Posts Tagged ‘Movement’

 

“Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.”

Helen Keller

Do you suffer from chronic neck and upper shoulder pain on a regular basis and can’t figure out why? Perhaps you are one of the 66-90% of the population that suffers from a very common condition know as Forward Head Posture (FHP).42lbhead_free

FHP can be recognized when, from a profile or side view, a person’s ear is positioned in front of the shoulder rather than directly over it – in proper posture. This condition caused by poor posture causes the head to lean forward and for every inch that the head falls forward the head gains 10lbs worth of weight on the muscles of the neck and shoulders. The addition strain causes these muscles to work much harder to hold the head from flopping forward. When this type of stress is put on muscles for a long period of time, the body reacts by laying down scar tissue in the muscle fibers for stability. The strain on the muscles and the addition of scar tissue limits flexibility and causes additional pressure on the nerves in the neck which increases pain and fatigue. If left untreated and FHP becomes severe enough, it will not only cause long duration tension headaches, but can also increase blood pressure, cause disc herniations, arthritis, pinched nerves, and even distortions in the eyes and ears that could lead to mental disorders.

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

Over a period of time, forward head posture can lead to a “hunchback” like Igor!

There is hope in correcting FHP: starting by identifying the incorrect posture through postural analysis, the following step would be to stretch out the muscles the have become tightened then strengthen the weak muscles so that you are able to hold your head up in proper posture. It’s always good to seek the advice of a professional, such as a chiropractor, to ensure there aren’t any major skeletal problems as well as a massage therapist to help ease the tension in the muscles. The same professionals can show you the proper stretches and exercises to prevent the havoc of FHP!

 

Have you ever wondered how it can be so easy for some people to do certain motions such as holding proper posture, swinging a golf club, or speaking a different language, when it seems so difficult for you? Maybe you are curious about how workouts become easier after a short period of time? The body has a process called Muscle Memory. Does this mean that each muscle has it’s own memory?

Muscle memory refers to brains ability to learn how do a movement, then recall those actions and send the correct nerve impulse down the spinal cord  to the neuromuscular junctions where the nerve meets the muscle telling it how to move. Wayne Westcott, Ph.D., fitness research director at Quincy College in Massachusetts explains that “your brain creates pathways through your central nervous system, and movements become automatic.”
Nerve impulses follow the path of least resistance and this is why it can be difficult and even painful to learn new movements. As muscles weaken, become injured, or are put in compromised positions such as bad posture, they become bound by toxins and scar tissues that limit movement. The fewer resistance in the muscles the easier it becomes to retrain muscle memory and less painful the process will be.

A NeuroMuscular Junction is where the nerve meets and muscle. This is where the brain tells the muscle when and how to move.

A NeuroMuscular Junction is where the nerve meets and muscle. This is where the brain tells the muscle when and how to move.

Most people suggest working through the pain and difficulty, but you don’t necessarily have to take that route. Therapeutic massage and proper flexibility training helps to break down scar tissue and assists in removal of metabolic waste build up in the muscles. This allows for easier training of the muscle memory, so if you are starting a new workout, wanting to optimize your performance, or more importantly improve your posture try adding regular massage therapy and a good stretching routine into your regiment to improve your memory!

 

“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”

Voltaire

This morning on a commercial break while watching the news I watched 3 back to back ads for over-the-counter pain medications. First off, I was baffled as to why they would play 3 different ads for the same product and secondly I was taken away by the fact that there are people out there take take OTC pain meds multiple times on a daily basis!

As soon as I could, I had to get to a computer and do some research and what I found was quite mind-blowing. Pain killers are the number one purchased OTC drug and many that are taking these pain killers are misusing them. In a study done by WebMD, it showed that ” nearly half of the 175 million adults who take over-the-counter pain relievers admit to exceeding the recommended dose, and few are aware of the potential risks.” The same research informs that “16,500 people die and 103,000 are hospitalized each year because of NSAID-related problems.”

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

over-the-counter pain killers can help manage but over time they do more bad than good.

Just like almost all medications that are ingested in pill form, they have to be processed by the liver and after time of continual use of the drugs, the liver can start having problems of it’s own. In addition, after repetitive use of drugs, the body adapts to the medication and more is require to achieve the same result. You can easily see how this is very unsafe and can potentially be fatal.

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Low Back pain is at the top of the list for the needs of pain medications

Now I’m not knocking pain medication all together, but there should be no real reason that you have to take it on a daily basis. After all, the medication only treats the symptoms not the cause. To really be effective you need to try and figure out the cause and then treat appropriately. In my experience as a massage therapist, I have found that many people are taking pain medications due to low back pain and severe headaches. In many of these cases these conditions are accompanied by poor posture. Without getting to in depth (I will save that for another BLOG), when the body starts loosing it’s correct posture, structures start to shift. Muscles on one side of the body become tight and on the other side of the body become overstretched. This in itself can cause significant and noticeable pain, but add to that when the muscular imbalance occurs that joints that were meant to move smoothly become compressed and dysfunctional. Blood vessels and nerves can become compressed if the postural alignment is to far from the norm.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

Overuse and Misuse of OTC pain killers can cause serious Liver damage.

You will read many articles that dispute the fact that there is no scientific research or proof that pain has anything to do with improper posture, but I say find out for yourself. Massage Therapy has been proven to relieve pain in the muscle fibers as well as alleviate headaches and help to restore posture, all with no real negative side effects. Ask any person who has received a massage if they felt better afterwards and if their pain was reduced and that should be proof enough that therapeutic massage is a better option than consistently over using OTC pain killers. It’s natural, it has been used for thousands of years, and it gets results!

“Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.”
― Aldous HuxleyThe Art of Seeing

 

As you have read before in past BLOGS,  low back pain is among one of the most frequent injuries suffered by most in the world. One of the main reasons for low back pain is because of Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction. The SI Joint can be anatomically defined as the articulation where the Ilium of the Hip bones meet the Sacrum. The joint itself is protected and surrounded by many ligaments and muscles. Now why is this information so important to you?SIJOINT

The SI Joint is responsible in acting like a shock absorber to disperse energy from the upper body to the lower body and vice-versa. Each SI Joint is supposed to move independently as you bend, twist, squat, and take steps. It’s easy to understand that if the SI Joints aren’t moving properly
it would cause pain and difficulty in movement in our body just the same as if the shock absorbers on a car were to malfunction, it would be a pretty rough ride.

Sudden trauma such as falls, sports injuries, and car accidents can top the list of reasons for SI Joint dysfunctions, but poor posture can also contribute as well. Whether it is an accident or just poor posture, the body will respond by tightening the muscles that surround the joints as well
as laying down scar tissue in the ligaments and tendons. This is the body’s response to protect it from additional injury, but if proper recovery and treatment isn’t followed, the scar tissue and tight muscles remain, causing limited motion in the joints which eventually leads to more problems.

The best way to keep fluid motion in the joints and avoid future
problems is to stay loose and retain great posture. Seek help and advice from professionals such as chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists. They will be able to provide you additional information, assessments, treatments, and advice to optimize your SI Joint health and keeping you moving!

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots – but you have to play the ball where it lies.”
– Bobby Jones

The weather is cooling off and the Summer is coming to an end and here in Charleston, that gets those who golf quite excited. The cooler weather makes it more appealing for golfers to get their game on!images (1)

Golf has become the most popular sport worldwide and according to the National Golf Association there are approximately 26.2 million Americans 18 years of age or older playing at least 1 game per year. Whether one is playing a weekend game for recreation or participating in regular tournaments for competition, the golf game has become more than just a mental game and has become a very physical game. Golf is a whole body activity with a focus targeted at the core muscles. Without proper conditioning, training, and preventative maintenance a golfer could find themselves in chronic pain and frustrated with a game that is not quite up to “par.”

There are many factors that can lead to injury and an unsatisfying game including minor trauma, lack of warm up, overuse of muscles, and the most common a poor posture. These factors can cause pain in many areas throughout the body seeing as body is completely connected, but the main areas that seem to be affected most include the shoulder complex, hips, and the low back. Golfers should be fully aware that the body is made to heal itself and should be educated of how to listen to the body for proper care and preventative maintenance. Therapeutic massage therapists are a great tool for any golfer looking to recover, reduce pain, and gain a better game.
Therapeutic massage therapists can start by simply assessing posture to figure out what muscles are overstretched and what muscles are too tight. Following the assessment, the golfer will soon be educated on anatomy and physiology and how it relates to their golf game. Through communication between the golfer and the therapist, goals and
expectations should be set followed by stretching, sports massage, and even
strengthening exercises. Stretching and massage are key elements to increase blood flow and range of motion. By increasing blood flow the body is able to deliver nutrients and remove wastes more efficiently allowing a quicker recovery. Increasing range of motion will assist in returning the body to a neutral posture and allow the body to move easier which in return, will reduce pain, injury and will have the potential to improving swing techniques producing a better game.

Sean Fister, 3 x World Long Drive Champion and advocate of Massage Therapy

Sean Fister, 3 x World Long Drive Champion and advocate of Massage Therapy

Focused treatment to affected areas including proper core strengthen, stretching, adequate hydration, and therapeutic massage has been proven to improve ball striking, drop game scores, and reduce injury, slicing, anger and frustration. Changing the “bad habits” of old postures can prove to be a bit daunting, but the rewards of better health and an optimized golf game are well worth the time and effort. Since most golfers out there are willing to do just about anything to be as pain free as possible, why not give therapeutic massage a try?

“The power of intuitive understanding will protect you from harm until the end of your days.”

-Lao Tzu

the new primal games

Two weeks ago, I participated in the 3rd annual Primal Games which is an event that tests your strength, endurance, skill, and drive.  It’s commonly referred to as “The Caveman Olympics” because it is full of events that we as human beings should be able to accomplish because they stem from functional primal patterns. However due to evolution and modernization such as office jobs, computer interaction, texting, and much more,  many people have forgot how to facilitate these innate patterns. Participating in the games got me thinking about 2 things:

1. Do people realize how primal massage therapy is?

2. Why wouldn’t people be more apt to utilize massage therapy to help and restore these primal patterns?

Interesting thoughts I know, but let me explain my thought process here. Anyone who knows me knows that movement patterns and fitness are always on my mind and in one way or another lead to how massage could influence everyday matters such as these ideas.

Plain and simple, massage is as primal it gets! Think about it, when you hurt yourself what is the first thing you do? You rub the area to ease the pain…massage! When a child or even young animal is upset what do the parents do? They console them and pat their back or rub their head….both essence of massage. And if you want to go as far as to ask what is one of the first things we experience when we are brought into this world? The muscle contractions utilized to deliver young are a form of massage! Massage has been used all over the world dating back thousands and thousands of years because it is innate and instinctive. Touch, when applied correctly and in a positive nature, helps to heal and optimize the functions of the body. Now due to certain stigmas and taboos, massage gets a bad rep and many people avoid it like the plague not understanding that it is primal and can benefit us greatly.

Now that we understand that massage is primal lets understand how it can help return us to our primal patterns more efficiently. Posture and movement are everything in the human body. When looking at movement there is nothing more true than the old phrase, “use it or lose it.” If you do not actively move your body in the primal patterns then over time the brain will forget to maintain them as well as letting proper posture slide into a decline. Once your posture is compromise the body starts tightening up muscles and laying down scar tissue to protect itself from getting any worse, but yet if nothing is done to prevent it or reset it it will get worse. We are seeing this situation more and more everyday as people invest more time playing video games, watching TV, or stuck in an office all day and less time being active and addressing their over all physical fitness not to mention an abundance of stress coming from all aspects of life.  Enter massage! Massage at it’s simplest form acts to calm the muscular and nervous system to release tension. Massage is also utilized to break down scar tissue and align muscle fibers to promote healing, optimize posture, and restore function in the body. Seems a little to easy and to good to be true, but it’s not. As I stated before civilizations around the world have been administering massage therapy techniques to recover warriors, prepare athletes, and nurture their fellow man for centuries.

primal movement

It seems very difficult to believe that people would be be so timid and reluctant to utilize massage therapy when it is so primal and can help us get back to our functional nature. It’s easy, fairly painless, and best of all it’s drug free!

To learn more or if you have any questions, just comment below…

#liveprimal

“Colors answer feeling in man; shapes answer thought; and motion answers will.”
– John Sterling


    I spend a good amount of time working in conjunction with chiropractors, physical therapists, and personal trainers. These movement specialists all seem to agree that if proper motion isn’t established then proper function of the body will diminish as well. What is it that limits our movement and restricts our normal functioning. Aside from a small handful of obstructions such as bone growth, tumors, and other space occupying lesions, tight muscles are the main culprit.

    The interesting thing about muscle tightness is that it can span the full spectrum of causes, meaning that muscles can become tight and “stick” together from overuse or by under use of the muscle. With overuse, the muscle fibers become stressed and tear due to activity. In most cases, we engage in activity before the muscle has had time to fully recover, so the body lays downscar tissue to prevent movement and help with healing. If there is any lack of proper nutrients in the body, reformation and reintegration of the scar tissue becomes drastically diminished.This leads to the muscle fibers not moving properly or “sticking.” In the case of under use we consider the old adage: “If you don’t use it, you lose it, ” referring to movement in this case. Imagine gears to machinery and how if they aren’t moved frequently over time and not well maintained, movement will become much more difficult or may even seize up. Muscle fibers will almost start “fusing” together if the muscles aren’t being stretched or activated on a regular basis.

    Proper nutrition, adequate hydration levels, as well as regular treatment and stretching will promote quicker recovery from activity as well as avoiding the under use side effects. Therapeutic massage helps to remove toxins and metabolic wastes that increase the “gluing” between fibers. Another way therapeutic massage stops the unwanted stick of muscle fibers is by breaking down the scar tissue that caused the adhesion then helps to reform the muscle and reintegrate the nerves.

    If you think you are having any “sticking” issues with your movement or maybe certain movement don’t seem quite as easy anymore, you may want to seek out professional assistance to get you back to proper moving order.