Thursday, December 28, 2017


What does "Bonus Boosts" mean? 
Well, bonus boosts are the extra bonuses that come along with massage. All of our awesome clients know we specialize in soothing muscles when they are hurting. When your body “screams” at you, we give it the attention that it needs, but how? Massage is the obvious answer for so many people. However, sometimes, the body doesn’t “talk” to you as clearly as we would like, which makes it harder to perceive the more subtle wear and tear that our body is going through.

 This is the time of year that life gets crazy and out of control. From schedules getting busier, family, work, and school demands, colder weather, and holiday stress, we all feel life taking it’s toll on our bodies. Massage can help you feel better in many ways more than just happier and more relaxed muscles.

Here are a few added benefits of an hour of massage on a regular basis.
By increasing circulation we help nourish our nerves, organs, and extremities. Massage engages the parasympathetic nervous system, encouraging the ‘rest and digest’ response in the whole body. This response helps sleep and gastrointestinal imbalances. 

The most important part to highlight is the awesome effect massage has on the immune system. Your immune system, or lymph system, is one of the most critical systems in the body. This system is responsible for filtering toxins, fighting infection and producing white blood cells. All things which are vital to your overall health and wellness. Any area with disease engages the lymph system to respond and stresses the immune system This can include anything from infection in the body, such as a skin wound or strep throat, to general inflammation, such as a strained shoulder or a swollen knee from a tendon tear. Unfortunately, some severe conditions, like cancer,  sometimes require lymph nodes to be removed during treatment. This has an obvious affect on immune/lymph function, as well.

During massage the entire circulatory and lymph system are stimulated, allowing the cells to receive the necessary nutrient delivery and waste removal from the blood and spleen. For example, when we work the quads on the front of the thigh, we are moving lymph back to the core of the body, and when you are having muscular tension in your neck relieved, it actually encourages the lymph to flow properly, too. All of this adds up to a less ‘burdened’ system that is able to respond better to immune threats, deal with life’s demands, and keeps you running strong and healthy. This is especially helpful with the upcoming cold and flu season, where our lives and bodies are running like crazy. 

Here’s to Vitality!

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017


There is no doubt that flexibility is a huge part of everyone's daily life. Verywell defines flexibility as "the range of motion in a joint or group of joints or the ability to move joints effectively through a complete range of motion." This affects everything you do from
picking up a piece of paper off the ground to working out or playing a sport. Flexibility is extremely important for every person no matter their age, gender, or level fitness and is something that can be improved through the use three "techniques"-massage, yoga, and at-home exercise.


Of course, massage feels wonderful and helps to relax me, but how in the world can it make me more flexible? Funny you should ask! Massage can help better your flexibility thorough loosening, getting rid of lactic acid, and lessening pain. Loosening the muscles and tendons is the first step to being as flexible as needed for lifelong mobility. When your muscles and tendons are loose and your blood flow is increased, the muscles become more elastic. With increased elasticity, you are able to maintain a better range of motion and overall flexibility. 

The next way that massage can increase flexibility is through the release and ridding of lactic acid build up in the muscles. Lactic acid causes many issues including the tightening of muscles, cramps, pain, and decreasing of range of motion, according to WedMD. Because of the tighter muscles and reduced range of motion, without a release of the lactic acid through massage, flexibility will decrease significantly. 

Massage can help to improve flexibility in one more way; by easing pain. By easing the pain and strain in your soft tissue and connections (tendons and ligaments), your body is able to better the process of increasing flexibility. Flexibility and pain are like a cycle; the less pain you are in, the more flexible you can become, and the more flexible you become, the less pain you will be in. 


When one hears the word yoga, stretching is generally thought of before anything else. The wonderful thing about yoga is that yoga stretches both the muscles and the joints of the body. Although it is often thought of as such, stretching is not what you can do for five minutes before a workout; stretching through yoga is exercise in itself, according to The positions in yoga are used as workouts that use the whole body, even those muscles and joints you didn't even know existed. Through all of these positions utilized in yoga, the body will begin to increase flexibility and overall development. Although yoga can be used as a treatment for many conditions including insomnia and pain, yoga is a great way to improve your overall flexibility, harmony, and balance throughout your whole body. 

At-Home Exercises

The last way to increase flexibility is through the use of at-home exercises. Although some of these are similar to what you would find at a yoga studio, these are specifically designed for individuals to use with yoga or for individuals who are not interested in the flexibility help that yoga can provide. These exercises are generally quick, easy, and safe, and they can work with even the most inflexible individuals. Although they may not seem like a lot, if done properly and consistently, they can improve your flexibility immensely! Feel free to click here and see and read about 10 great at-home exercises that can greatly improve your flexibility. 

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 
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Monday, December 18, 2017


In one of our previous blogs, we talked about what our exclusive holiday add-ons are and how they work. You can click here to read it. Now that they have been going for a couple weeks, we have some awesome success stories about our add-ons to share with all of you!

The first one we will be talking about today is our Lavender Paraffin Hand Treatment. 
To respect the privacy of our client, we will be calling her "A" for the remainder of this blog. A had a major wrist and hand injury years ago. She was told that she would never have a properly functioning hand and wrist and will never return to her job that required a large amount of computer work. She pushed through months of rehab and was amazingly able to regain function of her hand and wrist and return to work. 

Fast forward to present day
- although she is able to move her hand, she has severe pain in her hand and wrist from the injury. This causes her to not be able to do what she loves- crafting and sewing. She thought that the pain was something she would just have to deal with until she stumbled upon Massage La Mesa. After receiving regular massage for two years, she found that it does help with the pain from her injury. Rather than it being a radiating, sharp pain, she only felt a dull, aching pain until she tried our Lavender Paraffin Hand Treatment. Because her therapist knew her medical history, she recommended that A receive the hand treatment. After just ONE session with the paraffin, A felt an almost instantaneous reduction of pain. By the end of the treatment and massage, A was pain-free for the first time since her injury. The next time she came in, her therapist asked how her pain was, and she replied "Never better" with a big smile on her face. A finally found the relief she deserved from our Lavender Paraffin Hand Treatment. If you or any one that you know is suffering from hand or wrist pain, the hand treatment would be a great option to try and reduce or stop the pain and tension.  

The other success story that we will be talking about today is about our Deep Muscle Therapy. B is 67 year old man with chronic, severe lower back pain from a lifetime of lifting and bending for work. Now retired, he still feels the debilitating pain every day from his hard work. This, unfortunately, stops him from doing many things that he would like to do like playing with his grandchildren, going on hikes, and gardening. He had received massage many times but never felt completely pain-free. He bought a gift card with the Deep Muscle Therapy add-on. After just his first session with the Deep Muscle Therapy, he said that his pain was brought down from an 8 on the pain scale to a 3!! That is so wonderful for him. According to his therapist's recommendation, he came in the following week and received the Deep Muscle Therapy again. This time his pain was down to a 2. He has his next session scheduled with Deep Muscle Therapy in two weeks and plans on using Deep Muscle Therapy every time for the added benefits to massage. He recommends that anyone that has chronic pain try out the Deep Muscle Therapy with their next session!

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 
Book now by clicking HERE.

Monday, December 11, 2017


What is Epsom salt?
Epsom salt is originally named from a bitter saline spring found in Surrey, England. Unlike what the name suggests, Epsom salt is not actually a salt; it is a pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. According to SaltWorks, both magnesium and sulfate are both easily absorbed into the skin, which makes Epsom salts extremely effective. Although the most common use of Epsom salts is using it in the bath, there are many uses for health benefits, beauty, household, and gardening. Epsom salts have been used for these purposes for hundreds of years.

Health Benefits of Epsom salts:

Boosts Magnesium Levels
Because of how readily the magnesium absorbs into the body through the skin, Epsom salts naturally increases the magnesium levels in the body. This can be done through soaking your feet or your whole body in a tub with a high concentration of Epsom salts. Raising the levels of magnesium has a couple great benefits. Dr. Axe explains how if you are deficient in magnesium caused by alcoholism, severe diarrhea, malnutrition, or high calcium levels, soaking in Epsom salts is the best, natural way to improve this. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to heart disease, stroke, arthritis, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive disorders, and mental illness, therefore, increasing magnesium levels can help to prevent or improve these conditions. 

Improves Muscular Wellness
The idea that soaking in Epsom salts helps to relax muscles and reduce pain has been around for centuries, but does it work and how? It does help to relieve and relax sore muscles. When a person soaks in an Epsom salt bath, the magnesium is absorbed into the body, which in turn, absorbs into the muscles. Once the magnesium is absorbed into the muscle, the magnesium begins to flush out any lactic acid buildups within the muscle. Lactic acid is the byproduct of carbohydrates being broken down within the body, which is often caused by intense workouts or exercise. Lactic acid buildup within the muscle causes burning, pain, cramps, and exhaustion and is often the focus point of massage. Although it does not flush out all of the lactic acid build up, Epsom salts do help to relieve some of the buildup and the associated pain and discomfort. LiveStrong discusses how magnesium is vital in the process of absorption of vitamins, which helps to regulate muscle and nerve function. This, in turn, significantly influences muscle soreness and stiffness.

Other Uses
Epsom salt has been known to help with mild sunburns, due to its anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritation and keep your hands clean, unlike aloe! 
Mixing it with petroleum jelly, Epsom salt can help treat dry lips by removing the dead skin.
Another use for Epsom salt is for bee sting and bug bite relief. Again, the anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe, reduce swelling, and calm irritation.
To learn more about these uses or many other uses, click here to visit Dr.Oz's website. 

Not only are there these amazing health benefits with Epsom Salts, they are relaxing and fun to use. There is nothing better after a long, stressful day than to come home to a warm soak in the tub with Epsom salt. Try sprucing it up with a couple drops of your favorite essential oil and enjoy! 

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017


What is Depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is common, treatable condition that causes changes in the way you feel, the way you think, and the way you act in a negative manner. Depression is very serious and should not be taken lightly. Depression can cause feelings of sadness, loss of interest, hopelessness, and suicidal thoughts. It is a condition that can cause many problems within someone's life due to the inability to function properly at home, school, and/or work. Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. It is important to understand that clinical depression is not the same as feeling sad sometimes or grieving. Depression is the combination of symptoms below for seemingly no reason. It is not feeling sad and lonely because one's dog dies; it is the feeling of uncontrollable, extreme sadness that often happens without a trigger or event that causes it..

What Are The Symptoms of Depression?
Symptoms of depression include but are not limited to:

  • Feelings of sadness and loneliness
  • Loss of interest and/or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in weight- extreme weight-gain or extreme weight-loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns- difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Loss of energy
  • Increased fatigue
  • Slowed movements and speech
  • Feeling worthless or unnecessarily guilty
  • Difficulty maintaining a train of thought or thinking properly
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
How Can Massage Help?
Massage cannot cure depression. Massage is very beneficial in the treatment of the symptoms of depression. One of the biggest way that massage can help to treat the symptoms is by the proven decrease in cortisol following and during a massage. Cortisol is a hormone within the body that is produced when the body is stressed. In people with depression, cortisol is often heightened
within the body for no apparent reason. A 60 minute massage session has been proven to reduce the levels of cortisol within the body, according to Mayo Clinic, which can help to put the body and mind at ease and reduce the heightened state of the body. Massage has also been linked to the increased secretion of serotonin. Serotonin is one of the main hormones related to depression. Serotonin levels are often decreased in people with depression, so by receiving massage, they are able to naturally counteract the decreased serotonin levels. This increases overall mood and lowers the feelings of sadness within people suffering from depression. Although massage is not a cure-all for depression, massage can greatly benefit people with depression and is a highly recommended additional treatment by doctors. If you or someone you know if suffering from depression, please, consult your doctor to see if massage could help!

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 

Book now by clicking HERE.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


If you haven't been in yet, here's a sneak peek on what is going on in our office this holiday season. Our team has done an amazing job of decorating and coming up with some awesome holiday promotions for all of you. From wreaths to ornaments to adorable gift with purchases, Massage La Mesa is ready for the season!

Not only is our clinic decorated like a holiday wonderland, there are exclusive in-store promotions available for our awesome community. Beginning at just $99, all of these packages include gift with purchases, deluxe gift wrapping, and a card to make gift giving easy this year. You won't want to miss these great deals for yourself and your gift list. Packages can be split up or given to one person. There are also add-ons that are only available with the purchase of one of our holiday packages. These add-ons include our Peppermint Foot Scrub, Lavender Paraffin Hand Treatment, and Deep Muscle Therapy. Don't forget to check your list twice and find out who needs a massage!

Don't want to buy a holiday package?
That's okay! We have stocking stuffers for $10 or less! These stocking stuffers are great for everyone's stocking (and your budget, too).

This year we have everything you need to make all of your holiday preparations easy as pie. We know that the holidays can be difficult and busy, but it is important to remember your own self-care. Whether it is through massage, or even just making sure you are drinking enough water throughout your festivities, the greatest gift you can give to yourself is the gift of self-care. 

Stop by and grab a gift card package, get a massage, or even just to say hello. Read more about in-store packages by clicking HERE.

We wish every one of you the best this holiday season and cannot wait to see you soon!! 

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 

Book now by clicking HERE.

Monday, November 27, 2017


This holiday season we will be offering some of our best deals yet. These are something you will not want to miss out on. We are making gift giving EASY this year. You can read all about our wonderful package options by clicking here.

For these great holiday packages, we will be offering a choice of add-on. These add-ons include Peppermint Foot Scrub, Lavender Paraffin Hand Treatment, and Deep Muscle Therapy. Here is the break down of what each of these great add-ons are and their benefit.

Peppermint Foot Scrub-
An invigorating combination of peppermint sugar scrub and cream. While increasing circulation, the sugar scrub exfoliates the skin and removes dead and dry skin. The cream then softens and heals
damaged areas of the feet.

Lavender Paraffin Hand Treatment-
This paraffin wax delivers fast, temporary relief from joint aches and pain associated with overuse and arthritis. Applied expertly onto the hands and wrists, the warm wax eases tension and reduce inflammation. This leaves the hands feeling soft and moisturized.

Deep Muscle Therapy-
This massage session uses warming CryoDerm Heat to delve deep into tight and tense muscles. After the CryoDerm penetrates deep into the muscles, BioFreeze is used to cool and ease any inflammation, swelling or pain. The combination of the two products work with skillfully applied massage for an ultimately effective deep muscle therapeutic session. 

We are so excited about our holiday packages, and we hope you are, too! Don't miss out on these perfect gifts for the holidays.

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 

Book now by clicking HERE.

Monday, November 20, 2017


At some point in everyone's life, they have heard of tendons and ligaments. Whether it is a friend complaining of a torn tendon or your massage therapist telling you that your ligaments are tight around a specific body part. Either way, these two terms are commonly used but, also, commonly misunderstood. 

What are ligaments? Well, ligaments are fibrous connective tissue that connects bone to bone, according to Live Strong. When the connection is made, it creates a joint. This thick tissue allows for many simple and complex movements to happen throughout the body. The ligaments are able to help preform so many different functions because they come in many different shapes and sizes, which benefit the stability and strength of the joint. It is possible to over-stretch or tear a ligament when there is too much force on the ligament. This is commonly known as a sprain, which is usually indicated by swelling and redness at the joint. 

Tendons, although similar, are very different in their purpose. Tendons connect bone to muscle rather than bone to bone, according to MedLine Plus. Tendons also help with the movement of the bones through the transmission of force from the muscle to the bone. Tendons also differ in size and shape, which allows the tendons to help with range of motion and to resist outside pressures. When these outside pressures are more than what the tendon can handle, there is a high chance for injury. These injuries include stretching or tearing the tendon and can happen abruptly or over time. One generally can tell when they have injured their tendon by the inflammation around the area. 

Although these two are very different, there are some major similarities, which often cause the confusion of the two. Both tendons and ligaments are made of fibrous connective tissue. Tendons and ligaments are very important connectors for our body, which allow us to move properly. The final important similarity of the two is that they help with the overall stability and strength of our body. 

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Monday, November 13, 2017


Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis
Being a massage therapist or a massage client, it can sometimes hard to distinguish when a pain or a symptom is just that or part of a more complex condition. Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) are two conditions where this is often the case. When clients with PMR and/or GCA receive regular massage without medical treatment, often the client will feel a worsening of symptoms or a halt of response to massage, meaning that they are not getting worse, but their symptoms are definitely not getting any better. In the case of PMR and GCA, simple shoulder and hip pain can turn into blindness, stroke, or aneurysm if gone untreated. In today's blog, you will learn about what PMR and GCA are, who is at risk, and signs and symptoms of the conditions.

What Are They?
Polymyalgia Rheumatica is a very scary and complicated sounding name. If you break it down, it means "many muscle pains and nonspecific joint pain." Giant Cell Arteritis is the inflammation of the abnormally large white blood cells. There cells can be found in the affected medium or large arteries' lining. It is often found in the temporal artery, but it also may be found in other arteries as well. Both of these conditions are autoimmune problems, which means that the body is attacking itself. The reason that we are discussing these seemingly separate conditions together is because these two are very closely related. It is very common that a person suffering from one of these conditions is suffering rom the other one as well. According to MedScape, "Approximately 15% of patients with PMR develop giant cell arteritis (GCA), and 40-50% of patients with GCA have associated PMR." Although there have been numerous studies regarding these two conditions and how they relate, there has been no conclusive evidence as to why these two conditions are so closely linked. Some researchers have proposed that PMR and GCA are part of a continuum. This being that PMR is the mild end and GCA is the severe end and patients can fall anywhere on that continuum. However, a person can experience both conditions at the same time, one without the other, or even in the reverse order; the continuum is proposed link of the two conditions.

Who is at Risk?
There are a few factors that increase the likelihood of a person having PMR and/or GCA, such as age, race, and gender. It is very rare that a person under the age of 50 experiences either of these conditions and most people experience these conditions over the age of 70. Caucasians are significantly more likely to have PMR or GCA than any other race, and females are also more likely to have PMR or GCA than males. With all of this being said, PMR and GCA can happen to any one of any age, and it is important to know the signs and symptoms of these potentially life-threatening conditions.

Signs and Symptoms
The most significant symptom of these conditions is pain. Pain centered around the hips and shoulders, along with headaches is a huge indicator of the conditions. Other symptoms include unexplained fever, cough, and sore throat, swelling, jaw pain, trouble getting up in the morning, weight loss, and depression. Another huge sign for massage therapists is if the client is not responding well to massage and either gets worse or stays the same for a long period of time. If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, please consult your doctor before continuing massage.

The good news about PMR and GCA is that they are both easily treatable by steroid anti-inflammatory medication. Massage is a great way to complement the treatment once some relief has been seen in the patient. Massage is not recommended without the approval of a physician first when a client is suffering from PMR and GCA.

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 

Book now by clicking HERE.

Monday, October 30, 2017


Cold vs Hot

Let’s begin by introducing the technical terms for this subject.  Cryotherapy is the use of cold in treatment of an injury and Thermotherapy is the use of heat in the healing process.  Many of our clients come to us either with an acute injury, or because of a chronic condition causing pain or musculoskeletal dis-ease in the body. 

We will discuss cryotherapy first because it is the first response to Acute injury.  An acute injury could be a fall or a sprain, a broken bones, surgery, or even just a strained muscle during a workout, and the acute phase for treatment is the first 24 to 72 hours.  This is usually associated with the acronym R.I.C.E.- Rest, ICE, Compression, and Elevation.   Compression and elevation are passive parts of the post injury Rest phase.  If the injury is on a limb it is typically easy to wrap an ACE bandage around your wrist or ankle, that is the compression aspect and then raise the limb above your heart and prop it up to properly Elevate and Rest, this is the time to introduce Ice.  Ice helps to decrease pain and ease acute muscle spasms, it constricts blood vessels which decreases swelling, and decreases the inflammatory response.  Most conditions ending in –itis, arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, the –itis indicates inflammation and ice can be helpful for these conditions. 

Conservative use of ice can protect against frost bite or nerve damage from over icing an injury and never use ice on an open wound or areas of poor circulation or neuropathy.  Ice packs whether gel or ice cubes should always be wrapped in a damp towel to increase conduction and protect the skin.  Time increments will vary based on the body part however areas with little muscle or tissue, feet, hands, ankles, and wrist are especially vunerable to frost bite so rounds of 5-10 minutes at most with 10-15 minute rest intervals in between ice is critical.   For the back, legs, and hips 15-20 minutes of ice is recommended with 10-15 minute rest intervals in between.  Your massage therapist may recommend using ice following a particularly intensive session of deep tissue work causing tenderness or inflammation from the work releasing chronic muscle adhesions or ‘knots’.

Chronic pain is typically defined as ongoing and lasting for more than six months.  Most chronic pain comes from initially from an injury or illness and is aggravated from persistent stressors, poor self care or general repetitive lifestyle hazards such as long commutes, poor posture, and sedentary work life 8 plus hours a day.  Massage is the best way to help the body maintain balance with the stressful demands of our busy lives, in between sessions thermotherapy can be a great way to help the body cope with the daily tension.  Heat acts to increase circulation, reduce stiffness and decrease muscle spasms.  It is great way to help relax tight muscles before stretching and during massage.  Conditions that respond well to heat include tension headaches, chronic shoulder or low back pain, frozen shoulder, and sciatic pain.  The most important thing is the find a way to work it into your daily routine.

My favorite recommendation for quick rounds of heat therapy is to use the little bean-bag packs you can
microwave, an easy as home “life hack” is to fill a single sock at least three quarters full of rice, tie the sock closed and toss it in the microwave for 45 sec, toss it over your shoulder for instant relief. Try warming it at work and using it on your commute home or while you are sitting at your desk in the morning checking emails. Most electric heating pads have auto off switches now and it is easy to keep plugged in next to the couch or bed and use at the end of the day when you finally get a chance to stop moving. For large muscle groups like legs, hips, and back at least 20-30 minutes is a good start and no more than 45 minutes using low heat, let the area rest by moving the heating pad to a different body part for 15-20 minutes then, if desired, a second round of heat on the first area.  If you have access to a hot tub, sauna, or even your home bath are all great options for adding heat therapy into your pain management routine.  I also recommend Epsom salts in the bath tub following a massage or for self care any time your body is feeling the strain.  Contraindications, meaning when heat is NOT recommended, include deep vein thrombosis, some neuropathy or circulation conditions, or when an infection or malignant tumor is present.  Always consult your physician before using a hot tub, sauna or Epsom bath if you have certain cardio/pulmonary conditions.  Discuss your specific conditions with your massage therapist, utilize our training as a resource for your questions and help maximize your healing with our suggestions for daily, self care using of cryo- and/or thermotherapy.

Contact us at: 619-917-4675 OR 

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Introduction to Pain Science
Understanding your pain

Pain can be debilitating.  Chronic pain brings 30 million people to the doctor yearly in the U.S.  50% of those in pain are unexplained.  In other words, the doctor agrees it is chronic pain but MRI’s, blood work, tests, or x-rays don’t show a cause for the pain, which brings us to the topic of pain and your brain.  Pain science has become increasingly popular in the manual therapy world.  A whole new way of approaching pain comes to light as more research and publishing’s on the topic arise. 

Pain is weird.  Pain is not caused by any ONE thing.  We need to stop thinking of pain in terms of a single cause, “It’s all coming from the knee surgery" (or you fill the blank).  Pain is not a reliable sign of what’s really going on.  Chronic pain is a bag of different factors, which are complex.  Pain always has a layer of brain-generated input, which can be helpful but also hindering.  In the worst cases, the pain system can malfunction in several remarkable ways, causing pain that is much more intense than just a symptom.  Sometimes, for many people pain is the problem. 
  •  When pain persists, the danger alarm system becomes more sensitive

From an early age we are taught that pain signals are a protective mechanism our body gives so we stop doing whatever is causing the pain.  This is easy to grasp if we’ve broken a bone or touched a hot stove.  It’s not so easy to understand when a person’s body is giving them pain and doctors can’t find anything wrong.  Or physiologically the bone is completely healed and therefore should not cause pain anymore. But pain is not FAIR.  It is a product of: tissue damage, perceived threat and personal history.  Pain can occur without identifiable tissue damage or it can outlive recovery so that even where tissue has healed, the pain persists.  For those in chronic pain, this becomes a self-sustaining pattern.  When pain persists, the danger alarm system in the brain becomes more sensitive.  When the alarm system becomes more sensitive you feel pain more because the body’s response systems and your thoughts and beliefs contribute to the problem.

·       Pain doesn’t always match tissue damage

Dr. Lorimer Moseley tells an entertaining story of a snake bite on his TED talk “Why things hurt” which illustrates pain can be an illusion and personal history has a big part in pain.  In this story he was walking along a trail and felt a scratch on his left leg near the ankle and thinking nothing of it, keeps walking.  It turned out it was a snake bite and he almost died.  Years later while walking in the same type of environment he felt a scratch on his left leg near the ankle where excruciating pain immediately ensued.  That time it really was just a stick that scratched his leg but his brain was telling him, “remember last time you felt this you almost died, this is an emergency!”  This example shows pain you perceive doesn’t always match the amount of seriousness or tissue damage. When something happens to our body, receptors send a signal to our brain to say “something just happened.”  Within seconds the brain decides for us if we should be worried about it based partially on past experience.  

·       Once a danger message arrives at the brain, it has to answer a very important question: “How dangerous is this really?” In order to respond, the brain draws on every piece of credible information — previous exposure, cultural influences, knowledge, other sensory cues — the list is endless.

Everything in your body that hurts involves a conversation between the central and peripheral nervous systems. I love this example from Pain Science.

It could go like this:
Got problems here! Bad problems! Red alert!

Yeah? Hmm. Okay, so noted. But you know what? I have access to information – sorry, it’s classified but
It suggests that we don’t have to worry about this much.
I’m telling you, this is serious!
Nope, I don’t buy it.

Look, I may not have access to this “information” you’re always talking about, but I know
tissue damage, and I am not kidding around, this is a credible threat, and I am going to
keep telling you about it.

Actually, you’re having trouble remembering what the problem is. You’re going to send me fewer
messages for a while. Also, these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

Uh, right. What was I saying? Gosh, it seems like just a second ago I had something important to say,
 and it’s just gone. I’ll get back to you later I guess …

I want to be very clear that this is not suggesting the pain people feels is all in their head and isn’t real, rather by explaining the way the brain works we can reassure people that the danger implied by pain maybe exaggerated.

Many people with chronic pain want to “avoid pain” so they don’t do the movements that cause pain.  If pain weren’t complicated this would be a good idea but as we’ve discussed, pain has many areas involved so this approach isn’t the best and leads to limited activity and less quality of life.  For ideas of how to move with your pain reference Lorimer Moseley’s book, Explain Pain.  In a nutshell, the idea is to retrain your brain that you are safe and the movement is not causing you damage. An example of this would be if you have neck pain turning your head.  I’m not going to ask you to turn your head.  Instead I may have you sit on a swivel stool and look at a fixed spot on the wall while swiveling your body left to right.  You neck is still moving but your brain sees this as a safer movement therefore no pain!  For any body part the idea is to start with comfortable movements below the flare up line and always do more than you did yesterday, but not much more.  There will be a line where you flare up, but this line will slowly raise along with the amount of activity you can accomplish.   Here are a couple thoughts about moving within your pain zone. 

·       Be kind to your nervous system. Create pleasant, safe sensory experiences — positive inputs. Seek comfort.  If your brain thinks you’re safe, pain goes down — and pleasure feels safe. So be “nice” to your CNS in every way that you can think of.
·       Don’t be a pain drama queen.  When you exaggerate, talk about and dramatize your pain, you directly exacerbate the neurological end of the chronic pain problem. 

With a little education and understanding why your pain won’t harm you, you can overcome pain and return to doing the things you love by slowly adding smart activities to your life.  Be patient and purposeful in picking activities which feel good and kind to your body and your brain will follow.  You can master this.  The research shows that it works.  

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Monday, October 23, 2017


Strains Vs. Sprains
Two words that sound so similar but are actually completely different. Sprains and strains are often used interchangeably or incorrectly because a large amount of people do not know the difference between a sprain and a strain. Don't want to be one of those people? We got you covered!

What Are Strains?
A strain is commonly referred to as someone pulling a muscle, and it really is just that. A strain is the overstretching or tearing of a person's muscles or tendons. What exactly is a "tendon" some may ask. Well, a tendon, according to MayoClinic, is a fibrous cord that connects all of our muscles to the bones in our body. People most commonly find their lower back and hamstring muscle (muscle in the back of the thigh) strained.

What Are Sprains?
Sprains are more common and can happen in the strongest, most athletic of people and in people who have never even worn a pain of sneakers. A sprain is the overstretching or tearing of a person's ligaments. A ligament is a group of tough bands of fibrous tissue that is used to connect two bones together. The most common body part that is sprained is the ankle. Side Note:I just recently sprained mine!

Symptoms of Sprains and Strains
I bet you are thinking "Well, thanks for telling me what they are, but how do I know if I sprained or strained my -insert body part here-?" Great question! Almost all of the symptoms of sprains and strains are the same for both and can happen whether you sprain or strain. These symptoms include pain around the affected body part, mild to severe swelling, limited flexibility and range of motion, and limited strength while using the affected body part, according to Health Line. The symptom that is usually a good tell-tale sign of whether someone sprained or strained a body part is if there is bruising or spasms. If a person sees bruising around the hurt body part, then it is probably a sprain. If the person is experiencing muscle spasms of the affected area, then it is most likely a strain. Although this is usually a good indicator, always consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment plan. 

Treatments of Sprains and Strains
For both sprains and strains, the treatment is generally the same unless it is clarified by a medical professional. RICE is going to be your best friend if you sprained or strained part of your body. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Kids Health goes into more detail about RICE. To follow RICE, you must rest from any strenuous activity or standing for long periods of time until the pain is significantly less, ice the affected area 4-8 times a day for no longer than 20 minutes at a time, support the injured area with compression bandages for at least 2 days following the injury, and elevate the affected area above the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling. In some cases, more advanced treatment may be required under the supervision of a medical professional. We recommend that if there is severe pain to see your doctor and to not self-diagnose.

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