Category Archives: Acute Injury

Topical Analgesic Review

Topical Analgesic Product Review for Biofreeze, Cryoderm, and Sombra products

Biofreeze image

Biofreeze:

If you have ever been to a chiropractor or sports medicine clinic I am sure you have seen or heard of Biofreeze.

They have several products including gel, roll-on, and a 360 degree spray. The products are easily found for purchase at most chiropractic clinics, sports medicine clinics, and various spas.

The 360 spray is by far their best product, easy to apply even to your own back with a spray can that works even when held upside down.

The roll-on is simple to use for those areas that you can easily reach but due to direct contact with the skin it should only be used on one person.

Gel is the most common products that is used in most chiropractic clinics. For me personally this is my least favorite product to use in massage because the gel eventually balls up while I am working the area (the same can be said for gels from other companies as well,) however, it does provide a cooling sensation and helps aid in the relaxation of the effected muscles.

Pros:

Easy to obtain at various distributors, easy to use, temporary cooling effect and muscle pain relief.

Cons:

Not long lasting, smells like medicated alcohol, gel balls up with rubbing.

Now, onto my two personal favorites!

cryoderm image

Cryoderm:

I had never heard of Cryoderm products until I was introduced to them at the World Massage Festival. They have a number of products ranging from lotions, sprays, roll-ons, gels, and also heat therapy products.

The cooling effect lasts for several hours and far outlasts Biofreeze.

The heating products contain Capsaicin and provide lasting heat sensation, in fact much hotter than expected. This product might be a bit too much for anyone who is sensitive to hot peppers, but it definitely does exactly what it intends to do!

Pros;

Long lasting cooling or heating, effective muscle pain relief, never tested on animals.

Cons:

Heat therapy may be too hot for some people, strong medicinal scent.

If you like Biofreeze you will love Cryoderm.
sombra products image

Sombra:

What is not to love about Sombra? It has a more pleasant smell than the other products, comes in cooling, heating, and even a soothing lemon version.This also comes in a handy roll-on version as well as lotions, creams, and gels.

The cooling effect is effective but not overpowering, the heating effect is subtle but warming. The heating product also contains Capsaicin but is not as intensely hot as the Cryoderm Heat products. A nice happy medium that is long lasting and smells wonderful!

Pros:

Long lasting heat or cooling, pleasant scent, also comes in a soothing lemon scent.

Cons:

I cannot think of any cons.

http://www.sombrausa.com/

 

In summary:

My personal favorite if I want a powerhouse of an analgesic I prefer Cryoderm products, but if I am looking for an effective yet soothing option I prefer to use Sombra products. Biofreeze is good but if given a choice between them all I know which products I would prefer to use for my clients.

It is also very important to mention that no matter which of these products you use always remember to thoroughly wash your hands before touching your face, eyes, or other areas where the heating or cooling sensation might be problematic, I can assure you from first hand experience that getting these products in your eye is not a pleasant experience.

(I was not paid by any of these companies to write this review, the opinions expressed here are from my personal experience with the three products mentioned.) 

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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When NOT to Massage

The following are examples of times in which we should NOT massage or at the very least modify the massage and inform the client as to why…

Client has not seen a doctor but believes he or she may have “torn” a muscle or “thrown out” their back lifting something:

As you begin to massage the area in question the pain becomes intolerable.  At this point STOP working on that area, we do not want to do anything that may make the condition worse.

We unfortunately do not have x-ray eyes and cannot see if a muscle is torn or a disc has been herniated or if there may be a bone spur pressing on a nerve or any of the many things that could possibly be going on.

This is when we really need to tell the client to see their doctor just to be sure that the injury is not worse than what the client believes it to be.

Many people are hesitant to see their doctors for a variety of reasons, I will admit that I seldom go to the doctor unless I am absolutely sure that I cannot manage whatever is wrong with me on my own so I understand this. Many people are more inclined to schedule a massage or stop by their local chiropractor before ever seeing a physician.

You are giving a massage and come across an area that is red, swollen, and hot to the touch:

Avoid that area, not only for their safety but for yours as well, there could be a staph infection or other condition that not only could you make worse but could contract and or spread to other clients.

I had this situation happen with a walk-in client, the first part of the massage, neck, shoulders, and back was uneventful, but when I exposed one leg to work on it that was when I saw the problem. I did not touch the area in question, I held my hand slightly above it and could feel the heat coming off of it, everything in me was telling me this man needs to see a doctor ASAP.

I told him that based on what I was seeing I cannot massage his legs and I strongly urged him to have it looked at by a doctor, his leg looked so bad that I added that he should not wait to have it checked out. I honestly hope that he did, because what I was seeing was very concerning.

Prenatal client states to avoid one of her legs:

As I was massaging her I noticed that the leg in question was more swollen than the other, she later tells me that she had recently had a blood clot in that leg but that it was gone now. She went on to tell me that in the past she had a blood clot that had gone to her lung when she was not pregnant. Later she tells me that she is on blood thinners.

I documented this in her chart and told the receptionist that she is very high risk and we cannot continue to massage her during this pregnancy for her safety and the safety of her baby.

Client Comes in Requesting a Deep Tissue but has a lot of bruises:

When you see a lot of bruises on a client that should caution you that deep tissue techniques should be avoid.

The client may be on blood thinners or an aspirin regimen to reduce potential blood clots. Often times the client will fail to disclose daily use of aspirin  because they do not consider over the counter medicines as being medications that we should be aware of.

When I see a lot of bruises on a client I ask them if they are on blood thinners or an aspirin regimen, if they are not on either of these things the bruising may be caused by anemia or a vitamin deficiency, but regardless of the cause of the busing  we need to avoid causing further damage.

Avoid suspicious skin rashes:

There are many skin conditions that are not contagious such as eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, and ichthyosis. Such areas we can massage without concern, however, suspicious rashes, especially if red or itching should be avoided.

If you see redness or marks from fingernail scratching this should alert you that the area may be contagious. Any strange lesions or open sores should be avoided.

If a rash or other skin condition seems questionable you can choose to use gloves for the massage but make sure that the client does not have a latex allergy.

Do not be afraid to refer a client to their doctor:

Your clients trust you, if you see something that is concerning please don’t hesitate to suggest to the client that they may want to have their doctor take a look at something. It is better to be cautious than to let a potential condition worsen or go untreated.

Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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How Massage Can Enhance Your Health

A lot of research has been conducted recently on the many benefits of massage therapy that effect your health and well being. Some of those studies were on the specific physiological effects and how massage can not only help relieve aches and pains but can also aid in boosting the immune system and improving the quality of life for people with long term medical conditions.

The studies show that many people both young and old can benefit from regular massage therapy. I am pleased to share some of the results of these studies with you.

Feel free to click on any of the links to learn more about the healing benefits of massage and as always if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Brush aside any thoughts that massage is only a feel-good way to indulge or pamper yourself. To the contrary, massage can be a powerful tool to help you take charge of your health and well-being, whether you have a specific health condition or are just looking for another stress reliever.    http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/massage/art-20045743

Cancer Levels and Massage Therapy
A study done by A. Billhult, C. Lindholm, R. Gunnarsson, and E. Stener-Victorin

A case done at Göteborg University in Sweden “examined the effects of massage therapy on the ‘number and activity of peripheral blood natural killer (NK) cells in patients with breast cancer compared to a control group.’ NK cells are immune system cells that attack tumors. The study concluded that a single full-body massage results in a short-term effect in NK cell activity, but did not examine possible long-term effects.”

Massage and Sex Abuse
A study done by Tiffany Field, Maria Hernandez-Reif, Sybil Hart, Olga Quintino, Levelle A. Drose, Tory Field, Cynthia Kuhn, Saul Schanberg

“Women who experience sexual abuse often suffer from increased depression and anxiety that can have a deleterious effect on their day-to-day lives. Women who had experienced sexual abuse were given thirty-minute massages twice per week. After each massage, they reported decreased stress and depression and after a month they reported an overall reduction in depression and in stress associated with life events.” http://www.insymmetry.com/case-studies-regarding-medical-benefits-of-massage-therapy/#comment-1323

“There is emerging evidence that [massage] can make contributions in treating things like pain, where conventional medicine doesn’t have all the answers,” said Jack Killen,NCCAM’s deputy director.

A study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 showed that full-body Swedish massage greatly improved symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients who had massages twice weekly for four weeks and once a week for an additional four weeks had less pain and stiffness and better range of motion than those who didn’t get massages.

RESEARCH FINDINGS

  • A full-body massage boosted immune function and lowered heart rate and blood pressure in women with breast cancer undergoing radiation treatment, a 2009 study of 30 participants found.

  • Children given 20-minute massages by their parents every night for five weeks plus standard asthma treatment had significantly improved lung function compared with those in standard care, a 2011 study of 60 children found.

  • A 10-minute massage upped mitochondria production, and reduced proteins associated with inflammation in muscles that had been exercised to exhaustion.  http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304537904577277303049173934

    Yours in Health and Wellness,
    Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
    CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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MEAT vs RICE Treatment for Acute Injuries

When it comes to treating acute sprains the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method is the most commonly repeated course of action, but what if I told you there has been a differing school of thought on this subject?

MEAT (Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, and Treatment) has been the buzz word in the sports therapy and physical therapy industry for a few years now.

Many studies on RICE therapy have failed to show any significant benefit to that method of treatment and suggest that the healing process may even be delayed by use of RICE therapy. (see link for full information)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3396304/

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation therapy is an accessible and popular modality in the treatment of acute ankle sprains. Therefore, the objective of our study was to analyze the effectiveness of applying RICE therapy begun within 72 hours after trauma for patients in the initial period of ankle sprain. The specific null hypotheses included the following: (1) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using rest, immobilization, or no movement or mobilization and using early mobilization or movement for acute treatment of ankle sprains; (2) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using ice, cold, cold therapy, cryotherapy, or cooling and using no ice, no cold, or heat for acute treatment of ankle sprains; (3) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using compression and using no compression for acute treatment of ankle sprains; and (4) No differences existed in outcome measurements between using elevation and using no elevation for acute treatment of ankle sprains.

Recently studies on the  MEAT therapy has been showing more promising results for faster recovery.

In their published study, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia found:

  • Mobilization increases blood flow and so reduces muscle atrophy, disuse osteoporosis, adhesions, and joint stiffness.
  • Early mobilization seems to decrease pain, swelling, and stiffness, and patients generally prefer it to immobilization.
  • Early mobilization results in earlier return to work, a greater range of motion, and fewer complications and residual symptoms. They concluded: “The best evidence at hand suggests the medical profession generally errs too conservatively on the side of immobilization.”

As time and knowledge progress we have learned that many of the old methods of treatments such as putting an arm in a sling have been counter productive to healing and even potentially cause more damage in the long term such as frozen shoulder syndrome.

I am sure that in time much of our old ways of treating acute injuries will be replaced with new and more effective strategies to promote a speedier and full recovery.
Yours in Health and Wellness,
Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish
CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist
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