I’m sure that many of you have seen the various types of massage guns all over the internet & being used by athletes. If you’re like me you’ve probably asked yourself what they’re all about, how do they work & which ones are the best. I wanted to run through a few different aspects of these massage guns so you have a better idea of how & why they can be beneficial for the body.
Percussion Massage Guns
Percussion massage guns work by hammering or percussing the surface of the body. These percussions send deep pressure vibrations into the muscle tissue. This mimics how massage therapists rhythmically work the muscles so their patients can find relief from muscle pain. Massage therapy is great for easing soft tissue pain, releasing lactic acid buildup, stimulating muscle recovery & growth as well as increasing range or motion & blood flow.
Benefits of Percussion Massage
Many of the massage guns that are floating around are percussion massagers. They are handheld devices that apply a pulse of concentrated pressure into the deep muscle tissues. The benefit of this type of massage are working out knots in the muscle as well as relieving muscle tension. Additionally, this form of massage improves blood flow to the muscles and may increase range of motion. Other benefits include reducing recovery time & relieving pain. Percussion massage fits under a larger category called vibration massage. One of the main differences is that vibration massage typically affects the muscle tissue that is closer to the surface as opposed to some of the deeper muscles. A 2018 review study investigated 21 articles about vibration therapy and found that most of the studies revealed an increase in at least one aspect of physical performance.
The Human Body
The human body was built intelligently. The brain and spinal cord are protected by some of the strongest bones in the body, the skull and vertebrae. This is important because they protect the most delicate tissue in the body, nerve tissue. The importance of proper communication of the messages sent and received between the brain & body should not be taken lightly. When these signals are interrupted or obstructed, the messages are disrupted. This can cause dis-ease of the muscle or organ which may result in hypo or hyperthyroidism, high or low blood pressures or even digestive issues. Over time the body struggles to function properly causing wear & tear and eventually leading to disease.
The Nerve System
The function of the nerve system is to act as the roadways for communication between the brain and the body. Different nerves travel to every cell and tissue in the body so a patient will experience different secondary conditions. Depending on which nerve is injured and where that nerve travels to in the body. A nerve in the lower back will travel down the leg and may cause Sciatic Nerve Pain. Nerves in the lower back also travel to the bladder, lower digestive tract and reproductive organs. This means someone with an injury in their lower back can experience a variety of secondary conditions based upon which nerve is injured.
The spinal cord is protected by the spinal column which is made up of a series of moveable vertebrae (bones). The function of proper movement of these bones allows people to twist, bend & turn athletically. Proper movement of the vertebrae also keep the discs healthy. Discs sit between each vertebra and act as a spacer to create room for the nerves to exit the spine. The nerves travel to different areas of the body: Heart, Lungs, Stomach, Bladder, Reproductive organs just to name a few. Because there is very little blood that reaches the discs, movement of the vertebrae are what allows the discs to pump out toxins and pump in healthy nutrients.
Since these vertebrae are moveable, they are also susceptible & vulnerable to shifting out of proper alignment. As stress and forces are placed on the spinal column, the bones can shift and get stuck. When vertebrae are stuck out of alignment, toxins build up in the disc and normal wear & tear occurs leading to arthritis. Additionally, when the bones of the spine shift outside of a normal functional range, rather than protecting the nerve system they injure it. This leads to an obstruction of messages sent between the brain & body. Causing the body to function with dis-ease and may eventually lead to a disease.
Another form of stress that is often overlooked is neurological stress caused by Structural shifts of the spine. Remember how we talked about how important function was. Well the bodies command center is the nerve system, the brain & spinal cord. It controls & coordinates every function of the body. It is constantly sending and receiving messages throughout the body. The body recognizes its’ importance and is protected by the strongest bones in the body. The skull fuses to one solid piece but the spinal cord is protected by a series of bones called vertebrae.
These bones allow movement so we can bend and twist and rotate so we can be athletic. But Because they’re moveable, they are vulnerable to stress & forces that can cause them to lose their proper position. When that happens, rather than protecting the nerve system it actually causes nerve injuries. This prevents the nerve systems ability to send those messages which control & coordinate the function of the body.
The Life Line
One of my favorite quotes is from the Father of Medicine Hippocrates, “Look well to the spine for the cause of disease”. The ancient Greeks understood the importance of maintaining the spinal column & spinal cord… they understood that the spinal cord is the lifeline of the body.
The goal of Corrective Chiropractic Care is to restore, improve & maintain the integrity of the spine. The purpose of protecting & healing the nerve system. This is something that only Chiropractors are trained to do and sadly less and less are focusing their skills on spinal adjustments. Many physical therapists and other chiropractors have focused on manipulations of the spine. They are changing the structure of the spine to decrease muscle spasms & increase range of motion.
Chiropractor Colorado Springs
As a Chiropractor in Colorado Springs, I use an objective and conservative health care approach focused on the spine and nerve system. We assess how the structure of the spine is directly affecting the nerve system. In our office we run a premium model similar to Luis Vuitton as opposed to a model like Massage Envy.
Our office uses objective indicators to identify structural shifts of the spine outside of a normal structural range. This is similar to how an engineer assesses the structural integrity of a building. Then we use instrumentation to identify nerve inflammation as the nerve system are exits the spine. Information is paired to create a well-rounded assessment of a patient’s condition. This is used to generate a plan to correct the issue. In our office we identify symptoms that are really a secondary condition caused an injured nerve that resulted from a structural shift of the spine.