Will Cupping Therapy Help Relieve Your Pain?

Cupping therapy has been around for thousands of years as a form of alternative medicine popular in Egyptian, Chinese and Middle Eastern cultures. It recently gained attention following the 2016 Olympics when multiple athletes were seen with circular bruises all over their bodies. This had many people scratching their heads and wondering what cupping was all about.

cupping therapy Michael Phelps

Kelsall Chiropractic Clinic has recently added cupping therapy to our list of services to help get you out of pain. Continue reading to learn more about how it works and see if cupping is right for you!

Cupping therapy works by suctioning the skin upwards away from the muscular tissue and can either be left stationary on the skin or moved across multiple areas with the use of lotion or other type of emollient.

The aim of this technique is to promote blood flow to injured or fatigued muscles to accelerate the natural healing process of the body. This increase in blood flow to the cupped area creates what many people identify as a bruise, but in reality is more like a hickey.

Some studies suggest that cupping therapy plays a role in pain management as well, however the exact mechanism warrants further investigation and research. A likely scenario is that cupping therapy affects the superficial cutaneous nerves in the skin and disrupts the pain signals going to the brain, similar to when you bump your elbow and reactively start rubbing it to decrease the pain.

There are several different styles of cupping therapies including “wet cupping” and “dry cupping” which can be done using cups made of different materials such as glass, bamboo or silicone. Wet cupping involves creating a small puncture in the surface of the skin and applying a cup over it to suction blood out which is believed to remove toxins from the body.

At Kelsall Chiropractic Clinic, we use the less invasive dry cupping method using silicone cups where one or more cups is applied to the skin and either left stationary or slid around the skin to promote healing and decrease pain.

Cupping therapy is a great alternative to other soft tissue and manual therapies offered at our clinic. See what cupping can do for you and schedule an appointment with Dr. Caroon or Dr. Kelsall either online or call at 503-223-8719.

Advanced Myofascial Mastery

About a month ago I decided to take a day-long course titled: Advanced Myofascial Mastery. It was taught by a guy by the name of Til Luchau who has been a bodyworker for over 30 years, and who is highly respected in his field.

The course was not what I was expecting.

Instead of a workshop on techniques (though we did learn a few), it was more of a philosophy course. The aim of bodywork, they said, should not be to think that we as massage therapists are moving muscle and tissue and making large physical changes in the patient’s body. We are not moving mountains here, but this is the prevailing assumption.

Studies have come out that show that massage therapy does little to change the structure of muscle and connective tissue. But it makes us feel better, so what then is it actually doing?

The aim, they continued, should be to engage the nervous system. That is where the pain lies. Sure there are muscle knots and muscle tension, but the nervous system is the underlying structure that controls that tension and how we perceive it. The nervous system is the computer of the body, in a sense.

Trauma, injury, pain and tension get left in the nervous system when we experience these things without releasing them. Our body is a series of circuits, and when we feel pain (electricity) we are conditioned to wince, to hold on, and to guard the area so that when the sensation runs through our nerves, we block its motion; it gets stuck inside of us.

What we can do, as massage therapists, is to gently persuade the nervous system to open up. To let that electricity pass through and move.

We can slowly coax that tension away not by force—jamming our elbow into your back to extinguish the knot—but by remaining present with the tension and most importantly, allowing you, the person on the table, to engage their nervous system and allow it to release the pain.

To feel is to heal. It’s not about us being healers or having magic hands, it’s about facilitating your body’s natural healing mechanism, and helping it along its way.

That’s why chiropractic works the way it does. An adjustment that realigns the spine directly affects how we perceive pain. With massage and chiropractic combined, we can gently persuade you into a more whole state of health.

Kinesiology Taping and Functional Movement Technique® (FMT) Using RockTape®

Kinesiology taping can offer structural or muscle support, affect lymph function, assist in correcting joint problems, and decrease pain. When properly applied by a practitioner, the tape alleviates discomfort and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin away from the muscle and fascia, which decompresses the area to reduce swelling/inflammation while enabling a more effective flow of blood and lymphatic fluid in and out of the affected area.

Taping can also lessen muscle fatigue, which is important not only for the parts of your body that are currently hurting, but also for the surrounding areas that may be compensating for muscles that are currently not working well. It is a non-restrictive type of tape, offering full movement of a taped area.

Unlike other kinesiology taping techniques, where strict protocol is key and specific muscles are taped for specific conditions using directional taping to activate or inhibit muscles, RockTape and Functional Movement Techniques (FMT) are more about taping for movement, not muscles. The goal of using RockTape is to encourage movement.

FMT is useful in acute, sub-acute, and chronic stages of injury healing as well as throughout active rehab. There are FMT applications for decreasing pain (Pain Taping), increasing circulation and movement of lymph (Fluid Dynamics Taping), postural applications (Posture Taping), nerve entrapment (Nerve Entrapment) and even for scar tissue (Scar Taping).

FMT begins with a simple framework that is applied consistently throughout the approach and is open source, allowing practitioners from a variety of disciplines to make FMT work for their practices and clients.

The FMT framework for Pain Taping uses between 1-3 pieces of RockTape. These are known as the stabilization strip(s) and the decompression strip. Stabilization strips typically run along the length of the area being taped. For example, if the low back is indicated as the location of pain, a stabilization strip would be applied from the sacroiliac joint toward the lower ribcage and parallel to the spine.

The client is positioned to lengthen the area being taped, and in this case, a flexed forward position. This stretches the posterior fascial chain and skin before the tape is applied. Lengthening will produce significant decompression and lifting and without restricting the client’s ability to move. The stabilization strip is applied with little to no stretch.

After the stabilization strip is in place, a decompression strip is applied perpendicular to the stabilization strip and over the area of the client’s greatest pain. The decompression strip is applied using 0-50% stretch in the middle of the strip and with no stretch on the tape at the anchors. More than one decompression strip may be used in an application for targeting multiple areas of focal pain.

The practitioner will rub the applied strips on skin to activate the adhesive tape.

RockTape and Functional Movement Techniques can be used on almost any client, at any time, and can be used for virtually all clinical conditions. Different sizes of tape can be applied, length of stabilization strips can be altered depending on the location of application, and the number and position placement of decompression strips can vary as well allowing the practitioner some variances to obtain best results for their clients.

Low Back Pain: Releasing the Iliopsoas for Relief

Having low back pain? Look to the front! Specifically the anterior thigh and the hip flexor muscles.

The Psoas major and Iliacus muscles, together called Iliopsoas, is a large muscle that is involved in the action of hip flexion. With muscle fibers originating from the lateral aspect of the twelfth thoracic vertebrae, all lumbar vertebrae and their corresponding discs, and the iliac fossa, and then attaching to the lesser trochanter of the femur, which is high up on the interior thigh, this large muscle is also involved in lateral rotation and adduction of the hip, and flexion of the torso.

The psoas initiates walking while the iliacus is active throughout walking. Iliopsoas plays a significant role in postural stabilization, contributing to the natural curve of the lumbar spine by controlling the pelvic tilt.

Although these two muscles, psoas major and iliacus, are often viewed as one muscle and as a singular discrete unit of movement, it’s important that anyone doing manual therapy can also differentiate the muscle fibers of psoas and iliacus individually in order to fully assess and treat.

In a recent seminar entitled Releasing the Iliopsoas presented by Peggy Lamb MA, LMT, NCTMB Ms. Lamb discussed the manual therapy technique she developed and named Muscle Swimming used to work this muscle. The core components of Muscle Swimming are:

1) Warming the tissue and freeing the fascia before any deep tissue work using Swedish massage strokes.

2) Pin and rock which, after passively shortening the muscle, combines pinning the muscle with a broad, dispersed pressure while using a slow rhythmic rocking of the joint. Rocking stimulates a parasympathetic response and allows the patient to relax and thus the tissue can soften and now be worked deeper.

3) Pin and move where the patient is now an active part of the technique. The muscle is first placed into a shortened state and then stretched to just the first barrier and pinned. The patient performs, in a slow controlled motion, the actions of the muscle. This is repeated 4-5 times then check-in with the patient for any noted change. If none or little change, then the therapist can either add resistance to the movement or try a different movement pattern.

4) Work the muscle from different positions. Ms. Lamb also detailed specific protocols using her Muscle Swimming for working/releasing iliopsoas and the secondary thigh flexors. When working the iliopsoas muscles it is always a good idea to first begin work with the secondary hip flexors: rectus femoris, adductors longus, brevis and magnus, Sartorius, TFL as these muscles can also be involved when the iliopsoas is problematic.

Address Low Back Pain and Other Symptoms

So, what are some indications that you need to have the iliopsoas worked on? Low back pain, pain in the anterior thigh, pain the in the lateral thigh due to active trigger points, and difficulty rising from a seated position are just a few that a Portland chiropractor can address by working on the iliopsoas.

Meet Harper! Kelsall Chiropractic Welcomes New Office Puppy

Meet Harper! Our new clinic puppy. She is now just 3 months old and enjoying half-day visits to the clinic on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Harper is an Australian Labradoodle (mini labradoodle), which is a Labradoodle and Cockapoo mix. She is hypoallergenic and a non-shedder. Originally Australian labradoodles were bread as service dogs (smarty pants and attentive). So far she loves to greet people in the reception area with lots of tail wagging and spontaneously fun puppy energy. She also has a calm side to her where she just casually saunters around and then finds a cozy spot to take a nap.

This all started years ago when one of the clinic LMTs brought a puppy into the clinic for a few hours and all our patients that day couldn’t tell me how much they enjoyed having a few moments while in the reception area to enjoy the puppy. It brightened our whole clinic day.

I thought to myself… one day this would be a great addition to the clinic. And here we are, many years later. We have found our match.

The playfulness of a puppy and sincerity of an adult dog can touch your heart, relax you and uplift your day… feel free to stop by and say hello to Harper.

chiropractic office puppy

Here are just a few comments from our patients:

– “This just made my whole day!”

– “I may just need to make more appointments, now that you have Harper at the clinic.”

– “I think next time I will come early so that I have more play time with Harper.”

Acute Injury Care in Athletics

University of Western States
Fall Symposium 2015

Acute Injury Care In Athletics
Third in a series of articles from the UWS Symposium
by Pam Worthington

Has injury care gone Paleo? We are all very familiar with the acronym R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). The R.I.C.E. protocol was first proposed by Dr. Gabe Mirkin in his 1978 bestseller “Sportsmedicine Book”. Coaches, physicians, and lay people alike have followed his advice for decades. It has been accepted wisdom for years that Rest provided the body opportunity to heal. Ice was excellent at reducing inflammation and pain, and Compression and Elevation reduced swelling by expediting venous blood return to the heart.
But, times are changing. The R.I.C.E. protocol is being challenged. R.I.C.E was developed to control inflammation. The new thinking is that anything that reduces inflammation also delays healing. Healing requires inflammation.
For example, Rest has been shown to delay soft tissue healing, because immobilization decreases blood flow. As a result, ligaments, tendons and muscles lose mass and become weaker, fibroblasts don’t synthesize as much collagen, and joints lose range of motion. The use of Ice causes blood vessels near the injured tissue to constrict. This shuts off the flow of blood that brings healing cells, such as macrophages, to the injured area. Compression and Elevation also slow the recovery process by reducing blood flow to injured tissues.
M.E.A.T. to the rescue! M.E.A.T. is quickly becoming the new protocol. The acronym stands for: Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, Therapy. The theory is that encouraging blood flow to injured tissues, rather than restricting it, speeds healing. Passive movement can be used to start the healing process right away. Injured athletes can start with passive range of motion (MOVEMENT) and move to active range of motion/tissue loading (EXERCISE), as pain subsides and the acute injury stage has passed. Movement and Exercise increase blood flow, decrease adhesions and joint stiffness, increase collagen synthesis, encourage proper collagen alignment, and increase strength and proprioception.
ANALGESICS are good for controlling pain. However, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin and ibuprofen, are not recommended. They have been shown to have a detrimental effect on healing, because they reduce inflammation. In fact, ice and NSAIDs used together are capable of completely shutting down the inflammatory process. Natural Analgesics and tylenol are recommended in the place of NSAIDS. Topical Analgesics with menthol are good choices for natural analgesics. Cryoderm, Biofreeze and Rock Sauce are some favorites.
THERAPY can include a variety of treatments: kinesiology taping, Spidertaping, manual lymph drainage, contrast therapy (alternating hot/cold), acupuncture and relieving trigger points in adjacent muscles.
So, which should you use? R.I.C.E. or M.E.A.T.? The broad thinking, in favor of M.E.A.T., is that increasing blood flow promotes healing. However, there is some argument as to whether M.E.A.T. should be applied to muscles, tendons and ligaments or just tissues that lack a good blood supply, like tendons and ligaments. For example, there can be a strong case made for the use of ice in the treatment of some conditions such as anterior compartment syndrome (injury to the anterior tibialis muscle of the lower leg). And, how does Dr. Mirkin weigh in on the latest findings? Dr. Mirkin states that ice remains very effective for reducing pain, but suggests using it sparingly, not more than 6 hours after acute injury and not for more than 10 minutes at a time.

In need of athletic injury care in Portand?
Call Kelsall Chiropractic Clinic at (503) 223-8719
or request an appointment here.

Snapping Hip Syndrome

Snapping hip syndrome is characterized by a recurrent snapping/clicking of the hip that can be heard during activity. It can be heard during running, walking, stretching, or non­-weight bearing movements as well. It is more commonly seen in female athletes of all ages. There are four types, the most common types are from the iliotibial band catching on the greater trochanter, followed by the iliopsoas rolling over bony bumps (prominences). The second major cause is inflammation of the iliopsoas tendon where it attaches to the hip, similarly, the iliopsoas tendon may catch over a bony bump (iliopectineal eminence). The last two, rare causes include the biceps femoris tendon catching on the ischial tuberosity or due to a labral tear, loose body or sources within the joint. The iliotibial band that travels from the pelvis to the knee can snap over the greater trochanter, causing irritation/inflammation of the bursa (a bursa that reduces friction between the iliotibial band and the greater trochanter).

Risk factors predisposing an athlete may include muscular imbalances of the hips and/or pelvis, limited hip/pelvis movement, scar tissue overtraining or improper training. An inflamed snapping can be painful, limiting exercise and bringing activity to a halt, though it is not uncommon to have painless, recurrent snapping after the condition has resolved. It is best to address the condition immediately, preventing an inflammatory cycle which may lead to more scar tissue and prolonged healing times. Chiropractic and massage therapy are interventions commonly used for snapping hip. The chiropractors at Kelsall Chiropractic can diagnose, then treat this condition using chiropractic manipulation/adjustments, myofascial release, Graston treatment, cold laser, ultrasound, and manual therapies. Treatment will include a home exercise plan to correct muscular imbalance, stretching tight muscles, strengthening weak muscles, and correcting any functional concerns.

Call (503) 223-8719 for more information or to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online here.

Cupping Therapy & IASTM Techniques

This year, three of Kelsall Chiropractic Clinic’s licensed massage therapists selected to attend the University of Western States 2015 Homecoming and NW Symposium as part of their continued professional development:

Kari Asher
Pam Worthington, and
Amy Homsi

One of the subjects covered in this 2 day seminar was “Cupping and Instrument Assisted Fascial Release”.  The presenter for this class was Molly Verschingel, an LMT in Portland, OR for more than 20 years.

When fascia becomes thickened and has adhesions it affects our proprioception, reduces strength and mobility. Fascia can become stiffer/denser when it has received damage but also along lines of stress.  Both Cupping and Instrument Assisted Fascial Release are great additions for a massage therapist’s practice for a different, yet effective therapy for their clients.  It is effective in releasing restrictive fascia, connective tissue, and muscular tension.

Cupping Therapy

Traditional Cupping Therapy, a part of Chinese Medicine, has been practiced for thousands of years.  Cupping technique involves creating a vacuum, or suction, on the skin to gently draw the tissue upward into the cup, to mobilize blood flow in an order to promote healing. Cupping is believed by some to treat pain, decrease deep scar tissue in muscles and connective tissue, reduce swelling, stimulate activation of the lymphatic system, and can aide in detoxification. The cups can be left on for 5 to 15 minutes, or even dragged across the skin while suctioned in order to break down muscle fiber and adhesions. 

Usually treatments are not painful; however a red ring or sometimes dark circles may appear post-treatment. These marks are not dangerous and usually disappear within a few days. Plastic and glass cups are the most common materials used today, replacing the horn, pottery, bronze and bamboo cups used in earlier times.

When glass cups are used the suction in the cup is created by lighting a cotton ball soaked in 70% alcohol, quickly placing it inside cup and pulling out to remove the oxygen inside the cup.

Silicone cups are also now being used by some practitioners. These cups create suction with a simple push top and can be easier to use, more malleable for use over non-flat surfaces of the body and allow for a more exact amount of suction, thus it is believed creating less of the “bruising” markings.  Cupping can be a great complement to other techniques and modalities of bodywork.

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manipulation (IASTM)

In IASTM techniques, an instrument is initially used to detect scar tissue and adhesions by rubbing or scraping over the skin. Scar tissue limits range of motion and can cause pain, preventing patient from functioning as they did preinjury. After an area of restriction has been identified, the tool is then used to apply friction to the tissues, breaking down scar tissue, and creating a local inflammatory response. This inflammatory response increases blood flow in and around the area thus helping promote the healing process in the affected fascia and soft tissues.

Here are three specific types of IASTM technique, each with their own unique tool(s).

  • Gua Sha is a part of traditional Chinese Medicine that uses small, hand-held tools made of stone, jade or animal horn. Some practitioners use plastic or ceramic tools.  The tool is used to scrape the skin producing a light bruising. It is believed that Gua Sha releases unhealthy, or toxic, elements from injured areas and the scraping stimulates blood flow and healing.
  • Graston Technique is a registered technique, requiring certification to perform under this name, which uses stainless steel tools formed in six sizes and shapes that allow the practitioner to rub across the client’s fascia and muscular tissue to identify injury areas and provide treatment.
  • Fascial Abrasion Technique (FAT) uses a specially designed instrument known as the Fascial Abrasion Technique tool which has a contoured shape used to break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions.

IASTM tools can be used to treat painful conditions resulting from injury or overuse disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome, plantar fasciitis, cervical and lumbar strain, iliotibial band syndrome, rotator cuff tendinosis, and tennis and golfers elbow.

Dr. Weber and Dr. Kelsall are both Certified Graston Practitioners, both having great success over the years offering this modality/technique to their patients. Request an appointment online or call (503) 223-8719.

Oregon Chiropractic Health and Wellness Month

October has been proclaimed “Oregon Chiropractic Health and Wellness Month”, perfect timing as we approach the winter months. It is officially fall, the weather is changing and it is time to bolster your immunity/health for the upcoming months. Make it your goal this season to begin or continue exercising, eating healthy, enjoy better sleep and relaxation, and enter the New Year without any resolutions. Chiropractic care and massage therapy are a crucial piece to helping in attaining wellness-excellence or getting you back on your feet in the event of any neck or back pain, and sports or auto injury.

Oregon Chiropractic Health and Wellness Month October 2015

The Advantages of Cold Laser Treatments

Suffering from back, neck and other types of pain can be excruciating.
A chiropractor in Tempe recently blogged about a study that found roughly 75 to 85 percent of people have experienced back pain. Unfortunately for many, finding non-invasive treatment options is difficult.

With cold laser treatment, there is a way for some pain sufferers to receive the pain reduction and relief that they’re searching for. This therapy option is growing in popularity because:

– It is a non-invasive procedure
– It does not require medications
– It allows for faster recovery
– Studies have shown it does not produce any serious side effects when performed properly

Unfortunately, cold laser treatment isn’t for everyone — it is ideal for those with certain types of pain.

There are other treatment options used for pain relief or pain reduction, but many patients choose cold laser therapy because it doesn’t require surgery or medications. The procedure can be performed as a standalone treatment or it can be used in combination with other types of therapies.

A Cutting-Edge Solution

In the medical community, cold laser is seen as a cutting-edge option for those who would like non-invasive treatment without sacrificing optimal results. To learn whether your condition can be successfully treated with this procedure, you’ll need to consult with a properly trained chiropractor.

At Kelsall Chiropractic Clinic, you will find a highly trained Portland chiropractor capable of using cold laser therapy to treat your pain. Schedule an appointment today to find out which treatment options are ideal for you.

Governor’s Park Chiropractic, a Denver chiropractor, offers cold laser treatments to Colorado patients.

Contact a local chiropractor trained in cold laser therapy today for a new pain reduction and relief option!