Heels are Evil

Normally, I can apply a little bit of experience in my posts and application of treatments and such but I will steer clear of this one. The problem that can occur with high heels is that it keeps the calves in a shortened position. To get rid of blood with CO2 and bring new blood in with oxygen, a muscle needs to pump by shortening and lengthening. If a person wears high heels all day, the muscle remains shortened, leaving the muscle tissue in a acid environment that can cause pain, which in turn, causes spasm. There is important blood vessels and nerves that pearce the calves that travel down to the foot and can cause muscle weakness and cold feet. So if you have to wear heels 8 hours or so a day, take them off as much as possible and push up on your toes and back down again as the calves are very important means to pump the blood back up the heart and avoids swelling in the feet.
Flat shoes are good too. Anyhoo, just a small offering from a non-heel wearer.

Massage Therapy and our Brains

I always say that Massage Therapy would be so much more straight forward if we didn’t have brains. Our brains are the guards that watch the tower. They are over-reactive at times and set off the alarms at even the smallest events. By this, I am relating to the manner in which they set off muscles into spasms or put the body into positions of imbalance. Very often, limited range of motion of a body part can be due not to mechanical limitations of the muscle or joint, but that the brain is firing the muscle to tighten up too quickly as an unneeded protective response. The quadraceps is a classic example, where often you may not be able to fully bend your knee. I use a technique that can increase the ability for the knee to bend further without putting a stretch on the muscle. All I am doing is decreasing the brain from firing the quadracep muscle too quickly. It’s an easy technique to allow an increase movement that may be limited due to unnecessary spasm of muscles after an injury. Protective spasm is good up to a limit, but after that, it just gets in the way. There is always consideration as well for the connective tissue lack of elasticity, reduced joint movement and any scar tissue present but the brain deserves a fair shake as well in the grand scheme of treatment. Put the guards that watch the tower at rest.

Massage Therapy and the Biomechanics of Movement

Whatever movement you may make, whether is it turning from side to side, bending forward, leaning back, walking or even raising your arms, part of my evaluation is to make sure that all the joints involved in the movement are involved and that the muscles properly support the joints while they move.
For example, something as simple as raising your arms to the side, involves your shoulder joint, the ability of the shoulder blade to slide smoothly over the back of the ribs, the joints at each end of the collar bone and joints in your upper back, all moving in a peticular sequence, with their respective muscles supporting a controlled movement throughout. The joints must also be in a neutral position for the movement to properly occur.
This is one example of how I approach pain occurring due to dysfunction during a multi-joint functional movement from the aspect of joint movement, muscle strength, possible connective tissue involvement that can affect balance and retraining the brain to fire the muscles at the proper times. My previous post on “The Golden Rule of Posture” is a great way to start to establish a balanced body that can help to improve all sorts of movement.

Aortic Valve Replacement

I will be away from work from the 20th’ish of June for at least a couple of months for Heart surgery to replace my Aortic Valve. The valve is supposed to be split into three so the leaflets will fall against the wall of the artery when the blook moves through it.
When I was born, the valve was only split into 2, so when blood moves through it, there is a lot of turbulence and an inflammatory response occurs, laying down scar tissue and calcium, slowly narrowing the valve. Now the valve is significantly narrowed, the heart muscle has to work hard to push the blood through. This requires more blood to the Coronary Arteries and less oxygenated blood to the rest of the body.
So now it’s time for a new valve. My two options are:
-Mechanical Titanium Valve: that will last forever but then I require blood thinners and at risk of over bleeding and hemmorhaging if I fall or bang my head. There are little options if valve technology improves in the next decade or so.
-Tissue valve: hand made from a heart tissue from a cow. This may last from 15 to 25 years. I don’t need blood thinners and have it affect my lifestyle or diet and will leave me open for a new form of heart valve replacement that is on the brink of use for the masses.
It was recommended by one hospital that the Golden Standard was the Mechanical Valve and that there was no real other options.
I visited a great doctor at St Pauls, we had a great chat, and I was very happy with the session. We came to the conclusion that a Tissue Valve is the best option right now considering the option in the near future and that I am an active person.

http://www.edwards.com/NewsRoom/NR20051129.htm discusses the procedure.

Interesting reading. Are you planning a valve replacement in the future. Check this out. St Pauls in Hospital is a leading researcher in this type of treatment. It was important for me to talk to someone that is thinking about what is happening in the future. Any questions or thoughts, email me any time.

Massage Therapy and Trigger Point Therapy

One of the tools that I use in my treatments is Trigger Point Therapy. Trigger Points can be found in Connective Tissue, Ligaments, Tendons and Muscle. They are focused, hyperirritated parts of tissue can that occur for a number of reasons but it’s manifestations have the most interesting presentations. Causes can be dehydration, trauma, but often occur when imbalance leaves a muscle stretched and unable to stabilize the joint and go into spasm causing the trigger point. Very often, trigger points will refer dull, tooth-ache pain to areas away from the trigger point. Trigger Points also tend to manifest and duplicate other conditions. For example:
-Trigger Points in muscles of the jaw can send pain into the teeth
-A certain neck muscle can cause “migraine like symptoms”
-Low back and hip muscles refer pain down the leg and is similar to Sciatica and is a very common complaint with clients
-Another muscle in the neck refers into the chest, between the shoulder blades and down the arm and can be considered similar to a cardiac event.

Trigger Point Therapy is an example of when there is pain away from the area of dysfunction. A lot of my therapy involves looking at the source of the symptoms and not the symptoms. An example is if you find yourself in a “head forward” position. This can leave the back neck muscles stretched, leaving them weaker. Trigger points can occur in these neck muscles that can manifest in headaches, shoulder pain, upper back pain or symptoms travelling down the arm to the hand.