News about Well+Able and massage therapy, pregnancy, running, and health

What is the single best thing we can do for our health?

walking has huge benefits for health. If you can manage to walk for 30 minutes a day not only will your chances of a longer and healthier life improve but you will also have less neck, shoulder and back pain. 

Please watch this short video by Dr. Mike Evans explaining how simply going for a walk is one of the best things you can do your your health


Our Aging Population: Mobility, Wellness and Independence

What a Great Weekend!

We are always looking at increasing our skills and knowledge to better serve our patients. On May 5th, Marcy and Mike attended the sold-out RMTBC symposium: Our Aging Population: Mobility, Wellness and Independence. 

Registration at the beautiful Anvil Centre in New West

Registration at the beautiful Anvil Centre in New West

After a rousing First Nations welcome by Coastal Wolfpack, Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. Seniors Advocate started off the day with a fascinating, in depth look at the demographics and conditions of todays' seniors population. Her talk was a great start to the days theme that Massage Therapy can play a key role in keeping mobility and wellness in seniors thus helping you keep your independence as you age. 

The first keynote address was Dr. Lorimer Moseley, one of the most respected pain researchers in the study of pain. Dr. Moseley is a fantastic presenter. He has been a strong promoter in giving people with persistent pain more tools to manage their pain.  

 The second Keynote was with Dr. Karim Khan who is a MD at UBC as well as the editor of the British Journal of Sports Medicine. He gave a great talk on how diet and exercise is very strong medicine in preventing illness. The day ended with an esteemed panel of Andrew Nemeth, Yvonne Poulin and Dr. John Sloan who provided tremendous information on their work with seniors.

2018 speaker Kahn.jpg

simple lifestyle modulators: diet, exercise, avoidance of smoking and excess alcohol, together with moderate physical activity reduce colorectal cancer by 50%


- Karim Kahn

From left: Gordon MacDonald, Peter Behr RMT, Yvonne Poulin RMT, Dr. John Sloan, Andrew Nemeth RMT.

From left: Gordon MacDonald, Peter Behr RMT, Yvonne Poulin RMT, Dr. John Sloan,
Andrew Nemeth RMT.

Mike catching up with colleagues

Mike catching up with colleagues

We had a fun and informative Saturday! Thanks to the RMTBC who always put on a world class symposium every year. Also, I would like to thank them for some of the photos and content of this post. 

Simple Changes Can Help Shoulder Pain

By Marcy Wright Reoch, BSc, RMT

Since the beginning of 2014 I have seen more shoulder related patients than I can count. Some patients presenting with pain between their shoulder blades and others with pain over the Deltoid muscle (side or front aspect of shoulder) and sometimes the pain can travel down the arm. Whatever the aggravating case, the shoulder complex always seems to be in a compromised position.
The shoulder joint is actually made up of four joints that together are called the shoulder complex. These joints are the sternum (chest bone) and clavicle (collar bone), clavicle and scapula (shoulder blade), scapula on the ribs, and the humerus (upper arm) in the scapula.  Don’t get bogged down in the anatomy, just remember to try and keep your shoulder comfortable and open. Try keeping your chest open during your everyday life whether we are sitting at a desk, driving in our car, working out at the gym, or playing with our children. Think of what a confident persons posture looks like. By practicing to open through our chest we discourage the rounding through our shoulders and collapsing of our chest. By keeping our chest open we are pulling our scapulaes together and down our back, we are depressing our clavicles so they are horizontal when looking in the mirror, instead of being diagonal and we are positioning the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) in it’s neutral resting point in our arm pit.
When we practice poor postural habits, the alignment of our shoulder girdle is inefficient, unsupported and allows risk for injury. Muscles might be working too hard and symptoms of pain, inflammation, weakness, headache, and others may arise. Practicing good postural habits through our shoulders, chest and upper back we allow the soft tissue to rest comfortably when we ourselves are at rest. Then, when we choose to move, the musculature is in it’s most efficient, supported and strongest positioning through the range of motion.
A great way to set your shoulders into a good position is to stand up tall and engage through your abdomen. Now, squeeze the muscles between your scapula (shoulder blades), which will pull your scapula closer together and then pull them down your back. Once you have done this, acknowledge where your head is. Most peoples heads will be too far forward and will need to be pull back into proper alignment. So, think of a string pulling the top of your head upwards. This will elongate your neck and retract your chin from jutting forward.
It is important once you have an understanding of good shoulder positioning, to check in with yourself throughout the day. If you sit at a desk, you can put a red sticky dot on the monitor that will remind you to re-evaluate your posture every time you look at the dot. If you are driving in your car, place the seat in an upright position. The biofeedback from the seat on your shoulder blades and back of head will help you recognize poor posture and allow you to re-correct it. When at the gym, it is important to always set your shoulders into good alignment before entering a new set of your workout. This will help prevent injury by supporting the joint and allowing the muscles to work as efficiently in order to gain strength and endurance as quickly as possible.

Click here for : Body Awareness - Shoulder Positioning Video

How does stress make pain worse?

Do you ever have neck or back pain after a stressful day? Maybe a headache?
Why do you get tight muscles when something stresses you out?

There are nerve receptors that are involved in pain generation. There job is to send a signal to the brain that they have been stimulated. The brain knows that a signal from these receptors in the body is usually a sign of danger and will usually then decide that the body is in pain, specifically to that area. In his talks, David Butler often brings up adrenaline sensitive peripheral nerves and the amazing ion channel turnover. Specifically, this means that these nerve receptors can become extra sensitive to the chemical adrenaline, also called epinephrine. With this sensitivity, less stimulation is needed to send a danger signal to the brain. Think of a car alarm that is set to go off when someone breaks the window. When the alarm is hypersensitive the alarm may go off if a loud truck drives by. No damage happened to the car but the alarm still went off. When we are stressed out our body produces more adrenaline. This can be a good thing because it helps us to prepare for action. Unfortunately, if a nerve is damaged, stretched, or pressed on for too long it will create "baskets" of adrenaline sensitive fibers. As David says here:
"If a person has a highly adrenoreactive area of peripheral nerve and if they are in a state of persistent elevated stress then repeated firing into the CNS will occur. And if the person is stressed, central inhibitory controls will probably be lifted anyway and a persistent neuropathic pain state may ensue."

What this means is that if someone has a nerve that is sensitive to adrenaline and if they are always stressed out then the danger signal to the brain will be almost constant. If that is the case then the Drug Cabinet in the brain will be lifted away and persistent pain will likely develop. Not fun.

Fortunately, you have some control over this. The first line of defense is to reduce your stress level  thus reducing your adrenaline. Also, just knowing that your pain is not from a damaged muscle but stress chemicals, your brain will then be less likely to think of the signal as pain. Third, if you get out and move your body in a way that reduces any specific nerve perturbations you will have less chance of a future sensitivity. Most good Manual Therapists (RMT, Chiro, PT, etc) will know how to help you do this.

Most forms of massage therapy have good evidence behind them on their ability to reduce stress. Two of the modalities Michael implements, DNM and Simple Contact, work on a model that directly addresses pain and adrenal sensitive nerves.
If you have any questions about this feel free to contact us at well+able and we would love to help you out if we can. It would also be of benefit to watch the previous stress video, the Drug cabinet video and the What is pain video.