Reasons for Pain

I just had an encounter with a new client that is extremely common.

First of all, it was difficult to get her to agree that massage may be able to help her. This happens all the time because I am not the typical massage therapist, not a fluff-n-buff as I call it. I am a Clinical Orthopedic Manual Therapist, meaning that I have much more medical training than the average massage therapist.

Then she wanted to ‘work through it’. This is a major misconception. Our bodies do a fantastic job of taking care of themselves. We don’t need to help a cut heal, the body does that for us. We don’t think about each individual step, the body takes care of it. We don’t think to blink when a bug flies into our eye, our body takes care of that. When something is wrong with this amazing machine the least we can do is take care of it.

When something is wrong with this amazing machine the least we can do is take care of it.

Ilio:longis painShe arrived with a pain in her upper back on the right side, as depicted by the yellow in the picture to the left. She   thought she did it during a specific move in her exercise class. During our discussion of her health history she mentioned that is the only thing wrong with her, otherwise she if very healthy besides the osteoporosis.

As I always do, I started by working on the unaffected side, her left side. No pain found, that’s good. I moved to the right side of her back, still no pain found. She was astounded, I, however, was not. As I checked her muscles she Psoas TrPscontinued explaining when the pain occurs. In doing so it was evident to me that the pain was not in the iliocostalis and/or longissimus muscles but probably in the iliopsoas (ĭl”ē-ō-sō ǎs).

The first two flex and extend the neck and trunk. This client mentioned that it hurts most when she twists, different story. The iliopsoas flexes and rotates the hip and thigh and rotates the pelvis at the hip. All that to say her pain was not with bending but in twisting. That’s a different muscle group all together.

I had her flip over and touched the iliopsoas and that was it! She was amazed!

PsoasSee, most massage therapists would not even look past the back muscles. In the rare case that they did, they probably would not know how to reach the deep muscles that attach to the spine. Not all therapist are equal, check the credentials of the person who is going to give you your next massage. Your body deserves it.

Not all therapist are equal

Next time you feel pain, stop. It is our bodies’ way of telling us something is wrong. Next, contact a professional, you are always welcome to call me, you don’t have to be a client. I’ll even talk to your massage therapist, after all, it is my duty to inform people of what causes discomfort if possible.

My office is 630-851-1412 or email me at

Stretches for those who sit

Here is a few quick stretches to do that are exceptionally good for those who sit at computers for long periods.

~All stretches should be held for 30 seconds, this helps the muscle realize it’s full length.

~DO NOT stretch to the point of pain, just to a good stretch. If you reach pain back off a bit.

~Sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time is not health for your legs. Get up, go to the file cabinet, get a drink, go to the washroom, something–just move.

1) Hip extensor stretch. In this picture it is the left leg being stretched. The right does not need to be hanging so lying on the floor is sufficient. Pull the left knee toward the chest until a stretch is felt. Hold for 30 seconds.

Hip extensor stretch.

Hip extensor stretch.


2) Hip flexor stretch. Here the right leg is being stretched. With your hips on the very edge of the table/bed pull the left knee toward the chest while letting the right leg hang. The stretch should be felt in the front of the right hip. Hold for 30 seconds.

hip flexor stretch

Hip flexor stretch

3) Ankle flexor stretch. Put the topside (caudal) of the toes on the floor and gently press forward and down. This stretch should be felt in the shin area down to the ankle. Hold for 30 seconds.


Toe and Ankle extensor stretch

4) Arm extensor/flexor stretches. With the elbow of arm you are stretching locked pull back on the hand, not the fingers, as shown here on the right hand. The stretch should be felt just past your elbow. If not, move your right hand side to side slightly until you do feel the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.arm extensor and flexor stretch

Let us know if you have questions. These stretches can be done as many as 3-4 times a day. — at Atrium Wellness, Inc. (4 photos)

How Often Should I Get Massaged

Massage is cumulative, if you get the second within a few days of the first we will be working off what we started. Otherwise, it goes back to square one.

It’s like taking two step, no make that three steps forward and two steps back. Our body’s way of telling us something is wrong is through pain. Typically the area that hurts now wasn’t just hurt but has been ailing for some time.

The final straw is PAIN. The body has the innate ability to repair damage, heal sores, and create scars to mend cuts. If we continue doing what caused the issue in the first place there is no time to fix the issue. After some time, pain is the result.

Login Problems


Having trouble?

Having trouble?

We are so sorry you are having trouble logging in and we want to help you.

‘Been here before?’ means to this scheduling software, we switched from Schdulicity in June 2013.

  • If you have been to Atrium Wellness, Inc before but never used this scheduler

    • you will need to create a login.

  • If you are new to Atrium,

    • click New Client Appointment

  • All others

    • choose Massage Appointments

SEARCH FOR DATE: If you do not choose a time and day in the ‘When’ section and click search you will be taken to the Search Results Screen showing blocks of time available on specific days. Click book on the day you want, on the next screen you can choose a Start Time from those available in the drop down list.

CONTINUED PROBLEMS: At anytime, if you are having trouble please call the office 630-851-1412. Remember, we may not be able to get to the phone if we are with a client so leave a detailed message with your concern and we will get back to you as soon as we are able.

Thanks so much, God bless, and have a tranquil day.

Tired of Muscle Cramps?


Are you tired of muscle cramps? 

According to The Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 2006,  

“Spasms can be defined as electromyographic (EMG) activity as the result of increased neuromuscular tone of the entire muscle, and they are the result of nerve-initiated contractions.”

In short, a spasm is a muscle contraction or cramp. Typically the spasm will encompass the entire muscle fiber rather than just a bundle of cells.

The onset of a spasm is usually sudden and will often cause lack of control within that area and even a double-over effect. Spasms may last only moments but could cause disability for days. 


The journal also explains Myofascial Trigger Points (MTrP),

“a hyperirritable spot in skeletal muscle that is associated with a hypersensitive palpable nodule in a taut band”

This means it does not effect the entire muscle fiber, rather a bundle of muscle cells–the microscopic little things (myofibrils) that make up a muscle tissue. muscle-fiberTrigger points may be painful, however, they rarely debilitate unless untreated for an extended period. These are often not detectable except by a trained professional and frequently the site of the trigger point is not where the pain is located.  Trigger points typically refer pain to a distant site within the body and a manual therapist who has been specifically educated in this area will know where to look based on the location of the specific pain.

People often make the mistake of ‘walking it off’ or ‘working through’ when it comes to pain. Pain left untreated will continue in the cycle as shown here. This happens at such a slow rate that the person does not realize, and sometimes believes the pain is ‘moving around’.


Clients often call me looking for quick answers to these situations. Depending on the muscle involved, I may be able to give home remedies, if not, a manual therapy session, possibly multiple, is typically indicated.

During assessments, I often hear statements such as ‘it started here but stopped and now is over here’. One of the wonderful things about how our bodies are created is that they will continue to send warnings until it is no longer able. This point with muscle pain is called atrophy. Atrophy is the wasting away of tissue and is often irreparable. We’ll get more into atrophy in another blog.

For now, if you are experiencing pain, do yourself a favor and don’t ‘walk it off’. ‘No Pain, No Gain’ is a myth, but if you’re in the NFL or WWF I won’t fight you on it. Contact us, or another manual therapist you trust and get answers.

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Click to book an appointment

About Our New Location

Map to Atrium Wellness, Inc 2059 Albright Rd, Montgomery IL

Many of Atrium’s clients do not know about Center-fit, the new home of Atrium Wellness, Inc.,

Located at 2059 Albright Rd., Montgomery, IL 60538, Center-fit is a gym unlike any others in the area. Yes, they have ropes and boxes and even weights but Kettlebells are their main form of training along with Primal Move (PM), yoga, kid-fit, and nutrition.

Map to Atrium Wellness, Inc

What is PM

Primal Move is a game-based, play-oriented approach to the art and science of enhancing your movement skill. The Primal Move system—with its deep roots both in modern science and the most revered of the ancient “body culture” disciplines—provides you a dynamic new way to effectively retrain your body to reclaim its natural ability to move with elegance, strength, power and speed. Added benefits often include: improved endurance, a reduction or removal of pain, greater energy and a radically improved sense of overall well being.

Primal Move helps puts the joy back into your exercise program—when injury, imbalances, aging or other set backs have made “working out” a painful struggle rather than a natural source of pleasure. If you are interested in being part of the cutting edge of movement, Primal Move is it – not only is it a stand alone system, but it is easy to integrate into your own training, instruction and/or sport specific training immediately. Progressions and regressions make it accessible to all ages and levels of ability, while games make it the most fun you and your students will have had in a long time!

Back Spasms

7 Ways to Get Rid of Painful Back Spasms

Back spasms are common and painful. If you have them, you want to get rid of them, but how? Relax.


Truly, relaxing is the best way to stop a spasm. It can be difficult to do, let me help with ideas of how to do just that.


But first, what is a muscle spasm? It comes on when a muscle is overworked, stressed, or misused. It is the job of a muscle to contract, that’s what it does. Therefore, when it is stressed out it contracts.


Think of how you feel when you step out into the cold without a coat on. Your muscles tighten up, right? That’s the same as saying your muscles contract. If they stay in that condition very long it hurts. Pain is our bodies way of telling us something is wrong. Therefore, if you listen to your body, you get out of the cold.


So, a muscle spasm is the same thing, minus the cold. Most muscle pain is caused by strain to the muscle; overuse, misuse, or stress. Therefore, your muscles are telling you to stop what is causing the pain.

How do you stop that?  Relax, here are some suggestions of how:

  • It’s okay to say no
    • Let them, or teach them to, do it themselves
  • Let’s say you get stressed about being late
    • The person who wants you to go with them are notoriously late
    • Save the stress and go alone, go with someone else, or don’t go
  • Find your happy place and go there
    • Think of Hawaii, Jamaica, Guam, Italy…
    • Go sit in that overstuffed comfy chair downstairs
  • Take a bath, yes, even real men take baths.
    • Add Epsom Salt for added benefits (upcoming blog)
  • Take a walk
    • It doesn’t have to be in the woods or on the beach, down the block is fine
    • Pray, meditate, zone out
    • Whatever it is you are comfortable with that takes your mind off stressful things
  • Massage
    • Most massage is beneficial to spasms because it induces relaxation
    • Massage should not be painful, again, pain tells us something is wrong
    • If your therapist is leaving you in pain for days, there’s something wrong
  • Do something besides what is causing the stress
    • Identify what the cause is and take measures to stop/reverse it
    • Seek out a good psychotherapist if needed, talking to an unbiased person helps greatly to see the ‘truth’ of the situation

For more about pain click here.

Busy Busy Busy

Too busy to read this?


Think that over. What makes up your busyness?

  • Work
  • Running kids/family to and fro
  • House work
  • Caring for others
  • Volunteering


There are any number of things that take up our time in a day. As was pointed out to me by my pastor, Shon Smith, typically we are busy to look good and feel needed. That hit home with me.


Time has been eluding me lately because the location of my office changed. With moving and change comes stress. Looking at this helped me to see that the stress is because I feel the need to be ‘on’ all the time. New relationships to be made, new prospects for my business to win, and where is my stapler?


There are no kids here to run back and forth, however, I now run between home and office. Time is spent figuring out where things are, here or there, such as my stapler? My neighbors might see this busyness and think I am worth something.


Housework used to be easy because my house was my business and the business paid for the place to be cleaned. Now, it’s another thing to add to my busy schedule.


Caring for others, been there done that. Well wait; there are things I do for my husband. Oh, and then there are the others at work for whom I might do a chore or two to help. Then there is the person at church who needs a meal or a visit.


This segues into volunteering nicely, be it a chamber event, church function, or one of the organizations on whose board I sit, I volunteer. Heck, if I don’t who will?


I must admit I have an addictive personality and when Shon pointed out that busyness can be an addiction it hit me between the eyes. Sure, I don’t drink, smoke, drug, or gamble but boy I can put myself out there for anyone any time and it’s okay, right? Wrong!


My clients run and run until their body breaks down in tight muscle knots. When they come to me for relief, I do my best to explain to them that it is okay to take care of you. After all, if you don’t take care of you, you won’t be there for them. I don’t know how many times I say this to others in a week.


It is time that I stop pointing my accusing finger at them and ignoring the three pointing back at me (another sign of addiction, by the way). Thanks to Shon, I am making a confession here and now that I am addicted to busyness. I will take the next step in asking God to relieve me of this compulsion. I will take a hard look to see if my actions have harmed others and I will prepare to amend that relationship. Finally, daily I will ask God each day to guide my way and nudge me when I go astray.


How about you? You don’t have to go to my God, though he does love you, you can go to anything you see as bigger than you, a higher power. Something to which you are comfortable giving control over your actions or at least a portion of your life. If you need help, just ask, my schedule will be freeing up soon.