Dr Bronner’s liquid Castile Soap

Dr Bronner’s Castile Soap.

This is some soap that I found on youtube with a number of people who were saying that they loved it. It’s a multi-use soap that is a great alternative to shampoos, body soaps, general cleaners and laundry soap. This is a list of some of those uses. I found some at London Drugs for around $14.00 and is found at many place. To look at the bottle, it almost looks like it was sold by a guy that rides around with a horse and cart and goes from town to town selling his wares but it really is a fantastic product, especially to those that are sensitive to chemicals that are in many commercial soaps.

Among other things, it’s an awesome laundry soap. I caught wind that those anti -static deals that you put in the drier are because of the static caused by the chemicals in regular soap so it would interesting to try using the Castile soap in your laundry and try running the drier without the static cling thingie and see if there is any static after the drying. I’m going to try it tomorrow.

Right now I’m using it as a soap and shampoo while showering. I have had issues my skin feeling really dry and my hair being really fine after having a shower even with Pears soap and a good quality shampoo and noticed a vast improvement now using the Castile soap. I think the natural oils help keep the skin and hair hydrated and the coconut oils help to maintain healthy hair.

The soap’s ingredients include: Water, Coconut Oil, Potassium Hydroxide, Olive Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Citric Acid, Tocopherol , with a natural foaming agent.

Have a look and try it out. There are lots of recipes out there with options for cleaning agents.

Standing for long periods with low back pain

I spend most of my work day on my feet and have been feeling the effects of low back pain. It is dull  and achy and I notice that the muscles are tight. I am very aware of the effects of having the pelvis out of position and the low back tightening to balance yourself because of the pelvis position. Something that I have become aware of is the importance of where your weight is distributed on your feet and the effect on the position of the pelvis when you are standing. In my observation, a very good portion of the population have their weight from the mid foot to the front of the foot. If you try this, you may notice that your pelvis and the upper body will automatically shift forward. Your shoulders will want to be directly over your pelvis and this forward translation will move your shoulder and upper body in front of where your feet are. To correct this, your low back will tighten and cause a little extra curvature in the lower and mid back to pull your shoulder back so they are over your feet again. This is the type of tightness that will produce a closed position in the joints in the low back and fatigued, tired and sore back muscles.

The best alternative to reducing this tightness and pain in the low back and hips is to keep your knees just a touch unlocked and move the body weight to the midfoot to the heel of your foot. If you do this, from having your body weight on the front of your feet, you will notice that your pelvis and back will move back into line where your upper body is directly over your feet again. Now your lower back won’t have to tighten to compensate and the joints in your lower back will be open and will move much better. With your knees unlocked, they will also be involved in stability so that your back and hips aren’t doing all the work.

If you are on your feet all day, give this a try.

Musculoskeletal Pain and Pain Medications

A question that I am asked a lot is “should I take pain medications” when someone comes in with an issue. My personal feeling is that pain is an indication that something is going on that needs attention. The allure of pain medications is that it quickly and easily reduces pain but perhaps to the point where we may end up continuing to do something that maybe we shouldn’t. An example might be low back pain. If the low back begins to be sore, often more times than other perhaps a joint is not quite moving properly or or we are sitting or moving incorrectly overstraining a muscle. If we take the pain meds, it will allow us to continue moving or sitting incorrectly or to leave a joint jammed or similar. Pain is an indication that change needs to be made and we have to be aware of that.

The times when medications are good is when pain affects our ability to go about our day or affects our sleep or has become so great that it is unmanageable. For example, the pain keeps the person up at night or they aren’t able to go out to buy some groceries or similar.

Sometimes if there is local pain because of tightness in a muscle, if you can stay at home, icing 3-4 minutes on and then 10 minutes off is an excellent way to deal with the discomfort. I suppose this blog entry is an effort to have you consider what reason you are taking the pain medications and that you don’t rely on them totally giving you the ability to be accountable and make any changes that can create long lasting effects with reduced pain, whatever it might be.

A big side effect of the NSAIDS (most common groups of drugs) is their affect on the liver and kidney. Here is some information on NSAID pain medication.

Massage Therapy and Tension Headaches

Headaches are something that many people suffer everyday. They can appear to arise out of nowhere and be short term or last many days. Many of these headaches occur from hyper-irritable spots in the muscles of the neck and shoulders. Palpation of these spots in the muscles can reproduce these headaches. In assessing the presentation, very often the muscles producing the headaches are either in a lengthened, strained position or they have been put in a shortened position. This can occur often when the neck is put in a poor position for a lengthened period of time, perhaps at work or extended periods of time at a computer. It can often occur as well, as I’ve mentioned in previous entries, when the neck is tightening to level the head when the shoulders are out of position.

Treating the symptoms is fairly standard in releasing the trigger points in the muscles that are causing the headaches and making sure there is normal movement in the joints of the neck but more emphasis is put on preventing the reoccurrence in the future. For example, if the muscles and tissues at the front of the shoulder are tight, this can cause you to slump slightly so that you will end up looking downward towards the floor, so your neck muscles will tighten to pull your head straight. It is these muscles than may end up tightening for long periods of time and can develop trigger points that may refer dull achy pain (headaches) to your head. Part of the treatment will be to reduce tightness of the front shoulder muscles, mobilize the upper back joints, if necessary, to allow your back to come out of the slumped forward position, teach a stretch to keep the joints and front chest muscles stretched but most importantly, teach postural awareness. We can mobilize and stretch and strengthen forever but the body will always want to fall back into the position which it is used to, which might be the slumped forward position. The way to encourage proper position, is to give the body a reward for making the change, which may be decreased pain or increased neck movement and shoulder movement. If the body recognizes a benefit to making the change, then it will be more likely to stay in that position.

So, most of the time, headaches can occur from neck muscles that are doing what they are supposed to do because of imbalance further down. They can be dealt with easily by good shoulder position, pliable muscles and adapting your posture and activities that can be contributing to the imbalance and tightness of the neck muscles.

Above is an example of the Trapezius muscle. A muscle that will become lengthened and weak when slumping forward, if you can imagine the shoulders rolling forward and shoulderblades moving outwards slightly.
The trigger points would be where the X’s are and the red areas are where the dull achy pain is found, so you can see how the headaches can come about from muscles in the upper back and neck. There are other muscles are well that can send headaches to other parts of your head like at the top or behind the eyes.

Once the muscles are released, the joints are functioning properly and the shoulders and upper back are rebalanced, headaches should not be an issue any further. If they do continue, and are unrelenting, it is good to visit your doctor.


Getting a good long term stretch

Getting tissues to stay in a stretched position can often require some patience. We have to remember that muscles are composed of Fascia ( a type of connective tissue) and also that the muscle have a component of the nervous system attached to it. In a course that I took, the general philosophy was to hold the tissue in a sub maximal intensity for a longer period of time, often 2 or 3 times as long as you think you would need to.
The general nature of the connective tissue that binds muscles together (and holds them together) are that they are made up of something called the Ground Substance. The great thing about this Ground Substance is that if it is held in a gentle stretched position for a long period of time, and given the chance, it will rearrange itself so that when the tension is released, it will better stay there. I like to use the analogy of stretching leather. If you are stretching leather really hard for a short time, it will probably creep back to where it was originally. If you hold the stretched leather for longer, then it will stay there. It’s the same thing with muscles.
In addition to those properties, there are stretch receptors that monitor the amount of stretch being applied to the muscle tissue. If the muscle has been shortened for a long period of time, then the Central Nervous System assumes that is the normal position and will want to keep it there, especially if you are trying to stretch it. So, the deal is you want to try to stretch the muscle without making it fire too much (which will, if effect counteract what you are trying to do. This is where the sub maximal pressure comes into play. If you hold a stretch at 50 – 60% of what you think, for twice as long, I think you will get to where you need to be, you won’t cause the stretch receptors in the muscles to start firing the muscle that you are stretching and it will much more likely stay in that stretched position giving you much better flexibility.
Be gentle and hold for longer. It’s better.

Look at this good video

Visceral Massage and Prostatitis

There is a form of Visceral (organ) Manipulation that I do that can help with a form of Prostatitis (or inflammation of the Prostate). There are two basic forms of Prostatitis. One is either acute or chronic form of Bacterial Prostatitis, which as it’s name incurs, involves a bacterial inflammation of the prostate. The second form is what is considered Idiopathic Prostatitis, which is inflammation of the Prostate without a Bacterial Infection. It is my contention (with the courses that I have taken and my experience) that it is simply inflammation that has occurred between the Bladder and the Prostate. The Bladder is much larger than the prostate and sits right over top of it. A property with tissue is that compression and immobilization can cause adhesions to occur between the tissues (in this case, the bladder and the prostate). There is an easy way to assess if there are adhesions that have developed between the prostate and the bladder. Each organ has a predictable inherent movement to it. The bladder’s movement is moving upwards and forwards very slightly, then returns to it original position about once every 5 seconds. If this movement doesn’t exist, then there is a restriction at the bottom of the bladder, not allowing it to move in it’s normal pattern. Adhesions between organs can produce inflammation, that can contribute to new tissue being formed, which can explain enlargement of the organ like the prostate.
The type of work that I do, is to do what is called a Bladder Lift, where I do just that, to slowly apply an upward pressure to the tissue above the bladder and wait for the bladder to lift away from the tissue below it, including the prostate.
There are no latex gloves with this treatment and no going where a person would not want anything to go. I am able to access the tissues and the top of the bladder 2 inches below the belly button so it is very non-invasive and is painless. I think it is a good avenue to approach from with enlargement and/or inflammation of the prostate. There may still be medications that are required to reduce the current size of the prostate, but the treatment I provide can reduce an triggers in the future that can cause reoccurrence of prostate inflammation. If the treatment is successful, generally a visit once every 2 months or so is recommended.
It is also very helpful if you are experiencing symptoms like changes in normal urination, ie: more often, all of a sudden ect.
What I offer is an avenue that may be helpful if you don’t feel like you are getting results that you want, or perhaps you are having trouble with the medications that you are taking or surgery is recommended. Perhaps the above mentioned will still be necessary, but I always believe that pursuing all avenues and considering all options is a good way to go.
If there are restrictions that are present and I am successful in creating mobility between the bladder and prostate, there are stretches and other activities that will be very helpful in maintaining the tissue between treatments. If you have any questions, email me any time at jazzician@shaw.ca

Inside Calf Pain and Foot Mobility with Athletes and everyday people

There is a connection between pain in the inner calf and lack of flexibility of the foot.

A lot of the time, there is a description of pain travelling up the inside of the calf and can exist during the day, during activity and/or after activity. With my work, I am always dealing with the pain locally but need to figure out why the muscles are so tight. There is a lot of stress put on the calves as it is, but I find myself focusing on returning the surrounding joints to normal function. A lot of time, the joints that make up the inside of the foot are the culprits. I notice that the Calcaneus at the back, has been pulled in slightly and the inner arch of the foot (between the big toe and the heel has become rigid and unable to flatten to the degree that it needs to. What this does is turns the foot into a rigid platform, as opposed to a moving multi-joint foot. This has to make the calves work super hard during anything from walking to running to biking and anything in between. My treatment often includes release of the calf muscle, realigning the Calcaneus (heel bone) and remobilizing the middle inside joints of the foot. I teach the client a way to maintain mobility of the joints as well at home so they experience a long lasting effect. There is a simple method to maintaining flexibility of the midfoot joints and to keep the Plantar Fascia (of Plantar Fasciitis fame) at the bottom of the foot in a flexible position. Very often as well, is that underneath the calves are muscles that attach to the underside of the foot and involved in curling the toes. In most cases, they have lost their flexibility and are pulling too hard where they begin, which is on the back/inside of the lower leg bone, and is best described as shin splints. If the shin splints are relatively recent, are a manageable condition.

There is also consideration that the gluteus muscles may not be firing during push off, that can also make the calves work too hard as well. I confirm that the hip can extend properly (which is what the Gluteus muscles do) and teach them to fire the hip muscles properly from very focused exercises to including the firing during whatever function they are doing.

Identifying the issues, treatment and homecare for the patient will be the focus to get them back to function but as I always say, half of their success will be what I do and the other half will be their understanding and maintaining the progress that we make and their commitment to their exercises and homecare. In most cases the person will have to reduce any unnecessary repetitive activity for a short period of time, while the initial treatments and rehabilitation are in process but able to return slowly to original activity as symptoms reduce and normal biomechanics are in place.

Neck pain and the Head Righting Reflex

Neck pain is something that I see a lot of coming into the clinic The one common denominator is that more than often, the pain occurs as a result of the neck pulling the head straight because the shoulders are out of position. This leads to my previous blog with relation to the shoulder and shoulder pain.
People will describe achiness going down from the neck to the top outer edge of the shoulder or sharp pain that occurs when rotating or side bending in one direction.
In each ear, deep inside, in the Utricle and Saccule are small gelatinous masses called Otoliths, which have tiny receptor hairs attached to them. If the head is leaned to the side, the Otoliths will move to that side and initiate a response to the receptor hairs going down into the brain to tell the muscles on the other side of the neck to tighten to pull the head back to a level position. This is completely subconscious function so you are unaware that you are doing it. This is where the shoulder comes into play.
Lets say that your right low back is tight and pulls your torso to the right. If you do this, you will notice that your left shoulder is now higher than your right, and your head is now leaned to the right. The Otolith will indicate that your head is in that position and will tell your left neck muscles to tighten to pull your head level. Now the muscles are contracting chronically to keep your head level, which can cause eventual weakness and pain with the muscles that are contracting all the time. What this also causes is a curve in the spine, with the concave on the left side and convex on the right. This will cause pinching of the neck on the left side (especially on turning and side bending your head, like with shoulder checking when driving). There are small lateral joints in the neck called Facet Joints, which are now irritated as they are closer to each other on the concave side. The misposition of the joints vastly affect your neck mobility. Now, there is a little work done to relieve the pain with the neck muscles and to help to take the neck out of that concave/convex curvature but the big long term goal is to level the shoulders so the neck doesn’t have to tighten to relevel the head.
Part of this work is to identify why the shoulders are out of position. Many people are hunched forward so the shoulders are rolled forward, which causes the back neck muscles to tighten on both sides to pull the head straight. Alternatively, it could be a pelvic or (as I described earlier) low back tightness imbalance that leans the upper torso and back to one side or another.
Many people don’t notice the imbalance in the shoulders or back as the Head Righting Reflex will level the head so it is really hard to notice.
I’ve had a lot of success with treating the body as a whole to reduce the need for the neck muscles to tighten to pull the head back to level. Part of it is what I do, but most of the time, what I do is only necessary to make it easier for the patient to do what they need to do, so it is 50% me and 50% them. I’ve seen torso twisted around, pulled to the left or right or leaned forward or backward. Imagine that the head is a house and the shoulders are the foundation. If you want the house level, you need to level the foundation.

Shoulder Pain

I wanted to write about my experience with shoulder pain and both presents between the shoulder blade but more commonly presents at the top of the shoulder from the neck to the tip of the shoulder, sharp pain at the front of the shoulder that can travel down the arm. There can also be presentations of headaches, nausea, dizziness and numbness or tingling in the hands. I find that with all these symptoms, there is on general common presentation.
What I generally notice is:
1) There is a moderate mid back extra curvature that is slight but causes the upper back to be slanted forward slightly. This will cause the shoulder blade to move away from the spine.
2)The shoulder blade has moved away from the spine in the back. This is will cause weakness in the Rhomboid and Middle/Lower Trapezius muscles, which are located between the shoulder blade and spine. A rotator cuff muscle called Infraspinatus that rotates the shoulder outwards is also weak allowing the shoulder blade to be in a more inward rotated position. This is an important thing as any time you bring your arms up, there needs to be an external rotation of the shoulder or it will pinch structures that are important to good biomechanics. The pinching is what can cause the local pain in the front of the shoulder and can cause achy referrals down the arm.
3)When the shouder begins to pinch and not move properly, the muscle between your shoulder and neck can be overworked and cause local pain and headaches in the temple region. This muscle is the Upper Trapezius.
4) At the same time that there are these muscle in the back that are becoming stretched and weakened, there are muscles that can become shortened and stuck so that are unable to lengthen. These muscles hold the shoulder in a forward position. These muscles include the Pectoralis Minor and Major muscles, a portion of the Bicep muscle in the arm, Serratus Anterior (that pulls the shoulder blade around the side of the rib cage) and a Rotator Cuff muscle that attaches to the front of the shoulder called Subscapularis.
5) Another important thing that can happen is that the head of the arm bone (that fits in the joint) moves a little forward in relation to the joint surface. The shoulder joint is fairly shallow and stabilization of the arm in the joint relies very much on local ligaments and muscles and the joint capsule (that surrounds the joint).

So as we dominantly do things in front of us all day, the mid back can cause us to be a little more stooped forward, causing the shoulders to move more forward pulls the shoulder blade away from the spine. This all causes pinching in the shoulder during movement and weakness of important stabilizing muscles and overworks other muscles.

So the simple solution is to bring the shoulders and shoulder blade back but in most cases, the muscles and tissues at the front of the shoulder is so tight and adhered that it is impossible for the person to bring their shoulders back.

It is my job to make the spine more mobile, make sure the shoulder blade is mobile, and make it easier for the person to hold their shoulders in the position that they should be in. But creating mobility is only half the job. Exercises are given to help the person to keep tissues stretched, keep awareness of the good shoulder position and to learn to move the arm around keeping the good shoulder blade position so that shoulder biomechanics are at it’s optimum without pinching sharp pain, muscle strain, headaches, backaches or pain/tingling down the arm.