PictureBruise Day 2


I just moved into a new apartment and the last few weeks have been NUTS! I know that very few people actually enjoy moving, but I moved so often in college, I never accumulated enough stuff to make it too stressful. Moving in college also always happened in the summer when school was out, so I was able to focus on moving and not worry about clients, teaching, and working. That was definitely not the case this time, but I am glad it’s done. Anthony and I are still digging out from underneath all the boxes, but it is so lovely to have our own place for the first time. Now, if only Ella would relax and stop worrying about all the noises from our neighbors…

After my last post on my own injury rehabilitation, I was unfortunate to witness the same process with my mom. She fell walking through a parking lot onto her shoulder a few weeks ago and has since then been working through the process I detailed in my blog. Right away, her nervous system shut down communication to the shoulder and she was unable to move it. There was a very large bruise that developed in addition to significant swelling. The combination of the pain, bruising, and swelling prevented her from not only moving her shoulder, but also not allowing any passive movement. It was very interesting to be on the other side of the injury and feel the resistance and unwillingness to let me move her arm (passive movement) after the injury. Imagine being a dead weight and allowing someone to move a limb or body part around, while the body part is heavy, it is fairly easy to move it. In my mom’s case, it was not only a dead weight, but also one that was fighting me. It was clear that the resistance to movement was not just because of pain and swelling, but had a huge psychological component as well. Our bodies do not want to experience pain and will do anything and everything to avoid it – including not moving a limb for weeks, which only helps to exacerbate the issue. Fear of more pain or injury will keep you from moving for a very long time.

To help with the swelling and bruising, we did high compression for short duration using the VooDoo Floss band. The first week was to help move the swelling, which had settled into her hand, back into the lymphatic system. It was crazy to see how poofy her whole arm became in a short period of time. Without the help of the muscle contraction or gravity, extracellular fluid (swelling and stuff outside the cells) had no way to get up to the lymph nodes in the armpit.

Swelling is not bad – but the chemical cocktail of swelling sitting in a joint for an extended period of time does not do much for healing. Yes, you need the initial swelling, which brings in a ton of chemicals that aid the healing process, but just like house guests, when they stick around too long, they start to get in the way. The previously helpful chemical cocktail now is helping to irritate the joint and its tissues further. Not what you want when you’re trying to rehabilitate something. Ice does not help recovery and studies are starting to determine that it can actually slow down the healing process (read more here from the Doc that coined the term “RICE”).

VooDoo Flossing can help clear the tissues of this extracellular fluid and also allows fresh blood to rush into the area. Think of a beaver’s dam –  when it is built up, the flow of water is decreased (similar to how fluid flow is affected in a swollen area, both good and bad stuff can’t get in or out). When the dam is broken, the water flow is restored, and helps to flush away the build up of debris that the dam allowed to happen. The same thing happens in your joints and tissues following short durations of high compression. We never did our VooDoo Flossing for more than 2 minutes, and always respected any numbness or tingling (which signaled that the session was immediately over). While the area was more tender after our sessions, Mom always reported an improved ability to move her arm – which would help the healing progress faster.

Coming up next? The rest of my momma’s road to full shoulder recovery and what we did to help bring her shoulder back to life!