Why Is My Pain Not Going Away?

There is no denying that people today lead very busy lives. Sometimes so much so that they tend to neglect themselves and their body. They tend also to put he needs of others before the needs of their own. Your body can only cope with so much neglect and lack of self love before it starts to break down.

And when it does start to stop functioning properly, it will do so bit by bit. Initially you will pass it off as a niggle so you will not address it and it will slowly get worse even though you think it will ‘fix itself’. So it starts getting worse and then it starts affecting other things and other people and then you notice that something else is going on, and so forth.

Only then, when you are feeling the massive pain and discomfort, will you go and see about it. And it is usually straight off to the doctor’s to get a pill. We all know that there is no magic pill to fix everything, so why do we go? Probably because it is the easiest option, the most modern option, the most publicised and commonly accepted option – “if pain persists, see your doctor”.

So we come away with prescriptions and maybe a referral for further tests. The pill popping starts, the moods start etc. – life for everybody around you becomes unhappy. (There is no denying that some medication is absolutely necessary for specific cases).

So, what if, when you first noticed the ‘niggle’ you did something proactive about it? What if, you actually gave yourself some time to investigate how to address the discomfort from the very first sign. Would the follow on symptoms have occurred? Would you now be having to treat more than one issue? Could you have prevented any further deterioration to your health?

Now, after all this time, things still are not as good as the could be and you realise that you do not want to be masking the pain any longer with the medication. You seek out other treatment to help. You must realise that you have probably already spent a fortune on medication and specialists etc. and you may have gotten some good results with some sessions, you may have even undergone surgery (was it necessary?) but you still suffer from some pain.

You now seek out alternative therapies because what you have done so far ‘hasn’t worked’. You now come to see us for our expertise but where do we start? We have medications to consider, we have doctors and specialists reports to consider and so forth. Also, we are no longer dealing with initial niggle but more of a compounded pain.

As a therapist, some of our considerations are: what do we need to address first, how does one problem relate with another problem, what are your physical limitations, how is your mental health and attitude; are you willing to put in the work, invest your time and money into your recovery, will the client be open-minded and accepting of the treatments, how can we help the client to the best of our ability so that they feel they have a tangible outcome.

So back to the topic, ‘Why is my pain not going away’. Your pain is probably a compounded effect which means that it will take time for it to improve. There are layers involved, one thing on top of another, and it will take time for these layers to be shed. You most probably will require regular treatments, you will most definitely need to do your prescribed ‘at home’ exercises, you will need physical rehabilitation as well as therapeutic/remedial relief, you will also need to heal from the inside out, which means working on your internal self. (It is a waste of time going in for a once-off treatment now and then and expecting any long term result).

Now to do all of this you must set aside time every day, every week. You must expect to pay for this investment into your health. Are you willing to do this? There is a saying, ‘you must pay for your mistakes’, and in this case the mistake was neglecting your health. So, if you are willing to step up and do something about it then you must do it wholeheartedly, do what you are told and be committed to improving your life and those around you.

A Helpful Tip for Hip Pain

Sports people are prone to suffering from pain in the hips and knees due to the forces they endure. This can be due to many factors, one being referred pain from trigger points in the thigh muscles, which can be eased with self-myofascial release.

Foam Rolling Your IT Band
itbBy rolling sideways along a foam roller to release these trigger points in the ITB is beneficial, although can be painful in the beginning. If, after a period of rolling, your ITB remains tight, then the issue could be coming from your tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscle and gluteus maximus.

TFL is a muscle on the side and top of your thigh, and the ITB is its thick tendon. The TFL helps bend the knee and hip; it raises the thigh up, rotates the leg inward and stabilizes the hips while walking and running.

As intense activities can easily overwork the TFL and cause a build-up of trigger points, so can prolonged sitting and sleeping with your knees up, as this position keeps the muscles shortened and supports the formation of trigger points. As a result, you may feel pain in the hip or down the leg and your hips may be stiff. Myofascial release will help to loosen up the TFL muscle and eliminate the trigger points.

Steps to Releasing the TFL Muscle with a Tennis Balltfl

1. Lie down on the side and place a tennis ball under your hip and start slowly rolling across the hip (note: this can be extremely painful).

2. Each time you find a tender trigger point, stop moving, and let the ball push into it, while relaxing and breathing deeply.

3. When the pain dissipates, move to another spot and repeat until you have covered the entire hip area.

4. Develop the habit of always looking for trigger points in your muscles and eliminating them before they lead to more serious problems.

Knots – What Are They?

knotI have a lot of people asking me about knots. What are they? How do I get them? Will they go away?

Knots are basically a build of tissue that gets deposited at certain sites around the body. Common areas are neck and shoulders, glutes and calves. Knots can be due to muscles working overtime, being contracted continually, and not getting enough stretching so that it works the muscle in the opposite direction to bring it back to its natural state. Knots may cause painful spasms and restricted movement which can also lead to other dysfunctions.

Knots can be attributed to a build of toxins and by-products in the system that have not been flushed out sufficiently enough after exercise, for example, and therefore has been deposited. A build-up of scar tissue from an operation or a torn muscle can also lead to knots as the tissues are in a repair phase.

Muscle fatigue can also lead to knots; if a muscle is in a contracted state for an extended period of time then the muscle fibres stick together and there is build-up of muscle tissue trying to support the posture, for example sitting a computer for hours. A static posture also restricts the blood flow around the body which also causes a build up of metabolic waste products. This specific prolonged posture causes issues with glutes, lower back, hips, neck, shoulders, mid-upper back and head.

Depending on the size of the knot, the severity, the length of time it has been there, the location determines whether it may disappear over time or not. If the knot is in a position where it is unlikely to be rested for a period of time after treatment, it may take longer to improve. Sometimes, just the reduction in size of the knot is enough to feel better, as a therapist we aim to break down a knot into smaller knots so that the body can dispose of the smaller ones more easily.

Regular treatment will certainly improve the process as we will continually focus on reducing the knots over a period of time. This is much more beneficial than seeing a therapist only when you can’t stand the pain anymore and only come for a once off treatment.

Drinking Water After A Massage

Pedrinkingwaterople say to me, ‘I’ve heard that you should drink water after a massage. Is that right?’

Well here is the reasoning behind this… when you have a massage your muscles are being kneaded and your knots are being broken down, releasing toxins.

Massaging increases the blood flow throughout the body due to the friction of the therapist’s hand movements on the skin, which increases the body’s temperature.

As muscles and knots soften, they release toxins and other by-products which get deposited into your circulatory systems – blood stream and lymphatic system. From here, they get ready for elimination from the body via the urinary tract or the skin.

Drinking water after a massage aims to assist in flushing out these toxins at a faster rate, sort of like helping it along a bit. So yes, I would recommend that you do drink water after a massage, even after exercise too!

Drinking smaller but more regular amounts, is preferred, to assist in this cleansing process rather than consuming a large quantity and saturating your system.

If you are not a huge fan of plain water, there is no harm in using clean substitutes such as Green Tea or Water with some fresh Lemon (hot or cold). Avoid liquids with caffeine and sugar as you would be putting toxins back into your body.

Therapeutic Massage v Remedial Massage

It is quite common, especially for first timers, to clients not to know the difference between the different types of massages. So we will start off with these two as they are the most common.

Therapeutic Massage

therapeuticmassageA therapeutic massage is a gentle soft tissue massage with little to no discomfort involved. It is a gently, flowing kneading of the muscles aimed to improve circulation, de-stress, calm nerves and relax.

It is great for people who are highly stressed and need to relax more, it assists with anxiety as it helps with calming the nervous system, it is a good ‘time-out for myself’ massage. Treatments can be from 60 mins to 90 mins.

Therapeutic massages are also beneficial for people are predisposed with conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Arthritis, Osteoporosis etc. It is a good for people who are sensitive to pressure, such as people with Fibromyalgia and even the elderly as their skin and body becomes softer and more fragile.

Therapeutic massage can also be used as ‘touch therapy’ and is very important and beneficial to those who are in need of people contact and comforting. From experience, people who have Dementia really enjoy this type of therapy.

Remedial Massage

remedialmassageRemedial Massage employs many techniques to get the job done – deep tissue work, joint mobility, trigger point work, myofascial release and stretching. Some therapists also use other complementary methods such as cupping and dry needling.

Remedial Massage may cause a level of discomfort for the client, however, on the pain scale of 0-10 (10 being the highest), you should never feel pain greater than 8. If you do, you should tell your therapist immediately.

The aim of Remedial Massage differs for every person’s requirements. Some may need it for improved joint mobility, others to reduce muscle tension and dysfunction, some for rehab requirements so you can get back doing the things you love faster.

Treatment times can be from 30 mins to 60 mins depending on the requirements. If you still are unsure what massage type is for you, just speak to your therapist, they will be able to help you for sure.