Category Archives: Chantal Milot RMT Blog

Do You Have Nagging Pain Between Your Shoulders?

It’s quite common to have patients in clinic with a nasty, nagging pain that presents between the spinal column and the medial border of the scapula.

There can be several reasons for this, meaning, it could be muscle tightness, muscle weakness, myofascial trigger point build up, nerve entrapments, etc. All these issues are manageable, given the right strategy. That being said, even though we get results within treatments, in many cases it’s only a matter of time before the same issue is back, and causing us the same nagging pain that stops us from performing well at the gym, at work, and just in life. So that leaves us wondering, are we treating the source of the problem, or just superficial symptoms?

To explain this further, we'd need to get into a bit of anatomy and physiology. The Rhomboid muscle is one of the many muscles in that area. It's main job is to stabilize the Scapula,  and to foster a solid foundation for the arm to move and transfer energy. If the Scapula is stable, all goes well, and efficient pulling and pushing power is possible.  iI the Scapula is unstable however, our shoulder muscles lose their delivery power and become stabilizers in an attempt to keep the shoulder joint safe. If this happens, we don’t only lose pushing and pulling power, but we lose tons of mobility, and the shoulder itself  tends to become stiff. This is basically a safe-guarding strategy of the nervous system to avoid further injury, so that stiffness is actually a good thing because it’s telling you that something is wrong, and that the wrong thing isn’t necessarily at the shoulder, but generally somewhere else..

So, to put it simply,  when the Rhomboids have been working too hard for too long,  in trying to keep the Scapula stable, they tend to build trigger points which cause all of those nasty pain-like symptoms along the middle of the back on the same side of the issue.

So what now? Well, releasing a weak muscle may only make the entire situation worse as it would contribute to making  this muscle even LESS capable of keeping the Scapula stable. (so basically, it is now weak AND unstable).  In doing this, we would be forcing the Rhomboids to work even harder,  therefore likely  building more trigger points and creating more issues in the shoulder and everything around  it, or  that works along with it. Not good!

So now, this leaves us with the question: Why are the Rhomboids so tight? Why are trigger points being created? So glad you asked!  To answer this, we'll first have to go into a little anatomy: The Rhomboids aren’t the only muscle that influence scapular stability. The middle fibers of the Trapezius muscles – or just the mid-traps – can also stabilize the Scapula medially. The Trapezius (or mid-traps) are more involved in actual movement of the Scapula as they help move the Scapula medially towards the center of the body (towards the spine). These muscles are commonly  weak in  people due to bad posture, too much chest exercises, too little posterior work, sedentarysm, etc. If they aren’t working enough, they tend to leave the Rhomboids working by themselves, causing dysfunctional patterns and muscle imbalances.

So no,  you can’t just release the Rhomboids without activating the mid-traps; you need them working together; you need to down-regulate one, and immediately up-regulate the other. It’s all about balance and homeostasis. If you only massage the area, you’ll definitely get the mid-trap first since it’s more superficial. If you use a lacrosse ball or a foam roller, you still have to go through the mid-traps. If you just constantly rub the area, you might just irritate the whole area even more. Soft tissue release techniques such as Functional release or Active Release Technique (ART) are the only manual therapy that can affect deeper muscles without compromising the most superficial ones. How? It is all about movement, about the relative movement that is provided by both the therapist and the patient. ART uses highly skilled movement techniques that isolates and moves certain muscles while keeping others at rest. This technique applies to muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, nerves, and even vascular structures.

So how do we know if this particular case applies to you? Well, we don’t know. We must assess and go from there.  Thats said, let us take you through the right assessment and we’ll determine the right technique, and the right rehab option for you. Even with all the information available on the internet, today.. there is sadly no "one size fits all" or fail proof recipe, when it comes to  personalized treatment.

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How Massage Therapy May Help Fight Fatigue and Promote Faster Recovery.

Sleep

It has long been suggested that massage therapy is good for us and that it can reduce our fatigue and increase our energy. While massage does not directly increase energy, it does reduce fatigue and often decreases the symptoms that sap our energy, resulting in our feeling better. Massage therapy has been shown to increase circulation, reduce stress, pain and depression, improved sleep and our immunity – all of which make us feel better, more energized and less fatigued!

Swedish Massage and Deep Tissue Massage

There are many different modalities of massage therapy but most are familiar with Swedish massage, which includes long, gliding strokes that improve circulation – and deep tissue massage. Deep tissue massage uses techniques such as cross-fiber friction to break up adhesions in the muscles; slow, deep strokes and pin-and-stretch techniques to lengthen and stretch muscle fibers; along with ischemic compression on trigger points to release them.

Both of these styles of massage share the same benefits to muscle, as the differences lie in the degree to which they focus on each benefit. For example, Swedish offers greater stress and pain reduction and improved sleep, while deep tissue may do more to reduce pain and muscle tension. Most massage therapists will combine these two styles to maximize the therapeutic benefit for their client by doing Swedish massage in general and using deep tissue techniques on specific areas that need work.

Ischemic Compression

Another technique that has proved to be effective in aiding muscle recovery post-exercise is compression. While ischemic compression is technically what is used to release trigger points, it is done on a very small, point-specific scale intended to release the muscle by releasing the trigger point. Broad muscle ischemic compression applied to the whole muscle or muscle group soon after completion of exercise (after running or weightlifting) has been shown to improve and speed up recovery for further performance and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.

Increase Energy By Increasing Muscle Recovery

Sports massage is essentially a collection of techniques proven to aid in the recovery of exhausted muscles, either to enable further performance or to reduce or prevent delayed onset soreness. Muscle will recover on its own as a natural process, so all we really need to do to assist this process is increase circulation, flushing out lactic acid and bringing in fresh oxygen rich blood. Swedish gliding strokes and broad muscle compression (think pumping action) all serve to increase circulation, thereby speeding the recovery of muscle tissue and performance. Research has confirmed that athletes who received massage post-exercise recovered faster and with less soreness.

Faster Muscle Recovery Equals Less Fatigue.

Increase Energy By Reducing Pain

Studies have shown that massage therapy can reduce pain and fatigue both from illness and muscle use. Studies in the clinical setting have shown that massage reduced pain levels and improved function by analyzing qualitative data. Overall pain was reduced significantly and improvements in emotional well-being, relaxation, and ability to sleep were all associated with the reduction in pain. We have all experienced pain that interrupts our ability to focus and even sleep, and can understand how this results in feeling exhausted by the end of the day.

By relieving pain, massage therapy relieves fatigue and indirectly improves our energy levels.

Increase Energy By Reducing Stress and Depression

Clinical trials have shown massage therapy to alleviate depressive symptoms in general and to alleviate depression in those with fibromyalgia. There is an overall statistically significant association between receiving massage therapy and improved levels of perceived stress and depression.

As general fatigue and malaise – as well as low energy – are all associated with both stress and depression, alleviating these symptoms through the use of massage therapy, in turn, increases energy in the recipient.

Increase Energy By Improving Sleep

While over one quarter of us suffer from the occasional bad night’s sleep, almost 10% of Americans experience chronic sleep loss, known as insomnia. As a critical function, sleep impacts our mood, our ability to function mentally and make decisions. Even the success of our social interactions are affected by our quality of sleep, all of which greatly impacts our overall feelings of well-being, our energy levels and the levels of fatigue we may experience.

Research has shown that massage therapy can improve sleep quality and duration in children, cancer patients and those suffering from fibromyalgia. And it can certainly aid healthy adults who are stressed out to get a decent night’s rest!

By reducing stress and pain levels and bringing the body into a state of relaxation, many people are able to finally reach a state of healing sleep, improving energy levels overall and reducing fatigue.

Massage therapy reduces the chronic symptoms of pain, depression and sleep deprivation that that sap our energy. Massage helps us to feel better and function more efficiently.

 

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False Sciatica

" False Sciatica" a.k.a "Piriformis Syndrome", refers to pain that begins in the hip and buttocks and continues all the way down the leg. This condition is often accompanied by low back pain, which can be more or less severe than the leg pain. In addition to pain, other sensations include spasms, tingling or numbness along the sciatic nerve that can travel down the hamstrings, legs and feet. These symptoms can be bilateral or can occur on one side.

What causes False Sciatica?

The cause of Sciatica can range from a misaligned vertebra or disc, to tightened muscles surrounding these structures, to tightened muscles anywhere along the length of the sciatic nerve. It is called true sciatica when a herniated lumbar disc compresses one of the contributing roots of the sciatic nerve. It is called false sciatica when contracted musculature in the buttocks or lower extremity compresses the sciatic nerve. The symptoms are the same for true or false sciatica.

The sciatic nerve passes through a mass of the hip’s external rotator muscles. The sciatic nerve exits the greater sciatic foramen and can run superficial to, deep to or even through the pirformis muscle. Spasm in the piriformis muscle can cause compression on the sciatic nerve sending pain, tingling and numbness down the posterior leg. This description falls into the category of false sciatica and is referred to as piriformis muscle syndrome.

Sciatica

False Piriformis Syndrome

Piriformis Syndrome is sometimes referred to as “back pocket” sciatica. People that keep a wallet in their back pocket and sit on it throughout the day often develop symptoms of pain in the rear and down the leg. The extra pressure on the buttocks can cause tightening of the buttock muscles which can compress the sciatic nerve. In “back pocket” sciatica, the removal of the offending wallet usually brings relief.

Treatment

In general,  soft tissue manipulation techniques such as deep tissue massage, active release therapy and Graston, applied to the offending muscles (overly tight) will bring relief, as well as continued stretching. once the previously inhibited tissues have regained pliability.

If this is a condition that seems  to describe your symptoms, do not hesitate to make an appointment with a qualified Registered Massage Therapist, so that he/she can get to the "butt" of the issue, and send you merely on your way back to recovery! (Cheesy pun totally intended!)

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Do Tight Hip Flexors Correlate With Weak Glutes?

Lower crossed syndrome, as originally described by Vladimir Janda several decades ago, is commonly sited to describe the muscle imbalances observed with anterior pelvic tilt posture.

Indeed, Janda described lower crossed syndrome to explain how certain muscle groups in the lumbopelvic area get tight, while the antagonists get weak or inhibited.  Or, as Phil Page describes in his book overviewing the Janda Approach, “Weakness from from muscle imbalances results from reciprocal inhibition of the tight antagonist.”

When you look at a drawing of this concept, you can see how it starts to make sense.  Tightness in the hip flexors and low back are associated with weakness of abdominals and glutes.

Lower Cross Syndrome

 

I realize this is a very two dimensional approach and probably not completely accurate in it’s presentation, however it not only seems to make biomechanical sense, it also correlates to what I see in practice everyday.

Yet despite the common acceptance of these imbalance patterns, there really isn’t much research out there looking at these correlations.

Yes.. They absolutely do!

Do Tight Hip Flexors Correlate to Glute WeaknessA recent study was publish in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy looking at the EMG activity between the two-hand and one-hand kettlebell swing.  While I enjoyed the article and comparision of the two KB swing variations, the authors had one other finding that peaked my interest even more.  And if you just read the title of the paper, you would have never seen it!

In the paper, the authors not only measured glute EMG activity during the kettlebell swing, but they also measure hip flexor mobility using a modified Thomas Test.  The authors found moderate correlations between hip flexor tightness and glute EMG activity.

The tighter your hip flexors, the less EMG was observed in the glutes during the kettlebell swing.

While this has been theorized since Janda first described in the 1980’s, to my knowledge this is the first study that has shown this correlation during an exercise.

 

Implications

It’s often the little findings of study that help add to our body of knowledge.  This simple study showed us that there does appear to be a correlated between your hip flexor mobility and EMG activity of the glutes.  There are a few implications that you can take from this study:Kettlebell-Swing-e1419741700687

  • Both two-hand and one-hand kettlebell swings are great exercises to strengthen the glutes
  • However, perhaps we need to assure people have adequate hip flexor mobility prior to starting.
  • If trying to strengthen the glutes, it appears that you may also want focus on hip flexor mobility, as is often recommended.
  • So yes, it does appear that hip flexor mobility correlates to glute activity and should be considering when designing programs.
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Incorporating massage therapy into your training and/or competition schedule

Any discipline you participate in or compete in, whether it is Bodybuilding, Weightlifting or Marathoning  should be approached with a detailed training plan, divided into training periods, and rest periods (de-load), which we refer to as a periodized training plan.Deep Tissue and Sports Massage Toronto

If you were to look at a graph of this type of training it would look a bit like someone taking two or three steps forward and one step back. The step back is sometimes referred to as a ‘rest week’, ‘recovery week’ or a "de-load".  So with that being said, training intensity  will build and then it will decrease slightly for one week. During this time of  reduced activity/intensity your body is given the opportunity to repair itself, and  mentally recover from all that beautifully intense training that occurred, in the preceding weeks! This recovery week would  be an opportune time to pop in to see your regular massage therapist, for a few reasons:

1) You are training less that week and thus have more time to allocate to recovery activities

2)  You will not be trying to juggle your massage appointment around tougher, high intensity workouts

Massage to correct faulty mobility/biomechanical  patterns.

Massage performed with the goal of breaking down scar tissue and augmenting range of motion in the limbs, can be useful to correct faulty biomechanics patterns and mobility issues.  In these treatments,  modalities such as  Active Release Technique and  Fascial Stretching are utilized to removed and realign any restrictions that may be found in the tissue, often impeding performance, and often leading to injury. Such treatments can absolutely be included within the weeks of intense training, in a goal to help augment performance and/or prevent injury.

Is there a time when I should not get a massage during training?

It is  generally not a good idea to get a massage on the day you have a difficult training session or right before a competition.  If you often find yourself a little sore the day after a massage, keep that in mind as well, as you wouldn't want to impede your training progress, or competition performance on your big day! However, if you find yourself with some nagging aches and pains, it is indicated and recommended to take an appointment when you can get it, to make sure that this "little pain" you are experiencing, doesn't escalate into an injury needing a long recovery!  Remember: Injury prevention saves time and money ( and frustration, but that's an other story, for an other blog post!)

Should I get a massage before and/or after  my competition?

With respect to timing, here are a few guidelines

Your last massage appointment shouldn't be booked closer than two or three days before the event, to allow tissue to re-hydrate, and repair itself post-treatment

Your post event massage can be booked two or  three days after the event, to allow tissue to heal a little, before receiving treatment (otherwise, treatment may feel uncomfortable, so just be sure to communicate effectively with your therapist, with regards to your pain experience and threshold on that day).

The type of massage you receive before and after competition can vary depending on how you feel, and what your goals regarding treatment are.

Periodized training schedules will end with what is called a ‘taper’. This is a one to three week reduction in training volume leading up to competition to allow the body to be fully rested. The taper is as much an art as a science and different people react to it differently. If you find yourself tense, anxious or on edge during your taper then a full body swedish massage for relaxation can help take the edge off. If you are prone to pre-event nervousness and/or do not sleep well the night before competition then a relaxation massage 48 hours before an event can help you get a good night’s sleep.

Others find the reduced volume of the taper leaves them feeling heavy and sluggish. In this case a massage that utilizes faster rate techniques designed to stimulate muscles may reduce these feelings of fatigue.

The prevailing theory behind post-race massage used to be that it would aid lactic acid removal from muscles and therefore promote recovery and leave you feeling less stiff and sore. More current research suggests that lactic acid is not to blame for sore muscles and that immediate post exercise massage may actually delay blood flow to muscles and therefore delay lactic acid clearance. So feel free to skip the onsite massage offered at most events!

A few days after the event your muscles may still be tender and not up to being runnercompressed and pushed. Do not let this deter you from visiting a registered massage therapist. Massage is not always about direct pressure applied to muscle.  In the days following an event what often feels best is a facilitated stretching routine. This allows joints and muscles to be passively moved through all ranges of motion counteracting the stiffness that comes with repetitive motion. The rhythmic nature of this type of massage can also be very relaxing.

During your training, before your race, and after, a skilled massage therapist experienced in working with racing athletes can help her see you through every phase of your journey!

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Iliotibial band syndrome

Anatomy of ITB SyndromeIliotibial band syndrome

With the warmer weather finally upon us, our activity levels tend to be on the rise, which sometimes leads to a higher incidence in training injuries or repetitive strains. One of those injuries I have come across as of late is Iliotibial band syndrome.
Iliotibial band syndrome results in pain on the outside of the knee which is caused by friction of the iliotibial band on the side of the knee. It is also known as ITB syndrome or ITBFS and sometimes referred to as runners knee (I believe I have also heard it called jumper's knee as well, but do not quote me on this!).

Symptoms

Symptoms of ITB syndrome consist of pain on the outside of the knee, more specifically at or around the lateral epicondyle of the femur or bony bit on the outside of the knee.

It comes on at a certain time into a run and gradually gets worse until often the runner has to stop. After a period of rest the pain may go only to return when running starts again. The pain is normally aggravated by running, particularly downhill.
Pain may be felt when bending and straightening the knee which may be made worse by pressing in at the side of the knee over the sore part. There might be tightness in the iliotibial band which runs down the outside of the thigh.  Tender trigger points in the gluteal muscles or buttocks area may also be present.

Causes

Certain factors may make you more susceptible to developing runners knee or iliotibial band syndrome:

1)A naturally tight or wide IT band may make someone more susceptible to this injury.

2)Weak hip muscles, particularly the gluteus medusa  are also thought to be a significant factor.

3)Over pronation or poor foot biomechanics may increase the risk of injury. If the foot rolls in or flattens, the lower leg rotates and so does the knee increasing the chance of friction on the band. Other factors include leg length difference, running on hills or on cambered roads.

Treatment

Below are  a number of treatment options for ITB friction syndrome.

Rest

Rest is important to allow the inflamed tendon to heal. Continuing to run with ITB syndrome will most likely make it worse. Initially complete rest is a good idea but later activities other than running which do not make the pain worse such as swimming or cycling should be done to maintain fitness.

Cryotherapy

Apply cold therapy or ice to reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every hour until initial pain has gone then later 2 or 3 times a day and / or after exercise is a good idea to ensure the pain does not return. Once the inflammation has gone then potential causes must be addressed such as a tight ITB or the pain will most likely return.

Stretching exercises

Stretching exercises for the muscles on the outside of the hip in particular are important. The tensor fascia latae muscle is the muscle at the top of the IT band and if this is tight then it can cause the band to be tight increasing the friction on the side of the knee.
Foam roller exercises
Using a foam roller on the IT band and gluteal muscles can help stretch the iliotibial band and remove any tight knots or lumps in the tendon. therefore friction on the side of the knee. For more information on how to foam roll effectively and safely, please see Mistakes you may be making while foam rolling

Strengthening exercises

Improving the strength of the muscles on the outside of the hip which abduct the leg will help prevent the knee turning inwards when running or walking and therefore help reduce the friction on the ITB tendon at the knee. In particular strengthening exercises for the tensor fascia latae muscle and gluteus medius such as heel drops, clam exercise and hip abduction are important.

Sports massage

A professional therapist may perform sports massage to help relax and loosen the tissues and use myofascial release technique, such as Rolfing or fascial Stretch Therapy which have been shown to be highly effective.
A tight ITB can contribute to friction at the knee and sports massage is an excellent way of relieving the tension in the tendon.
The aim of sports massage is to release tension in the muscle and fascia and stimulate blood flow. Massage must not be performed during the acute stage of an injury - usually at least 48 hours after injury. For grade two and three strains, massage may not be suitable for over a week. This is because if there is still bleeding then heat and massage will increase bleeding, not stop it.

Training modification

Errors in training should be identified and corrected. These can include over training or increasing running mileage too quickly. As a general rule a runner should not increase mileage by more than 10% per week. Running across a slope or camber in the road for long periods or poor foot biomechanics should be considered. When training starts again avoid too much downhill running.
A rehabilitation strategy which includes stretches and exercises to strengthen the hip abductors is important.

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Better proprioception for steadier ankles!

We know that ankle mobility is important for preventing injuries as we discussed here. Appropriate mobility (specifically the up and down motions) at the ankle means that the knee doesn’t have to make up for the difference, hence avoiding excess strain on the knee and helping to avoid injury.

But, what if we have too much motion at the ankle? This can happen - especially for those who have previously sprained or rolled their ankle. When we sprain our ankle we strain or stretch the ligaments that protect our ankles, which leads to pain and swelling. But after the pain and swelling dissipate, we are left with another problem - poor proprioception!

But what is proprioception? Proprioception is our sense of the position of our body parts. If you close your eyes right now, it is your proprioceptive sense that lets you know whether your fingers are straight or bent without having to look at them. In terms of our joints, our proprioceptive ability comes from receptors found within the joint, the muscle, the ligaments and the skin.

So getting back to someone who has sprained their ankle - they have over-stretched and damaged the ligaments in the ankle, precisely where some of our stretch receptors are located. This means that person will have a poor ability to realize where their ankle is - so the next time they start to roll their ankle they’ll have a delayed reaction to this and are more likely to re-injure their ankle.

So how do we improve our proprioception? Just like running, we improve by doing it.

Here are some proprioceptive exercises that you can do to help improve your balance and reduce your risk on ankle injury:

Happy proprioceptive training! :)

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7 Stress-Busting Tips – Reduce Stress

I have been silent for the last little while, and have not written any entries in my blog. Much of which was due to my stress level, as of late. Indeed things have been nuts on my end, with re-designing my website, resolving countless web development issues, work, training, nagging injuries.. and the list goes on! We all experience stress, one way or an other. We need to learn how to deal with our daily stresses, before 'they deal with us' (that's a Chanty-ism) so to speak! Granted, what works for me, may not work for you, as we are all different, but here are a few tips that work rather well for me, whenever my stress meter goes fire engine, red.

Say “no” - Overextending yourself is a sure way to stress you and everyone else out. Before you say yes to anything, take care to double-check with yourself if this is something you actually do not mind doing. Be honest with yourself, and do not take on any responsibilities against your true will. Learn how to politely decline requests or invitations that do not resonate well with you. No one of value will love you less or think any less of you when you do…
Focus on the positive – Remember that no situation is ever 100% bad, so whenever someone of something stresses you out, try to notice positive aspects about this person or situation. It may help change your mood or perspective, which will help lessen your stress level. Remember: the alternative to being:" fake happy", is to be "authentically miserable" and also, as quoted by Wayne Dyer " When you change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.’Hmmmmm….
Laugh out loud, and not just on text!- Whenever I feel stressed or sad, I tend to look for funny videos to brighten my mood, until I am laughing out loud! which I guess is one thing we can thank Facebook or Youtube for!
Express feelings instead of bottling them up – Get around people that you can truly trust and talk ( or use the dog or cat! They don't care!! As long as food is involved!) If not, keep a thought journal. I know it sounds silly, but believe me, it is much better than going nuts!
Address conflicts with others - Avoiding conflict most often increases stress, as  your mind realizes that action must be taken but no effort has been made to solve the problem. Addressing conflict will allow you to move forward. Many times by addressing the problem you can remove the burden or weight you are carrying, reducing stress loads. With that said however, be careful to not create more conflict, by trying to resolve conflict.. LOL
Spend time in nature - Go Golfing, take the dog for a walk or  sit in the park (please do not feed the squirrels! )“One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today.” ~ Dale Carnegie
Listen to music – Music is a stress buster and unifier of people. Go to a concert or learn a new instrument, the piano actually opens up areas in the brain that foster creativity. Listening to your ipod, in stressful environments such as the TTC, can also help make your ride much less stressful..
Get physical- Exercise, or get moving! If you're not a natural athlete, go out for a walk in the park, join a Yoga class or stretch. Exercise releases endorphins which naturally lessens stress levels.
Just Breathe, if you can't meditate- Meditation isn't something we are all able to do, but we are all able to slow down and focus on our own breath! Lie back, close your eyes, and focus on taking slow deep and even breaths. It will lower your CNS firing within minutes, and negate the deleterious effects of stress !
There you have it! Try to incorporate some of these into your life, when stress hits you hard, and see if these are of benefit to you. 'Til next time! :)

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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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