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Alpha Medical Massage & Rehabilitation

How can Medical and Therapeutic Massage Help an American Hero?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

According to recent estimates, more than 300,000 veterans from the US armed forces have returned from recent deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq with PTSD for short, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg, since they account only for reported cases and do not include troops from other countries who have been deployed troops to different military operations in the past decade.

The National Institute of Health reports that roughly 30% of veterans who have been on active duty in combat zones experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to some extent.

Given that there are still tens of thousands of troops deployed in Afghanistan at the time of this writing, the number of Americans struggling with this psychiatric condition is certain to rise dramatically over the coming years.

According to recent estimates, more than 300,000 veterans from the US armed forces have returned from recent deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq with PTSD for short, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, these figures are only the tip of the iceberg, since they account only for reported cases and do not include troops from other countries who have been deployed troops to different military operations in the past decade.

The National Institute of Health reports that roughly 30% of veterans who have been on active duty in combat zones experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to some extent.

Given that there are still tens of thousands of troops deployed in Afghanistan at the time of this writing, the number of Americans struggling with this psychiatric condition is certain to rise dramatically over the coming years.

PTSD causes a wide variety of symptoms, including anxiety, a constant feeling of tension, depression, anhedonia, irritability, aggression and in some cases, a tendency towards violence, survivor’s guilt and of course, vivid flashbacks to the event or events which caused the initial trauma which gave rise to post traumatic stress disorder.

There are a variety of treatments which can be helpful for people struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, ranging from medication to talk therapy. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications are helpful to many veterans experiencing PTSD, but more recently, massage therapy has become a common treatment as well.

Deep tissue massage, Amputee Massage, Structural Integration and just plain Relaxation Massage Techniques are excellent alternatives for veterans who want relief from PTSD but would rather avoid resorting to prescription medications; and massage therapies are also a helpful adjunct to medication and individual or group therapy in patients who are undergoing these forms of treatment.

PTSD is a challenging condition to treat and it doesn’t present in exactly the same way in every patient. However, given that there are many different forms of massage therapy, veterans seeking a way to overcome Post Traumatic Stress Disorder should certainly consider this increasingly mainstream type of alternative medicine. Alpha’s Master Medical Massage Therapists can help release tension and stress, we specialize in deep muscle therapy, and Oncology Massage Techniques to release and prevent Phantom Limb Syndrome. Many people find that deep tissue massage in particular can release intense memories of the traumatic event and allow them to process repressed emotions. It may be helpful to the patient to be currently undergoing cognitive behavioral therapy as well, since this gives them an outlet to work through these feelings.

More gentle forms of massage therapy such as aromatherapy and Swedish massage are also commonly used to treat patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; these methods are intended to soothe the patient and help them to ease their anxiety, guilt and other negative emotional/behavioral patterns.

Phantom Limb Syndrome

Phantom limb pain refers to mild to extreme pain felt in the area where a limb has been amputated.

Phantom limb sensations usually will disappear or decrease over time; when phantom limb pain continues for more than six months, however, the prognosis for improvement is poor.

What Causes Phantom Limb Pain?

Although the limb is no longer there, the nerve endings at the site of the amputation continue to send pain signals to the brain that make the brain think the limb is still there. Sometimes, the brain memory of pain is retained and is interpreted as pain, regardless of signals from injured nerves.

What Are the Symptoms of Phantom Limb Pain?

In addition to pain in the phantom limb, some people experience other sensations such as tingling, cramping, heat, and cold in the portion of the limb that was removed. Any sensation that the limb could have experienced prior to the amputation may be experienced in the amputated phantom limb

How Is Phantom Limb Pain Treated at Alpha?

Successful treatment of phantom limb pain is not difficult. Treatment is usually determined based on the person's level of pain, and multiple treatments may be combined. Some treatments include:

  • Heat application and Friction Oils
  • Active and Isolated Stretching Techniques
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Massage of the amputation area
  • Scar tissue Release (to release the entangled nerve)
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) or E-PEN (Electronic Stimulation Pen) of the stump to help fire up nerve endings and deactivate electronic pulses.
  • Mirror therapy with the above massage and stimulation Techniques.

 

In 2011 Alpha conducted test with Amputee Support Groups from Round Rock and Austin Texas.  During these trials all of the above techniques were used and showed proven results, within 2 to 3 treatments.  Not only did it rid the Amputee of “Phantom Limb Syndrome”, but also assisted with the gait and range of motion of the affected limb.

Our therapists are professionally trained in house and are ready to help you on your road to recovery.  It’s up to you to take the first step, and call!

Working out and Overuse Injuries

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Although injuries are recognized as a leading health problem in the military, the size of the problem is underestimated when only acute traumatic injuries are considered. Injury-related musculoskeletal conditions are common in this young, active population. Many of these involve physical damage caused by micro-trauma (overuse) in recreation, sports, training, and job performance. The purpose of this analysis was to determine the incidence of injury-related musculoskeletal conditions in the military services (2006) and describe a standardized format in which to categorize and report them.

The subset of musculoskeletal diagnoses found to be injury-related in previous military investigations was identified. Musculoskeletal injuries among non-deployed, active duty service members in 2006 were identified from military medical surveillance data. A matrix was used to report and categorize these conditions by injury type and body region.
There were 743,547 injury-related musculoskeletal conditions in 2006 (outpatient and inpatient, combined), including primary and non-primary diagnoses. In the matrix, 82% of injury-related musculoskeletal conditions were classified as inflammation/pain (overuse), followed by joint derangements (15%) and stress fractures (2%). The knee/lower leg (22%), lumbar spine (20%), and ankle/foot (13%) were leading body region categories.

When assessing the magnitude of the injury problem in the military services, injury-related musculoskeletal conditions should be included. When these injuries are combined with acute traumatic injuries, there are almost 1.6 million injury-related medical encounters each year. The matrix provides a standardized format to categorize these injuries, make comparisons over time, and focus prevention efforts on leading injury types and/or body regions.
References: American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Volume 38, Issue 1, Supplement, Pages S61–S70, January 2010 & WebMD: Better information. Better health.

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