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MASSAGE THERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY: DO THEY WORK TOGETHER?

8/5/16 3:55 PM
We get this question a lot...Do massage therapy and physical therapy work together? How? There are a lot of reasons why the two can compliment each other, especially with certain injuries or cases. 

There are many benefits to massage, both the type of manual massage performed by a Physical Therapist, and also by a massage therapist, to include:
  • Analgesic effects
  • Increased circulation
  • Improved range of motion
  • Decreased Trigger Point activity and Muscle hypertonicity
  • Increased overall well being


Physical Therapists, Physical Therapy Assistants, and Licensed Massage Therapists all have training in various massage techniques to enhance the desired outcome of your treatment and your Physical Therapy experience. 
  • Alleviate pain and discomfort.   It might not sound pleasant, but before, during or after a good Physical Therapy session, you may experience some muscle soreness and pain. Massage therapy added into your treatment can help alleviate some of that discomfort. Not convinced? The term PhysioTherapy was even used back during the Civil War Era. With so many wounded soldiers, there was almost always a shortage of morphine. Massage was used as a substitute to aid in pain management - some of those manual techniques are still used today in Physical Therapy.


  • Give your body a boost toward recovery & healing itself.    Massage can increase blood flow to the affected, or sore area. Improved circulation helps to facilitate the recovery and healing process of the body. It can also help reduce DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Endorphines are also released with massage.


  • Help to gain Range of Motion.  In applying manual massage to an area of the body, soft tissue, deep tissue and many other massage therapy techniques introduce a stimulus to the affected areas. This causes a sedating or stimulating effect depending on the desired outcome. The therapist can feel where there is tension & trigger point activity, and the patient is also able to give feedback. With those same pain management & sedating effects also comes more ease of range of motion.
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Topics: tips, MASSAGE, pain, hip pain, back pain, SORENESS

4 MYTHS ABOUT BACK PAIN

2/22/16 11:22 AM

As a Physical Therapist, I am asked a lot of questions about low back pain. With so much information available to us online from various sources - both reliable and unreliable, both too general and too specific, it is hard to know what to believe is truth or the best practice for most individuals. These are general guidelines to get you started based upon the common questions I am asked.


 

Sitting:

 

I know I have a lot of comfy places to sit at home, couch, recliner, love seat and this is often where I end up sitting at the end of the day. I have had many patients come and say they sit on their couch with their feet on the coffee table or sit in their recliner with their feet up.  They say, it feels great while sitting there, then it is painful getting up due to low back pain. This is because your spine is flexed or rounded especially when you have your feet up. This is one position you want to try and avoid at home. Try to sit with your feet on the floor and try not to slouch when sitting at home.  Try sitting in a more upright chair, kitchen chair or dining room chair. I know these aren’t as comfortable but they are better for your back.

 

 

Ice or heat?

 

If you just hurt your back yesterday, then ice is the answer. Ice is good for new or acute injuries for 24-48 hours. Ice helps to decrease the blood flow to the area which helps to decrease pain and inflammation. If an area is swollen or bruised, use ice.  Now if you have had back pain fo

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Written by Laura Donlan.

Laura Donlan, PT is contributing author to our blog. She has been a Highland Dancer for over 20 years and specializes in treating dancers - getting them back to their sport!

Topics: hip pain, Low back pain, pain, tips, back pain, lumbar pain

Less Low Back Pain is only a Stand up & a Stretch Away

3/17/15 2:05 PM

Do you....

Consider yourself a healthy person? 

Know that even if you get the recommended amount of aerobic exercises (30 minutes per day), by sitting at your desk the majority of the day you can still be considered to lead a sedentary lifestyle? 


Prolonged sitting contributes to shortened or tight muscles....

Sitting for the majority of the day can have a great effect on the health and function of your spine. Have you made the connection that sitting can cause low back pain? 

In the sitting position, your chest is closer to your knees, which only means one thing… all of the muscles in between are shortened or tight. When your muscles are too tight, your body can not move naturally. With prolonged sitting, the muscles at the front of the leg, specifically the hip flexors (illiopsoas group) become very tight. 

If you refer to the image below, you can see that sections of the muscle originates on the lumbar vertebrae and attaches to the top of your femur (the long bone of your thigh).

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Written by Christine Whitney.

Christine Whitney is a licensed physical therapist and contributing author.

Topics: Posture, hip pain, Low back pain