Tension Headaches & How Conventional Treatments Fall Short

Tension Headaches & How Conventional Treatments Fall Short

November 21, 2014|By Eric Owens|No Comments »

According to the National Institute of Health Statistics, severe headache or migraine pain was the second most common pain complaint among chronic pain patients.(1) 

 

Most experts believe that the majority of headaches are muscle tension-type headaches.  According to Ryszard M. Pluta MD, PHD, “the cause for tension type headaches is still uncertain. These headaches are believed to be associated with the contraction of muscles in the neck and head affecting 69% of men and 88% of women everyday.  The triggers of tension-type headaches may include poor posture (such as from prolonged computer use or sleeping in an unusual position), smoking, fatigue, and stress.”(2)

Conventional treatments primarily include medication management. Pain relievers and muscle relaxers only mask the pain and relax the tissue that is able to relax. This management system only numbs the perception of pain while leaving the pain’s source unaffected.  Congested muscles in the neck (knots) are in a hyper-contracted state and won’t relax with drug intervention.

Conventional stretching includes pulling on the head, turning the neck side to side and dipping the chin down towards the chest. These static stretches ease tension and bring momentary relief from the healthy muscles, but fail to stretch the areas restricting movement and blood flow.  The muscles’ natural response to an excessive stretch is to shorten (contract) to protect from tearing, thus limiting the muscles’ stretch point.   The most effective and safest way to get lasting relief from a tension-type headache is to decrease the amount of tension in the muscles through systematic pressure intervention.

Stretching the muscle with pressure will alleviate the source of pain, remodel tight tissue that limits range of motion, and eliminate inflammation.  As a result, the tissue is restored to its natural anatomical state.  At Delos, we have seen numerous patients with tension-type headaches and encountered positive responses from our therapy.  In the presence of loose muscle fibers, there is no mechanical force pulling on the attachment point (where the muscle is attached to the skull), essentially reducing the tension-type headache.

Applying pressure to the muscles associated with a headache that is already pounding around the ears and behind eyes may sound counterintuitive, but it has changed the views of our clients on the other conventional treatments they have tried in the past.

 

1. http://www.painmed.org/patientcenter/facts_on_pain.aspx

2. Andrasik, F. & Blanchard, E.B. Biofeedback treatment of muscle contraction headache. In Hatch, J.P., Fisher, J.G., Rugh, J.D., (eds.) Biofeedback: Studies in Clinical Efficacy. NY: Plenum Press, 1987.

Our Thoughts on Foam Rolling – Scratching the Surface of Effectiveness

Our Thoughts on Foam Rolling – Scratching the Surface of Effectiveness

November 6, 2014|By Eric Owens|No Comments »

If you have ever used a foam roller or a “runner’s stick” to loosen up a tight, inflamed muscle before or after exercise, then you know the process is painful.  Is the wincing we endure actually targeting the source of our pain or is it merely scratching the surface?

 

Throughout my personal training career I have used all kinds of tools on my clients after our sessions, but it was not until I became a Delos pain specialist that I realized that what I was trying to do for my clients as a trainer wasn’t very effective.  I know this because so many of my Delos clients are foam rolling on a regular basis and still suffer from pain and stiffness.

 

At Delos, we believe that the main reason foam rolling falls short is because it doesn’t hold pressure long enough to stretch muscle tissue and fascia apart. Rolling over tissue with a foam roller or other similar tools only scratches the surface when it comes to taking care of muscle pain and tightness.  Muscles and fascia are intertwined layers of tissue stacked and twisted amongst each other. The foam roller addresses the top layer of muscles.  It doesn’t fully break apart the hyper-contracted tissue that is causing symptoms of stiffness and pain by pinching on nerves and limiting blood flow to the area.

 

By treating only the superficial layers of an area, long lasting pain relief or reduced stiffness are limited. In addition, foam rolling is relatively random – sometimes delivering too much pressure and sometimes not enough, which leads to unpredictable and often insufficient results.  As a Delos therapist, I am trained to identify the congested tissue and find specific lines of tightness on a muscle to maximize the results in a systematic way. I focus on deep, controlled, sustained pressure when treating the muscle from all angles.  I am not only breaking up hyper-contracted muscle tissue and “knots,” but I treat the entire length of the muscle including the tendons. As a result, the entire muscle has restored function and health.

How Delos Therapy Tackles Plantar Fasciitis

How Delos Therapy Tackles Plantar Fasciitis

October 23, 2014|By Eric Owens|No Comments »

Plantar fasciitis is pain and inflammation of the thick band of tissue called the plantar fascia that runs across the bottom of the foot. Severe tightness in the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles can also lead to heel and toe pain along with discomfort on the plantar surface of the foot. Approximately one in 10 people in the United States will encounter plantar fasciitis in their lifetime.*

At Delos, we believe that repetitive motions such as running and working out cause the muscles and fascia in the foot to become hyper-contracted.  Sometimes this contracted state can even be caused by prolonged standing. When symptoms occur, the fascia has shortened and not only pulls and puts pressure on the heel and toes at the bones’ attachment points, but also prevents proper blood-flow and nerve conduction in the foot. By applying direct pressure on the plantar fascia and surrounding muscles, at various angles and in a systematic pattern, Delos therapy effectively loosens up the hyper-contracted muscle tissue.  As a result, the muscles and fascia return to their natural state, removing pressure from the heel and plantar fascia and allowing for normal anatomical and physiological function.

Various online sources claim that plantar fasciitis often goes away with six months of treatment or one year of rest, which in our opinion significantly affects activities that our clients enjoy doing or must perform in their careers.  At Delos, our unique therapy has effectively eliminated plantar fasciitis in a four-week treatment plan.  As a result, our clients can continue their normal activities much sooner, if not concurrently with treatment.  More importantly, unlike treatments that mostly involve resting the area or steroid injections to reduce inflammation and temporarily get rid of symptoms, Delos targets and removes the cause of the problem so that symptoms don’t reoccur when activity resumes or when the medication wears off.

 

*Rosenbaum AJ, DiPreta JA, Misener D (March 2014). “Plantar Heel Pain”. Med Clin North Am

Delos Impacts Athletic Performance

Delos Impacts Athletic Performance

October 2, 2014|By Lia|1 Comment »

From my perspective as an Olympic athlete (’96 Sprint Kayak) and manual therapist, one of the most exciting results of Delos Therapy is enhanced athletic performance. My goal as a therapist is to help clients overcome any musculoskeletal obstacles to achieving their peak performance. Pain, which is linked to muscle tightness more often than not, is one obvious obstacle. Another common and related obstacle is chronically contracted muscle tissue — even if under the radar of pain receptors.

Why bother with something that doesn’t hurt? As I sit here writing this, my quadriceps don’t hurt at all. But when I press into them, I encounter hardened tissue. This is how I know that the muscle fibers and fascia of my quadriceps are in a chronically contracted state, all day, every day. As a therapist, this condition alerts me to watch for knee and hip pain. As an athlete, I’m thinking of all the unavailable potential in my quadriceps.

When muscle fibers are not free to undergo their full cycles of contraction and relaxation, this leads to decreased function and weakness. Fatigue will set in faster during endurance work. There is limited strength for explosive demands. While the tissue is tight, it will inhibit any further strengthening. Furthermore, the weakness in one area will place more demand on surrounding muscles, which can cause even more risk of dysfunction and injury.

With Delos treatments, bound up muscle tissue is freed from its hardened, contracted state, making a higher percentage of fibers available for recruitment. Delos therapists have worked with numerous professional athletes who experience frustrating plateaus in their performance and then achieve personal records after treatments without any additional effort or training – a testament to the power of more fully functioning muscle tissue.

Inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis

December 13, 2012|By Eric Owens|No Comments »

Autoimmune disorders are diseases in which inherent protection systems mount an attack against self-antigens.  In a normally functioning immune system foreign invaders are attacked, destroyed, and eliminated. To do this, the immune system must recognize self from non-self and limit the response to foreign antigens. In diseases such as RA, the immune system fails to make this distinction and launches an attack against the synovium, the interior lining of the joint.

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