Archives for category: Arthritis

I’ve come up with 19 potential injuries that can happen due to playing Pokemon Go. While some are due to repetitive actions that are common in the tech world, some are due to people not paying attention, people suddenly getting active after being mostly sedentary, and others just from being active in and of itself. I’m not saying you are going to get all of these or even if you are going to get any of these, but it’s good to be aware of things that massage therapy can either prevent, or assist in healing in the long run.

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome: This is the girl using cell phoneswelling inside a narrow “tunnel” formed by bone and ligament in the wrist. The tunnel surrounds nerves that conduct sensory and motor impulses to and from the hand, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness.
  2. Cubital tunnel syndrome: Similar to Carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms include numbness and tingling in the ring and small finger and soreness in the inside of the elbow or forearm.
  3. Tenis Elbow: This is actually tendinitis or swelling of the tendons that causes pain in the elbow and arm and is caused by repetitive movements.
  4. Texting Thumb: This can be either trigger thumb, the constriction of a flexor tendon in the thumb caused by repetitive gripping motions with symptoms that include a painful popping or snapping when the thumb bends and straightens; sometimes the thumb even becomes locked in a curled position. Or it could also be something as simple as arthritis of the joint where the thumb joins the wrist.
  5. iPad/iPhone Hand: This is caused by holding a device in the same position and repeating the same motions over and over again, this type of repetitive strain injury sometimes must be fixed with surgery due to the damage done to tendons, ligaments or muscles.
  6. Photosensitive seizures: Many games and devices contain certain light flashing patterns that can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.
  7. Computer Vision Syndrome: These are eye problems that result from prolonged digital device use(computers and any other back lit screen). Most commonly, people experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.
  8. Palmar hydradenitis: This is the the formation of painful lesions on the palms of the hand from holding a device for extended periods of time with a tight grip.
  9. Bible Bump: Also known as ganglion cyst, this is a swelling or lump in the wrist resulting from jelly-like substance that has leaked from a joint or tendon sheath. It is called a Bible Bump because of the history of banging it with the largest flattest object in the house to make it go away, and that was usually the family Bible.
  10. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: This is a condition characterized by dry, swollen hands and loss of muscle control; consistently painful, it is usually caused by acute injury.
  11. Tendinitis: This can occur anywhere in the body, it is a tearing and inflammation of tendons connecting bones to muscles.
  12. Shin Splints: Your shins have to bear up to 6 times your weight while you exercise, so foot-pounding activities like walking can cause problems for the muscles and surrounding tissues and create inflammation. The strain and leg pain results from strong calves pulling repeatedly on weaker muscles near the shin.
  13. Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fascia is the band of tissue that runs from your heel bone to the ball of your foot. When this dual-purpose shock absorber and arch support is strained, small tears develop and the tissue stiffens as a protective response, causing foot pain.
  14. Bunions: A bunion develops when the bones in the joint on the outer side of the big or little toe become misaligned, forming a painful swelling. Walkers with flat feet, low arches, or arthritis may be more apt to develop bunions.
  15. Low Back Pain: Walking doesn’t usually cause lower-back pain, but the repetitive movement can make an existing lower-back injury worse.
  16. Morton’s Neuroma: If tissue surrounding a nerve near the base of the toes thickens, it can cause tingling, numbness, or pain that radiates to surrounding areas. It may feel as though you’re treading on a marble.
  17. Bursitis: Although there are many potential causes of hip pain, it’s common for the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the hip joint to become inflamed with repetitive stress. People with one leg slightly longer than the other are more susceptible to this kind of hip pain. Too much walking without building up to it can also be a cause.
  18. Runner’s Knee: Every time your shoe strikes the ground, your knee feels it. Eventually, your kneecap may start to rub against your femur (the bone that connects your knee to your hip), causing cartilage damage and tendinitis.
  19. Stress Fracture: Tenderness or pain when you press on a specific spot on your foot or lower leg, you may have a stress fracture—a tiny crack in a bone. Most common in the lower leg, they happen when your leg muscles become overloaded from repetitive stress because the shock is absorbed by the bone, rather than the muscle. This can occur if you ignore a shin splint, for instance, because the continued strain on muscles and tissues will eventually shift to the bone.

And these don’t even begin to address the issues of not watching where you are going, not paying attention and stepping in a hole to twist and ankle, tripping over something, running into something, or walking into an unsafe area.

Please be responsible, pay attention, and if you do end up with an injury that can be addressed by massage, give me a shout, I’ll be glad to let you hunt pokemon around my office between sessions. 😛

Arthritis1Just about everyone will develop arthritis at some point in their lifetime. It can be very mild, causing a little stiffness with age, or it can be extremely painful and debilitating. Fortunately, there are things that can be done to prevent and manage this condition.

Arthritis is not actually a disease. Arthritis is a term used to describe joint inflammation (“arthro” = joint; “itis” = inflammation). When inflammation is present, the joint is usually painful. However, not all joint pain is arthritis. Problems like trigger points, sprains, or tendinitis can cause pain, but the joint itself remains healthy.

To help you understand arthritis, it’s useful to know a little bit about joints. Joints are like hinges between bones. The surfaces where the bones connect are covered with cartilage; you would recognize this as gristle on a chicken leg. Cartilage is a smooth material that acts as a shock absorber and allows the bones to glide smoothly over one another. Ligaments (fibrous structures that attach one bone to another bone) surround the joint to form a sleeve that encapsulates the joint. Inside that sleeve is a slippery fluid called synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates the cartilage much like oil lubricates the parts of an engine.

There are virtually dozens of problems or pathologies that are considered arthritis. Two of the most common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis-Knee-small.jpg

Osteoarthritis

Doctors will often refer to this type of arthritis as degenerative joint disease, or if it affects the back, degenerative disc disease. It sounds scary, but it’s the most common and least serious type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis is simply wear and tear of the cartilage on the ends of the bones. One research study found that 37% of all adults have osteoarthritis in their hands or feet. Everyone over sixty-five years of age has it to some degree. However, because the cartilage is not sensitive to pain, you most often do not know you have it.

Stiffness is a key feature of osteoarthritis. Typically, your joints feel stiff in the morning and will loosen up after you move around for awhile. Sometimes the joints will make crackling or crunching sounds with movement. In the early stages, you will only feel pain after excessive activity. The pain is usually an aching sensation within the joint. You will seldom see swelling because inflammation in the joint tends to be minimal.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is not nearly as common as osteoarthritis. It occurs in only about 1% of adults.

This type of arthritis is called systemic arthritis because it can affect many of your body systems. For example, it can affect your heart, lungs, nerves and skin. Whereas osteoarthritis usually develops as you get older, rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age.

Usually the symptoms appear over a period of weeks or months and are accompanied by fatigue, fever, and diffuse pain. Subsequently, specific joints become inflamed and are painful, tender, swollen and red. Many joints become involved and both sides of your body are affected equally. There are periods when it goes into remission. It’s progressive however and overtime the involved joints often become somewhat deformed.

Other arthritic conditions

Most other types of arthritis are relatively rare. These include lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, and many others. These are all systemic conditions. What differentiates each of these is the specific joints that become affected, the problems that occur in other body systems, and the severity of the symptoms.

Help is available

Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other types of systemic arthritis most often involves the use of medications in conjunction with massage, joint mobilization and exercise. By following this type of regimen, a person can usually minimize their pain and discomfort significantly.

Most people will eventually develop osteoarthritis at some point. If it starts to give you problems, it can usually be managed very will without medication. It is vitally important, however, that you take proactive measures to prevent wear and tear on your joints. You must manage your tension and maintain good posture to prevent excessive or uneven pressure on your joints. You can do this by practicing relaxation exercises, stretching and by having regular massage. If you want to learn how to improve your posture ask your massage therapist to do a postural assessment and to suggest some simple exercises to help correct imbalances. Many therapist are also trained in fascial or deep tissue techniques that will allow them to manually stretch out shortened muscles that are pulling your body out of alignment.

Do you have to stop exercising because your cartilage is wearing thin? Far from it. You need to move your joints to get nutrients to your cartilage so it can heal. Inactivity can actually cause your cartilage to deteriorate faster. If you have a sedentary job, make sure that you take frequent breaks. As well, engage in some low impact activities like walking, swimming, biking or any activity that you enjoy doing on a regular basis. If you need help starting a program ask your therapist for assistance.

In the case of osteoarthritis, you should consider surgery only after conservative treatment has failed and pain and limitation in movement interferes with your day-to-day activities in a significant way.

With arthritic conditions, some joints will lose their mobility, while other joints will tend to become hypermobile. Your muscles have to work harder to both compensate for lost movement and to stabilize loose joints. Remember that cartilage doesn’t feel pain. The pain associated with arthritis usually comes from overworked muscles or sometimes from the capsule that surrounds the joint. For this reason, massage therapy can be invaluable in managing your symptoms: general massage to reduce muscle spasm, trigger point therapy to reduce referred pain, and when necessary, joint mobilization to stretch tightened joints and restore your mobility.

 

Juvenile-Arthritis-Kids

Arthritis isn’t just one disorder. It’s a complicated set of musculoskeletal disorders made up from over 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. The symptoms cause pain, limit movement, and can halt an otherwise active person’s life.

In the US, almost 300,000 of those affected by arthritis are kids. Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a broad way to describe a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. We don’t know yet why it strikes, and it can appear in many different ways.

July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month, and I’m taking this opportunity to learn more and share more about JA. Here are five things I didn’t know, and I bet you don’t know them either.

Children Can Be Diagnosed With Arthritis

When we hear the word arthritis we often think of adults with stiff joints, not children and teenagers. Stiff joints, pain, and swelling for more than 6 weeks are associated with arthritis. Eyes, skin, and the gastrointestinal tract can also be affected in children. It is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body is attacking itself instead of a foreign body such as a virus. If your child or teen seems to always have a tummy ache and complains of joint pain it could be a good idea to visit your doctor for a chat.

There is No Known Cause

Parents of children with a JA diagnosis will ask the question, “What caused this?” Unfortunately the answer is usually, “We don’t know for sure.” Researchers are looking at genetic and environmental factors which may contribute to the development of JA, but they have found no specific cause. There isn’t one single blood test to diagnose. Studies are trying to determine if siblings of children with JA will also develop symptoms.

Common Signs of Juvenile Arthritis

Complaints of painful knees, hands, feet, neck, or jaw common symptoms. This pain is common first thing in the morning or upon waking from naps. Arthritis pain tends to appear slowly, not suddenly like an injury.

Stiffness in the joints is another sign of arthritis. Usually the stiffness will be worse in the morning but improve with movement throughout the day. Some children may stop doing certain things. Has your toddler stopped using utensils to eat when he has been wielding a fork for months? See if you can determine if he’s in pain or just exploring with his fingers.

Swelling of a joint or joints is a strong sign a child might need an evaluation. The joint may be hot to the touch, as well. Often a child with JA will develop fevers with fatigue but no other symptoms of illness.

Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis

Even though there is no cure for JA, doctors will have a treatment plan for each patient. Treatments may include medication, physical therapy, nutrition, and eye care. One patient may respond well with medication while others may do better with movement or physical therapy. The whole family will work together in an effort to maintain normalcy for the patient. Adjustments to schedules may happen, but there’s no need to quit living life altogether.

Massage as a Treatment

We all know massage feels great on sore muscles, but can it help with the stiffness of arthritis? Maybe! We know massage can have a positive effect on blood pressure and anxiety. A study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey looked at people with osteoarthritis of the knee. The people who received a Swedish (or relaxation) massage twice a week for 8 weeks reported improvement in pain levels and function.

Massage for children and teens can be beneficial in many ways. Regular massage helps manage painful symptoms and can help improve self-awareness, self-image, and self-confidence. Parents can even work with a massage therapist to learn soothing techniques to apply at home. Massage for arthritis is usually gentle and soothing with a warm touch, perfect for use by any parent trying to help his or her child.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule a massage for your child (or yourself!) you can always contact me.
With this list of signs you may learn how to spot the signs of something more serious than a case of the childhood “I don’t want-tos.” Chronic pain is no fun, but it can be harder to deal with if no one knows it’s happening. Juvenile arthritis is a real issue with real symptoms. If spotted and treated early, it doesn’t have to mean an end to the active life your child deserves.