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Trigger Point Therapy - Sciatica

By Pressure Positive January 4, 2016 No comments

Trigger Point Therapy - Sciatica
by Judith Winer on Jan 04, 2016

When we analyse the traffic through our clinics at the end of each quarter, sciatica seems to be always up there in the top ten. There are probably two good reasons for this. The first is that sciatica is one of those conditions where the pain can be extremely severe. The second, is that manual therapy has long since been recognised as being effective for providing relief, even by most medical doctors. In fact, any therapist familiar with trigger point therapy will tell you that they're always upbeat going in to treat sciatica, as the effects of the therapy are in most cases, extremely positive. This is something that has been reaffirmed in a number of studies.

Deep Muscle Compression Leads To Healthy Muscle Recovery

By Pressure Positive September 17, 2014 No comments

What good is a tough workout if you're too sore to train the next day? Luckily for you there are many self care tools and devices available that can help speed up your recovery.

Muscle recovery means less pain and faster times. One of the ways to improve recovery time is by using deep muscle compression through self massage. With a little bit of effort and some attention to technique, you'll experience less soreness, cramps, knots and other possible muscle related symptoms. The secret weapon of most of these tools is muscle compression, which is a technique used by professional manual therapists and trainers to reduce muscle tension and eliminate painful trigger points that impair function and performance.

The Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager is one of the most dependable and affordable rolling muscle compression tools on the market -- we know because Tiger Tail owners and users tell us so! In fact, the Tiger Tail is the only roller that was recommended by trigger point self care author, Clair Davies, author of the Trigger Point Therapy Workbooks.

The inventor of the Tiger Tail was a top level collegiate soccer player who knew muscle pain from the inside out. She also went through multiple therapy sessions to help get rid of that pain. Unfortunately, massage therapists just weren't available at midnight on a Sunday, after a tournament weekend of six games or more. So, she built the Tiger Tail for herself -- and learned that it worked for others because it eases muscle tension and aches and pains due to trigger points and overworked, sore muscles.

What Makes the Tiger Tail a better roller?

Just a few reasons the Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager rolls ahead of the competition include: 

  • Happy Muscles! The soft, cushioned cover is muscle friendly. No spindles, beads, gaps, cold plastic. No pinched skin. No pulled out hair. No snagged clothing.
  • No bending or breaking out of shape. The Firm (yet gentle) design allows as little or as much pressure needed to get the job done.


  • No rolling on the ground. Bolster-type foam rollers are cumbersome, awkward and difficult. Tiger Tail is simply easier to use.
  • Foam won't break down. The foam is closed-cell, non-porous, non-absorbant, zero latex, and non-deteriorating.
  • Built-in "thumb tool" on the grips.
  • Take it anywhere: portable/easy-to-pack. Packs easily into sports bags, travel bags, cars, -- even in office drawers!
  • Available in ergonomic lengths and grips.
  • Three year, no-hassle warranty.



Think of the Tiger Tail as a hand-held foam roller that is much easier to use. In fact, it's highly intuitive, once you start using it. Through the action of muscle compression, the Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager literally rolls out tension and pain, and helps to restore muscular balance in the neck, shoulders, arms, upper back, lower back, abdominals, gluts, thighs, hamstrings, quads, calves, shins and  feet.

The Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager is a simple, yet extremely effective self care massage tool that assists individuals with massaging their  muscles to help increase circulation, reduce tension, work out trigger points, and help improve recovery times when used post-workout.

The soft, cushiony cover is muscle friendly. The center roller is a foam covered massage bar that emulates the feeling and density of human thumbs and hands -- yet saves your fingers and hands from fatigue!

Scoring a Tiger Tail

You can order the Tiger Tail and other deep muscle compression self care tools direct from The Pressure Positive Company at

You and Your Muscles Tending to Your Power Plant

By Pressure Positive September 11, 2014 No comments

Nearly all training athletes experience some post workout muscle soreness. Non athletes and newcomers to physical exercise may wonder if it is even worth the agony. To people who are unaccustomed to the transient pain that often follows high intensity effort, and those with low pain thresholds, it may not be. To the committed veteran, elite athlete however, garden variety muscle stiffness, soreness and other soft tissue aches and pains are just an acceptable feature of the sport – like thorns amongst the roses. Moreover, a certain level of pain goes with the territory, and veteran athletes come to accept the post workout mix of fatigue and soreness as a sign that in the recovery, the body is assimilating, repairing and restoring to come back stronger, tomorrow or next week.

Macho stoicism can help you cope with such pain to a certain point, but even the toughest athlete performs better and is happier when the recovery passesrapidly and the sore, stiff feeling doesn’t linger. Here are some simple techniques for handling, managing and minimizing the distracting, if benign muscle pain virtually all athletes come to know in due course.

Learn first how to tell the difference between pain that will go away promptly after a few ibuprofen and some rest and pain that has decided to take up long term residence in your body. If pain has taken a long time to build, slowly increasing in severity over time even though you've tried to ignore it, chances are, it will take just as long or longer to go away – assuming you will give it the proper care and rest.The worst that you can do is to try to banish the pain as an act of will. You will not recover from a chronic injury if you continuously repeat the trauma, whatever it may be and however subtle. You would think the idea is too, too obvious. Unfortunately, many athletes, especially those hooked on endurance training all too often allow the triumph of blind hope over experience and common sense.

Simple muscle soreness that fades after a day or so does indicate that your soft tissues are going through a training cycle in which, all else being equal, they will be stronger when they feel better. Trick is to train just hard or long enough so that the soreness does go away after a reasonable recovery, say, 24 to 48 hours. To enhance your recovery, always be sure you have plenty of water in your gut before, during and after every training session. The hotter the outside temperature and the more intense the training, the more important good hydration is. Especially when it is hot and humid and the effort is going to last more than an hour or so, do consider adding specific electrolytes before, during and after. They can keep you from cramping, bonking and just feeling crummy.

Warm ups:
Failure to ease into hard effort may be the most frequent cause of lingering muscle pain. Muscle fibers flex and stretch against one another in an infinite number of interfaces underneath those ripples. To work efficiently, they need to be thoroughly lubricated. When you warm up, that is what goes on inside your muscles and explains why you can make some muscle soreness go away by easing into a workout with a long warmup. Almost as important is a gradual cool down that keeps your heart rate up at a fairly high, albeit sub-aerobic level for at least a few minutes at the end of the session. That permitsthe blood to carry away the accumulated lactic acid in the muscle tissues, a biochemical cause of muscle soreness.

Although there are still doubters around, the general consensus among trainers and rehab specialists on the efficacy of stretching for athletes is in favor of it. If you stretch deliberately and regularly when the muscles are well warmed, it will enhance your flexibility and will probably reduce a lot of exercise related pain.

Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin are favored by many trainers and athletes for sore muscles and do seem to provide genuine, if temporary, relief. As a general rule, however, prudent athletes try to take these apparently benign, over-the-counter drugs only when they are really needed.

Firm, deep manipulation of your muscles before and after exercise will almost always make sore muscles feel better, and some times, under skilled hands the results are dramatic. If you are a serious, training athlete, seek out a good, regular massage therapist on whom you can call both before and after important races and training sessions.

Overuse Injuries in Runners

By Jeff Erickson, MPT September 11, 2014 No comments

Spring is upon us and that means that more people will be heading outdoors to go running.  There's nothing better for the mind and body than exercise, especially when it's outdoors.  However, avid runners are prone to overuse injuries that can hinder performance and possibly stop it altogether.  Here are a few helpful hints that will help to keep you running throughout the warm weather months.

Injuries in runners generally occur in the legs and low back. The following are the most common along with some tips on how to prevent them from happening to you.

Low Back Pain
Eight out of ten Americans suffer from this.  Running uphill for too great a distance can contribute to this because the torso will be swayed back into an uncompromising position.  Running on uneven or hard surfaces can also cause back pain.  Uneven surfaces cause asymmetrical forces on the lower back region while hard surfaces increase stress on the area due to increased force of impact on the ground.


  • Run with proper trunk  posture
  • Run on soft, even, dirt track  with short, intermittent hills
  • Increase abdominal, back and leg strength to support low back
  • Stretch all trunk and leg muscles to prevent strains and tears

Hip or Buttock Pain

  1. Trochanteric (hip) Bursitis-  This can result from increased stress to the outside of the hip as runners tend to overuse the muscles due to the one-legged stance
  2. Piriformis Syndrome-  The piriformis is one of the deep rotators of the hip.  If this is tight, it can cause pain and increased pressure on the sciatic nerve as well as shooting pain down the leg.

Specific stretches are the ITB and piriformis illustrated at end of article

Anterior Knee Pain
This is common in most athletes, especially teenage girls.  It is often due to poor body mechanics, faulty muscular strength, or poor muscle flexibility.  This creates an abnormal tracking of the knee cap in the groove of the knee.  This is usually easy to cure, but may require physical therapy or even surgery.

You should see a doctor to determine the best treatment options

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Friction Syndrome
This is lateral knee pain along the outside of the knee down past the knee.
The one-legged stance in runners causes increased tightening of the ITB and will cause friction between it and the bony protuberances of the knee.

Again STRETCH that ITB!

Shin Splints
This is pain in the front of the shins.  It is debatable what causes this but one factor is usually tight calf muscles, especially the soleus.  Many hills can be the culprit of tight calves.


  • Stretch the gastroc and soleus muscles
  • Monitor and modify hill training

Ankle Sprains

Usually caused by turning the ankle on a curved or uneven surface.


  • Strengthen ankles
  • An ankle brace/support may help if you are prone to sprain

Asymmetrical Pain
Pain in one sector of the back or one leg vs the other probably means you are running on uneven surfaces.  Many runners run on the crown of the road, so if you are always on the right side of the road, the left foot lands with the inside down and the right with the outside down.


Find a flat surface to run on
In general, because of the repetitive pounding, battling elements, and the nature of runners to push themselves beyond limits, injuries will occur.  Many of these injures start slowly and gradually become worse.  Often there is not a specific cause of injury, which causes them to be overlooked until the pain limits activity.

The best prevention is to address pain when it first starts.  To cure it, you may only need to do a few simple stretches, strengthening exercises, or maybe just changing running surfaces.  However, at the onset of pain, if it is significant and lasts for at least a week, consult a physician.

Other Common Causes of Pain

  1. Improper Footwear
  2. Increasing intensity or distances too quickly
  3. Running while sick or fatigued

Final Tips

  1. Watch the Weather
    • hypo vs hypotension
  2. Wear Proper Clothing
    • light, breathable material for proper sweat evaporation
  3. Maintain Proper Fluid Intake
    • drink water even before you feel thirsty sports drinks are fine
    • don't take salt tablets
  4. Don't be Overzealous
    • don't do too much too soon
    • keep pace and distance to an achievable level
  5. Stretch
    take the time to stretch every time you run
  6. Wear Proper Sneakers
    • you may need to be evaluated by a PT for this
    • good sneakers vs orthotics
  7. Enjoy and Don't Push too Hard

This article has been re-printed with permission of Sports Physical Therapy Institute. For additional information and articles be sure to visit their website at

Prevent Your Next Backache

By Andrew P. Overman, MSPT, CSCS September 10, 2014 No comments

by: Andrew P. Overman, MSPT, CSCS

If you are like most people, you've probably had a backache at one time or another. Statistics show that upwards of 90% of the population will experience some type of low back pain at some point in their lifetime. Low back pain can range in intensity from an annoying ache to incapacitating pain that could prevent you from working or even getting out of bed.

backacheFirst, you must be aware of the many factors that can contribute to the problem. These can include poor muscle flexibility in the hips and legs, weak abdominal muscles, and weak low back muscles. Pain can also be triggered by prolonged sitting and/or standing, lifting and carrying heavy objects, and from job-related stress. It can even be brought on by a violent sneeze or cough that can cause a spasm in the back. In some cases, inflamed tissues, joints, or bones caused by an infection or immune system problem can spark low back pain.

As you can see, there are a number of variables in our lives that can lead to low back pain. The good news is that there are some very quick and easy exercises that can be performed at home (and at work if you are brave) to significantly reduce the chances of experiencing back pain. You can find a description of these stretches and strengthening exercises at the end of the article.

Do you have a hard time finding even a minute to spare even for some simple exercise? Then ALWAYS follow these tips as you go through your normal daily activities to help lower your risk of low back pain:

  1. When lifting any object, keep it close to your body, bend with your knees and hips, and keep your back straight.
  2. When sitting, use a straight-backed chair and try to flatten your spine against the back of the chair.
  3. When standing for a prolonged time, use a footrest for one foot-this helps keep your back straight.
  4. Avoid lifting heavy objects higher than your waist.

One last important point:

Not all back pain is the same. Stiffness, general aching, pain down the legs, and limited motion are all characteristics of low back pain. Any back pain that is accompanied by loss of bowel or bladder control, difficulty in moving your legs, or numbness or tingling in your arms or legs may indicate an injury to your spine and nerves. If you experience these types of symptoms, contact your physician immediately.

This article has been re-printed with permission of Sports Physical Therapy Institute. For additional information and articles be sure to visit their website at