Compassionate Pain Relief
By Kate Beiting
Aches, pain, and injuries are a possibility at any age. If you find that your usual routines are slowing a bit due to restricted movement, physical therapy may help. Physical therapist Shanna Paopao, the owner and practitioner at BodyWise Therapy, would like to tell us about a specific hands-on technique called myofascial release.
“All over our bodies, there is connective tissue that surrounds vessels, organ, nerves, brain, and spinal cord,” Shanna explains. “It is continuous with the nerves that branch off of the spine. Think of a web that surrounds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber, and muscle.” This web of tissue is called the fascia. In its normal state, the fascia is relaxed and flexible—it moves without restriction. The challenge begins when the fascia is stressed, injured, or traumatized, causing tension.
The fascia has nerves that can be as sensitive as our skin. Stress, injury, even poor posture can cause the fascia to tense and tighten, restricting movement and causing pain. What types of stress and strain do you put your body through during the day that may be adding to the normal wear and tear on your body? Bending, reaching, twisting, stretching—sound familiar? Are you carrying a toddler on your hip, leading you to twist and contort in super-human ways? Are you hunched over a computer keyboard all day? Could this be why your knees, ankles, wrists, back, or hips hurt? Maybe. Shanna can help you identify the cause of your pain and help relieve it!
A graduate of UNMC’s College of Physical Therapy, Shanna became familiar with the physical therapy technique called myofascial release. It is a gentle, sustained pressure or compression into the tissues—essentially, a controlled and sustained stretch that releases tension in the fascia. She knew right away that this was a technique worth investigating further. After studying with skilled therapists using this method, she began utilizing it in her own practice.
When should you expect when you arrive at BodyWise Therapy? That’s easy: a complete and thorough evaluation. “I look at posture, range of motion, gait, and balance,” Shanna says. “I am a physical therapist, so there are many evaluations and observations that I perform.” Shanna will also ask you questions about the pain or restriction you’re experiencing and what goals and outcomes you’re hoping for. The answers to these questions, along with her physical observations, will help her decide what treatments are most likely to relieve your pain. “Myofascial release is just one of many possible treatments that I use on my clients. It is one of the tools that I use to lessen the pain that the client is experiencing.”
Schools of thought on how we approach healing and pain management have evolved in recent years. In some cases, pharmaceutical treatments are needed. However, many people want to lessen their reliance on painkillers and are eager to explore other treatment options. You may know someone who uses acupuncture to reduce back pain or meditation to help with anxiety. Shanna can collaborate with your physician or other healthcare practitioners to use myofascial release or other techniques to help you out of pain.
Shanna’s clients have various challenges with pain and restricted mobility. She works with clients who are experiencing pain in many areas: neck pain, headaches or migraines, sciatica, post-surgical pain, bursitis, arthritis, whiplash, tendonitis, and more. Shanna uses her technical skill, professionalism, and sense of caring to decrease pain and return her clients to better mobility. “Of course, I can’t cure arthritis,” she notes, “but I can work the tissues around the arthritic joints for better movement and less pain.”
You may not need a doctor’s referral to see a physical therapist, and you may be able to purchase a myofascial release treatment at BodyWise Therapy just as you would purchase a massage. Shanna will meet with you and listen closely to your concerns about the pain you are experiencing. She will evaluate, formulate a plan, and help you feel better.
Pain is a messenger of a problem, and ignoring that pain may result in a bigger pain at a later date. Eliminating pain and restoring positive motion is possible! If you have been frustrated by insufficient answers or pain relief, consider trying myofascial release or other therapies at BodyWise Therapy. Let Shanna put her expertise and compassion to work on your pain!
BodyWise Therapy is located at 2504 South 119th Street, in Omaha. You can reach Shanna Paopao at 402-932-8686 to start on your road to healing. For more information about the services Shanna provides, visit BodyWise Therapy online at bodywiseomaha.com.
Shanna Paopao, PT, Owner