Headaches And Pain… Oh, My!

For me, the pain associated with headaches could be debilitating at times. So much so, I would sometimes just want to crawl in bed and cry like a baby until I fell asleep; however, when I first experienced PNMT, I quickly realized that there were other options out there aside from mainstream treatments. More on that later!

Before I go over the different types of headaches though, I feel it’s important that I share some RED FLAGS that I learned through becoming certified in PNMT:

  • See a physician to have other possible causes ruled out if the headaches are a new occurrence—the number of serious problems that have headaches as a side-effect is numerous.
  • See if physician immediately if you have any other global health declines.
  • See a physician if you’ve had headaches in the past but they are different in frequency, intensity, and/or location.
  • See a physician if you’ve had headaches for a long time but now they are daily; accompanied by GI symptoms, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, memory problems, difficulty in intellectual concentration, and depression. This could be considered analgesic rebound; analgesic overuse being very common.

Now, onward with different types of headaches. I will include some bullet points and reference the clinical studies, which happens to be where I got most of my information from…

TENSION HEADACHES – In the U.S., these account for 1-4% of all emergency room visits and is the 9th most common reason for doctor visits; being the most common type of chronic recurring head pain. All ages are susceptible, but most are young adults. — Michelle Blanda, MD; Tension Headache Clinical Presentation

  • These are usually associated with a stressful event, poor posture, or depression; and are not aggravated by physical activity.
  • They are of moderate intensity but can have a throbbing quality, are bilateral, and usually present in the occipitofrontal region.
  • They typically last 30-minutes up to 7-days.
  • Muscular tightness or stiffness in the neck, occipital, and frontal regions is common.
  • Cervical muscles, when palpated, may be very tender.
  • Nausea or vomiting is not present.
  • Insomnia is present.
  • Often present upon rising or shortly thereafter.

MIGRAINE HEADACHES – This disorder is one of the most common complaints in medicine. In the U.S., more than 30 million people have one or more migraines per year. — Jasvinder Chawla, MD; Migraine Headache

  • They typically throb or pulsate.
  • The pain is initially unilateral (on one side) and localized to the Temporalis and Frontalis muscles, or over the eye, but can be felt anywhere around the head or neck.
  • The pain typically builds up over a 1- to 2-hour period and then slowly diffuses towards the back of the head.
  • They typically last 4-72 hours; usually subsiding gradually within a day, and after a period of sleep.
  • Intensity is moderate to severe and intensifies with movement or physical activity.
  • Light and sound sensitivity are very common.
  • Nausea occurs in about 80% of migraines; vomiting in about 50%.
  • Other interesting symptoms include:
    – About 60% of people reported prodrome (preheadache) symptoms hours to days prior to the migraine. Postdrome symptoms may persist for 24-hours after the headache.
    – Auras—which can be visual, sensory, motor, or any combination of these—usually develop over 5-20 minutes and lasts less than 60 minutes.

CLUSTER HEADACHES – In the U.S., it is estimated that 2-9% of migraine sufferers experience these, making it relatively uncommon compared to the classic migraine. This condition is more common in males than in females. — Lori K Sargeant, MD; Headache, Cluster

  • No aura exists like they do in migraines.
  • Sudden onset peaks in 10- to 15-minutes; duration lasts 10-minutes to 3-hours per episode; frequency may occur several times a day for 1- to 4-months.
  • Typically, 1-2 cluster periods are experienced per year; each lasting 2- to 3- months.
  • The pain associated with is described as severe; as if the eye is being pushed out.
  • They are often nocturnal—active at night.
  • Triggers in some patients include stress, allergens, and seasonal changes.
  • Alcohol and smoking induce attacks during a cluster but not during remission.
  • Risk factors include: male sex; older than 30-years; small amounts of alcohol; previous head trauma or surgery (occasionally).

CERVICOGENIC HEADACHES – The presence of these headaches in the general population is estimated to be between 0.4% and 2.5%; however, the prevalence is as high as 20% in pain management clinics. This condition is four times more common in women than in men. — David Biondi, DO; Cervicogenic Headache: A Review of Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies

  • This condition is a relatively common cause of chronic headaches that is often misdiagnosed or unrecognized; clinical features may mimic those commonly associated with other headache disorders, making this headache hard to distinguish.
  • They involve head pain that is referred from bony structures or soft-tissues of the neck; TrP’s are usually found in the suboccipital, cervical, and shoulder musculature.
  • These often develop after a head or neck injury, but may also occur in the absence of trauma.
  • They are typically described as a deep—or dull—pain that radiates from the occipital to parietal, temporal, frontal, and periorbital regions.
  • Sufferers will often have restricted cervical range of motion and altered neck posture.
  • Head pain can be triggered or reproduced by active neck movement.
  • Paresthesia and numbness over the occipital scalp are usually present.
  • Many sufferers overuse or become dependent on analgesics; medication, when used alone, does not generally provide substantial pain relief.

As stated earlier in this post, I have suffered from headaches for many years, but not so much over the past five years due to the powerful effects of PNMT. In fact, many of my clients have suffered from them as well—that is until I got my hands on them. 🙂

Believe it or not, muscle involvement—which is stated in some of the above mentioned headache descriptions—can be a huge contributing factor that is definitely worth looking in to. In fact, the SCM, Longus Colli, Trapezius, and the Suboccipital muscles are just a few examples that can mimic or refer headache-related pain. Also note that muscular-skeletal alignment is a key factor as rubbing where it hurts won’t solve the problem.

If this post strikes a cord with you, consider looking for a massage therapist as an alternative option for headache related pain-relief!

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!”™ ~ Me

Referred Pain At-A-Glance

Before I go on with my post, I would like to first state that I have inserted Wikipedia’s links for the following conditions in case some of you are unfamiliar; however, please keep in mind that they do not mention PNMT—or any specific modality of massage—as an option for pain-relief, aside from the brief-mention of “massage” in the carpal tunnel and piriformis syndrome links under Treatment. Traditional medicine is basically the main focus, which is one of the reasons why I felt it was important to start this blog. At the end of the day, PNMT is extremely beneficial for pain and dysfunction caused by muscular imbalances within the muscular-skeletal system. What’s even better is that it is non-invasive!

Referred pain is a phenomenon used to describe pain perceived at an area, adjacent to or at a distance from, the site of an injury’s origin. For example, carpal tunnel symptoms can be caused by muscular imbalances in the shoulder and/or upper arm. These imbalances can throw off the alignment of muscles and tendons down the arm. The result is not necessarily pain in the shoulder, but instead, pain that is similar to carpal tunnel. Interesting, huh?

Assuming you would agree, I’ll go ahead and get a little more specific, using sciatica as another great example. In my experience, it appears that many people aren’t aware of specific muscles in and around the buttocks that can mimic true sciatica. The piriformis, gluteus minimus, and hamstrings being perfect culprits. Most people are told that sciatica is directly related to the sciatic nerve; generally caused by compression of the lumbar nerves L4 or L5; sacral nerves S1, S2, or S3; or by compression of the sciatic nerve itself. There is also another diagnosis called piriformis syndrome. This is when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle due to it being in the shortened position or from spasming. (Please read the portion on Davis’ Law in this post if you are unfamiliar with “shortened” muscles and how they occur.) Not only can muscles in the shortened position entrap or compress nerves, but they may also contain TrP’s that replicate nerve-related pain, such as the carpal tunnel and sciatic-type symptoms I mentioned, among others. (Please read this post for more detailed information on TrP’s.)

I know it may sound crazy that muscles could actually be the root cause of the above mentioned problems, but I promise you it is indeed very possible. If you have tried other options out there, up to and including surgery, but have had no relief or it was short-lived, I encourage you to look into this form of medical massage. If you live in the Cincinnati, OH area and are interested in reading some testimonials from my clients, please click here.

As always, I hope you find this information informative!

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!”™ ~ Me

Range Of Motion And Optimal Measurements

Range of motion (also known as ROM) refers to the distance and direction a joint can move to its full potential. If ROM is restricted, the joints ability to function normally becomes limited. Each specific joint has a normal ROM that is expressed in degrees, which can be measured using a goniometer; with the help of another person as well.


Below is a list of optimal measurements for certain areas of the body, but first, I’ve included what the mentioned movements mean in case you weren’t already aware…

Flexion – When the angle of a joint decreases, as in bending your arm at the elbow.
Extension – When the angle of a joint increases, as in straightening your arm at the elbow.
Rotation – When you turn your head, as in checking your “blind spot” while driving.
Lateral Flexion – This usually refers to the spine and would happen when you are holding your cell phone in between your ear and shoulder or bending your torso while running your arm down your leg.
Abduction – When you move a limb away from the midline of the body, as in raising your arm up perpendicular to your body.
External (Lateral) Rotation – Rotation away from the body, as in rotating your leg out so your toes point outward.
Internal (Medial) Rotation – Rotation towards the center of the body, as in rotating your leg in so your toes point inward.

According to my PNMT training manuals, the optimal measurements are as follows, but not limited to…

Cervical ROM:
Flexion – 40°
Extension – 75°
Rotation – 80°-90°
Lateral Flexion – 35°-45°

Shoulder ROM:
Flexion – 165°-170°
Extension – 50°-60°
Abduction – 165°-170°
External (Lateral) Rotation – 80°-90°
Internal (Medial) Rotation – 55°-60°

Lumbar Spine ROM:
Flexion – 60°
Extension – 35°
Rotation – 8°-10°
Lateral Flexion – 20°

Hip ROM:
Flexion – 140° (passive)
Extension – 30° (passive)
Abduction – 50° (passive)
External (Lateral) Rotation – 60° (passive)
Internal (Medial) Rotation – 40° (passive)
* Passive meaning the examiner moves the joint without assistance from the person being examined. 

As always, I hope you find this information informative! I’ll be MIA for a couple of weeks, but plan to have something good to write about for my next post.

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!”™ ~ Me

Just A Couple Shoulder Pathologies

There are so many things I want to write about, but since I mentioned a muscle related to the shoulder joint in a previous post (The Infraspinatus), I figured I might as well continue with the same theme.

To start, pathology is the precise study and diagnosis of disease, which I obviously do not specialize in. Pathologies can cause individuals a lot of distress and here are just a couple linked to the shoulder that I have come across with clients in my own practice…

Impingement Syndrome – Also known as rotator cuff tendonitis. This syndrome is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain and dysfunction. Repetitive movements of the arm in over-the-head positions (i.e. baseball, tennis, lifting weights, swimming, painting, carpentry work, etc.)—or holding the arm in the same position for a long period of time or a direct blow or stretch injury—can cause continuous pinching of the rotator cuff tendons (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, teres minor). This can then cause inflammation and result in pain. If movement is continued despite the pain, a tendon may degenerate near the attachment and ultimately tear away from the bone resulting in a not-so-welcome rotator cuff tear.

Torn Rotator Cuff – This injury is pretty self-explanatory, but nevertheless, is diagnosed when one or more of the rotator cuff tendons tear away from the head of the humerus. OUCH, not so funny if you ask me—pun intended! Most tears of this nature occur in the supraspinatus muscle and tendon, but other muscles and tendons can be involved as well.

Do you have shoulder problems? Have you been diagnosed with one of the above mentioned ailments? If so, PNMT can help! It won’t mend an actual tear, but it will lengthen shortened muscles, thus relieving tension on the tendons and increasing range of motion.

All in all, before taking the surgery route followed by lots and lots of post-op rehabilitation—unless of course it’s absolutely 100% without-a-doubt necessary per a medical professional—I highly recommend giving this non-invasive option a whirl.

NOTE: Due to a much anticipated upcoming vacation, I may not be posting on here for 2-3 weeks.

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!”™ ~ Me

What Conditions Can PNMT Treat?

So many of us, myself included, have struggled with—or are currently struggling with—some form of pain and/or dysfunction. Sadly, a plethora of conventional treatments are sought out, and in some instances, provide no relief. Frustration soon arises. Some clients have even, initially, walked into my office stating that they have succumbed to it; feeling like they might as well accept it as the norm since there has been no relief thus far.

This fact upsets me, which is one of the reasons why I decided to start this blog. Although PNMT can’t fix everything under the sun, it can help with many conditions—oftentimes quickly and in a non-invasive way. My former mentor expressed to me from the very get-go that, “We do not have a revolving door…” What that means, is by using the knowledge I gained through becoming certified and also by utilizing precision techniques, I am able to treat ailments caused by muscular-imbalances in a reasonable time frame; give or take depending on the ailment and the amount of time a person has been dealing with it.

Without further ado, here are some of the conditions that PNMT treatments can be beneficial for…
Headaches and migraines; low back pain; neck and shoulder pain; frozen shoulder; whiplash injuries; rotator cuff issues; TMJ dysfunction; tennis/golfer’s elbow; tendonitis; thoracic outlet syndrome; carpal tunnel syndrome; shin splints; plantar fasciitis; fibromyalgia; muscle spasms, cramps, and strains; postural distortions; and many more.

Well, does any of this hit close to home? If so, I highly recommend that you look into this as another option for pain-relief. Whomever you go to, just make sure that you ask for credentials, as there is such a thing in this business.

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!”™ ~ Me