New Dress Code, Maybe?!


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I want, want, want… And would totally wear these at my office. Lol ūüėč

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“Neutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!” ~ Me

If you like this post, please share with others by using the social media links below. Feel free to check out my website as well, and thanks in advance for your continued support!

New & Improved Website Update

Well, hello there… It has been a LONG time¬†since I last published a post and thought the best way for me to hopefully get-back-at-it is to let you know that I have a new and improved website; along with a new domain name and e-mail address. I am finally “mobile” now, too. Yay, lol!

Even though I have several re-directs, my main URL is now I thought that was much more fitting than the I have used for the past 10 years… Not personally much of an endurance runner, although I try on occassion, but that is a long story I am sure you can do without. Hehehe.

Anyway, that is all for now. Until next time…

P.S. Did I mention my new website is still a little Under Construction? ūüėČ

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‚ÄúNeutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain free!‚Ä̬†~ Me

If you like this post, please share with others by using the social media links below. Feel free to check out my website as well, and thanks in advance for your continued support!

The Sciatic Nerve


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I’ve had many clients come to me over the years requesting help with sciatic-type pain; either after having been diagnosed with “sciatica” or from assuming that it could be such. Unfortunately, it’s been made very clear to me that many people‚ÄĒthe healthcare industry included‚ÄĒaren’t aware that discrepancies in certain muscles could mimic sciatica. I’m not at all saying that true sciatica couldn’t be the case, but my goal is to provide you with additional information to consider when it comes to the sciatic nerve, the muscles around it, and how¬†PNMT¬†can help you to become pain-free.¬†First I’ll start off with the anatomy and then I’ll go into other details.

The sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body, is actually comprised of two nerves‚ÄĒtibial and common fibular (a.k.a. common peroneal)‚ÄĒwhich splits into two divisions, usually at the knee. Per Tortora & Derrickson (11th Edition), the nerve root origin is as follows…

  • Sciatic:¬†L4, L5, S1, S2, S3
  • Tibial:¬†L4, L5, S1, S2, S3
  • Common Fibular:¬†L4, L5, S1, S2
    * (Click here for a dermatome chart: dermatome meaning the area of skin that provides sensory input to the central nervous system.)

As the sciatic nerve descends down the thigh, it sends branches to the hamstring muscles and the adductor magnus. At the knee, the distribution to additional muscles is as follows…

  • Tibial:¬†Gastrocnemius, plantaris, soleus, popliteus, tibialis posterior, flexor digitorum longus, and flexor hallucis longus. It then divides into the medial plantar and lateral plantar branches:
    РMedial Plantar: Abductor hallucis, flexor digitorum brevis, and flexor hallucis brevis.
    РLateral Plantar: Quadratus plantae, abductor digiti minimi, flexor digiti minimi brevis, three lateral lumbricals, dorsal interossei, plantar interossei, and adductor hallicus.
  • Common Fibular:¬†Divides into the superficial fibular and deep fibular branches:
    РSuperficial Fibular: Fibularis longus and fibularis brevis.
    РDeep Fibular: Tibialis anterior, extensor halluscis longus, fibularis tertius, extensor digitorum longus, and extensor digitorum brevis.

What could happen when the sciatic nerve is affected? Well, here’s what Tortora & Derrickson stated in their 11th Edition book…

Sciatic nerve injury, the most common form of back pain, is caused by compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Pain may extend from the buttock down the posterior and lateral aspect of the leg and the lateral aspect of the foot. It may be injured because of a herniated (slipped) disc, dislocated hip, osteoarthritis of the lumbosacral spine, pressure from the uterus during pregnancy, inflammation, irritation, or an improperly administered gluteal intramuscular injection.

To take it a step further and per my¬†Precision Neural Mobilization¬†training manual, a¬†normal¬†response from the sciatic nerve during a deep stretch, for example, could result in a sensation down the posterior thigh which may extend into the calf and foot. On the other hand, there are indications and causative factors that could result in¬†abnormal¬†responses. They are as follows…

Now back to some muscles and PNMT….

The¬†gluteus minimus,¬†piriformis, and¬†hamstrings¬†are a few muscles that can mimic sciatica.¬†Trigger points¬†(click¬†here¬†and¬†here¬†for previous posts on TrP’s‚ÄĒand please note that the muscles below, in bold, link to webpages that show TrP referral patterns) in the¬†gluteus minimus¬†can refer pain all the way down the side of the leg; usually stemming from the anterior fibers. TrP’s in the¬†piriformis¬†can send pain from the buttocks down the back of the thigh; however, the pain doesn’t go past the knee‚ÄĒit is also well known for its ability to entrap the sciatic nerve, so any tightness will produce sciatic symptoms. TrP’s in the hamstrings can also send pain down the back of the thigh.¬†Travell reports that there are “rare” cases where the sciatic nerve is entrapped between two heads of the¬†hamstring¬†attachments on the ischial tuberosity; however,¬†this¬†study by Kari Saikku, Jarkko Vasenius, and Pekka Saar from the University Central Hospital in Helsinki, Finland found that this sort of entrapment “is not extremely rare.”

At the end of the day, muscular discrepancies within the muscular-skeletal system can in fact mimic sciatic-type symptoms‚ÄĒand I want you to be aware of this, especially if you have tried every other option out there to no avail. There are more holistic and non-invasive approaches to treating pain and dysfunction, and PNMT is a prime example. By taking just a few measurements to see how a person’s body is aligned, a trained therapist can ascertain what muscles are pulling where, and treat the affected muscles to help the individual to become pain-free again.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

As always, I hope you find this information informative… And more importantly, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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‚ÄúNeutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain-free‚Ä̬†~ Me

If you like this post, please share with others by using the social media links below. Feel free to check out my website as well, and thanks in advance for your continued support!

Do You Clench And/Or Grind Your Teeth?


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Back in June of this year, I wrote a post on TMD: Temporomandibular Disorder, specifying causes and symptoms related to temporomandibular joint pain and dysfunction. This post will be about clenching and grinding, and the effects it can have on your jaw and teeth. Keep in mind that I am obviously not trained in dentistry, which is why I will publicize a top-notch dentist in my area; one that I have been going to for years, and refer my clients to when the need arises. More on him later though.

Clenching and grinding, also known as bruxism, has caused some problems for me over the years. Not only has it seriously affected the musculature around my jaw, it has also given rise to non-natural contours and slight fracturing in my teeth.

Bruxism can be defined as either diurnal or nocturnal: diurnal is during the day, often stress related and easier to treat; nocturnal is at night, not under conscious control, which in turn can be a devastating habit causing great pain in the TMJ and also ruin the teeth.

Sleep bruxism often exerts remarkably powerful forces on teeth, gums, and joints. One estimate puts it at three times the forces generated during chewing (Castaneda, 1992, p. 46), while another puts it at ten times, powerful enough to crack a walnut. ‚ÄĒ Dr. Moti Nissani, 2000

According to the link directly above, Dr. Nissani also states that bruxism may lead to the following…

  • Sensitive, worn-out, decayed, fractured, loose, or missing teeth (McGuire and Nunn, 1996).
  • Broken down enamel, and in long-term bruxers, may reduce teeth to stumps.
  • Yellowish and softer dentin as opposed to white enamel cover.
  • The back teeth losing their cusps and natural contours; instead of appearing flat, they look as if they were worked over with a file or sandpaper.
  • Bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures.

By 40 or 50 years of age, most bruxers . . . have worn their teeth to the degree that extensive tooth restorations must be performed. ‚ÄĒ Christensen, 1999

Now back to the AWESOME dentist I briefly mentioned at the beginning of my post. Dr. Alex M. Della Bella has been my dentist for 10+ years; helping me with anything from shaping my somewhat jagged-edged front teeth to making an occlusal guard for the clenching and grinding. In addition to me treating my own “adaptively shortened” jaw muscles intra-orally to help with TMD related pain (I’m trained in that), I can’t express enough how much an occlusal guard has helped me in preventing further damage to my pearly whites‚ÄĒthose coming to fruition via the ZOOM! In-Office Whitening process.

Dr. Alex Della Bella: The official dentist to the Cincinnati Red’s

If you live in Cincinnati, Ohio‚ÄĒor the surrounding areas‚ÄĒand feel you suffer from bruxism, I highly recommend you contact Dr. Della Bella’s office at 513.793.1977 for support in getting things under control. You can also request an appointment directly through this link. If you’re looking for other dentistry services,¬†Dr. Della Bella also specializes in the following…

  • Cosmetic Dentistry – Tooth Bonding, Porcelain Veneers, Whitening, Tooth Jewelry, ZOOM! In-Office Whitening
  • Restorative Dentistry – Crowns, Partial Crowns, Tooth Colored Resin Restorations
  • Preventative Dentistry – Athletic Mouthguard, Fluoride, Fluoride Varnish, Occlusal Guard, Oral Hygiene Instruction, Routine Maintenance, Sealants, Velscope Oral Cancer Examination
  • Sports Dentistry – Athletic Mouthguard, Injury Management Card, Pro Football Program, Traumatic Injury Management, Under Armour Performance Mouthwear
  • Sleep Disorder Management – Tap Appliance, Somnomed Appliance
  • Reconstructive Dentistry – Fixed Replacement of Missing Teeth (Bridges), Full and Partial Removable Dentures, Implants
  • Orthodontics – Invisalign
  • Periodontal Therapy – Arestin, Oraqix, Scaling and Root Planing, Soft Tissue Management

In closing, between Dr. Della Bella’s 25+ years in the dental field, and mine‚ÄĒhmmm… only about five years ;-)‚ÄĒin advanced soft tissue therapy for TMJ pain and dysfunction, I feel we make a great team in helping people manage their pain and dysfunction related to TMD. Here’s what he has to say…

Temporomandibular joint pain and dysfunction is best handled in a very conservative manner by competent, experienced professionals.  When an experienced dentist teams up with an experienced therapist, like Nicole, the level of success attained is usually enhanced because the problem can be addressed using various, conservative methods.

As always, I hope you find this information informative! ūüôā

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‚ÄúNeutral balance alignment is key to becoming pain-free‚Ä̬†~ Me

If you like this post, please share with others by using the social media links below. Feel free to check out my website as well, and thanks in advance for your continued support!


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Yay! It’s AMTA’s National Massage Therapy Awareness Week.

Go get yours today! ūüôā

Nicole K. Ftacnik, L.M.T., C.P.N.M.T.

October 21-27 is American Massage Therapy Association’s (AMTA) 16th annual National Massage Therapy Awareness Week (NMTAW).

What is NMTAW?

National Massage Therapy Awareness Week was created by AMTA to raise public awareness of the benefits of therapeutic massage, attract media attention to nationwide activities being carried out by AMTA chapters, professional members, students and schools as an opportunity to demonstrate their professionalism and skill. It is an excellent opportunity for AMTA members across the country to share the importance of consumers choosing AMTA members because they are highly qualified professionals who contribute to the heath and well-being of the public through massage.

Here are a few links to documents that the AMTA has put together for consumer awareness…
‚Äď AMTA Consumer Fact Sheet
‚Äď Living Right: Talking to Your Physician about Massage
‚Äď Massage Therapy Research Roundup

As a consumer, you can also¬†subscribe¬†to AMTA‚Äôs ‚Äúe-touch‚ÄĚ Consumer E-Newsletter to keep‚Ķ

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