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Blog / Health and Wellness

Be Thankful and Thoughtful this Holiday Season

Carolyn Lepore-Duke Dec 17, 2015 Health and Wellness

 The hustle and bustle of the holidays is upon us and the parties, family gatherings and the like are keeping us pretty busy. We feel the coolness in the air, and the beauty of nature this time of year. It seems like a rebirth of sorts, as the earth prepares for the slumber of winter and the birth of spring. We even notice that people seem friendlier, and we somehow forget the frustration we have with everyday traffic. After all it is a time for giving and receiving, what could be better than that? As we reflect on this passing year, we are reminded that the world is not as tranquil as we think. We cannot watch the news without seeing that the world is chaotic, and we are not as kind to others, as we may think. Our differences, be they cultural, religious, or political has caused much pain, suffering and lost in the world. Our personal needs and wants for the holidays should not over shadow what is really important in life.

Is Your Food Making You Sick?

Dr. Susan Duve Mar 16, 2015 Health and Wellness

Many people have suffered for years from conditions related to food and do not know it. You may know of someone who has struggled to find answers for years. These good people seek treatment to relieve their pain, discomfort, and change their appearance or weight so they can live a normal life. They continually complain to family and friends of their problem looking for support and answers. If the pain or problem is severe they may suffer tremendous losses in time at work or family activities and miss out on vacations or holidays events. With good intentions they run to the local drug store for pills, potions, lotions, or grab the latest magic health drink making things worse.  



Sciatica Symptoms, Causes, Treatments

Elements Massage Jan 8, 2015 Health and Wellness

Back pain is one of the most common conditions that people suffer from today. But, when you’re talking about experiencing sciatica pain that shoots from your lower back into your glute area and legs, it can be difficult to sit, stand and move around to accomplish your daily tasks. Sciatica pain is becoming so well known that studies show up to 43 percent of people experience this painful condition at some point in their lives. ( If you suffer from excruciating pain in your lower back and body area, it’s important to identify the symptoms and causes of your condition so that you can take the appropriate path to treatment. 

Sciatica or Piriformis Syndrome: The Symptoms May Be Similar

The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body that starts in the lower back and runs down both legs. Sciatica pain occurs as the result of a spine or disc condition that compresses part of the nerve, causing inflammation, extreme pain and even numbness from the low back down throughout the leg. The most common symptoms of sciatica pain include weakness, numbness and tingling in the low back that radiates down the side of one of your legs. The pain is rarely experienced in both legs and it’s described as a sharp, shooting type of pain, explains Edi Woods, massage therapist at Elements Indianapolis North.

While many people seek relief from sciatica pain symptoms as described above, many may actually be suffering more from a muscular issue, rather than a true sciatic nerve condition. In Woods’ experience, the muscular condition of piriformis syndrome is often more common in people, but may not always be accurately detected, as it can compress the sciatic nerve and imitate pain similar to sciatica.

“I see clients with sciatica-like symptoms frequently in my practice”, explains Woods. “But, from a muscular standard it’s usually more of a piriformis muscle issue than true sciatica. The piriformis muscle is one of our deep lateral hip rotators that extend into the glute area. It can get inflamed, contracted and can compress the sciatic nerve as well. When this happens, it mimics the sciatica condition, which people are more commonly aware of. So, a lot of people may come in saying they have sciatica, but in reality more times than not it’s piriformis syndrome.”

Causes Range from Health Conditions to Activity Induced

True sciatica pain can happen to anyone since any of us can develop a disc disorder like herniation or degeneration. The cause in these long-term conditions could be hereditary or the result of a lifestyle event like an accident or injury that creates prolonged compression on the sciatic nerve. Pregnant women also have a tendency to develop a temporary sciatica condition as the weight from carrying a baby either pinches or puts extra pressure on the sciatic nerve.

But, for the majority of the people that Woods treats who seek relief from what they call sciatica pain, the cause tends to be muscle overuse from runners, walkers, cyclists, etc. who push their bodies through a constant forward leg motion. When this happens, a trigger point develops in the piriformis muscles, which can compress on the sciatic nerve and cause similar sciatica-type symptoms.

“When I have clients who are coming to me with sciatica-type symptoms, I don’t treat the nerves, but rather the muscles that are compressing on the nerve,” explains Woods. “To work on someone with sciatica symptoms, I’m going to first focus on the piriformis muscles, which are located in the middle of each glute, and then move on to the gluteus muscles, hamstrings and sacrum. I prefer to use a mix of trigger point therapy and a stretching routine in all of these areas because everything is connected and pulling on each other.”

Alternative Treatments May Help with Addressing Pain

Since true sciatica is typically the result of a herniated or degenerative disc, the medical community recommends surgery as the number one way to remedy the condition, says Woods. However, there are other ways to address the pain before you get to the surgical table. Woods suggests a mix of heat, ice, pain medications, physical therapy, stretching and regular massage therapy as possible alternative solutions to help alleviate the pain associated with both sciatica and piriformis syndrome. And, contrary to what you might expect, Woods also advises her clients suffering from sciatica symptoms to stay active, continue exercising and stretching. If you stop all activity, the area is more prone to locking up muscularly, compressing on the nerve more and increasing your level of discomfort.

“A lot of people think that they have to have surgery right away if they feel sciatica-type symptoms,” explains Woods. “But, what they’re feeling could actually just be the result of tight piriformis muscles that can be treated by massage therapy sessions that focus on the glutes and lower back areas. Their symptoms can be relieved and they won’t have to have surgery.”

“It’s important for people to realize that sciatica symptoms are something that can be treated with massage in cases when the cause isn’t really a disc issue, but is rather tight piriformis muscles,” concludes Wood.

If you’re experiencing sciatica-like symptoms in your lower back and glute areas, seek the advice of a medical professional to determine whether your symptoms are true sciatica or piriformis syndrome. In both cases, massage therapy can help alleviate pain in both the long-term and short-term. Just realize that you have options when it comes to treatment and make sure to explore all possible diagnosis and treatment plans, advises Woods. 

Massage and Mourning: Power of Touch Helps to Relieve Mental, Physical Stress During the Grieving Process

Elements Massage Aug 13, 2014 Health and Wellness

When a family member, friend or loved one passes away, varying degrees of emotional and physical pressure can weigh you down as you deal with grief and mourning for yourself and those around you. To help release some of the common pressure associated with mourning and lift any burden that you might be carrying around, it may be helpful to use massage as a healthy mental, physical and spiritual outlet during your grieving process.

Why Do We Ask For So Much Health Information?

Elements Massage Jun 18, 2014 Health and Wellness

  Getting a massage can make you feel better both physically and emotionally. But a good massage is about more than rubbing a muscle here and there. An effective massage therapy session is about having an open dialogue between you and your therapist so that you can work together to get the results you want and need during your session.

The first step to establishing a foundation of communication and trust with your therapist begins with completely filling out the health intake form before you even enter into a session room.


Jennifer Stanley Jan 2, 2017 Health and Wellness

It’s a new year, make a positive change. Take care of yourself and get a massage!

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