrome of the central nervous system to help release the negative holding patterns that our body has created in response to the traumas of work, play, personal injury. Many of my clients have experienced relief after as little as one session. 

Posted in Bodywork Modalities, Chronic Pain, Craniosacral, Exercise, Healing, Health, Injury Prevention, Life, Stress | Leave a Comment »

Weight Lifting – and Preventing Injury

Posted by Michael on January 17, 2007

eI think we can all agree that exercise is good for the Body, Mind and Spirit.  One form of exercise many of us participate in is lifting weights.    Weight lifting has positive effects on the body that include building muscle mass, muscle tone and muscle integrity.  Along with a balanced approach to life strength training through weights can improve your overall vitality and health. 

The potential problem with weight lifting lies in engaging more muscles than the targeted muscles; which can result in Faulty Loading.    One example of faulty loading that I am encountering more and more in my practice is strained neck muscles.  In most of these cases my clients have strained their neck muscles by clenching their jaws while performing bicep curls, or leg squats, and/or lat pulls, often with more weight than they were ready to lift.  In other words they are overachieving and actually hurting themselves in an attempt to improve their health.

By clenching their jaws they add strain to the neck complex causing tightness of the cervical spine which may feel like a burning pain in the shoulders and neck region. 

So, next time you lift weights try lifting them in front of a mirror and see if you are engaging other muscles instead of the primary target muscles you are.  Is your jaw clenched?  Are your veins or muscles popping out on your neck?.  If so, work with your posture and body mechanics, and possible amount of weight until you can lift the weights without clenching your jaw or straining your neck.

Posted in Chronic Pain, Exercise, Health, Injury Prevention | 1 Comment »