Monthly Archives: February 2015

Dealing with persistent injuries and pain, once and for all!

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of people with persistent chronic pain which has generally resulted from past injury or a seemingly innocuous event. The stories vary (thank goodness, or my job would be an uber boring one, with likeness to the movie " Groundhog Day"), but the common thread is that this pain has been treated beforehand, without much success. Before I go any further, let me clarify that this post is NOT in any way going to be about how think I am "better than everyone else who hasn't successfully helped you live pain free," but rather about 1) giving you a better understanding as to why therapy hasn't always been very successful for you, and 2) presenting better alternatives to deal with your pain once and for all! So, let's get started!

The REAL issue..

…Doesn't  always start in the area where the pain is, but rather originates in the motor contol centre in the cerebellum. That's right! Another way of explaining this would be to describe that in most of these cases, the muscle compensations have occurred in your body because something (either a subluxation, a trauma, a scar, a leg length discrepancy, etc..) happened at some point in your life and this has caused certain muscles to become inhibited. "Inhibited" is another way of saying that these muscles have gone "out to lunch" for a while. Your body loves you and wants you to keep going and doing whatever is is that you do, even if it means that your are going to have to move in some  some dysfunctional patterns. These dysfunctional patterns cause certain muscles to overwork and get very tired and stressed. Think about how frustrated you get when circumstances dictate that you now have to do YOUR job, and someone else's…for  the same wage! Also, there is always the issue where your brain learns by repetition, and will continue to operate in a dysfunctional pattern if it is not otherwise corrected!

Where most therapies fail

Most therapeutic models follow a standard of releasing tight muscles in order to free the body. However, in some cases, a muscle that feels tight may be weak or may be compensating for another. So you can see how inhibiting or releasing an already weak or overactive structure, without giving a reason to fire (or do his job) might be a bad idea! Indeed, a better way of addressing this issue would simply be to determine and localize which muscles aren't firing optimally, and which muscles are compensating. This will allow us to change the firing pattern in the brain, in such a way that the motor control centre directs their corrected completion through the spinal cord and the muscles. Sound simple? Well it is and it isn't! LOL.. It is simple on one hand, in that once we have found  who the major trouble maker is, we can devise a plan to correct the relationship. On the other hand, long term correction will require due diligence on your part, by doing your prescribed stretches and activation exercises, and religiously sticking to the plan!

 AHHH..Pain free at last!!

In conclusion, while releasing tight muscles will no doubt provide temporary relief, a long term solution is to correct the firing  patterns, as directed by your brain, to stop dysfunctional patterns from creating the muscular imbalances that may be at the bottom of your chronic pain.

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5 Stretches For Your Plantar Fasciitis

This nasty little cycle may cause the patient to be 'in pain at least somewhere' nearly constantly (read: don't be surprised if your hips start to hurt, your Piriformis starts flaring, your shoulders become impinged and your neck hurts constantly!) This is bad, yes.. but the good news is that this can all be changed gradually by having a professional perform Deep Tissue Massage, or ART to break-up the adhesions and forming scar tissue in the Fascia, as a means to restore the appropriate length in the tissue, and also by encouraging the tissue to lengthen every day, by performing the following stretches:


Long Sitting Stretch 

1) Sit on the floor with your legs  stretched out in front of you

2) Loop a towel around the top of your affected foot3) Pull the towel towards you until a stretch is felt across the bottom of your foot4) Hold for 30 seconds then relax - repeat 10 times


Achilles Stretch

1) Stand facing a wall and place your hands straight out on the wall

2) Step back with your affected foot keeping it flat on the floor

3) Move the other leg forward and slowly lean in toward the wall

4) Stop when you feel a stretch through the calf

5) Hold for 30 seconds then relax - repeat 10 times


Stair Stretch

1) Stand on a step on the balls for your feet

2) Hold the rail for balance

3) Slowly lower the heel of the injured foot until a stretch is felt

4) Hold for 30 seconds then relax - repeat 10 times


Can roll

1) Roll your injured foot (without a shoe on) back and forth from the tip of the toes to the heel over a can

2) Repeat ten times in both directions


Toe Stretch

1) Sit on the floor with your knee bent and foot flat on the floor

2) Pull the toes back on the injured foot until stretch across the arch is felt

3) Hold for 30 seconds then relax - repeat 10 times

There you go! Incorporate these stretches to your daily routine, upon waking and before going to sleep and you will be able to better manage and eventually correct the adaptive shortening in the tissue, causing your pain! Happy Stretching!





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5 common mistakes you are may be making while foam rolling

Foam rolling can be useful to help minimize the amount of adhesions in your connective tissue between massage sessions. These adhesions can eventually create points of weakness in the tissue, as tissue that isn't contracting uniformly from one end to the other, could lead to muscular imbalances, injuries and pain. Foam rolling can also lead to better mobility by increasing blood flow in your tissues, and may help with recovery after a tough workout.

Indeed, foam rolling has a tremendous potential to help you move and feel better until your next appointment… but here is the catch: ONLY if it is done properly, as you may otherwise risk irritating or injuring your body further.

So, In the interest of helping you, help me in turning you into a "ninja", and also because I do not want you to come back and say to me "but Chanty, YOU told me to use a foam roller and I hurt myself!", here is a short list of five common mistakes people often make while using a foam roller, ok? :)

Mistake #1: You roll directly where you feel pain.
When we feel pain, our first inclination is to massage that spot directly. However, this might be a big mistake. “Areas of pain are the victims that result from tension imbalances in other areas of the body,”
Let’s take the IT band, for example. Foam rolling is a commonly prescribed remedy for iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). While religiously rolling out your IT band might feel good, he idea that you are going to relax or release the IT band is a misconception. The phrase roll out your IT band itself makes it sound like you are rolling out a piece of dough, but your IT band is anything but pliable. It’s a remarkably strong piece of connective tissue, and research has shown that it cannot be released or manipulated by manual techniques such as foam rolling. If you iron out areas of inflammation, you can increase inflammation. And if you are in pain, your body will be too stressed to repair itself.
The fix: Go indirect before direct. If you find a spot that’s sensitive, it’s a cue to ease away from that area by a few inches. Take time and work a more localized region around areas that feel sore before using larger, sweeping motions. For the IT band, work on the primary muscles that attach to the IT band first — specifically the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle in the buttocks) and the tensor fasciae latae (a muscle that runs along the outer edge of the hip).
Mistake #2: You roll too fast.
While it might feel great to roll back and forth on a foam roller quickly, you’re not actually eliminating any adhesions that way.
The fix: Go slower so that the superficial layers and muscles have time to adapt and manage the compression. Feel where the tender spots are with the roller, and use short, slow rolls over that spot. There’s no reason to beat up the whole muscle if there are only a few sensitive areas.
Mistake #3: You spend too much time on those knots.
We’re often told that if you feel a knot, spend time working that spot with the foam roller. However, some people will spend five to 10 minutes or more on the same area and attempt to place their entire body weight onto the foam roller. If you place sustained pressure on one body part, you might actually hit a nerve or damage the tissue.
The fix: “Spend 20 seconds on each tender spot then move on. You can also manage how much body weight you use. For example, when working your IT band, plant the foot of your leg on the floor to take some of the weight off the roller.
Mistake #4: You have bad posture.
Wait, what does your posture have to do with foam rolling? A lot. You have to hold your body in certain positions over the roller, and that requires a lot of strength. When rolling out the IT band, for example, you are supporting your upper body weight with one arm. When you roll out the quads, you are essentially holding a plank position. If you don’t pay attention to your form or posture, you may exacerbate pre-existing postural deviations and cause more harm.
The fix: Work with an experienced personal trainer, or coach who can show you proper form and technique. Or, consider setting up your smartphone to videotape yourself while foam rolling, suggests Howard. That way, you can see what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong, like sagging in the hips or contorting the spine.
Mistake #5: You use the foam roller on your lower back.
You should NEVER foam roll your lower back. Your spine will freak out and all the spinal muscles will contract and protect the spine
The fix: Use the foam roller on your upper back because the shoulder blades and muscles protect the spine. Once you hit the end of the rib cage, stop. If you want to release your lower back, try child’s pose or foam roll the muscles that connect to your lower back . TIP: Pay special attention to the piriformis (a muscle located deep within the glutes), hip flexors and rectus femoris (one of the main muscles in your quads).
Most importantly, understand what the origin of your pain is before you start. Know what you are trying to achieve through foam rolling and how to do it properly.  

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