Body Sense 2018
Click to visit the Spring 2018 magazine!
Baseball finger, also known as “mallet” finger, is a finger injury which involves damage to the extensor tendons used to straighten the finger. In a patient with baseball finger, the finger is bent and cannot be straightened. The classic cause of this injury is a “jam,” in which the finger is forcibly bent by being slammed into something, or by having something such as a baseball slam into it. This condition is very treatable.
At the time of injury, people usually experience significant pain in the “jammed finger”. Sometimes baseball finger is accompanied by a fracture, which may be closed or open. It is not uncommon for the tip of the finger to swell and bruise, and sometimes people lose their nails or develop blotches of blood under the nail. The involved finger can be hot and tender, and moving it is usually painful.
In many cases, baseball finger can be treated with ice, elevation, and splinting. Ice and elevation keep the swelling down, which will increase patient comfort while the finger heals. Splinting the finger will support healing and reduce strain on the finger. It is important that patients use the splint as directed; even though it can be annoying and sometimes painful, the splint should not be removed until it is safe to do so, or healing may be impaired.
There are also surgical management options available. Surgery may be recommended when the finger is broken, is not responding to treatment, or appears to be severely injured. A hand and wrist specialist can perform the surgery to repair the injury. Splinting is usually needed after surgery to keep the finger immobile while it heals.
It can take several weeks for the finger to fully heal, and during the healing phase, people should take care to avoid re-injury of the damaged finger. The finger can also be vulnerable to damage in the future, and it’s important to gently stretch and flex the finger after healing to redevelop strength.
Often, people can treat a baseball finger at home with ice and splinting. However, if the finger is extremely painful or does not respond to treatment, medical attention should be sought. It is possible that the finger might be fractured or that more aggressive treatment might be needed. It is especially important to see a doctor if signs of infection set in, or if feeling is lost in the tip of the finger.
Menopause is the permanent end of menstruation and fertility, defined as occurring 12 months after your last menstrual period. Menopause can happen in your 40s or 50s, but the average age is 51 in the United States.
Menopause is certainly not an easy passage for women or their partners. Those infamous hot flashes are the most recognizable symptom, but the effects of menopause include a host of other problems: dry skin, night sweats, poor memory, urinary incontinence, insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, headaches/migraines, bone loss, erratic menstrual cycles, vaginal dryness, painful intercourse and depression. For women in the midst of change, menopause is a daunting laundry list of symptoms that only seems to produce greater challenges each day.
Massage therapy is very helpful in dealing with the following common symptoms of menopause:
The body changes of menopause, coupled with societal perception of what these changes mean can be extremely stressful. Massage is very good at lowering stress and stopping the spiraling effects of increased cortisol production in the body. Excess cortisol exacerbates the bodily symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and anxiety.
I work with the client’s breathing to bring awareness to the sensations in the body while performing both Swedish and Deep Tissue techniques. I have found focused breathing to be extremely helpful in stress reduction, and it is a technique the client can practice in her daily life when stressful situations (and hot flashes) arise.
Changes in reproductive organs during menopause can cause increased abdominal and low back pain. Skillful abdominal massage, as well as massage of the low back can significantly reduce pain in this region.
Circulation is generally improved with any massage, and is especially beneficial in reducing fluid retention which can cause painful breasts and also help regulate hot flashes and night sweats. Enhanced circulation is also invigorating, and helps with the fatigue experienced so frequently during this time.
Trigger Point—Utilizes rhythmic rocking movements to relax the body and mind.
Do you want to prevent back pain? Try a few basic exercises to stretch and strengthen your back and supporting muscles. Repeat each exercise a few times, then increase the number of repetitions as the exercise gets easier. If you’ve ever hurt your back or have other health conditions, such as osteoporosis, consult your doctor before doing these exercises.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Using both hands, pull up one knee and press it to your chest. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. Return to the starting position and then repeat with both legs at the same time. Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably once in the morning and once at night.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your shoulders firmly on the floor, roll your bent knees to one side. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat each stretch two to three times — preferably once in the morning and once at night.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Arch your back so that your pubic bone feels like it’s pointing toward your feet. Hold for five seconds and then relax. Flatten your back, pulling your bellybutton toward the floor so that your pubic bone feels like it’s pointing toward your head. Hold for five seconds and then relax. Repeat. Start with five repetitions each day and gradually work up to 30.
Position yourself on your hands and knees. Slowly let your back and abdomen sag toward the floor. Then slowly arch your back, as if you’re pulling your abdomen up toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position. Repeat three to five times twice a day.
Sit on an armless chair or a stool. Cross your right leg over your left leg. Bracing your left elbow against the outside of your right knee, twist and stretch to the side. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side. Repeat this stretch three to five times on each side twice a day.
Sit on an armless chair or a stool. While maintaining good posture, pull your shoulder blades together. Hold for five seconds and then relax. Repeat three to five times twice a day.
The symptoms of migraine headaches can occur in various combinations and include:
There are very few studies on massage and migraine, which adhere to the top standards for clinical trial.
One small 2006 study of 47 migraine sufferers randomly assigned some participants to receive massage therapy. Those who had massages had fewer migraines and slept better during the weeks they had massages.
As each year ends, a new season arrives. And with it a supply of fresh ingredients that offer you comfort from the cold. From hardy root vegetables to bright, sweet citrus, winter produce delivers a surprising range of flavors for you to enjoy with family and friends.
Blood oranges are best eaten fresh—out-of-hand, or in salads, salsas, or marmalades. The two most popular varieties are the dark-fleshed Moro, which is available from December through March, and the delicately flavored Tarocco, which you can find from January through May. To select, pick those that are firm to the touch and heavy for their size. Avoid any fruits with mold or spongy spots.
Fresh beets are now commonplace on fine-restaurant menus. With hues ranging from yellow to purple, they lend themselves to dramatic presentations.
To select, choose small to medium beets with firm, smooth skin and no soft spots, with stems and leaves attached.
Although the membranes of pomegranates are bitter and inedible, the pulp and seeds contribute a juicy, sweet-tart flavor to many winter recipes. To select, choose pomegranates that feel heavy, are bright in color, and are free of blemishes.
Fresh kumquats are in season as early as October and as late as June, but they’re most plentiful from December through April. To select, test with a gentle squeeze, and buy only firm fruit.
Often called winter greens, turnip greens are actually available almost year-round. But in deep winter, they become sweeter. The greens aren’t the only good product of this vegetable, however. The roots can be boiled and mashed or roasted and pureed; they can also be cubed and tossed with butter or used raw in salads.
Although leeks resemble large green onions, they’re milder and sweeter. Leeks are usually cooked since they’re very fibrous when raw.
This hardy root vegetable enjoys cool climates—it requires frost to convert its starches to sugars and to develop its sweet, nutty flavor. To select, look for small to medium-sized parsnips with beige skin. They should be blemish-free and firm.
Consider using kale as a stand-in for spinach in other dishes. Its sturdy leaves are excellent sautéed and added to casseroles. To select, look for a deep blue-green color and choose small bunches devoid of any signs of wilting or discoloration.
Unlike any other fruits, cranberries need to be cooked to release their full flavor and to absorb that of other ingredients—one of which is sugar. To select, you probably won’t be able to choose them individually, so check the see-through plastic to make sure you get bright, intensely colored berries.
Whether you use the juice, the zest (rind), or the slices, the acidity of lemon adds to the balance of flavor in all types of food. To select, look for smooth, brightly-colored skin (green means under-ripe), and lemons that feel heavy for their size.
Whether sectioned, sliced, juiced, or zested, these juicy fruits are a kitchen staple. To select, choose firm oranges that have smooth skins and are not moldy. Don’t worry about brown patches on the skin; this does not indicate poor quality.
Sciatica is pain, tingling, or numbness produced by an irritation of the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is formed by the nerve roots coming out of the spinal cord into the lower back. It goes down through the buttock, then its branches extend down the back of the leg to the ankle and foot.
The most common cause of sciatica is a bulging or ruptured disc (herniated disc) in the spine pressing against the nerve roots that lead to the sciatic nerve. But sciatica also can be a symptom of other conditions that affect the spine, such as narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis), bone spurs (small, bony growths that form along joints) caused by arthritis, or nerve root compression (pinched nerve) caused by injury. In rare cases, sciatica can also be caused by conditions that do not involve the spine, such as tumors or pregnancy.
How is it treated?
In many cases, sciatica will improve and go away with time. Initial treatment usually focuses on medicines and exercises to relieve pain. You can help relieve pain by:
Avoiding sitting (unless it is more comfortable than standing).
Alternating lying down with short walks. Increase your walking distance as you are able to without pain.
Taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve).
Using a heating pad on a low or medium setting for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 or 3 hours. Try a warm shower in place of one session with the heating pad. You can also buy single-use heat wraps that last up to 8 hours. You can also try an ice pack for 10 to 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours. There is not strong evidence that either heat or ice will help, but you can try them to see if they help you.
Additional treatment for sciatica depends on what is causing the nerve irritation. If your symptoms do not improve, your doctor may suggest physical therapy, injections of medicines such as steroids, stronger medicines such as muscles relaxants or opioids, or even surgery for severe cases.
Mild carpal tunnel symptoms most often affect the hand and sometimes the forearm, but they can spread up to the shoulder. Symptoms include:
Numbness or pain in your hand, forearm, or wrist that awakens you at night. (Shaking or moving your fingers may ease this numbness and pain.)
Occasional tingling, numbness, “pins-and-needles” sensation, or pain. The feeling is similar to your hand “falling asleep.”
Numbness or pain that gets worse while you are using your hand or wrist. You are most likely to feel it when you grip an object with your hand or bend (flex) your wrist.
Occasional aching pain in your forearm between your elbow and wrist.
Stiffness in your fingers when you get up in the morning.
Massage can be quite effective relieving the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) and treating the cause.
1) Powder Your Roots
If your hairline starts to look greasy, dig up a big, fluffy makeup brush, and dip it into a pot of loose powder. Tap it once on the back of your hand to remove the excess, then dust it over your roots. It mops up oil and blends into your strands, so no one will know you didn’t shower.
2) Scent Strands with Perfume
Spray a light shot of fragrance into the bristles. Run it through strands from roots to ends and your hair will smell amazing throughout the day.
3) Cure Calluses with Vaseline
Slather on the petroleum jelly, and put on socks before bed to dissolve tough calluses overnight.
4) Spot-Treat Smudges
Dip a cotton swab in eye-makeup remover, and trace it along your lids to erase any slipups or goofs when there’s no time to redo your whole look.
5) Fix a Flushed Face
If you turn red and stay that way after exercising (like seriously red for hours, even though you’re healthy and hydrated), take an antihistamine like Benadryl when you leave the gym to reduce redness.