Massage for Whiplash is the most effective treatment

What really happens to your muscles during a car accident and why is massage for Whiplash so beneficial?

therapeutic massage

Whiplash is an injury to the spine and surrounding muscles caused by the abrupt jerking motion – backward, forward, or sideways – that happens as a result of the sudden impact experienced during a car accident. The muscles and spine are ‘caught off guard’ and thus unprepared for the sudden involuntary acceleration and this results in partial tearing of the the muscle tissue.

Tenderness or pain in the neck, head and upper back areas almost always follow. Lower back pain can also accompany whiplash. You may feel only slight immediate pain or discomfort following your accident, but it is common for serious tension and stiffness to set in up to two weeks later.

Whiplash causes micro-tearing of muscle and other supportive tissues requiring repair and protection by scar tissue. You may only start to experience pain once the muscle has begun to heal and scar tissue starts to form. Scar tissue lays down in haphazard formations similar to fiberglass and may cause the underlying bone, tissue and muscle fibers to get “stuck” together. You experience this as a pulling or tightness that results in a loss of flexibility or range of motion.

Massage is the most effective treatment for breaking up and realigning scar tissue and increasing mobility associated with Whiplash. The massage therapist uses a method called cross-fiber friction that works counter to the direction of the muscle to loosen adhesions and decrease scar tissue buildup. In addition, the therapist may use other strokes and stretches in areas adjoining the primary area of injury to reduce muscle tension and restore full range of motion.

A typical treatment is once a week for 8-12 sessions and should provide near 100% recovery. While physical therapy and yoga are other alternatives, these are usually not as directly effective at massage which works directly on adhesions.

What is most important to realize is that without any treatment, the muscle aches and knots experienced after an accident will go on for years. You may never be quite pain-free, and these knots and kinks set in and become part of your lifestyle. The good news, however, for those who have had accidents years ago and never got treatment is that cross-fiber friction massage is very effective even after many years.

So, in a nutshell, if you have been in an accident and now experience muscle tension or pain in your in neck, shoulders or lower back, you are likely experiencing the effects of whiplash. You do not have to feel this way forever! Massage for Whiplash is the best way to restore your muscles to full function and health.

3 Subtle Signs You’re Stressed and What to Do About It

stress massage seattleAs working professionals, we’ve mastered the balancing act. We work full-time, have a lively social life, and make time to be active. We move fast and that’s how we like it.
However, in between the happy hours and work meetings, stress can creep in without your knowing. Stress doesn’t always trigger a loud, red siren. Many times, there are quiet signs telling you that you may be stressed.
You don’t need to sacrifice your busy lifestyle to reduce stress, but you should be aware of three important, subtle clues and listen to your body when it’s time to slow down:
1. Changing sleeping patterns: Your subconscious can let you in on important, underlying mental and physical happenings, and you should listen to its messages. Pay attention to your sleeping patterns; trouble falling asleep and weird dreams are all signs that you may be stressed.
What to do: Ask yourself if you are getting six or more hours of sleep each night. If not, identify what is causing you to have trouble sleeping. Are you putting off a certain conversation? Are you up against a strict deadline at work? Addressing stress in your day will make your nights easier. To help you sleep, cut back on caffeine and alcohol, and increase your exercise routine.
2. Tight, aching back or neck: Many of us carry our stress in our necks and backs. High levels of stress can cause discomfort by tightening your muscles and causing muscle spasms. This is part of our natural flight-or-fight response, and is one of the ways our bodies respond to challenges and demands.
What to do: Massage, meditation, and yoga can all relieve tight muscles. Take time to stretch during the day to prevent muscles from knotting up, and do some yoga to unwind at the end of the day. A monthly massage can also drastically improve sore muscles. A 2011 study found that massage helped people in pain feel and function better, compared to people who didn’t receive any massage treatment.
3. A craving for dessert: Anytime you have a sudden change in cravings, you should interpret it as your body telling you something is different or off. A new study claims that stress can turn on certain hormones located in our taste buds, making us crave sweets.
What to do: Be mindful of why you are craving certain foods. Monitor your stress levels and when you feel like you need to have sweets, take a few minutes to breathe and retain focus, or take a brisk walk around the block. If you really do need to satisfy your sweet tooth, choose healthy options like raisins, dried fruit, or a small piece of dark chocolate.
The bottom line: practice self-awareness and listen to what your body is telling you. Maintaining an active, mobile lifestyle will allow you to bounce between social events, succeed at work, and maintain your health.

Massage Therapy for Low Back Pain Relief

by Diana Khoury

A large percentage of the population will experience some form of lower back (lumbar) pain during their adult life. In fact, lumbar pain is one of the top 5 reasons people seek medical care in the United States today. “Total incremental direct health care costs attributable to lower back pain in the U.S. were estimated at $26.3 billion in 1998. In addition, indirect costs related to days lost from work are substantial, with approximately 2% of the U.S. work force compensated for back injuries each year.”1


Financial costs aside, dealing with acute or chronic lumbar pain can be physically and mentally challenging, and disruptive to an active lifestyle.

The causes of lumbar pain vary.  It can result from an imbalance in the bones, muscles, joints or nerves in the lumbar region, or a combination. The imbalance may originate from bad postural habits, uncomfortable seats/chairs, poor footwear, skeletal misalignment, injury, asymmetrical muscle use (due to sports or other activities), or other, non-spinal sources within the body. Another factor is stress. Tired, aching, sore lower backs are often exacerbated by stress.

The Western medicine approach to lower back pain may involve treatment with medication, injections, or sometimes surgery. Increasingly, however, and for those patients that do not improve with anti-inflammatory medication, clinicians are recommending non-pharmacologic therapy with “proven benefits for acute lower back pain…[including] exercise therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, yoga…or progressive relaxation.” 1

Josephine Briggs, MD, Director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, reports, “Massage is among the top ten most frequently used complementary health practices by adults and by children. Researchers have been investigating the effects of massage therapy on a number of wide-ranging conditions…[and] there is scientific evidence that points toward beneficial effects on back pain. low back massageIn fact, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society have issued joint clinical practice guidelines that include massage therapy as one of the non-pharmacologic treatment options that should be considered for patients with lower back pain.”2

A 2011 study from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle investigated the effects of massage vs. medication and physical therapy on 401 participants suffering from non-specific lower back pain. After 10 weeks, two-thirds of the study participants receiving massage reported partial or full relief from their back pain, as opposed to a one-third success rate in those receiving standard medication and physical therapy.3

Massage is a non-invasive, low risk method of relieving lower back pain with little to no side effects. It can be sought independently or in support of a medical treatment plan.  It works by relieving muscle tension and increasing circulation and oxygenation of tissues, improving range of motion in the affected area(s). Massage also releases endorphins in the body, reducing pain and anxiety and lowering stress levels.4Whether lower back pain is acute or chronic, massage can facilitate the return to a pain-free, active lifestyle.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc.  Founded in Seattle in 2003, Dreamclinic is an award-winning Health and Wellness company, specializing in Massage Therapy, Acupuncture and Natural Health education.  We provide massage services at our Seattle area clinics and at Workplaces around Puget Sound.   Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.



Home Remedy for Easing Neck Pain

by Wayne T, LMP

Practice this self-help technique regularly to reduce or eliminate neck pain and tension. For this simple at-home trick, all you need is a towel and a hair-tie or rubber band.

1. Just before bed, take a regular length bath towel (or beach towel) and lay it out flat on the floor or bed.

2. Roll the towel lengthwise, so it is long and skinny.towelfairviewebenezerorg

Once it is rolled up, hang the towel around your neck so that both ends dangle in front of you.

3. Place the hair-tie or rubber band around both ends, halfway up the towel’s hanging length, to bind the loose ends together. You should now look like you’re wearing a towel as a neck tie!

4. Without a pillow, lay on your back in bed, with your head relaxed over the rolled towel and chin slightly lifted. This helps to promote the natural curvature in your neck as you sleep.

5. Enjoy a nap or wonderful night’s rest, knowing that when you wake up, you won’t spend 20 minutes rubbing that sore spot in your neck where the pain used to be.

~ This article was written by Wayne T. a massage therapist at Dreamclinic’s Roosevelt location. He attributes a great deal of his knowledge of massage, and the injury recovery process, to the treatment he received after being hit by a car as a pedestrian while enrolled in massage school. When he is not with a client, Wayne loves to play guitar and juggle just about anything he can get his hands on.

Reduce Neck Pain & Tension

by Diana Khoury

Neck pain and tension is common in today’s society. It can be caused by an injury or by sitting, standing, walking or sleeping in a poor position. Neck tension is exacerbated by stress, creating an imbalance in the internal environment of the body and disturbing its normal functioning.

Seven of the body’s eleven major systems pass through the neck.* Tension restricts range of motion and inhibits the pathways that allow blood, lymph, hormones, spinal fluid, nerve impulses, food and air to travel between the head and the rest of the body.

sternocleidomastoid2“Physical structures [become locked] when the body fails to adapt to an overload of stress. This may result in pain, stiffness, numbness and postural distortions. In addition, the body’s capacity to co-ordinate its functions is undermined.”1Since multiple systems are affected, it is no wonder that constriction of the neck area has a direct, negative impact on the entire body and on one’s overall health.

Structurally, a stiff neck is caused by contraction of the musculature. “When the neck is tense, the shoulders rise and the chin moves up and forward, causing further misalignment and pain. Neck tension can often lead to tension headaches, a problem affecting 78 percent of the general population.”2

Chronic neck tension has a ripple effect on the nervous system. Since “the lower neck supplies the nerves to the arms, there may be pain or numbness in the shoulder, arm or hand. Muscles may be weakened, resulting in difficulty in grasping objects. The tension in the neck may cause headaches or pain in the face or jaw…Body stress in the neck area may also have an impact on nerve connections to internal organs, such as the heart, lungs and digestive system, undermining normal function.”1

Many people simply accept neck problems as a part of life, but this does not have to be the case. To decrease daily stress and support a healthy neck:

  • Practice good posture. Research ergonomics or take a yoga class to learn and use proper posture while working at the computer, sitting, standing and walking.
  • Take rest breaks from computer use every 20 minutes. Give your eyes and brain a rest, and take a stretch to lengthen muscles that have stiffened while sitting.
  • Drink plenty of water. Hydration transports essential nutrients to your cells.
  • Breathe. When you feel stress increasing, pause. Take a few deep breaths, and exhale fully. This soothes the nervous system and reduces stress hormone levels.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercising increases circulation, flexibility and improves oxygen flow to the brain.
  • Get plenty of sleep. The body needs rest, even more so when stressed. Sleep on your back instead of the stomach, to avoid craning the neck to one side.
  • Book a massage. Research and empirical evidence show that massage effectively releases muscle tension and pain, improves range of motion, and reduces stress levels in the body. You may feel relief from neck pain and tension in as little as one massage session, yet continuous relief can be found by making it a part of your ongoing wellness plan.

This is an original article from Dreamclinic, Inc. Dreamclinic is a Health and Wellness company committed to sharing information about commonly experienced health conditions and how they may be impacted through the use of bodywork and other natural approaches. Dreamclinic offers massage, acupuncture, and Reiki sessions at its Greenlake and Queen Anne clinics, as well as onsite massage at workplaces around Puget Sound. Contact us to learn more about how Dreamclinic can help you, your family or your workplace experience greater health.

* Skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems.


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