A lot of people who don't have persistent pain don’t realise how much chronic pain sucks. Ongoing pain isn’t just about physical discomfort – it also affects your mental wellbeing, your social life and your long-term health. This is why I have such a strong focus on chronic pain management as a myotherapist.
But what can myotherapy do to help with chronic pain? I’m glad you asked! One of the things I love about myo is that it has so many tools, so there is always one that can suit your needs and tolerance. Here are the main ways I use myotherapy techniques to help you manage chronic pain.
It helps to manage acute flare-ups
When you have chronic pain, it’s common to have a flare-up of symptoms and/or pain levels. Sometimes it can be your nervous system increasing your sensitivity, and sometimes it’s a physical factor such as tight muscles that cause issues.
Either way, different techniques such as taping, massage and mobilisation can relieve the flare.
It can down-regulate the pain response
One of the main problems with chronic pain is that the body becomes more sensitive to pain messages sent by the nervous system. Sometimes the number of connections along nerves can be altered. Other times, there is a greater release of neurotransmitters, which makes the body super-sensitive to sensation.
I cover this a bit more in my pain matrix article, but non-painful sensations can block the danger messages. This means that pressure from a gentle massage or myofascial release stretching can help to reduce pain.
It can look at the root causes behind chronic pain
There are so many factors that can lead to chronic pain, and even more that can aggravate it. But as a myotherapist that focuses on chronic pain, it’s my job to be an investigator into your pain. Your treatment plan might include exercises and stretches that aim to correct any underlying causes of pain.
We’ll also have regular discussions about the lifestyle factors that might be contributing, and ways to modify them. And if I think one of your triggers is out of my zone, I’ll refer you to a trusted practitioner who also works with chronic pain.
It can reduce stress hormones
Want to hear something cool? The relaxation after a myotherapy session isn’t all in your head. Research has found that massage can reduce cortisol, your main stress hormone, by 31%.
As a bonus, it can also boost your levels of feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. If that isn’t a good reason for regular myotherapy sessions, I don’t know what is!
It can release trigger points
Ever had a little knot feeling on a muscle, that when pressed, feels so sore but so good? That’s a trigger point. These taut bands are like a micro-spasm of a muscle (not a full muscle spasm like if your leg cramps in the night!) Trigger points can contribute to chronic pain, and they can certainly exacerbate it. Because trigger points tend to have referral patterns, they can also make you feel pain outside of the area that the actual trigger point is found.
As part of your myotherapy treatment, I can release any problematic trigger points around the area of pain. For example, if you have chronic headaches, I might look at the trigger points around your head, jaw and shoulders.
Tape can be used to stabilise joints if needed
If your chronic pain comes with any joint instability, taping is a great tool for managing it after you leave the session. By using either rigid or kinesiotape, depending on the issue, we can stabilise the problem joint or joints. That way, your painful area is supported and you’re less likely to make movements that aggravate the pain. The tape can also be used to help continuously guide and remind your joints of a better position to rest in which helps to take strain off certain areas.
Looking to manage your own chronic pain? Your no-pain, all-gain myotherapist is here to help. Head here to book your appointment today
Have you ever been diagnosed with bursitis? It’s one of the most common injuries I see in clients. But you don’t have to just put up with the pain – there are ways that myotherapy can help.
What is bursitis?
Simply put, bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa. Bursa are the soft fluid-filled cushion sacs that protect the bones, tendons and muscles around the joints. When they are functioning properly, they make it easy for tendons and muscles to move smoothly at the joint. When these fluid-y sacs become inflamed, they get swollen and enlarged, which can make movement difficult due to the physical space the bursa now takes up in the joint. The inflammation process also increases sensitivity in the area, giving you that familiar feeling of pain and aching in the joint.
You have over 150 bursa throughout your body, so that is more than 150 places bursitis can occur. That being said, the most common bursitis I see is in the shoulder and hip joints. Less common locations include the toes, knees and elbows.
What can cause bursitis?
There are a number of factors that can cause or lead to bursitis. The most common are injuries, repeated pressure and overuse of a joint. But there are some chronic conditions that can lead to bursitis such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and even an infection that reaches the bursa.
What are the signs and symptoms of bursitis?
The most common symptoms you’ll come across are:
What is the medical treatment for bursitis?
Most of the time, doctors will refer you onto a musculoskeletal therapist such as a physiotherapist, osteopath or myotherapist (like me!)
In severe cases, they will do an injection of cortisone, an anti-inflammatory steroid, into the joint. Although this can make you feel better temporarily, it is a bit of a bandaid approach. If you don’t remove the cause of the bursitis, you’ll have to keep getting a giant needle into the joint – ouch! Cortisone injections aren’t a guaranteed fix, and can have a limited time of effect from very short term (days or weeks) to longer term relief (months or years). Some patients may not get any relief at all, even temporary. I always like to remind people who are considering the injection that my opinion is a biased one – I tend to only see the people who the cortisone shot hasn’t worked for, because if it works, they don’t need to come back for treatment for that same bursitis issue!
How can a myotherapist help with bursitis?
Wanting to avoid the big needle into the joint or just prefer to manage your condition naturally? A myotherapist like myself can work on the acute pain and address the causes behind the bursitis. There are plenty of ways that the different techniques of myotherapy can help, including::
By working on the aggravating factors and finding ways to modify them, we can reduce the pain and inflammation over the long-term.
Is the pain of bursitis holding you back from the things you love to do? Book an appointment today and we’ll get you back on track to health
Happy New Year! I hope the end of 2018 has been restful and enjoyable.
2019 brings some changes in the clinic, some of which have been advertised in the treatment room for the last month or so, and some new exciting news!
Myotherapy Packages are now available!
Packages are a great way to prepay and save on your treatment plan. I'm offering solo and family packages:
My Myo Package - $425 (save $50) - includes 5 standard 50 minute treatments, to be used within 6 months from the purchase. This is the solo package, treatments can't be shared or transferred. This is ideal for managing a short term injury with a series of treatments over a few weeks, or for chronic condition management and a general "tune up" for preventative care.
Our Myo Package - $850 (save $100) - includes 10 standard 50 minute treatments, to be used within 6 months from the purchase. This package can be shared between a couple or a family, by nominating up to 4 people to share the sessions.
Want to set it up? Let me know when you're in the clinic and I'll run you through the full terms and conditions and show you how to book your package sessions online if you're not already using the online booking system.
Appointment Fee Changes
From January 1st 2019, appointment fees will be as follows:
Initial Consultations - 60 minutes $110, 40 minutes $85
Return Consultations - 30 minutes $75, 50 minutes $95, 60 minutes $110, 80 minutes $130
Need to book in for your next treatment? Book online, anytime.
A New Therapist!
Yes! I've decided to take on a new therapist in the new year! I haven't found somebody just yet, but soon I'll have either a new gentle myotherapist or remedial massage therapist starting. That means evening appointments available every day of the week, and Sunday appointments!
Watch this space or keep an eye on the Facebook page for more updates on this!
Private Health Rebates
Don't forget, most private health funds reset your annual limit today! If you ran out in 2018, chances are that you should be topped up and ready to go! Check with your health fund - the majority restart in January, a few restart in July, and there are one or two that restart on the anniversary of you joining with them.
I hope 2019 has started well for you, and looking forward to another year of helping people by doing what I love!
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.