Tag Archives: pain

The Body Heals Itself

The body can heal itself when obstacles to blood flow are released. Muscles spasms occur as the result of anoxia, the depletion of oxygen, after a hard workout. Releasing muscular and fascial constrictions is my goal during a massage session, allowing the body to align itself.

Pain is the body’s way of communicating a need for attention. When a painful spot is located in an animal, it is my job to focus energy and attention on the spot, and figure out the best method – stress point therapy, trigger point therapy, myofascial release, etc.- to see which works. No drugs, needles, or equipment are needed to eliminate pain. All that is needed are hands and knowledge, and the body will do the rest.

Applications for Cold Laser Therapy

Cold laser therapy is a form of treatment that involves the use of a low intensity laser to address pain and inflammation.

The underlying science behind cold laser therapy is valid, as studies have shown that light of certain wavelengths can reduce pain and inflammation. Lasers use very focused beams of light that can be used to target specific areas.

Low level laser therapy has been shown to treat a wide range of disorders which, at first, seem to have nothing or very little in common.

For example, LLLT can accelerate wound and burn healing, reduce pain in different limbs
all over the body, improve the condition of patients after a stroke, help in treatment of
diabetic angiopathy, and reduce stiffness and inflammation.
The physiological effects of laser light at low intensity are not completely understood, but
what is known is that it has three main effects:
• biostimulation/tissue regeneration
• anti-inflammatory

• analgesic (pain relieving)

Most often the person receiving laser treatment doesn’t feel anything. Sometimes you may feel a mild tingling sensation or a mild numbing of the region being treated. This is due to the natural production of endorphins, your natural painkillers.

Holistic Treatments

My approach is holistic: I want to see the horse, or dog, as a whole, not as a list of problematic symptoms. Treatments can include herbs, cold laser, massage, homeopathy, diet, etc. There is a place for drugs, but there are always side effects that need to be addressed. Natural remedies rebalance the body, allowing the animal or person to heal itself. Using alternative treatments to prevent serious illnesses is a small investment when you consider the cost of conventional veterinary bills. Acupuncture, cold laser, good nutrition, and body balancing supports healthy body functioning. Behavioral problems also can improve greatly when pain is relieved. When the body is balanced, energy and good feelings flow!

Natural Alternatives to Prescription Drugs

IBUPROFEN VS. GLUCOSAMINE: Celebrex, aspirin, and ibuprofen reduce pain and inflammation, but they can irritate your stomach. There is also concern that over time, they can make arthritis worse by blocking the repair process. Glucosamine compares to ibuprofen for pain relief, though it takes about 4-8 weeks to work. It seems to stimulate cartilage building cells called chondrocytes. People taking glucosamine for 3 years had less knee joint degeneration and less pain when compared to a placebo.

RESTASIS VS. FISH OIL: Restasis is the immune suppressing, inflammation suppressing drug. It’s used for dry eyes. Side effects include burning, redness, and discharge. Taking omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil can help dry eyes. Fish oil also reduces inflammation and the risk of developing macular degeneration.

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What is MSM?

MSM (methyl-sufonyl-methane) is a biological sulfur found in plants, soils, fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, eggs, meats, and milk. And as omnivores, many of us humans have a readily supply of it through what we eat. Equines rely on their plant based diets for their sources of sulfur.

Sulfur is one of the five basic elements of life; it is found in every cell in the body and is structurally and functionally important to hormones, enzymes, antibodies and antioxidants. Sulfur itself is held mainly in muscles, skin, bones, nails, and hair. It is essential for the synthesis of collagen, plays a role in energy production as a component of insulin, and is essential in maintaining the body’s crucial acid/alkaline (pH) balance.

The cycle of organic sulfur compounds begins in the oceans where microscopic plankton release sulfur compounds. These compounds (salts) are transformed in the ocean into a very volatile compound that escapes from the water as gas, which in turn rises into the upper atmosphere. This gas is exposed to ozone and ultraviolet light where it is converted into DMSO and MSM, which then returns to the surface of the earth as rainwater. Plants take up the two compounds into their root systems and concentrate them into their plant structures. Although MSM is found in food, commercially MSM (the clear crystals we’re all familiar with) is manufactured using a chemical synthesis process of reacting two raw materials: dimethyl sulfoxide from petroleum and hydrogen peroxide from methane.

This synthetic reaction process forms a new molecule: MSM. This processing requires a purification to remove excess impurities. There are two different processes for purification: distillation and crystallization. Distillation requires heat, taking the separate compounds to their unique boiling points (anywhere from 400 to 478 degrees). Crystallization requires solvents. Typically US made MSM is a result of the distillation process, while MSM from China and India is generally made by the crystallization process.

If you are seeking to supplement your horses with a plant sourced sulfur, look to kale as one of the richest sources of sulfur in the plant kingdom. Garlic is also is a high sulfur source. There are some advantages to feeding sulfur from plants: your horse gets the added benefits of the enzymes, fiber, and the co-factors found in whole food. The matrix found in whole food diets is one of the keys to digestion, bioavailability, and cell utilization in the body. Feed chopped kale at ¼ cup to 1/3 cup per day. Kale can be food processed and frozen for convenience.

Overall equestrians and riders can benefit from MSM to support healthy connective tissues like tendons, muscle and ligaments and thus is helpful for health challenges such as arthritis, and muscle pain. MSM sulfur is actually considered the building blocks of protein. The substance also removes toxins from the blood and lymphatic system, and is beneficial for the entire body.

Thank you Tigger Montague for this information!


Is Pain Always Bad?

Any form of massage that will effect structural change is going to be painful. When my fingers cause pain at a stress or trigger point, the electrical impulse that is created actually disrupts the neurological charge that maintains the point.

Pain also brings a flood of endorphins. It is another one of Mother Nature’s gifts to endure difficulty. The endorphins are a natural pain killer said to be stronger than morphine, and will dull the pain.

When posture and movement is not balanced, muscles tighten, fascia gets rigid. Persistent imbalance and distortion of posture is what I strive to correct, and that can cause temporary pain. But that minute of pain can relieve days, months, or years of chronic pain.

Knock on wood: I have never been kicked or hurt in any way by a horse or dog. I do cause them pain when I treat stress and trigger points, but not only do they not get upset, most lean into the pressure and help me cause them temporary pain. And most are very happy to see me again for the next session!

Trigger Points in Humans

No one escapes trigger points, even babies. There are 200 hundred pairs of muscles in the body, and trigger points can develop in any of them. Studies have shown that up to 93% percent of pain seen in pain clinics can be attributed to trigger points. Trigger points appear to be the main cause of stiff joints and restricted range of motion.

Physicians don’t study trigger points in medical school and tend to be skeptical, but there are many studies that show that trigger points generate electrical currents. Muscles that are not stressed are electrically silent. Electrical activity shows that a very small area of the muscle is contracting when a trigger point is present. Trigger points also are warmer than the rest of the muscle.

I focus on relieving pain in my 4-legged clients, but after working on my own leg pain recently, I am planning, as time permits,  on expanding to providing pain relief to 2-leggeds who are suffering.

Another Cause of Chronic Pain

I talk about Stress Points a lot in this blog. Have you been wondering why I don’t mention Trigger Points much? Let me explain: Stress Points occur where muscle tendons attach to bone. Trigger Points form in the belly of the muscle. A trigger point is a knot about the size of a pea, deep in the muscle,  and it keeps the muscle both tight and weak. The constant tension of a trigger point restricts circulation to the muscle. The tricky part of treating the pain caused by these points is that the pain is often referred to another place, like a joint. Typically the joint pain is treated, but the cause isn’t.

With experience, I have found that there are some visual cues to many trigger points. I look for ripples in the skin, or just a difference in texture. When I feel a change in temperature during treatment, I know I am on the right track. Circulation has increased and the site feels warmer.

Releasing Trigger Points

  • Helps to relax muscles.
  • Improves range of movement and general body tone.
  • Helps relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Once the trigger point has been worked on, cold laser can be very useful in bringing relief from the pain, especially those in the back and sacroiliac. Being able to eliminate pain without the use of injections or pills is a very achievable goal with these therapies.

What Can a Cold Laser Do?

Lasers increase the production of new, functional cells, resulting in shorter recovery periods.

The tissues exposed to laser light have greater strength after healing, reducing the risk of re-injury.

Laser therapy reduces the production of scar tissue.

The body goes through 4 healing stages: inflammation, proliferation, remodeling, maturation. Laser therapy impacts each phase in positive ways.

Cold Laser therapy can increase the formation of capillaries (remember: every muscles fiber, and there are millions, has its own capillary) which carry oxygen to healing tissue.

Cold Laser therapy is being used to treat:

  • Acute and chronic pain
  • Ligament sprains
  • Muscle strain
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis
  • Tennis elbow
  • Back pain
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia

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