If you are one of millions of Americans suffering from chronic ailments such as lower back or neck pain, it can be difficult to know whether going to the chiropractor or getting a massage will alleviate your pain. The answer, which may surprise you, is often both. Today, chiropractic work and massage therapy are often seen as two sides of the same coin. Rather than being incompatible like many once thought, these types of bodywork are actually complementary.
Here at PAMT we regularly work closely with our trusted network of local chiropractors to make sure our clients are receiving all of the care they need. Massage therapy works with soft tissues to improve mobility and pain levels while chiropractic work is used to resolve structural issues within the body. This means that massage is useful before and/or after a chiropractic adjustment so that muscles can easily adapt to the new structural foundation of your body. Massage used before adjustments relieves muscle tension that may be pulling joints out of alignment and aids the body’s ability to receive a more complete adjustment. Massage used after adjustments helps the body to recover and to relearn a new ‘normal’ position.
Many clients have found that chiropractic care in tandem with massage therapy was the best answer for them. This approach ensures that any structural and soft tissue problems are addressed together. Both treatment options are holistic in nature and focus on the underlying conditions and sources of your pain rather than just the symptoms. Together these treatments can keep you Active for Life!
Most people come to PAMT for their first session to address a specific issue. As we work with each client through their healing process, other underlying problems typically become apparent and the treatment plan is adjusted accordingly. As overall pain free well being is achieved, we work with you to increase the amount of time between appointments. For example, it is normal to have appointments once or twice a week at first, and then move toward once every two weeks, etc. When your body is able to remain pain free for three weeks at a time, most are ready for maintenance work. But what does being on maintenance mean?
Maintenance work is our ultimate goal for every client no matter what their problem may be. Some decide to come monthly for their maintenance while others can stretch out the time between appointments to 6-8 weeks. This depends heavily on your occupation, level of physical activity and other outside factors including stress levels. Whatever maintenance plan you find works best for you, it is as important as the original reason you came to see us. Just like you take your car to the mechanic for regular care, your maintenance massages are a tune up for your body. We let you know if things are fine or if we find a new issue that is getting started and needs attention. Think of it as preventative care for your body to keep things running smoothly.
You can always ask your massage therapist when maintenance is realistic for you to begin or whether the time you currently have between appointments is appropriate to keep you Active for Life!
We love helping our clients stay Active for Life however there are some circumstances where massage therapy is not recommended.
2. Deep bruising, open wounds, rashes and sunburn.
In most of these cases the bruising, wounds or rashes can be worked around. Just be sure to tell your massage therapist about them before your session so they know to avoid tender or open areas. However, sunburn is a bit tougher to work around. If it only affects some parts of the body, therapists can normally work around it. But, if you forgot some SPF at the beach over the weekend it is best to avoid your massage until the tenderness and redness subside.
3. Recent trauma
This point is twofold depending on your injury. Generally most small injuries are contraindicated locally. This means your therapist can still work with you, just not on your ankle that you sprained yesterday. If your injury is more severe, your therapist can help to make a plan with your doctor(s) and guide you to when massage would be the most beneficial for your recovery. If your massage therapist avoids working with an injury, sprain or strain, it is for a good reason!
4. When taking steroids or blood thinners or if you have a history of clotting
Steroids and blood thinners can greatly affect the effectiveness of your massage. These types of medications can cause your immune system to weaken, thin skin and swelling on their own. Adding massage into this can lead to skin damage and bruising. If you have a history of clotting massage may not be for you. If you have a clot forming, massage may cause the clot to move or break and travel to other parts of the body. Always tell your massage therapist about clotting history any new medications you are taking so they can safely and effectively redirect your session to meet your needs at the time.
If you have been drinking or still have alcohol in your system it is best to skip your massage. Alcohol can desensitize you and lead to unreliable feedback on the amount of pressure your therapist may be using. Best to save your session for another day!
If you ever have questions on whether or not massage is a good fit given your situation give us a call so we can help you stay Active for Life!
We see clients coming in for massage that have varying levels of pain every day. One of the most frequent questions we answer is “will this hurt?”
There is an old school belief in the idea of “no pain, no gain.” However, if you are already in immense pain, the idea of creating more pain can be overwhelming. During the course of any massage it is likely that there will be areas that are more sensitive than others. So how do we find a balance between pain and healing during a massage?
There is a difference between ‘good pain’ and ‘bad pain.’ As you get to know your body and how it responds to massage, you will be able to decipher the difference between good pain that may be uncomfortable but is beneficial in the long run, and bad pain that is too intense to be therapeutic. This is where you must learn to trust your instincts and listen to your body…if your first reaction is to want to get off the massage table, it’s probably bad pain and you should let your therapist know.
A great massage therapist is going to be able to read your body language, but not your mind. They should be checking in with you throughout the session and if you start to flinch, they may ask “how is this pressure?” If it is too much speak up! Your therapist checks in with you to make sure you are getting the most therapeutic benefit out of your session. If you feel like something isn’t quite right or there is too much pressure, this gives your therapist the information they need to redirect the session.
In any massage whether you go once a year or once a week, you are in charge of your own session. Here are some ways you can give your therapists updates during your session. If the pressure is too much you can say “Could you use a little less pressure overall?” Or “that is a little more than my body can handle right now.” If there is a particular area you come to that is more sensitive than others you can say “this area seems a little more sensitive today, could we take a gentler approach?” Your therapist will never be insulted by these updates do don’t be afraid to speak up!
Although most massage therapists try to keep pain to a minimum there will occasionally be areas that are sore during your session and you also may experience some post-massage tenderness. This is due to the changes in your body mechanics but they should never last more than two to three days. This is your body readjusting to a new way of being and muscles that were previously underutilized may be weak and take a few days to get stronger. It will feel much like the soreness you feel after working out and always let your massage therapist know how your body responded to the last session you had.
Your massage therapist is there to help you reach your goals. For your massage to carry the highest therapeutic value it is important to keep your therapist updated during and after the massage so they can use all of their knowledge and expertise to help keep you Active for Life!
Most people are surprised to hear that we work with newborn babies and young children here at PAMT. Did you know massage therapy can play a substantial role in the growth of a child, both physically and developmentally?
The birthing process is not only strenuous for the mothers, it can also create strain patterns in the body that may lead to difficulty with nursing, sleeping, inconsolable fussiness and abnormal bowel function. As children get older and progress to the toddler stage, some children are late to crawl or ‘scoot’ across the floor instead. Through gentle types of work such as Cranio Sacral Therapy and Myofascial Therapy, these problems can be remedied early on. PAMT can help to create the best recipe for success during these crucial developmental stages.
We love seeing mothers during their pregnancy as well as infants directly after birth. The earlier we are able to work with any problems that may arise the better. Most babies don’t need many appointments to address issues they may be having during these early days and maintenance appointments once per month are often enough to keep on top of any new difficulties.
Our goal to keep our community active for life starts at birth. If you have any questions about our treatments, we are always ready to answer your questions. We are here to keep your whole family Active for Life!
While it’s true that all of the therapists at Pro-Active Muscle Therapy are talented with a deep understanding of human anatomy, there’s something else that sets their practice apart.
In a word, relationships.
“The whole time we are providing treatment, there is a continuous communication with the client. We are explaining what were doing, listening to the client’s feedback, and responding with more information. We are building a relationship and educating the client, which enables the client to take control of their own health. This is the foundation of every Pro-Active Muscle Therapy treatment program,” Ann, owner of Pro-Active explains.
Another essential aspect of muscle therapy is that the therapists use their expertise and knowledge to get to the source of the problem which can often be deep-rooted. “More often than not our clients will come to us with broad goals like ‘I want to be in less pain.’ This blanket statement comes from years of being in the back seat when it comes to their own health. We take the extra time to go over their entire history and make sure we make a plan to address everything from their severe lower back pain all the way down to the soreness in their left thumb,” Erin, a PAMT therapist says.
Pro-Active’s goal is truly to keep everyone that comes into their office active for life. This is the main difference that makes us to good at what we do says Business Manager, Marissa Hughes. “All of our therapists are of course highly trained but it’s my job to match new clients with the right therapist. Sometimes that means going to multiple therapists for example going to Shauna for some CranioSacral Therapy and then going to Adam for cross fiber work. Our whole team is constantly learning and growing and it is great to have new approaches and techniques always available to every client.”
“Our muscle therapy treatments are developed for each individual’s needs, and they are planned for the healing and long-term health of the client. This is a relationship that plays out over time, and creates well-being we call ‘Active for Life’,” Ann says. Whether you are coming in for maintenance or working through your own treatment plan, from newborns through adults, Pro-Active will be with you every step of the way.
A large part of what makes PAMT different than the typical massage provider is the breadth of services and modalities we offer. But how do you know which one is right for you? Let's take a look at one of our most popular modalities that can benefit everyone from newborns to adults.
Cranio Sacral Therapy, or CST, is a gentle yet powerful hands on approach developed by John Upledger. Using this technique, therapists are able to release restrictions in the soft tissue that surrounds the central nervous system. This may seem complicated however the goal is simple - to create normal mobility of the areas surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Restrictions in these areas can cause dysfunction in the body that often manifest in the form of headaches, neck and back pain, and even sinus related issues. Because CST is such a gentle technique it is an ideal modality for newborns and children as well as those in chronic pain and post surgical persons.
CST can also be used in conjunction with other modalities such as Cross Fiber Therapies or Myofascial Release. Using more than one modality in a singular session is common at PAMT and allows healing to take place on more than just a surface level. PAMT therapists have used Cranio Sacral Therapy to address a multitude of ailments such as headaches, neck and back pain,TMJ, Autism, Colic, ADD/ADHD, Allergies, Scoliosis and Fibromyalgia just to name a few.
CST is inherently relaxing and a great option for anyone looking to reduce stress, treat every day aches and pains or treat specific ailments. If you have any questions about CST, give us a call at our Nottingham office or visit https://www.upledger.com/therapies/index.php for more information.
The world of alternative health care has been steadily growing and becoming more commonplace in today’s society as an acceptable and sometimes, even preferred form of healthcare. But something you probably don’t hear about as much is the concept of complementary health approaches. On the surface, it may seem that these two options are synonymous however they could not be more different. To talk about alternative and complementary forms of care we must first understand what these terms mean and how they relate to standard care.
Standard care is medicine that is performed by a licensed healthcare professional, usually a Medical Doctor (M.D.) or a Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.). Other types of medical practices that are considered standard care are Physical Therapy (P.T.) and Psychiatry. Standard care is often referred to as Western Medicine and is widely available throughout the United States.
Alternative Health Care
Alternative health care consists of various treatments that are used instead of standard medicine. Some types of alternative health care that can be used exclusively include acupuncture, herbal medicine and chiropractic.
Complementary Health Approaches
Complementary health approaches include practices that are not yet considered mainstream in standard care (massage therapy, essential oils, yoga, etc.). The standard care community is beginning to support complementary health approaches. Patients are now encouraged to incorporate complementary health approaches, such as massage therapy and chiropractic, as part of a comprehensive individualized health plan, especially when it comes to treatment for chronic pain.
Pro-Active is a complementary health provider known for our knowledge and ability to work in tandem with standard care providers to offer a wider range of options for chronic pain not otherwise available in the standard care community. We offer a fresh approach when working with the cycle of chronic pain and often find that a global approach leads to the most success.
By changing the conversation around pain, Pro-Active can work with you and your other health professionals to implement unique and sometimes unconventional methods to Keep you Active for Life.
If you have any questions about PAMT therapies, don’t hesitate to give us a call!
One question we receive often from our clients is “what is this bag of white stuff?!” When they
find out it is baking soda the understandable next question is always “what is the difference
between a baking soda and Epsom salts?”
Baking soda –or sodium bicarbonate - is a great remedy for everything from sunburn and itchy
skin to teeth whitening. A lesser known fact is that taking a bath with baking soda can also help
you after a tough workout, massage or when your just feeling sludgy during the flu season.
Baking soda is very alkaline or basic which makes it able to bind to the so called “sludge” and
remove it from your body. After a particularly demanding cross fiber session, 8 cups of baking
soda in a hot bath can help to detoxify your body by flushing out the released toxins through
Epsom salt isn’t really a salt at all but instead a mineral compound called magnesium sulfate.
Epsom salt is great for chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia, soothing inflammation from
ingrown toenails and relieving bruised and aching muscles. This pain relief comes from your
skin absorbing the magnesium naturally founds in Epsom salt.
Many combinations of these two detoxifying ingredients can be helpful. Some people mix
them together or supplement the soak with essential oils or apple cider vinegar for additional
detox benefits. As always, be mindful of the potential health risks associated with any
treatment. Do not use baking soda or Epsom salts without consulting your doctor if you are
pregnant, have high blood pressure, heart problems or are on any prescription medication.
If you have gotten the go ahead from your doctor, enjoy a nice long soak and reap the benefits
of a detox soak to stay Active for Life!
By this time you are probably gearing back up after the New Year. Your check list is a mile long and somewhere between getting back to work and getting dinner on the table you manage to roll your ankle. It is a bit sore and you notice some swelling start to set in later as your lounging on the couch. Your sister recommends ice it but your cousin says she puts heat on her aching shoulder. Which one should you do?
Ice verses heat is a long standing debate but the truth is that both can help depending on your injury. The rule of thumb is that ice is for new injuries such as strains and sprains while heat is for chronic injuries, pain, and relaxation.
Ice should be used in the case of new injuries such as the one described above because it eases inflammation and swelling. Icing is also a good, drugless way to dull pain because it effectively constricts blood vessels which can also aid in the lessening of bruising. This is also the reason ice should not be used on chronically tight muscles - narrowing the vessels can cause these muscles to stiffen even more.
Instead heat can be used to sooth sore muscles, tension and spasms because it increases blood flow and flushes new, healing fluids to the affected area. Often time’s heat helps sooth stiff muscle and joints and increase range of motion in some cases. Heat should not be used for acute injuries such as a sprain because bringing more fluid into the area will increase swelling and delay the healing process.
Typically a regimen with ice and heat is 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off. If you don’t have an ice pack you can use a bag of frozen peas or corn or mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with 2 cups of water and freezing to make your own DIY ice pack. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can stuff an old, clean sock with rice and microwave at 30 second intervals until the desired temperature is reached. As a precaution always make sure there is a layer like a towel or scarf in-between your skin and any ice or heat you apply.
So was your sister or cousin right? Both! For your everyday life induced aches and pains remember to ice that sprained ankle and while you’re at it, throw some moist heat on your tense neck and shoulders – you will be good to go in no time! If you have any questions about whether to use ice or heat, contact your doctor or therapist to stay Active for Life!