Tag: Pain

Pregnancy Massage

A woman’s body undergoes profound physical and metabolic changes over the course of pregnancy and massage can be a powerful tool for supporting these changes by soothing and balancing the nervous system and improving many of the symptoms that may develop as the fetus grows.

Many women experience headaches, muscle pain, fatigue, or swelling, and an experienced therapist can reduce and sometimes alleviate any or all of these. Touch is an effective tool for balancing the sympathetic(fight or flight) and parasympathetic(rest and digest) branches of the autonomic nervous system. When in balance, our bodies function better; this is especially important during pregnancy. Massage also increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins in the bloodstream, which decrease pain and increase restful sleep and feelings of well being along with other benefits.

There are special considerations for massage and pregnancy, and it is good to consult with your healthcare provider to rule out any complications that could be contraindicated for receiving massage. It is also important to be properly positioned on the table to protect and support the health of the child, either side-lying or with specialized body cushions. Which we do have here at the club and can use upon request. A licensed practitioner will have received basic education in pregnancy massage, and many of us have gone on for more advanced training. Let us know if we can help, we are always available to assist with your  bodywork needs.

February is Heart Health Month, do you know your heart facts?

Complimentary blood pressure readings Friday February 12th

Heart disease is a major problem. According to the CDC, about 1 out of every 4 deaths is related to heart disease in the United States each year. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.

An unhealthy heart is one that has Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), which occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. CAD can cause heart attack, angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

One easy way to know the health of your heart is to have your blood pressure taken regularly.  Normal resting blood pressure in an adult is approximately 120/80 mm Hg; as your resting blood pressure increases so does your chances for CAD. If you don’t know your resting blood pressure, come into the club and have it tested free of charge.

Do you know that the signs and symptoms of a heart attack differ from men to women?

Warning signs found more in women

  • Shortness of breath, lightheadedness, and dizziness (having trouble breathing for no apparent reason)
  • Pain in arms, back, neck, or jaw (pain can be gradual or sudden)
  • Cold sweats (feels like a stress-related sweat rather than perspiration from exercise or spending time outside in the heat)
  • Stomach pain (often mistaken for heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer)
  • Extreme fatigue (challenging to do simple tasks such as walk to the bathroom)

Warning signs found more in men

  • Arm pain (more common in the left, but may occur in either arm), upper back pain and upper middle abdomen discomfort. Overall, upper body pain.
  • Jaw pain, toothache, and headache
  • Shortness of breath, cold sweats, anxiety
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion
  • No signs (1/4 of all heart attacks are silent!!!)

Common warning signs for both men and women:

 

  • Chest pain, including pressure and squeezing around the chest area.
  • Nausea and vomiting

 

 

For more information, please contact our Fitness Director, Jacob Galloway, at jgalloway@sacdt.com.

 

Pain in the neck? Relief may lie in how you move.

By Peggy Protz, Feldenkrais® Practitioner

Neck pain really can be a pain in the neck. Especially if the pain affects your ability to move easily and comfortably. Ask anyone who has experienced a whiplash, a pinched nerve, or a bad tension headache. Pain caused by these conditions will often restrict the natural, free movement of the head, creating an experience of life that is limiting. A real pain in the neck!

The pain can easily spiral downward into more discomfort. As you try to keep your head still to avoid pain, muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back begin to tighten up. This is understandable, as your body intelligently wants to protect you from further injury. The increased muscle tension, however, can actually cause more discomfort. One way to disrupt this cycle is to begin moving in a gentle way.

Try this experiment…   Sit on the edge of a chair that has a firm, flat surface. Have your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart and your thighs parallel to the floor. Rest your hands comfortably on your thighs. Gently turn your head a little to the right and to the left, keeping the movement in a range that is easy and not painful. Observe how far you turn by taking note of what you see in the room around you.

Next, keeping your head in the center, slowly look downward, lowering your chin to your chest. Allow your chest to sink, relax your shoulders, and think that you are bending your whole back backwards, creating a “C” shape from the top of your head to your tailbone. This position may feel like slouching.

Now reverse the movement. Slowly lift your chin off your chest, looking straight ahead as you straighten your back. Push your chest forward and gently pull your shoulders back. Think that the top of your head is being pulled upward toward the ceiling, causing you to sit taller on your seat.

Repeat the motion: lowering your head as you bend your back, lifting your head as you straighten your back. See if you can feel the pressure of your hips rolling back and forth on the chair; leaning back on your tail bone, then forward on your sit bones.

Begin to coordinate your breathing with the movement. Exhale as you look down, relaxing the chest. Inhale as you lift your head, expanding the chest. Allow your whole body to relax into the motion.

After you’ve done the exercise five or six times, stop and rest with your eyes closed, noticing the feeling in your shoulders, back, and neck. Open your eyes and turn your head again, like you did at the start. See if it feels easier or if you can turn a little further. Notice if you see more of the room around you.

This is an exercise I often share with my students and is something you can do anytime to relieve tension. The back and forth movement or your spine sort of “resets” your nervous system, allowing your body to relax and learn a new way moving, without you having to think about it. With gentle practice, the better way becomes the natural way, and perhaps that pain in the neck won’t have to be such a pain in the neck!

For more guidance on how to reduce neck and shoulder pain, join Peggy for the “Pain Free Neck and Shoulders” Feldenkrais workshop, Saturday February 7, 2 – 4:30pm in the Mind Body Studio

Start the New Year Safely & Successfully in the Gym

Dr. Michael Li, DACRB

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday! Each January, most of us rush back to the gym determined to burn off some holiday season calories and work toward New Year’s resolutions to get into better shape. Unfortunately, some studies showed more than half of those who join in a gym or fitness club will drop out after 3-6 months. The common reason: injury.

I want to use this article to lay out some strategies that can help you avoid injury and reach your fitness goals any time of year. If you are someone who wants to stay fit for the rest of the year, this article is for you! Here we go.

Overtraining & Injuries

As we are enthusiastically starting our new year training program, sometimes we may do too much, too soon, and those usually lead to early overtraining, and increase one’s risks of injuries. How can you tell if you are over trained? Here are couple things to look for:

  • Test your resting heart rate in the morning or before you have breakfast & coffee. Is it higher than usual?
  • Did you find yourself still feeling tired after a good night of sleep? This can be an early sign of overtraining.
  • Soreness versus pain
  •  This is one of the most frequently asked questions I encountered and I hope the table below helps differentiate the two:

 

Muscles sores

Pain

Discomfort sensation: the area feels tender to the touch, and you feel a dull, tight achy feeling when you are resting Discomfort sensation: sharp pain at rest
Onset: during exercises or 24-72 hours after exercise Onset: during exercise or within 24 hours of activities
Duration: 1-3 days Duration: more than a week
Location: muscles Location: muscles or joints
Feels better with: stretching, some light movement Feels better with: ice, rest (or no relief from either of those)
Feels worse with: being static Feels worse with: any activities
Appropriate action: continue the exercises once the soreness subsides or to a point you feel comfortable Appropriate action: consult with a medical professional if pain is sharp and/or lasts more than 1-2 weeks

 

What to do?

Gradual increase in exercise intensity/volume.

  •   I found most folks injured themselves by doing too much, too soon. You may be away from training for a while, and thought you would just pick up where you left off. I would say to start off easily and ramp up gently. Start with one set of exercises for two weeks and see how your body response to it. Sometimes it takes time for your body to adapt to the new exercises routine, and you may not feel the good (and bad) effect from the exercises until 2-4 weeks later. Increase the difficulty of the exercises once you master the form and the movement.

Pay attention to your body

  • “Feel” the work you are doing with your body and watch your form. Quality movements always trump high volume and bad forms.

Recovery:

  • Good nutrition: make sure you eat and drink well and put good fuel back in your body after exercise.
  • Sleep well: your body grows when you are sleeping. Better sleep = better recovery = better growth!

 

Planning & ideas:

Set Goal(s)

  • Some folks train for a marathon, some exercise to prepare for a squash tournament, some just train to be healthier. No matter what your intention is, set a goal. You will commit to your exercises routine when you have a goal. Write it down. Put it at your computer screen or at your fridge. Ask yourself “why” you train/exercise and stick with it!

Make it practical

  • This one follows nicely after you set up your goal(s). Make your training practical to what you want to do. If you are training for a hike that you would do during your next vacation, make sure your training helps you directly with your hike. You will be more compliant with the exercises.

Cross training

  • You maybe training for the marathon, but it does not mean your training only involves running. Our body is a great adapter, both to good and bad stress. By doing cross training, you will train the weak stabilizing muscles you may miss during your regular training, and give the muscles a break. If you are a runner, do some weight training to helps support your joints to take on road.

Have some fun!

  • Going to the gym can be a drag sometimes, especially during the days of 12+hours of darkness outside. Make it fun for yourself to go into the gym. Mix up the exercise routine after you build a strong foundation. Grab a workout buddy. Have a friendly pickup basketball game. Have fun with the exercises. Being healthy can be fun too!

Resources:

  • Take advantage of the professionals in your circle and in the SAC. If you are dealing with an injury, get it checked out by me or other health care professional during the Wellness Tuesdays. Don’t know where to start on exercising programming, set up an appointment with a personal trainer.
  • The personal training staffs and I have worked together on numerous occasions to help a member reaching their fitness goals. When a member is injured and come to me, I always communicate with his/her trainers to create the best exercise plan for that member. Together, we can check your base fitness to support your desired activities level; identify training errors; correct biomechanical problems; provide an appropriate plan to reach your goals.

I hope this article helps giving you a great start to 2015. Don’t hesitate to email the Seattle Athletic Club’s fitness director Jacob Galloway (jgalloway@sacdt.com) or me if you have any questions. Have a great 2015!

Dr. Li has been taking care of the SAC staff and members since 2010. You can find him at the lobby performing injury screen for members every 3rd Tuesday of the month. His practice, Mobility Plus Sports Rehab, is conveniently located about 10 minute walk from the SAC. You can find out more about him and his clinic at mobilityplussportsrehab.com. He can be reached by info@mobilityplussportsrehab.com.