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24/May/2017

Low back pain hurts and can result in pain when trying to stand up or shift position. Aching while trying to sleep. Trouble with bending or lifting.

Low back pain is the most common cause of missed time from work— it affects up to 80% of adults in the US at some point and can be completely incapacitating.

Many factors contribute to back pain including muscular injury, postural irregularities, obesity, problems with the spinal column and discs, and nerve problems. In some cases, no one culprit becomes evident– termed non-specific chronic low back pain. Despite its prevalence, low back pain remains a frustrating malady to treat.

Massage for Low Back Pain

Fortunately, for many people, massage can help ease low back pain. Although research has only just begun to support the efficacy of massage, the evidence that exists suggests both relaxation and therapeutic massage can reduce low back pain. In fact, recent medical guidelines list massage as a go-to therapy for low back pain. The team at Nimbus has helped countless people with their low back pain over the years. If muscular tension or injury has led to the pain, many people find relief in a few short sessions. For underlying factors that will not go away (arthritis, scoliosis, etc…) many manage their pain with ongoing treatments. Here is a list of some causes of back pain and some observations from the Nimbus staff about how massage may or may not help.

Massage may be most helpful for resolving pain or other symptoms in a short series of sessions:

– Muscular pain with recent onset.

– Nerve entrapment (by a muscle) with recent onset– including sciatica.

– Recent injury, sprain, or strain.

Massage may be very helpful for the following cases, however it may take a longer series of sessions:

– Chronic muscular pain.

– Nerve entrapment (by a muscle) that has been on-going– including sciatica.

– Past injury, sprain, or strain.

– Pain from postural or repetitive motion stress.

– Non-specific low back pain.

– SI Joint Dysfunction.

– Tendonitis.

– Piriformis Syndrome.

Massage may be helpful for relieving pain or other symptoms, but will not resolve the underlying issue:

– Arthritis including Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Osteoporosis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Spinal Stenosis.

– Fibromyalgia.

– Scoliosis.

– Degenerative or other disc diseases.

– Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Massage may not be helpful depending on the level of nerve vs. muscular involvement, may help pain or other symptoms:

– Ruptured disc.

– Nerve impingement (by bone)– including sciatica.

– As always, talk to your healthcare provider about your condition, and seek medical help for distressing, severe, or chronic pain.

What to expect during a massage

As with any complex condition, the treatment plan your massage therapist would suggest for your particular case will vary. The therapist will ask many questions concerning your pain, overall health, and history of massage and then discuss a plan with you. In some cases, the therapist may recommend a flowing massage using techniques to elicit relaxation and calm stress. A Massage for Stress & Anxiety can help back pain, and is a good fit for people who do not like structural massage. In other cases the therapist may recommend a more structural approach. If the pain just started recently, this would fall under the Massage for Aches & Pains category. For pain that has lasted more than three months, the Massage for Chronic Pain would be appropriate.  In either of these cases, the therapist may employ firm pressure to tender muscles; vigorous strokes to loosen stuck muscle fibers; sustained moderate pressure to ease taut areas; stretching and movement to move a nerve or muscle; and many more techniques. Depending on what you list as your symptoms, the therapist may check muscles in areas other than your low back including your legs, buttocks, and abdomen.

Home Care

You can also take steps to ease your pain at home. The American College of Physicians recently came out with a list of recommended approaches to easing back pain. Some examples of therapies you can use at home include the following. Apply heat, especially moist heat, like one of our Mother Earth Pillows or a soak. Engage in exercise, tai chi, or yoga. Try mindfulness techniques or progressive relaxation. You can also do self-massage at home with your hands or a gadget such as a trigger point tool or foam roller.

If low back pain hampers your daily living, massage and a good home care program, could help you get your pain under control, naturally.

 


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24/May/2017

Taking on a new exercise or physical activity can lead to sore aching muscles the next day.

Sometimes the muscle soreness even lingers for a few days making every step, bend, or twist a wince-worthy moment. Fortunately, with conditioning, learning your limits, and a little TLC post-activity, muscle soreness can fade into the past.

Lactic Acid and Sore Muscles

For a long time, the fitness community blamed lactic acid build-up for post-exercise muscle soreness. New studies show that lactic acid does indeed play a role in the muscles during physical exertion. However, it appears to dissipate quite rapidly after the activity stops instead of “building up” in the muscle.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Currently, the medical community believes that tiny little tears in the muscle fibers, combined perhaps with inflammation, cause the pain. They call it Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (“DOMS”). In general terms, as long as it feels good when stretched, it isn’t too severe. People often also qualify it as “good pain.”

Steps to prevent DOMS

Working with a personal trainer or exercise specialist when undertaking a new program can help people recognize and understand their limits and how to gradually improve. In general terms, starting slow with a moderate increase from previous activity can work. Then one can gradually increase the intensity. People can also apply this to non-exercise tasks such as gardening, home projects, or cleaning. Jumping in and overdoing it can lead to unwelcome muscle soreness. Take it easy and build up. In either case, warming up, cooling down, and stretching afterwards can minimize soreness.

Sports Massage

For those who push their limits in training, massage can help. Some people use sports massage directly after training to decrease inflammation and stave off DOMS. Recent studies have shown an actual physiological decrease in inflammation in muscles post-exercise with the application of massage. Typically, this type of sports massage entails light to moderate pressure vigorous massage.

Between heavy training cycles, one may use firmer more targeted massage to address problem areas with knots and tension. In either context, adding stretching can help.

The same principles would apply for someone who had sore muscles from non-exercise activity. In either case, the client would want to share how long it has been since their last intense activity, their typical activity, and what level of muscle soreness they feel. All of these pieces of information help a massage therapist plan a session that will ease the client’s pain.

Self-Care

Some things to try at home for easing DOMS include stretching, soaking, and self-massage. Taking time to stretch the sore muscles can feel great and get them back to normal more quickly. Applying heat, especially moist heat, can relax the muscle and ease pain. Many people find an Epsom salt bath or heat therapy pillow particularly helpful. Some people prefer cold therapy- such as icing or applying a salve such as BioFreeze. Self-massage techniques like rubbing, kneading, thumping, and jostling the muscle can help get them back in shape as well. Hands or tools such as a massage ball or foam roller all work. Light activity can also help speed recovery.

People of all levels of activity and fitness can experience Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Taking these steps can help relieve and/or prevent it for free, happy, easy movement.


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24/May/2017

Therapeutic Hot Stone MassageClick To TweetTherapeutic Hot Stone Massage; so much more than a lady with an orchid.

by Kassia Arbabi

When you hear the words “therapeutic hot stone massage”, what images and thoughts come to your mind? Wait, don’t tell me. I’ve got this. A beautiful, pale woman stretches out on a luxuriously plush looking massage table. A pristine white towel is pulled back to hip level, and there’s an orchid gently shimmering in her hair. Sleek, black stones are perched down the length of her spine, and a delighted, dreamy smile plays at the edges of her mouth.

That orchid-bedecked woman has somehow wormed its way into all of our brains as a stand-in for therapeutic hot stone massage. I’m here to tell you a different story about the stones. Yes, they are a luxurious indulgence. Yes, they can put you into a deeply relaxed, rejuvenated state. Yes, the stones are sometimes placed along your body. But there is SO MUCH more possible with hot stone; so much more than rocks on a back and an orchid in your hair.

I developed therapeutic hot stone massage as a natural progression in my work doing massage for pain relief. I started running into people with long-standing pain issues. Issues that hadn’t resolved after years of attempts to get rid of the pain through massage, yoga, stretching, heat, ice, rest, etc…. They came in asking for deep tissue massage. Or relaxation massage. Or any kind of massage that would provide some kind of relief. And I began trying out the hot stones as a therapeutic tool to efficiently, effectively, and non-invasively cut through bound-up muscles, tight muscles, scar tissue, trigger points, and more. The weight of the stone combined with the therapeutic benefits of moist heat work together to melt muscles far faster than fingers alone. And they give you real results, quickly and effectively, resolving chronic issues like SI Joint dysfunction, shoulder issues, and low back pain.

The benefits of Therapeutic Hot Stone Massage are numerous.  There are the basic health benefits: improved local circulation, stress reduction, calming the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, stimulating lymph flow (bolstering immunity).  As well, the stones put your body into a deeply relaxed state that serves as a reset button for your nervous system, recharging all of your body’s own self-care systems.  That alone can be enough to relieve physical pain resulting from stress, tight, sore muscles, or an injury.

The stones are also a powerful and effective tool for specifically addressing areas of chronic pain or tension, freeing up areas bound by scar tissue, or assisting an injured body part return to its full functionality.  And it’s a great companion therapy for physical therapy and other injury recovery therapies.  The heat from the stones allows the therapist to penetrate muscles more deeply than using hands alone, while causing less pain and discomfort.  The benefits of hot stone are deeply therapeutic, while the experience is gentle, non-invasive, and rejuvenating.  Who knew—so many benefits, no orchid required!

Kassia Arbabi is a Licensed Massage Therapist and team member at Nimbus Massage. She has training in Connective Tissue Massage, Myofascial Massage, Neuromuscular Therapy, Ortho-Bionomy, Stretching, Hot Stone Massage, and Polarity Therapy.

 


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24/May/2017

by Kristina Page

Through 20 years of volleyball, a couple of car accidents, several high-stress jobs, and bad computer posture, I have developed chronic neck and shoulder pain. It started more than ten years ago and prompted me to use massage as a corrective measure. Over the years, I have gotten better and better at managing the chronic tension and pain that starts in my right shoulder and creeps up into my head and across my upper back. I would love to say that massage alone fixes it, but I find that, for me, a combination of approaches works best.

This is not a “Ten Quick Steps to a Pain Free Life” article. These things work together over time and, when I stop doing them, my problem area flares up again.

Of course, I receive massage. I have found my optimal timing to be every other week. I get a medium to firm pressure (but not too deep) targeted massage. If I want a full-body session, I go for 90 minutes because I find I need the therapist to spend a lot of time on my neck and shoulders. This helps me loosen up the tension in my muscles, reduce the pain I feel, and sets the groundwork for my other initiatives.

Staying on top of my exercise regimen, particularly stretching and weight-bearing exercise, makes a big difference. I aim for five hours of activity per week to keep my weight, stress, and pain in-check. When the balance gets disrupted and I get out of my exercise habit, my neck and shoulder tighten back up and the effects of my massages don’t last as long. Other little aches and pains will start creeping in, too. On a related note- I lost a bunch of weight a few years ago (50 pounds) and with it, I lost my knee, ankle, and hip pain.

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If I have injured it (like after my last car accident), I have found acupuncture helpful. I also had to take a year off from sports in order to stop re-injuring it.

Minding my posture helps keep me feeling good. When I catch myself leaning in to my work too much or hunching over while walking, I straighten up and drop my shoulders. I have a few exercises and stretches I do to target the neck and shoulder girdle plus I work on my core as part of my regular exercise program. While I often find myself out of alignment, being mindful and frequently putting myself back into alignment helps.IMG_20140916_151248

Taking short stretch or walk breaks at work keeps me loose. Whenever I feel myself tightening up, I take a little break to move around. If I have had a particularly strenuous day, I will stretch at the end of it as if I had worked out.

I set my computer work station and massage table as best as I can to an optimal height.

Sleep is very important to me, and I make sure I get a full night’s sleep 99% of the time. At a certain point, I had to get a new pillow. I didn’t get a fancy one, but just getting new one (a side-sleeper pillow) helped. I also thought the mattress was too firm, so I added some egg foam to my side and that made an improvement. Until I got everything under control, I also hugged a pillow for support. At times when I have been injured, I have tried to sleep more on my back and less on my sides. Now that the area feels better, I have returned to sleeping normally.

For repetitive tasks like raking, sweeping, massaging, carrying stuff (even a purse), and driving, I try to switch back and forth between arms or use both arms fairly equally. On the purse topic, I do not carry a heavy purse far. If I am out and about, I take the bare minimum and leave the heavy stuff at home.

I have learned to respect my limits. I know just about how much I can push it, and sometimes I choose to go beyond, but I know I’ll pay the price. Of course, I also know how to reel it back in.

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Keeping my stress level down helps as well. In addition to what I do above, I practice mindfulness and meditation (though not as often or as well as I should). I have also had to learn to change my mindset about certain things that act as stressors for me. Other stress busters include: getting out into nature as much as possible, saying “no” when I need to, taking time off, and nurturing positive relationships. Since life will always have some level of stress in it, I have to work the most at this one.

When I do get flare-ups, I do a combination of massage, self-massage, moist heat, breathing exercises, stretching, and strengthening to get everything to settle back down. Then I look at what has gotten out of balance and work to correct it. I hope that by sharing what works for me, you get inspiration to seek out what works for you!

Be well.

 

 


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24/May/2017

Targeted = Focused on your specific problem areas.

Therapeutic = Having a therapeutic goal.

Massage = Working with your muscles. (What we do!)

Finding a way to succinctly describe what we do in a way that people will understand posed a unique challenge for us. What sets us apart? How do we describe what we do without using boring industry terms? How do we stay away from the misnomers of Swedish and Deep Tissue Massage? Targeted Therapeutic Massage seemed to fit the bill.

We use a through intake process to learn our client’s goals for the session, factors that contribute to their condition, and what has or hasn’t worked for them in the past. We then use this information to tailor our work each time someone comes in. In this way each session geared towards each client’s Therapeutic goals.

Our therapists all have years of experience that include actively learning new skills and staying up-to-date in the field. We know a number of different styles of massage and can blend them during each session in order to achieve the best results possible. If someone feels high levels of stress and anxiety then we use calming techniques to help relieve those feelings. If someone has chronic pain then we use pain-relieving techniques to help them manage their symptoms. If someone has a recent injury we use structural techniques to focus on helping them heal that area. We use our skills to Target each person’s problem areas.

We put all of this together to specialize in target sessions. In a Targeted Massage session, we focus solely on a particular problem area and its corresponding structures for an entire massage. Our clients get relief from stubborn problem areas, manage chronic pain, and improve function after trauma.

 


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