Pain Between the Shoulder Blades – self-help

Do you wish you had a way to rub painful areas between your shoulder blades?  Maybe you try against a door frame.  Wish you could get at the top of your shoulders or the back of your neck.  This tool can let you reach the hard to reach places.

The Thera Cane Massager has been around for a long time.  I’m not sure how long, but I saw my first one 22 years ago.  I’ve see it spelled Thera cane or Ther-a-cane.

It’s basically for getting at knots and tender areas in the muscle.  It does come with a small illustrated booklet, but you can find videos on how to use it as well.

I explain elsewhere in the blog about the Pectoralis Minor muscle.  When tight, which they often are, they pull the shoulders forward, so the muscles between the shoulder blades (called rhomboids0 have to fight back making them work much harder than they have to.  So you want to address both areas.

Well see the video for a couple tips for the low back and neck.

If you go through my link I will get a small commission.  Thera Cane Massager


First Chiropractor Visit, My Opinion

When I was 23, back in 1973, I was driving to work in four inches of almost untracked snow. The car toward me started skidding. I thought the driver would correct but he didn’t and the car was coming toward me sideways in my lane. I swerved to avoid him, going over a six foot embankment. The tail end of both cars collided first.

Both cars were totaled. Mine was 10 years old, his was brand new. He was a young driver who had never driven in snow. He got a ticket for failure to keep control of his vehicle.

There was no blood and guts, but the next day my neck hurt – a lot. I decided to go to a chiropractor, I had no idea what they cost, but hey, his insurance would pay for it.

I’d never been to a chiropractor. My brother called them quacks. But I was hurting, and besides I had always had a bad back and scoliosis, and knew it.

Well I went to see this wonderful old guy (the only reference I had was the Yellow Pages). Everything in his office was old. I lay face down on his exam table as he touched different spots on my neck and upper back and said, “It hurts here doesn’t it?” I was impressed.

Then he used ultrasound for 15 minutes to loosen up my muscles. Then he twisted me like a pretzel a couple of ways. I felt like I was that kid in “The Exorcist” as he manipulated my neck.

When he got done I would have paid him anything. I had been living with pain I didn’t even know I had until it was gone. He charged six bucks, which was very cheap even then.

Had I gone to a General Practitioner I probably would have just gotten pain pills. Had I gone to the emergency room, they might have given me a neck brace — very bad, because it would have done little or nothing to correct the alignment while allowing the muscles to get weaker.

At the same time I had a friend who was going to a chiropractor who was going every single week and did not get the results that I got in one session.  That is because this old chiropractor took the time to get my back muscles loosened up through ultrasound so the muscles were relaxed and allow the adjustment to last.

Looking back, I have no idea how Dr. Featherstone was able to make a living.  He did his job so well.

While I am now a firm believer in chiropractors, not all chiropractors are equal. Being a massage therapist I am a definite believer in massage, but there are a lot of massage therapists who really aren’t that good in providing much more than relaxation. And while there are many great physicians, there are also ones whose only solution is prescription medicine because it is the only solution they have been taught. I lucked out using the Yellow Pages, but word of mouth recommendation is usually better.

In the majority of cases it is best to try the least invasive (which will also be the least costly) approaches first.

Beat Insomnia, Simple Tips

Can’t get to sleep?  Both sleeping well and insomnia are habits.  You can condition yourself to sleep better and have fewer bouts of insomnia by following these simple tips I found….

  • Sleep only when sleepy – This reduces the time you are awake in bed.
  • Don’t take naps – This will ensure you are tired at bedtime. If you just can’t make it through the day without a nap, sleep less than one hour, before 3 pm.
  • Get up and go to bed the same time every day – Even on weekends! When your sleep cycle has a regular rhythm, you will feel better.
  • Refrain from exercise at least 4 hours before bedtime – Regular exercise is recommended to help you sleep well, but the timing of the workout is important. Exercising in the morning or early afternoon will not interfere with sleep.
  • Develop sleep rituals – It is important to give your body cues that it is time to slow down and sleep. Listen to relaxing music, read something soothing for 15 minutes, have a cup of caffeine free tea, do relaxation exercises.
  • Only use your bed for sleeping – Refrain from using your bed to watch TV, pay bills, do work or reading. So when you go to bed your body knows it is time to sleep. Sex is the only exception.
  • Stay away from caffeine, nicotine and alcohol at least 4-6 hours before bed – Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that interfere with your ability to fall asleep. Coffee, tea, cola, cocoa, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine. Cigarettes and some drugs contain nicotine. Alcohol may seem to help you sleep in the beginning as it slows brain activity, but you will end end up having fragmented sleep.
  • Have a light snack before bed – If your stomach is too empty, that can interfere with sleep. However, if you eat a heavy meal before bedtime, that can interfere as well. Dairy products and turkey contain tryptophan, which acts as a natural sleep inducer. Tryptophan is probably why a warm glass of milk is sometimes recommended.
  • Take a hot bath 90 minutes before bedtime – A hot bath will raise your body temperature, but it is the drop in body temperature that may leave you feeling sleepy. Read about the study done on body temperature below.
  • Make sure your bed and bedroom are quiet and comfortable – A hot room can be uncomfortable. A cooler room along with enough blankets to stay warm is recommended. If light in the early morning bothers you, get a blackout shade or wear a slumber mask. If noise bothers you, wear earplugs or get a “white noise” machine.

Read more here:

Also if you live in a noisy environment, consider a white noise machine or a CD of ocean waves to mask the sounds.

If nothing else works for you there is is a Sleep Brainwaves Insomnia Sleep System that gets your brain to resonate with the brainwaves that occur in natural sleep.