Category Archives: Chiropractic

Frozen Shoulder & Massage

I Feared massage therapy

As you all know I am a massage therapist, you might assume that I would seek massage therapy and even recommend massage therapy for Frozen Shoulder Syndrome.

Here is why I did not initially seek massage therapy and what I would like other massage therapists to know and understand about this condition, especially in the early stages:

  • In the beginning the pain was excruciating and rotation of the arm was unbearable both actively and passively.
  • The muscles surrounding my shoulder, biceps, deltoid, scalenes, and even triceps were  frequently in spasm and painfully fighting every movement.
  • But most of all that I feared someone would move the arm beyond my comfort level and my comfort level was very limited at the time.

What I want massage therapist to know

The pain that I was experiencing in the beginning was not something that could be pushed past and I know from past experiences with many massage therapists that some believe in telling the client “but you need this.” That is exactly the type of thinking that scared me away from seeking massage therapy for my frozen shoulder.

From my personal experience and looking back on it now if I were to have come to you seeking treatment what I would have needed and wanted from you was simply to work on the muscles that were in constant spasm at the time but not to attempt to move my arm or rotate it at all because rotation at the time was unbearable.

About three months into my condition I was beginning to make some progress and perhaps with some massage on the muscles that were fighting me through this process I could have improved faster, but the fear of hearing “but you need this” and the shooting pains kept me guarded. I fully understand any client with frozen shoulder being guarded and fearful now.

Having experienced this first hand

My course of treatment for someone with this condition would be completely different than it would have been in the past. Now I would first begin with only massaging the muscles that are in spasm but no range of motion on the arm and shoulder at all,

I would also focus on the hand, wrist and elbow as all of these things are affected when the shoulder is impinged and often pain and numbness can radiate down to the hand, especially in the night.

As the client begins to improve and the spasms begin to lessen I would carefully and minimally work on some medial and lateral rotation of the shoulder as well as carefully support the arm off the side of the table (supine position) and gently lower it slowly ONLY to the point of discomfort and upward ONLY to the point of discomfort.

Focus the massage on the deltoids, pecs, scalenes, biceps, triceps, and traps. Do not forget that the other arm and shoulder has been working double time and is also in need of some TLC as is the neck from all the stress, tension and sleepless nights.

Six Months Later

It has been about six months since my Frozen Shoulder presented itself to me and I have been seeing a chiropractor regularly. I am now at a point where I would allow someone to work on my shoulder, but only someone that I trust. You as a massage therapist will need to earn the trust of your Frozen Shoulder Client.

That trust begins with not pushing your client past their level of tolerance. Pay close attention to their body language and breathing, if they are guarding and pulling away then you need to change your approach, go gentle with them until they are able to tolerate more, they will let you know what they can and cannot tolerate,

Believe me your client wants to heal from this but they fear the pain that they have been experiencing more than you can imagine and will avoid you if you put them back in that place that they are trying so hard to get out of.   Be a part of their recovery with compassion and empathy.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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My Frozen Shoulder (Update)

Six months later…

So it has been about six months since my shoulder began to painfully freeze up on me and about three months since I wrote my last blog about my experience with Frozen Shoulder Syndrome. It is time to give you all an update on my personal journey with this condition.

I decided to go the route of Chiropractic

For me it was the most cost effective route and since I also suffer from migraines which seemed to worsen with the shoulder condition as my muscles were having a lot of spasms along the scalenes and shoulder.

I went twice a week and slowly, very slowly I started so see some tiny improvements such as being able to reach the second shelf of my cupboards. Eventually I could touch the rear view mirror of my car. The Chiropractor and I had agreed that if we were not seeing any improvements he would refer me out to a specialist.

If you research the cranial nerves you will discover that there is a cranial nerve that is associated with not only Frozen Shoulder but also Migraine Disorders and that was what we have been focusing on in our sessions, the Cervical Nerves 10 and 11 were and still are our main focus as my neck does not have full range of motion when turning to the left. I am currently still seeing the Chiropractor weekly.

What I can and Cannot Do

At this time, six months into this condition, I can now reach and adjust my rear view mirror, put my seatbelt on and take it off with that arm, lift the dumpster lid so that my good arm can put the trash in.

I can reach the third shelf of my cupboards, wash my hair and put it into a pony tail (with a bit of struggle,) and I can almost reach the higher shelves in the grocery stores.

I can turn on and off the lights when I leave the room without giving it a second thought, clean, do dishes, and vacuum. I can roll over in my sleep without pain, and I can sleep through the night!

I still cannot close my hatch back with that arm, or put my hand on my hip, I cant reach behind my back or wear a bra that hooks in the back.

My range of motion with the right arm is still very limited but I am pleased with the progress I have been making so far.

 

Yours in Health And Wellness,

Kristeen Anne Smart (Formerly Kristeen Anne Kish)

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

 

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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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Should I see a Chiropractor or a Massage Therapist?

I get asked this question a lot and in my opinion depending on your condition you should see both. Massage and chiropractic are complementary to one another. Muscles attach to bones and vertebrae and when a muscle is tight it can pull vertebrae and even ribs out of place, or out of “alignment” as they say in chiropractic.

I was very blessed to work with a very educational chiropractor right out of college. He was not only educational to his patients but to the staff members as well. Having been a patient of chiropractic since I was a child I was very familiar with chiropractic treatment. One day I asked him “how come you don’t use an activator like many chiropractors do?” his reply was “that is why I have you.” A massage before a chiropractic adjustment can loosen the muscles and make it easier for the chiropractor to adjust you.

I fully understand the concerns people may have about chiropractic and I will admit there are some chiropractors that I would never recommend and others that I highly recommend. What I look for when I get chiropractic care is, did the chiropractor listen to my history and treat my individual needs or did the chiropractor simply give me the standard adjustment (or cookie cutter adjustment as I call it) and send me on my way? Did the Chiropractor take the time to feel the vertebrae and assess me before the adjustment? Does the chiropractor educate the client in self care?

Similar questions should be applied when seeking a massage therapist, does the therapist listen to and address your needs and concerns? Does the therapist treat each client based on their individual needs or simply apply a structured routine? Does your massage therapist take the time to educate you on self care?

While it is not uncommon to have a “spontaneous adjustment” in areas of the neck or back with a massage treatment a massage therapist does not adjust and is not allowed to adjust a client. Massage focuses on the muscles and when the muscles relax or are manipulated during a massage sometimes bones or joints that are being pulled by those muscles will fall back into place naturally, that is not the same as an adjustment.

Also keep in mind that a chiropractor can also order further testing such as MRI’s and xrays to get a better understanding of the problem whereas a massage therapist cannot.

In short I believe that chiropractic and massage therapy go hand in hand. If you are trying to decide between the two then perhaps you should consider both.

Yours in Health and Wellness,

Kristeen Smart AKA Kristeen Kish

CAMTC Certified Massage Therapist

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