Category Archives: Health

One of the most widely known and most common exercises in the fitness world is the push-up. Used daily on Marine Corps Base Hawaii and in HIIT workouts everywhere, the push up is a very versatile upper body/full body workout. It’s equipment-free and generally just your body weight, unless you’re working towards an extra challenge and adding weight. You can do a normal push-up with your arms shoulder width apart, or you can opt for a wide push-up, incline push-up, decline push-up, diamond push-ups, or even tricep push-ups. The options are endless. Although the push-up is a low impact exercise for most of your body, they can cause aches and pains in your wrists and shoulders.

Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab in Kailua we treat patients every day that are doing push-ups on a regular basis from active-duty Marines, surfers and crossfitters. Wrist pain from push-ups is common and can often be attributed to poor form. The push-up is a full body workout which means that you should be using your core and keeping your entire body stable instead of putting all the work and pressure into your wrists and shoulders.

Although push-ups are common, that doesn’t mean that they are easy. According to Albert Matheny, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab in New York City, most people lack the core strength and control to do a proper push-up, even though many fake their way through it. The most important thing in a push-up is stabilization. If you can’t keep your body straight during the push-up, you may want to try an easy version like the incline push-up to start

To avoid getting wrist pain, don’t start doing 100 push-ups per day without getting your wrist mobility accustomed to the motions. To increase your wrist mobility, mention to your physical therapist that you are getting some wrist pain during planks and push-ups. Our PT’s here in Kailua will recommend that you do a Quadruped Wrist Extension and Flexion Stretch or other wrist exercises to gain full mobility and avoid aches and pains. Another great option to avoid wrist injury is to do a closed fist pushup or fingertip push-ups during one of your sets.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, or something doesn’t quite feel right after your workout, give us a call today at 488-5555 to make an appointment. Our physical therapists will work to create a personalized treatment plan to help you be pain free!

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that happens when people sustain and injury that involves nerve damage. Because of the nerve damage, it causes the peripheral and central nervous systems to send incorrect or jumbled messages to the brain. The result of these mixed signals is swelling in the legs and/or arms. Generally the pain starts in one limb and spreads to the other limb. Although it is a rare chronic pain condition, it’s a very painful one, be classified in a higher pain index than childbirth and amputation.

The pain is described as burning or throbbing pain in the limbs. It is most common in patients who have had an injury, a stroke, or a heart attack because nerve damage. Although it is attached to these certain conditions, doctors aren’t sure of an exact cause of CRPS. Not every patient suffering from the above conditions will get CRPS, and vice versa. The pain symptoms include: muscle spasms, sensitivity to touch, variations in body temperature, tight and shiny skin and bone issues. Since it is such a rare condition, the sooner it is diagnosed, the better. If medical care is put off, you may suffer from muscle atrophy or extreme muscle tightening. This can lead to immobility or weakening of your bones.

There are many medications that are available to help soothe the pain and symptoms while getting your nerves to heal and get back to full strength. Along with prescriptions, physical therapy is one of the best treatments for CRPS. Because of the initial sensitivity, it may be difficult for a massage therapist to work on a CRPS patient until their swelling and pain has gone down substantially. Like mentioned before, the exact cause and reasoning for CRPS is unsure, but two studies show that moving as soon as possible after a stroke and upping your Vitamin C intake after an injury can lessen the chances of CRPS.

Here at OSR we treat patients every day that are suffering from rare chronic pain conditions like Complex regional pain syndrome. If these symptoms sound familiar, contact your primary care physician as soon as possible. Give us a call today to set up your complimentary consultation with one of our physical therapists here in Kailua at 488-5555!

My name is Chalei Vannatta and I am one of the massage therapists here at Oahu Spine and Rehab!

Frequently, our patients here at OSR will ask me, ‘What made you want to become a massage therapist?”.

Rewind to younger Chalei. At 15, I was attending Hawaii National Guard Youth Challenge Academy. The Youth Challenge is a military based boarding school sponsored by the National Guard here on Oahu. The academy was created to help at risk youth and troubled teens ages 15-18 in Hawaii. The program includes living on the school campus for 6 months whilst having absolutely no contact with anyone outside the school.

The last two months at the Youth Challenge Academy are geared towards preparing you for the “real world” and to join the work force. To graduate, you had to be enlisted in the military, enrolled and accepted into college, or have a job secured. You could not graduate without having a concrete future set in place.

At the time, I did not attempt to enroll in college because I was planning on going into the military. On final day of college tours, my superior informed me that there was an opening to attend the college tour at Remington College. Another classmate that was attending the tour with me was interested in Remington’s Massage Therapy program, although being a Massage Therapist had never crossed my mind. Our tour guide from Remington gave us an overview of what the massage therapist program was all about. The program had a flexible schedule and he explained that your first month in the massage therapy program is a trial period, so that if massage wasn’t the career for you, you were able to look in other areas of the college. BOOM I was sold!

At the time, I was only 16 and to be active duty in the military you must be 18. Since I wasn’t legally old enough to enlist, I decided I would attend massage therapy school and pursue a military career afterwards. Much to my dismay, I ended up falling in love with massage therapy.  In my classes I began to really enjoy learning about the human anatomy and how all the functions of the muscle work. I had never realized how intricate our muscular system is and how all our muscles work together and are connected.  One concept that really stuck with me was that 9/10 times a patient is complaining of pain in a certain area, the pain is stemming from somewhere else.

We learned about all different styles of massage such as Thai, deep tissue, lomi lomi, shiatsu, traditional Chinese medicine, reflexology, hot stone, Cupping and trigger point massage like you have probably received here at OSR! I loved that in massage therapy there is always something new to learn and there were no limits to what issues a massage therapist could help.

Massage therapy also showed me that it was possible for me to really truly help people in pain. After I realized that I significantly reduced the pain in chronic pain patients, I was hooked. Her pain had decreased after our session and she was so grateful for me helping her. It made my heart so happy to know that I could help someone who had been in so much pain and agony for so long with just one massage session. When I first started massage therapy school, I thought that massages were just for special occasions and spa treatments, but what most people don’t realize is that massage have tons of benefits. From pain relief to stress relief, massage therapy can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Working at Oahu Spine & Rehab in Kailua, I have gotten the chance to help patients recovering from surgery, patients with chronic illnesses and chronic pain, to athletes and more. Massage therapy is more than a hobby or a job to me now, it’s a passion.

Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab we offer an array of services to help you live your life without aches and pains.

Give us a call today at 488-5555 to make an appointment.

Before and after a workout, it’s important to stretch, warm up your muscles and relieve tension in your muscles as a part of injury prevention. One of the best ways to do this is with a foam roller. Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab, our therapists work with foam rollers every day for things like posture correction and exercises. When you have a foam roller at home, there are endless possibilities. Foam rolling helps get the blood flowing into areas of your body as well as helps ease sore muscles.

If your muscles are sore from a workout, foam rolling after exercise can help break up the tension that is in your muscles. Not only can a foam roller be used in a physical therapy and exercise setting, but it can be used at home as an extra form of pain relief.  In between appointments, foam rolling can also provide relief to pain as a form of trigger point massage. There are tons of different ways that you can use the foam roller so that it is targeting different areas on your body that have chronic pain or are sore. On the infographic below provided by Physical Therapy Web, you will see numerous exercises as well as different types of foam rollers that are available.

Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab, we know the value of exercise equipment and how beneficial it can be to use a foam roller while at your appointments, as well as at home! If you don’t see the area you need on the graphic above, as your physical therapist at OSR for tips on how to use a foam roller for your pain. OSR is available Monday-Friday in Kailua for all of your Chiropractic, Massage Therapy, Physical Therapy and Weight Loss needs. Call us today at 488-5555 to make an appointment today.


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Spondylosis, also known as spinal osteoarthritis, is a degenerative condition of the spine. What does that mean? It means that enough wear and tear has occurred in the spine that the actual structures of the spine are changing and often causing significant symptoms. The disc, which is a supportive structure, cushions the spine and is responsible for creating space for the nerves to properly exit the spine, begin thinning, and can bulge, protrude, or herniate as they weaken. The vertebrae remodel, or change shape as degeneration progresses. Calcification (calcium deposits) occurs, forming bone spurs. All of these changes are significant when we consider the fact that they can affect the nerve space and the nerves themselves. They can begin to compress or “pinch” the nerve roots and the nerves causing serious symptoms. Pain and stiffness develops, which can be mild, moderate, or severe. Numbness and tingling, weakness are common, not only around the spinal region, but to the body parts that those nerves supply (arms, legs, head—causing headaches)

What are the causes of spondylosis? Age is one factor. As we get older, wear and tear has its effects. But it affects younger people as well. Trauma, high impact sports, repeated heavy lifting, genetics, obesity, and overuse are all factors as well.

How do you treat spondylosis? A multi-disciplinary or integrated approach is best. Physical therapy, chiropractic, rehab therapy, massage therapy, anti –inflammatory medications, pain management injections can all be of benefit. Surgery is rarely indicated except in very severe cases.  Alignment of the spine to take pressure off of the nerves and improve mobility of the spine will help as well as proper mobility exercises to regain flexibility, reduce stiffness, and improve posture. Medications and injections can give relief from pain and swelling. Massage therapy can reduce muscle spasm and tightness. This type of integrated approach is what we offer at Oahu Spine and Rehab. If you are suffering from pain, give us a call today at 488-5555!

We know that Oahu traffic can be pretty horrendous.  School drop-off time, rush hour, and even when headed to the beach on the weekends:  it can seem like we are fighting a battle behind the wheel.

Most people are probably not aware of the effect of driving on our spinal health.   Dr. Arthur White’s book The Posture Prescription describes studies in which people who drive for 20 minutes or more to work are far more likely to have back and neck pain than those who do not.  The reasons are unclear.  It may have as much to do with the auto’s vibrations during highway driving as much as the prolonged sitting.  Either way, the negative effects of driving on the spine are profound.

Most of us don’t have the luxury of living next door to our work!  And some of us even must drive on the job (delivery workers, bus drivers, etc).  So we all need to do everything possible to keep our spine protected while driving.


In general, car seats cause the pelvis to rotate backwards, causing the spine to go into excess flexion.  This forces the upper spine including the chest and shoulders go into a slumped position, thrusting the head and neck in front of the body’s line of gravity.  The neck is kinked in this position which accelerates any disk degeneration or arthritis.  What is worse is that over the years, this posture becomes a habit, intensifying the damage.

If your car has an adjustable lumbar support, use it!  Experiment to find what position maintains the best alignment for your spine.  If your car doesn’t have this, you can easily attain the right posture by having a small lumbar pillow in the hollow of the seat.


Driving is a perfect time for isometric abdominal exercises that strengthen the core and spine.  You can take advantage of especially long boring stretches of road to improve your muscle tone.  The Posture Prescription describes neat exercise called “The Dorsal Glide.”  To do this, you simply move your head as far forward as possible to a count of 5, keeping the chin parallel to the ground, and then pull it back slowly for another count of 5, as though you were a clucking chicken.  This can release a lot of strain.

Shoulder shrugs are also helpful while driving and are very helpful for those of us who carry a lot of tension in our necks.  Do do a shrug, draw your shoulders up towards your neck and hold a forced posture.  Then pull down on your shoulders by engaging the Latissimus muscles (along the sides of the rib cage) and feel the difference in the elongation of your neck.  Repeat as often as needed.  Pinched nerve pain from muscle spasm is often made better by this maneuver.

If you prefer a more passive type of exercise, you can do stretching at every stoplight or whenever you are stuck in traffic, not moving.  You can keep both hands on the wheel and tilt your head slowly left and right, bringing your left ear to your left shoulder, and right ear to right shoulder.  For a stronger stretch, use your right hand to reach over your head and cradle your left ear, and gently pull towards your right shoulder.  You will feel the muscle pull and it should feel good, and not too intense.

So even if you are stuck in the car for a long time, there are still things you can do to help your spine.  Fit bodies have fit spines!  And the fit driver is a more alert, and safer driver too – an excellent collateral benefit.

Here at Oahu Spine and Rehab our goal is to make you the healthiest version of  yourself, contact us today if you have any questions.

References:  Arthur White, MD The Posture Prescription, 2001 Three Rivers Press, New York


People everywhere exercise to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, lean out, and slim down, but working out has many benefits for your mental health as well. For the past 10-15 years scientists have questioned how exercise can boost your brain power and mood. Study after study shows that making time for exercise, even for as little as 30 minutes a day, can provide serious health benefits in regards to cognitive function, mental health, personal and professional relationships, and lead to a healthier and happier life overall.

Personally, I’m a runner. It started as a child growing up on a block with all boys and continues now on an almost daily basis. There’s something about being able to throw on a pair of tennis shoes and hit the door, pounding the pavement wherever I happen to be. It turns out I have quite an affinity for it and though I was never, nor will I ever, be a sprinter, I can run distance with the best of them. By mile 3 my mind is blissfully clear, and I am tired enough to think of only where my feet are landing and how many breaths I am taking. Throughout my life I have found that running is what I turn to in times of stress, happiness, and sadness. Back to school blues? Go for a run. Family drama? Go for a run. Man trouble? Go for a REALLY long run. If you’re not a runner, the following are 6 types of exercise in Hawaii that can get your blood pumping and happy juices flowing:

Yoga– a wonderful way to give back to your body as you ask of it. It increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system

Kayaking– as a silent, non-competitive sport, it’s also a great way to clear your head whether you are alone or with a partner

Hiking–  a recent study suggests that even a 90- minute stroll in a natural environment can lead to measurable changes in the brain, and may help combat depression

Swimming– for just half an hour three times a week swimming can lower stress levels, raise mood, lower incidences of depression and anxiety, and improve sleep patterns

Surfing– as a form of therapy surfing is gaining traction as a form of treatment for PTSD and because it requires so much of your energy and attention, it can be a wonderful distraction

Snorkeling- according to the Mayo Clinic snorkeling regularly may help you feel more calm and at ease through simple relaxation as the controlled mouth breathing required is similar to many meditative breathing techniques

Whether you’re a runner, walker, or somewhere in between think about raising your heart rate for your mental health. Your body and brain will thank you! Here at OSR we know that cardio is important for your overall health including your mental health. If you are suffering from pain, give us a call at 488-5555!


During pregnancy, many women experience low back pain, especially as they progress further into their term.  However, to properly treat the pain, it is important to distinguish if the pain is coming from their lumbar spine or their sacroiliac (SI) joint.  The SI joint is where our pelvic bone (ilium) attaches to our spine (sacrum).  The purpose of this joint is for shock absorption and for motion to occur smoothly between the pelvis and spine.  This is one of the least mobile joints in our body, moving only about 2-3 millimeters.

During pregnancy, however, woman produces hormones that causes ligaments across this joint to loosen up to allow expansion of the birthing canal.  Laxity increases as delivery of the baby nears and the SI joint relaxes further.  When these ligaments loosen, the SI joint moves excessively and can cause pain felt in the low back and give a sensation as if your leg is giving out on you.  Pain is usually felt primarily just below the dimples of our low back and is most exacerbated with activities requiring single leg standing such as getting in/out of cars, standing on one leg to put pants on,  and when descending or ascending stairs.  Muscles surrounding the hips and pelvic can get very tight due to increase demands for them to try to stabilize the joint, thus contributing to more pain.


Here at OSR, we use our integrated care philosophy to address SI joint dysfunction.  Our medical department can prescribe chiropractic care to help realign the joint and PT/rehab to strength muscles to stabilize the SI joint and stretch those that may limit mobility and cause pain.  A sacroiliac joint belt and/or trigger point injections may also be indicated.  Our treatment is always based on medical necessity, but it is also important to look up your insurance benefits to know what is or is not covered. If you or someone you know are experiencing SI joint pain, give us a call and we can help you or them work on having a pain-free pregnancy!



  1. Sharma, Ajit. Identification and Effectiveness of Physical Therapy Interventions for Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction in Pregnanat and Nonpregnant Adults: A Systemic Review.
  2. Voight, ML, Hoogenboom, BJ, Prentice, WE. (eds). Musculoskeletal Interventions, Techniques for Therapeutic Exercise, 2nd edition. McGraw-Hill Medical Publishing, 2007






Protein shakes, protein bars, protein ice cream, protein cookies…

What’s the deal with protein? Why are we seeing it EVERYWHERE? Why is protein essential for the body and how much should you be consuming?

Today we live in a society where appearances and body image rules. “She’s too skinny”, “She’s too fat”, “Did he skip leg day again?”  We are constantly bombarded with images of the “perfect” body, the nicest skin, most beautiful hair and big bulging muscles. Marketing strategies tell us we aren’t good enough unless we mirror these images. Unfortunately, lack of self-confidence and body image issues create a large market for fad diets, supplements and the latest exercise trends.

You want to stay healthy but how do you know which diet works? How does one differentiate the latest fad from science based facts? Research.

Research shows that consuming adequate levels of protein positively effects the development and maintenance of muscle growth, along with providing a decreased recovery time needed to perform repeated bouts of exercise.

Protein has also been tested and proven to aid in appetite suppression as well as decrease levels of blood sugar.

According to the US National Library of Medicine, proteins not only function at a muscular level but are also responsible for the function of antibodies, enzymes, and some hormones in the body. “Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. [..] Your muscles, your organs, and your immune system are made up mostly of protein.”

This means that our bodies need protein to function but again, how much protein is the right amount of protein? This all depends on YOU, your gender, age, height, weight, activity level and exercise goals. Recommendations from Harvard Health, state that “The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.” However, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that taking up to twice the RDA is safe.

So now that we understand how important protein is to our wellbeing, how do we reach optimal levels of intake? This is where our decision making skills and good ol’ marketing friends meet.

If you choose to consume your protein based on a “whole foods” approach you can find essential proteins in animal products like meats and eggs as well as a combination of vegetables, legumes and nuts. If you choose to supplement your diet with protein products there is a wide range of tasty (and some not so tasty) bars, shakes and varied goodies to choose from on the market.

It is important to understand that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and that just because something is labeled as “high protein” does not mean it’s necessarily healthy. Always check nutrition facts for a wide range of macro nutrients (fats, proteins, carbs) and be sure that the sugar content is relatively low.

Next time you pick up a snack, ask yourself if you’ve had enough protein for the day.



Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab, we know that protein is important in your day to day life. Many Americans don’t know know exactly how much protein they need which is why it’s a great idea to check your intake! If you are suffering from pain, give us a call today at 488-5555 to make an appointment!


Protein RDA. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from

Harvard Health. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from

Kids Health. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from

Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2017, August 03). Retrieved from

Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from




The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. The nerve runs from both sides of the lower spine deep through your buttocks and down the back of your thigh to your foot. Being the longest nerve, it connects the spine to your foot and leg muscles. Any time there is pain felt along the sciatic nerve, you are diagnosed with sciatica.

It is most commonly caused by nerve compression in your lower back. A lot of different lower back problems can lead to pain in your sciatic nerve and symptoms that add to back pain. If you are dealing with a herniated disc in your lower back, that could also be the cause of your sciatica pain.

The symptoms include:

  • Radiating pain in the lower back and down the back of the thighs
  • Numbness or tingling in your legs
  • Burning or prickling feeling in your lower back, feet or legs
  • Muscle weakness in affected leg or both legs

Sciatica pain can be a dull ache, or a sharp searing pain that radiates and is worse when standing or sitting still. If any of these symptoms sounds like something that you may be suffering from, it’s important to go to your primary care physician or come to Oahu Spine & Rehab in Kailua in order to make sure sciatica nerve pain is what you are feeling.

How to treat Sciatica:

Three of the most common treatments for sciatica are chiropractic care, physical therapy and massage therapy. Our chiropractor here at OSR will be able to tell if a herniated disc is the cause of your sciatic pain. Our physical therapists will be able to show you what may be the most important part of your treatment which is STRETCHING. If you’re dealing with muscle spasms with your sciatica, your massage therapists will be able to perform trigger point massage on your sciatic nerve and release some of the tension.

Thanks to, we have a great infographic showing some of the best stretches for your sciatica pain.


Infographic from:

Here at OSR we treat patients with sciatica every day! If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, give us a call today to schedule an appointment at 488-5555!

Blog photo from:

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