It was right around the holiday season and I was out for a leisurely stroll with my husband. Then it happened! A twinge in my left groin area. You know the kind or groin injury that a person can function ok enough but it has a pesky, mosquito like tenacity. Then you think, “it will work itself out”, or “I just need to warm up and stretch”, or “is this another sign of getting older and wiser?”
Rationalization is an inexpensive therapy for humans to deal with unfortunate things in the short term. However, it is not the best philosophy for the long term. Well, I soldiered on avoiding medical co-pays until I couldn’t take it anymore. Also, ibuprofen was not meant to be a tic-tac substitute. I thought of two things – 1. Finally going to a doctor and 2. A therapeutic massage!
I called Nimbus Massage and scheduled a 90 minute appointment. I had never thought that I, as a female, would be needing a massage for groin injury relief. After many Google searches on the topic, one would think the groin only exists with the male population. This is only a slight exaggeration as the internet does not have much for female groin injury relief in a serious medical sense.
Now I would like to reiterate that this “twinge”, which was causing pain to the point of not wanting to walk, was located near a personal area. Also, my personal space bubble is large. Large enough that I will park my car to include an extra parking space between me and another vehicle. With massage, professionalism is a must.
The morning of my appointment, I hobbled in and discussed my “twinge” issue with my therapist. He took time to listen to my concerns, gently figured out the correct pressure, and isolated the problem area. After the massage I could walk again like I could before the holiday “twinge”. #betterthanibuprofen
Fortunately for me, the actual “twinge” was a relatively minor injury and the pain issue was a result of the surrounding muscle tissue tightening up and compensating. My x-rays did not show any abnormalities. The best immediate relief was available through therapeutic massage and thankfully, this is in the Nimbus Massage wheelhouse!
For minor injuries such as a pulled muscle, massage can help ease pain and relax tight muscle fibers. Often a short series can get everything back to normal. In fact, sometimes as little as one session can make a huge difference. When seeking a therapeutic massage to ease pain and improve function following a minor injury, the general rule of thumb is to wait 72 hours after the incident, or until any redness, swelling, or heat have dissipated.
For a more serious incident, the post-injury massage shouldn’t come until after seeking medical attention and being cleared by the health practitioner to receive massage. Typically, people start getting massage while they are in or ending physical therapy. Massage can greatly complement the work done in a PT’s office to rehab after an injury, as it targets the same structures and goals using a slightly different approach.
Many people find lymphatic massage helpful in the early days post-injury. It is a light pressure technique targeting the lymphatic vessels just under the skin. This system moves fluid (like swelling) and cellular waste (like damaged material from an injury site) through the lymph nodes for processing and then out of the body. After the first couple of days have passed, lymphatic massage may be used along with regular massage or by itself to help speed healing.
People use post-injury massage to address pain, scar tissue, stiffness, weakness, swelling and diminished flexibility. It can help improve mood, ease stress, and give a sense of healing and connection to the body. Many people say that massage is that “extra something” that makes a difference in their recovery.
At Nimbus we have taken part in many people’s healing efforts. We have seen people recovering from broken bones, sprains, pulled muscles, falls, accidents, sporting injuries, workplace mishaps… the list goes on. We’d love to hear your story of how massage has made a difference in your recovery.
If you have pain or other symptoms from temporomandibular disorder (often referred to as “TMJ” or “TMD”) you have many options for helping manage your condition. Massage, of course, is one of our favorites. But here is a list, compiled by a dental hygienist, of things you can do at home to help ease your symptoms.
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.
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.
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 opted for one of our buckwheat hull pillows and it made a world of difference. I also thought the mattress was too firm, so I added some egg foam to my side and that made an improvement. I also hug 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.
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!
Targeted = Focused on your specific problem areas and goals.
Therapeutic = Having a therapeutic goal.
Massage = Working with the soft tissue for a therapeutic outcome.
Finding a way to succinctly describe what we do in a way that people will understand posed a unique challenge for us. We wanted to convey that we specialize in therapeutic styles of massage with a focus on helping people manage pain. We also see a lot of clients who have specific goals for their care, some of whom have complex medical histories. We wanted to describe what we do without using boring industry terms and jargon. All while staying 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 also like to learn the client’s preferences for techniques. We then use this information to tailor our work each time someone comes in. In this way, each session is geared towards each client’s therapeutic goals.
Our therapists all have experience that includes 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 do what we do so that we can help people live life just a little bit better.