Posts Tagged ‘Pain Management’

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

One of the many things I am proud of is my Working Well Massage chair stations in Whole Foods Markets. I am proud of this business because it serves multiple needs for a variety of people. For one thing, it provides a means for people with limited time or funds to receive massage. For another, it allows potential table massage clients to try out different massage therapists before they commit to a one-hour table massage. And it allows people to experience muscular pain relief in as little as 5 minutes (although 15-20 minute massages can give you more results!).

Sue Shekut, Owner of Working Well Massage

I’ve been working in and managing chair massage stations for the past 9-10 years. In that time, my massage therapists and I have helped hundreds, if not thousands, of people relax, experience pain relief, learn about their own bodies and how to better care for their muscles. Selfishly, I myself have also received hundreds of chair massages at the Working Well Massage stations! I love the convenience because I don’t need to make an appointment. I love being able to shop for some good healthy grub and then plunk down in the massage chair, trusting that my team will take good care of me. Not because I manage them, but because they are highly trained and skilled massage therapists and they treat all WWM clients well.

Sine I am such a big fan of chair massage myself, I thought I’d list a few reasons why you might want to check chair out massage for yourself. And so that you don’t think I am entirely self-serving, I’ll offer this up: Get a chair massage somewhere,  whether you get it from a Working Well Massage station or through someone else. WWM has only two locations in Chicago for chair massage. For those of you in the suburbs or other areas of the country, many Whole Foods stores offer chair massages. but there are  other places to get chair massage as well. Shopping malls, salons, airports, all these places may offer chair massage. More and more, many workplaces are bringing in companies like Working Well Massage to offer chair massage to their employees. It’s a great motivator, boosts productivity and sure beats sending your people out to the doctor for a muscle spasm that might have been prevented if they had regular massage.

Chair massage:

• Is fast and easy-no need to take off your clothes or get oil on you!

• Can release muscle tension in your neck and shoulders, upper and lower back. Sitting in a massage chair angles your upper body in  way that is optimal for the massage therapist to address your neck and shoulder without a massage table in the way.

• Tends to cost less than table massage. I can buy four 20-minute chair massages a month for the same price as one 1-hour table massage. So I get more attention to the areas that are sore more often.

• Allows you to sample a massage therapist’s work without a big time or money commitment.

• Provide work for massage therapists and chance to meet new clients.

• Can help relieve headache pain causes by tight muscles.

• Can help reduce muscle pain causes by overuse or repetitive motion activities (ahem, computer users work their upper backs and neck muscles all day).

• And lastly, it just feels good! I always feel better after a chair massage. The world seems brighter, my mode is lighter and I feel refreshed and relaxed and ready to face the next round of emailing and smart phoning!

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

By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

A neuroscience-minded friend shared an interesting post (Mind-body: How mental, physical pain are linked) with me about the mind-body connection between physical pain and emotional pain. According to the post author, Dr. Raison,  associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and CNNHealth’s Mental Health expert, people experience both types of pain within the same region of the brain, the anterior cingulated cortex, or ACC. People subjected to short bursts of electrical shock (physical pain) had the same ACC region of their brain light up during pain that those that experienced a simulated emotional snub did. Researchers also found that medicating people with pain reliever, like Tylenol, helped them become more resistant to emotional pain. Not to tell everyone to start taking pain medication to deal with emotional pain. But this is an exciting area of research and I look forward to more posts from Dr. Charles Raison and CNN Health!

A few other ways to help reduce pain:

• Medication and relaxation techniques. Since the mind-body connection is so strong, relaxing your mind can also help reduce your reaction to hurt and pain

• Visiting a counselor or psychologist to learn new ways to cope with pain and also ways to heal from past hurts and emotional traumas

• Massage therapy an help reduce pain caused by tense or injured muscles. It can also help relax you and reduce your body’s reaction to stress.

• Accupuncture has been found to help relieve some types of pain and also to calm the nervous system

• Taking a break from TV news, loud music, and spending some time in quiet, relaxing spaces can help calm your nervous system as well

Learn more about the Pain Pathway from Discovery Health here.

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I often see in clients with joint and bone ailments as they hit the late 60’s and 70’s age range. Arthritis, joint deterioration, disk herniation, and other degenerative conditions are common age-related conditionss. But there are ways to reduce this wear and tear on your joints and reduce complications from degeneration.

Image from Jointcarereviews.com

Our modern lifestyles contribute to joint wear. People are living longer than ever these days.  In 2010, our life spans are about twice as long as our ancestors in the 1900’s (from approx. 40 years of age to about 80 nowadays). We have much less active lifestyles than those ancestors as well. Many of us have desk jobs, drive to work and come home too exhausted to do much more than sit in front of the television. Sitting at work, sitting for your commute and then sitting at home–not a great prescription for bone and joint health. At the other end of the spectrum I see clients that run marathons, pound their joints into concrete sidewalks  in long runs, bash their bodies about snowboarding,  rip ligaments and tendons in water skiing accidents and other active endeavors. From my perspective, while I applaud the energy and enthusiasm,  I wish for their joint health later in life! As much as I natter on about health and wellness, I don’t think there is any wrong way to live your life. It’s all about understanding the consequences of your actions and doing what you can to make the best use of your body and protect your joints so that you can remain mobile in your later years.

As health care reform continues to evolve, it seems there is a movement towards reduced fees for medicare reimbursement, likely reduced payment for medical procedures overall. Surgery is expensive. As the overall health of the U.S. population continues to decline (evidenced by obesity rates, increased numbers of patients with Type II Diabetes, and heart disease), health care is likely to become even more costly. Ever looking for that silver lining, I say, How can this benefit you?

First off, if you are already a senior with joint problems or other age-related ailments, you may end up turning to less expensive, alternative health care, such as massage and/or mindfulness for pain management. And this may not be such a bad thing. Obviously, if you need a knee replacement, massage therapy and being mindful is not going to give you a new knee. However, regular massage of the muscles in your leg, and around your knee, can help reduce the pressure on your joints. How? By relaxing the muscles that hold your knee in place, the tension of the bones in your leg is relaxed and this can help reduce the pain in the joint. If the joint degeneration is so bad you can’t walk, then massage may be too little too late. Massage can help with the pain, just not cure the problem.

Alternative Methods of Easing Joint Pain

• Massage can help with pain relief. Massage is a short-term temporary fixes. But if you have a chronic condition with no cure in sight, short-term pain relief, that is not as addictive as prescription pain meds, may be much appreciated.

• Get into the pool!  Swimming is great exercise and does less wear and tear on your joints. Even water aerobics or just walking in the water can be helpful because it allows you to exercise without putting a lot of weight on your joints. In the water, someone with arthritis in their hips, back or knees may be able to move with far less pain and more comfort than on dry land.

• Wear well padded shoes and shoes with good arch supports. If you have joint pain, your shoes can either be a help or a hindrance.

If you are not a senior and want to prevent or slow joint deterioration, make informed choices about how you use your body and wear on your joints. Choices you make today will impact the health of your joints tomorrow!

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By Sue Shekut, Owner, Working Well Massage, Licensed Massage Therapist, Wellness Coach, ACSM Personal Trainer

I love this guy: Dr. Michael Silbert.

Dr. Michael Silbert, DC

Why? Because his adjustments make me feel so much better. I’ve had a lot of adjustments and I really like this “Goldilocks” style: He does not use too much force nor too little. And he knows A LOT about chiropractic care, injury rehab, you name it.

Today I stopped by Dr. Silbert’s office, the Chicago Wellness Center. in the Board of Trade (141 W. Jackson Blvd, Level A aka Basement) office for a quick adjustment and had a special treat. He had me lay down on a mechanical traction table, locked my feet in and and then tractioned (stretched) my lower body. He joked about strapping me down to a medieval rack (remember how they used to stretch people back in the gold ole Spanish Inquisition days). Then he pulled my legs right to left in a careful manner and I felt myself grow an inch taller! (Maybe I didn’t actually grow but I felt like I did!) For me, I find that Dr. Silbert IS a low back pain savior. And a neck pain savoir too!

If you have any questions about your spine, your muscles, or general anatomy, his website has a lot of really well done multimedia slides that explain how your body works in detail. Check out his info on topics such as Relief From Neck Pain and Understanding Disc Problems here.

Note: Neither Working Well Massage nor I, Sue Shekut, has an affiliation with Dr. Silbert (Other than my being a patient). We do not get any advertising revenue from Dr. Silbert for this post.  He treats me like any other patient–with great care!

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