Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Clinic,Massage,pain on March 20th, 2014

Quadratus LumborumPatient reported pain in the left anterior inquinal area (where the torso joins the leg) the for the past 17 years. She could not walk properly and it was throwing her whole body out of whack (a technical term). Upon first impression and observation it appeared to be an issue with either the left psoas muscle or the left anterior rectus femoris. These muscles are responsible for flexion of the thigh, that is, raising the leg, an action that is required to walk. After treating both those muscles, I asked the patient to walk. Surprisingly, there was no improvement whatsoever. I had expected some improvement if only for a short duration. But, nothing. Therefore it must be something else. I asked the patient to raise her left leg in a stationary position as she was holding the wall to stabilize herself. She could not do it.


I then remembered my first A & P instructor very clearly, “the hip hiker”. The hip hiker muscle is the Quadratus Lumborom muscle which, among other things, stabilizes the hip joint to allow standing on one leg. I asked the patient to return to the table where I treated this muscle while the patient was in a supine (face up) position. After 5 – 10 minutes I asked the patient to walk again. The improvement was amazing. I asked the patient to lift the leg while in a stationary position. Again, night and day. I then treated this muscle in the prone (face down) position and applied heat for 10 minutes. After the treatment I showed the patient a slide of the trigger points and pain patterns for this muscle and she said that she had experienced those exact pain patterns. I then recommended some stretching exercises for the QL which the patient stated she would do regularly.

A week after the initial treatment the patient is reporting normal walking patterns.

All treatments used for this patient were massage treatments.

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Clinic,Health,Massage,pain on May 23rd, 2012

 People whose mama told them to keep their back straight often develop a “flatback”. In this condition, the shoulder is behind the hips. Women who have flatback may also think they are fat whereas they may be as skinny as a rail. This is because when their shoulder is behind the hip the abdomen is pushed forward where it is visible to the eye. These women (men too) think that if they can see their abdomen that they are fat.

 However, sustained flatback can result in unremitting low back pain as the angled posture presses and inflames the sciatic nerve that exits in the low back. Furthermore, this angled posture can collapses the intervertebral disks causing permanent damage and more pain. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men (drugs,  therapy, or surgery) provide temporary relief at best. The only true therapy is correcting the posture.

 Your mama told you to straighten your back. She did not tell you how. That’s my job.

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Clinic,Massage,pain on May 22nd, 2012

Surgical procedures create havoc in the body. The body treats surgery like it would treat any cut, and a major cut at that. Without going into a long story, the body throws fluid at the cut, lots and lots of it. This results in post surgery edema or swelling. The swelling causes major discomfort and retards the healing process.

Lymphatic drainage massage (LDM)  helps the body get rid of this excess fluid by encouraging lymph flow. LDM increases lymph flow up to 40 times the normal flow. Unfortunately, LDM by massage therapists is generally not covered by insurance so patients who want this treatment usually have to pay out of pocket. However, the cost is not that high and well worth the reduced pain.

Patients with cardiovascular issues or kidney issues should consult with their doctor to find out if they can handle the increased fluid flow generated by LDM.

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Clinic,Health,Massage,pain on January 28th, 2012

Baby Steps was the name of the book the Richard Dreyfuss character wrote in the very funny movie “What about Bob”. It was supposed to help people overcome their psychological problems. However, I see “baby steps” or short steps as a major cause or contributor to severe sciatic pain. People who take short, stiff legged steps generate shock waves which travel up the leg to the back every time they hit the pavement. This severe trauma to the sciatic nerve splints the muscles along the sciatic nerve causing severe pain. Medical treatment including drugs (Percocet and the like) and injections to the spine mask the pain for a short time but does not provide long lasting relief.

Sometimes the pain is so great that the patient cannot move normally so that a proper evaluation cannot be made. In this situation, one or two treatments of acupuncture and massage can alleviate the pain to the point where the patient can move well enough so that an evaluation can be made. In many cases, there are multiple causes for the pain and there may be pain in other areas of the leg besides the lower back, hip area and upper leg. Both a postural and gait analysis must be undertaken to evaluate the causes of pain. If there are no clear postural or gait anomalies then a referral should be made for an MRI or a CAT scan to determine if there are any organic or histopathologic issues involved.

In complex cases, the method of discovery requires testing and eliminating causes of the symptoms one by one. This method is frustrating to the patient and the therapist as it takes time while the patient is in pain. However, acupuncture and massage do provide significant pain relief while testing is underway.

I would like to point out that “bulging” discs or other disc anomalies in the spine are not in themselves a cause of pain. Many people have disc issues and have no pain whatsoever.

If you or someone you know has sciatic pain then come in for an evaluation of your symptoms. Call 718 258 1829 for an appointment.

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Health,pain on January 9th, 2012

Wisdom Tooth Pain: A fellow martial arts student could not concentrate in class because of wisdom tooth pain. A five second application of finger pressure to the tooth anesthesia point relieved his pain sufficiently so that he was able to continue with much reduced pain.

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Health,pain,Tai Chi on November 28th, 2011

While the Tai Chi may look easy and is a low impact exercise that does not mean that you can learn it in a couple of classes. Tai Chi involves a way of moving that is quite different than the way it was learned a child growing up. It is a new way of walking. It is a skillful method of movement. That is why it takes a while to absorb and requires a commitment of time and energy. However, as my teacher says, you pay for the lessons but the practice is free!


Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Clinic,Deep Tissue Massage,Health,Massage,pain on July 24th, 2011

Stilettos… A Pain In The????
By Erik Dalton, Ph.D.

The biomechanical effect of heels in everything from running shoes to stilettos has puzzled researchers and fired controversy for almost a century. In a highly functioning body, the neuro-myo-skeletal system ‘hangs’ in dynamic equilibrium, each part balancing the other. But when a woman wears high heels, a new dynamic equilibrium occurs (Fig 1) If one body part becomes ‘fixed,’ the whole system must compensate with altered movement patterns resulting in kinetic chain ‘kinks.’ Here’s an interesting experiment that’ll help you get a feel for biomechanical adjustments high-heel wearers deal with every day:

• Stand barefoot with the back against a wall. Observe how your ‘upright’ body column forms a perpendicular line (ninety degree angle) with the floor (Fig 2A).

• Slide a two inch wedge of some kind (phone book, etc.) under both heels and notice that by keeping your body column rigid, you’re forced to tilt forward from ninety to about seventy degrees (Fig 2B).
• Now replace with a three inch heel wedge and straighten up so you’re touching the wall again and feel the dramatic myo-skeletal adaptations that take place. Can you feel your ankles shift from dorsi to plantar-flexion? In this standing posture, the knees are buckled, hips flexed, low back swayed, and the shoulder girdle retracted (Fig 2C). (more…)

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Clinic,Health,pain,Uncategorized on January 16th, 2011

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Clinic,Health,Massage,News,pain on December 28th, 2010

And yet another study showing acupuncture works. Thanks to Dan Poreda for this link.

Follow this link to WebMD for a video on acupuncture and back pain.

Posted by: Oscar Abraham in Acupuncture,Clinic,Health,Massage,pain on December 8th, 2010

Lymph drains from the body very slowly; much slower than blood movement. Lymph movement is measured in pints while blood movement is measured in gallons. In addition, damaged lymph nodes can retard lymph movement to the point where it causes lymphedema or swelling in the arms or legs. Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a technique to help move the lymph up to 40 times faster than normal.

Breast cancer patients often have lymph nodes removed. Remaining lymph nodes are susceptible to damage either in treatment or by heavy pressure. When this happens it can result in severe lymphedema. The best treatment for this is MLD by especially trained therapists.

However, swelling does not have to progress to the point of lymphedema to be uncomfortable and even painful. In this case, MLD is a most excellent treatment. I had very good success in this type of treatment in cases of swelling due to bone breaks and surgery.

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