Help Reduce Pain
London Sports can help reduce pain and swelling.
Have you ever pulled a muscle playing sports or some other physical activity? It feels as though there’s a lump there right? You want to somehow help reduce pain
Part of that ‘lump’ is not just contracted muscle – there’s swelling there too. So the pain you experience is a combination of contracted muscle and swelling. In order for us to help reduce pain, we must first ease the pressure of this build up of fluid – or swelling and help reduce pain.
Think of the muscles and joints as being surrounded by a clear sheath – kind of like a plastic bag that is semi-permeable. By semi-permeable I mean that only small amounts of fluid can pass through it – the rest is locked in and around the muscle or joint causing swelling.
This ‘sheath’, or membrane, is very pain sensitive and very sensitive to stretch. So when the swelling stretches the plastic sheath you feel pain and we can help reduce pain.
What we want to do is get rid of the swelling and help reduce pain. If you can get just a little of that swelling to ‘ooze’ through that sheath – then you can flush it away. But first we must bring the swelling to the surface.
To do this we use a technique called Active Release Technique – or ART. This involves rubbing over the affected area about 3-4 times using a wanton soup spoon (I’ve found this works the best). You’ll start to see redness in the skin as the swelling comes to the surface. The affected area will be very specific – depending on the injury usually about the size of a large coin. Help reduce pain and care must be taken not to continue rubbing past this point as bruising may occur.
This type of swelling is known as ‘Myofacial’ swelling. It’s fluid that has become trapped between the layers of muscle. Friction on the skin ‘unlocks’ the swelling in the muscle so it can be then ‘flushed’ away.
How do we flush it away?
Ultrasound has two uses – Diagnostic and Therapeutic. Diagnostic is where they use high frequency sound waves to take pictures inside your body – say of a baby’s head or kidney stones.
With Therapeutic ultrasound we don’t make any pictures. Sound waves are sent in, through the skin, to a depth of about two to four centimeters. The actual process involves placing gel on the skin then rubbing over the area with a ‘sound head’. This sound head is a man-made crystal that vibrates at a million times a second. The high frequency sound waves go in through the skin and into the muscles.
These sound waves produce a ‘stirring’ effect that disperses the swelling so the blood vessels can carry it away.
Now if the muscle is too deep for either friction or ultrasound we use what’s called Electrical Muscle Stimulation – or EMS, which is an electrical current. Normally EMS will produce a ‘tingling’ in the muscles, where they ‘twitch’ at a rate of about a hundred times a second. This twitching massages the muscle and removes the lactic acid and swelling.
If the muscle is very, very deep, often this current won’t reach these deeper layers and only the surface swelling will be removed. In order to get to these deeper layers, the muscle stimulator is put to a different setting.
Now, instead of the muscle ‘twitching’, it is actually made to totally contract for 4 seconds – then totally relax for 4 seconds – then totally contract for 4 seconds – then totally relax for 4 seconds.
This harder contraction vibrates the membrane surrounding the muscle. This action causes the membrane to become MORE permeable – which means more fluid can be released and flushed away through the blood vessels.
While EMS is more commonly used for relieving swelling around joints, it is often used for deep muscle stimulation.
So, friction on the skin unlocks the swelling from the muscle. It oozes through the membrane and is brought to the surface where it can then be flushed away using Ultrasound. If the swelling is deeper – we use EMS.
The same technique is followed when working with the joints to help reduce pain. The membrane is vibrated and made permeable to allow the swelling to ooze out and be flushed away through the blood vessels using ultrasound.
If the swelling is not brought to the surface it is very difficult to get rid of – and the pressure and pain will continue. Find out how chiropractic testing and benchmarks can ensure a rapid recovery from injury and help reduce pain.