Monday, March 21, 2011

Pain That "Moves"

Illustration of the pain pathway in René Desca...Image via Wikipedia

   Pain is a sensation we all know. We may experience it from accident and injury, overuse, or illness.. When we can trace our pain to a specific incident or series of incidents we have a much easier chance of addressing and relieving the cause of our pain. There is no great detective work that needs to be done to “uncover the villain” causing our pain. What happens when we have no incident or incidents to point to? When we have no illness to blame? What happens when we have pain that occurs without warning, and can change locations in the body? What is happening when the pain “moves”? What can we do about it?
   Pain can be seen as a warning signal that a specific area of the body needs attention, now! That signal  means that the body is unable to handle the demands we are making on it and that we need to make a change right away. This inability can come from stress responses or damage. More often it comes from a chain of reactions that the body has made to restrictions we have caused.
   We may have a minor trauma to an area of the body that leaves us with contracted muscles or imbalances in our joints. The body responds by “robbing from Peter to pay Paul” and making a change in our movement to bring us back to as close to normal movement. Unfortunately, this can set off a chain of “robberies” that continue down the line progressively stealing movement, grace and ease until our body can no longer offer any compromise. That is when we have the cry for attention, pain.
   The painful area is usually the only the place we pay attention to, missing the chain of compromises or accommodations that have  lead the body to the pain response. These compromises or accommodations will not go away when we address the painful area. Often we will have only temporary relief when we focus on the painful area alone. When we fail to consider the events leading up to the body's pain response we will fail to correct the chain reaction that has been set off. The pain can begin to move around the body as accommodation shifts to other areas. We can chase and chase the pain without finding long-lasting relief if we do not address the chain of reactions that led to it. By addressing that chain we can bring long-term relief and balance to our body.
   Tracing the chain of compromise and accommodation would seem complicated and involved. Following the reactions back along the chain to  the original event  to bring back  balance and ease seems a tall order. How do we play detective? How do we relieve our mysterious pain that “moves”? How can we find each link in the chain in the proper sequence to release all the compromises and accommodations?
   Strangely enough we have only to turn to our own body for the answer. For every minute of every day our body is performing 100 million separate functions involving all our organs and cells, all of our muscles, nerves and tissues successfully and continually. The problem with our our pain is  only a fraction of a fraction of  what the body can successfully handle. The body is capable of making such a minor correction if given the chance. The body  remembers how to heal and will release that chain of compromise and accommodation if we focus on it.  The body knows the sequence, it created the sequence.  How do we focus our body on that sequence?
   That answers are simple. We look at the areas that are most restricted in movement, not just the painful areas. We can see from the pattern of greaetst to least restricted areas of the body the pattern the body has produced in accommodating  to trauma and injury. Addressing the restrictions in the order of greatest to least gives us a means to address the pain that has moved around the body due to its pattern of accommodation.
   Using a variety of body reading and structural assessmentt methods, going to someone who understands biomechanics can be ways to address this. We can also work with A Bodytalk practitioner or a Bowenwork therapist to access the internal information of the body and set it on the healing [path taking care of the "pain thet moves".
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Friday, March 11, 2011

Sinus issues and Drug-Free Ways to Address Them- Alameda and SF Bay Area

   Sinusitis and upper respiratory issues are problems that can bring our lives to a grinding halt. Whether the cause is from the sinuses or other respiratory issues, the symptoms can be similar, so I am including an excerpt fro the National Institute of Health on Sinusitis to begin this article
   Sinusitis simply means your sinuses are infected or inflamed, but this gives little indication of the misery and pain this condition can cause. Health care experts usually divide sinusitis cases into three categories:
Acute, which last for 3 weeks or less                                          
Chronic, which usually last for 3 to 8 weeks but can continue for months or even years
Recurrent, which are several acute attacks within a year                          
   Health care experts estimate that 37 million Americans are affected by sinusitis every year. Health care providers report nearly 32 million cases of chronic sinusitis to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention annually. Americans spend millions of dollars each year for medications that promise relief from their sinus symptoms.
   Sinuses are hollow air spaces in the human body. When people say, "I'm having a sinus attack," they usually are referring to symptoms in one or more of four pairs of cavities, or sinuses, known as paranasal sinuses.These cavities, located within the skull or bones of the head surrounding the nose, include the Frontal sinuses over the eyes in the brow area; Maxillary sinuses inside each cheekbone; Ethmoid sinuses just behind the bridge of the nose and between the eyes; and Sphenoid sinuses behind the ethmoids in the upper region of the nose and behind the eyes.
   Each sinus has an opening into the nose for the free exchange of air and mucus, and each is joined with the nasal passages by a continuous mucous membrane lining. Therefore, anything that causes a swelling in the nose—an infection, an allergic reaction, or another type of immune reaction—also can affect the sinuses. Air trapped within a blocked sinus, along with pus or other secretions may cause pressure on the sinus wall. The result is the sometimes intense pain of a sinus attack. Similarly, when air is prevented from entering a paranasal sinus by a swollen membrane at the opening, a vacuum can be created that also causes pain.
   The location of your sinus pain depends on which sinus is affected. Headache when you wake up in the morning is typical of a sinus problem. Pain when your forehead over the Frontal sinuses is touched may indicate that your Frontal sinuses are inflamed. Infection in the Maxillary sinuses can cause your upper jaw and teeth to ache and your cheeks to become tender to the touch. Since the Ethmoid sinuses are near the tear ducts in the corner of the eyes, inflammation of these cavities often causes swelling of the eyelids and tissues around your eyes, and pain between your eyes. Ethmoid inflammation also can cause tenderness when the sides of your nose are touched, a loss of smell, and a stuffy nose. Although the Sphenoid sinuses are less frequently affected, infection in this area can cause earaches, neck pain, and deep aching at the top of your head. Most people with sinusitis, however, have pain or tenderness in several locations, and their symptoms usually do not clearly indicate which sinuses are inflamed. Other symptoms of sinusitis can include fever; weakness; tiredness; a cough that may be more severe at night; runny nose (rhinitis) or nasal congestion. In addition, the drainage of mucus from the sphenoid or other sinuses down the back of your throat (postnasal drip) can cause you to have a sore throat. Mucus drainage also can irritate the membranes lining your larynx (upper windpipe). Not everyone with these symptoms, however, has sinusitis.                                    

    The soft tissues of the sinuses and nose are not the only actors in the drama. The bones of the skull of which the sinuses and nose are parts must rhythmically move in unison to pump the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This fluid nourishes and maintains the health of the brain and spinal cord. A variety of stresses or accident can interfere with normal cranial rhythms, producing similar symptoms and involving the sinuses.
   Also the major drains for waste and immune system fluids for the head lay just behind the muscles that run from the top of the chest bone or sternum to behind and below each ear. These muscles are called the sterno-cleidomastoid muscles. Our posture and stress can cause these muscles to become overly tight and slow or stop normal drainage. When there isn’t proper drainage fluids can back up in the head causing the symptoms previously mentioned.
   We can use postural exercise protocols and improved ergonomic to rebalance our head and neck posture. Vitamin D3 therapy has been shown to enhance our immune function actually resulting in a decrease in environmental reactions. Cranio-sacral therapies and Bowenwork have procedures that that are effective in as little as one session for releasing fluid build-up in the sinuses, restoring proper fluid movement behind the sterno-cleidomastoid muscles and integrating healthy cranial movement. The effects can be long lasting, ending the cycle of pain, inflammation, and medication that can repeat over weeks, months or even years. There are many healthy, safe ways to deal with sinusitis and upper respiratory issues.
Sinusitis information excerpted from National Institute of Health, Health Matters article Jan 2005

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Pain In the Rear

Gluteus maximus muscle * compressed with pngcrushImage via Wikipedia

    A “pain in the rear” is a familiar phrase that refers to a nagging problem, a distraction that won’t go away easily. Why is it so familiar? How did “a pain in the rear” become so special? History, custom and language have led us to accept the idea of a problem that won’t go away, retuning over and over, that we can we can do little about.  It can refer to our physical bodies or our emotional or mental states.

    Speaking of our physical state, did talking about the phrase start you shifting in your seat?  Have you had hip or buttock pain within the last few months? Does it hurt to sit or to walk for some distance? It’s likely that a large majority of you answered yes to one of those questions. So we can see the phrase comes from our present as well as our past.
   Now for the more important questions:
Do you need to have a pain in the rear?
If you have a pain do you have to suffer with it?  Suffering is optional, you know.
Is your pain in your rear “a pain in the rear”?

    Commercials try to lead us by always describing how we are in pain. Has there ever been a commercial that begins with us how comfortable and happy we are? Not likely. Suggesting we are having arthritis or muscle pain, we are told constantly we have to take painkillers as if there is no other option. Going to a physician may give us no more satisfaction, with the “pain in our rear” being called some “itis”, bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis and the answer being the same, painkillers. We might believe our pain in the rear is a curse that finds us only to be temporarily lifted with medications.
   What if those ideas weren’t true? What if the painkillers were only a cover-up of a problem that could be dealt with naturally and easily? What if the pain could go away and not come back again and again and again? What if the pain we feel is due to a temporary imbalance in the muscles and joints? Could we restore that balance permanently and rid ourselves of our “pain in the rear”?

   We would be out of the cycle of pain and painkiller, of curse and temporary relief. Our body retuning and restoring balance and preventing the return our “pain in the rear” would leave us back in control of our health.

   When we have “a pain in the rear” we can have our pelvis rotated and not coming back to relaxed neutral, we can have an over contraction of our gluteal muscles, or a torsion of our sacrum. All of these can arise from misuse and overuse, from improper sitting or lifting. All of these can be addressed simply and without the use of drugs. All of these can be prevented from returning through simple postural restorative exercise like Muscle Balance and Function, Somatics and others. All of these “pains in the rear” can be successfully helped with Bowenwork and its accompanying movement training.

   So, what do you want “a pain in the rear” that is a pain in the rear or would you like to end the pain cycle and replace it with a cycle of healthy balance?

Please feel free to comment and email me with your questions. These posts are intended to stimulate a discussion of possibilities for health and healing.
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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Successful Methods fo Asthma and Allergy Relief

Asthma and allergy problems generate lots of income for pharmaceutical companies, but their costly solutions offer short-term relief. What's a sufferer to do? Are there other safer, more economical ways to breathe free again?

  Asthma and allergy problems are serious and deserve effective solutions. We have been bombarded with drug solutions for these problems and yet the incidence of both problems continues to rise. Despite tripling spending on Allergy medicine, cases of a typical allergy hay fever have nearly doubled in the past 10 years. By focusing on symptoms and not on working improving the body's own capacity, we get stuck in a vicious cycle. More drugs, more illlness.
   If we step back and look at what we can change, we find simple nutritional changes can have profound results. A recent study of 60 years of medical literature  found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased airway reactivity, lower lung functions, and worse asthma control. School children were found to have reduced allergy problems when using increased vitamin D dosages, possibly even reducing the chance of developing asthma by 40% with higher doses of vitamin D.
   Other methods include reducing environmental pollution in the home and at work, reducing dairy intake and pet dander exposure. Breathing training like Buteyko breathing technique, mechanical aides like the sport breather can help restore breathing capacity. Bowenwork for diaphragmatic and ribcage release and upper respiratory clearing can be very helpful in increasing the airflow.

  We can achieve better results save money and improve our health when we look to ourselves instead of the drug companies. It means that we have to be responsible and take care of ourselves. It means we will putting our health first rather than the health of the drug companies. As a result our children will be healthier, we will be more healthy we will save billions of dollars and improve the quality of our lives. Not so bad for a few simple, safe lifestyle changes.

Please comment on this, if you need to know more, email me.
If you are sufering from these problems, take back control of your health and try some of the solutions suggested.

Leave things as they are and they will contnue to get worse.
Stop this once and promise yourself " this time, it will be different".
And it will.

Fortune magazine 2010,
 Childrens' AllergiesSource: Sharief S Jariwala S Kumar J Muntner P Melamed M (2011) Vitamin D levels and food and environmental allergies in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2006 Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology DOI: 10.1016/j.jaci.2011.01.017
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