Tag Archives: low back pain

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.  

Posted in Chantal Milot RMT Blog | Tagged , , , |

5 Awesome stretches to increase your hip mobility (and may decrease your back pain)

Great hip mobility is necessary in allowing your body move thru a 'normal' range of motion. Indeed, if your hips aren't able to move in the ways and in the range of motion they were intended to, they may not become as useful and muscle compensations will eventually occur, which may lead to low back or neck pain. Your hips are designed to generate a ton of power, and the following stretches are 5 of my favourite stretches that will open up your hips, groin and legs, and will allow you to move without restrictions or compensations so that your hips can do their job!

Deep Squat Stand
Get into a deep squat with chest and eyes up and forward. Keep your core contracted and upright. Hold onto the front of each shoe. Then as you stand and extend hips back, continue holding onto the front of each shoe to full extension. Repeat 9 more times.
This stretch improves hip and leg mobility while stretching your hip and hamstrings.
Samson Stretch
Interlace your thumbs and raise your arms overhead. Engage your shoulders and shrug them up towards your ears. Step forward into a lunge with the knee of the rear leg touching the floor. Stretch your hands up towards the ceiling as you sink into the lunge and push your hips forward as your arms reach back behind you. Stand up out of the lunge and repeat on the other side.
This move stretches and lengthens the arms, shoulders, and back while stretching the hip flexors as well.

Couch Stretch (no.. it's not what you think it is!)
Find a wall and get down on all fours and move your bent knee back into the wall with your shin and the top of your foot touching the wall. Then bring the forward leg into a 90-degree angle with the knee directly over the ankle. Then stand tall with your torso and your chest and eyes up looking forward to the opposite side of the room. Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to prevent hyperextending your lower back. Hold for 30 seconds and switch to the other side.
You will feel an intense stretch on the right front side of your hip.

Figure 4 Stretch
This stretch will externally rotate your hip. You can do this stretch on a box or a table. You’ll need a box or table that you can bend one leg and lay the front of the leg or the shin on the box. Keep your torso erect and your core engaged. Keep mild pressure on the leg to try and keep the leg as flat on the table or box as you can. Hold for a 5-count and repeat on the other leg.
This stretch targets the hip muscles and the hip joint.
Goblet Squat
The goblet squat hold is literally holding a kettle bell in the bottom of a squat. This is an isometric hold which is super effective at improving hip flexibility. You want to use a moderately heavy weight. Flip the kettle bell upside down and hold it by the belly of the bell, or the part that would resemble a goblet. Lower into the bottom of the squat with the elbows just inside the knees. Use your elbows to drive your knees outward increasing the stretch on the adductors. Hold this stretch for 10 deep inhales and exhales.
This is a great stretch for the hips, hamstrings, and glutes, while also strengthening them as well. It also targets the hip flexors and stretches the groin.

Spiderman stretch
Start in the pushup position. Step forward with the left leg outside of the left hand. Drive the hips forward and hold for 5 seconds. Return to the start position and repeat on the right leg. Alternate for 5 reps on each side.
This stretch targets the hip flexors.

Posted in Chantal Milot RMT Blog | Tagged , , , |