It seems that every day someone will make the comment, “Life sure flies by fast!” I am sure many of you have heard that throughout your life. I don’y think time has sped up in any way, but we get so caught in what we are doing that we set aside those important visits, or even moments, to spend with the people we love.
Today, my friend Ann passed away after a long battle with cancer. As I age I am reminded each year how important it is to spend time with loved ones by witnessing my friends dying one by one. Yet, with these huge reminders, I think about the people I love and soon get back to life the way it was. Are the things I do more important than family or friends. The short answer is no, but we look at our lives, is that true?
No one is ever promised an extra day on this earth, so what are we waiting for that will allow us to relax and enjoy our friends and family? Is there something that will happen that will signal us that it is Ok to waste time with the people we care about the most? If we earn all this money we have envisioned in our lives, we it be worth it if there is no one around to enjoy it with? When is enough, enough?
I just had a client come in to see me complaining of low back pain. She had been to doctors who had sent her to physical therapy. After several weeks of therapy, her back improved a little but still nagging her every time she did anything. She went back to her doctor to complain, he politely said to her, it is probably your age. This woman is less than fifty years old, how could it be her age? Most people would agree with the doctor since all of our peers tell us that after 40 it is downhill from there. With so many people living to well in their 80’s, that means that more than half your life is living in pain.
According to the National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health, more people suffer with pain each year then diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined. Opiods have been the answer for a while and we are learning that is not working. Braces, injections, and surgeries don’t seem to be slowing the pain down. The question is what do we do now? When the lifespan was only 65-70 years old, we could survive till death, but today we are living much longer and it is becoming impossible to survive that long.
The best answer I have seen is learning how the brain works with our muscles and how to stretch our bodies correctly. What we see in the gyms and on TV is not stretching correctly. It is disappointing to see all these highly educated people stretching people incorrectly. We need to teach them better. Learning to stretch correctly stopped my own back pain 16 years ago and I see it helping people everyday regardless of their ages. What age has to do with your aches and pains is to tell you how long it took you to get to the pain. Everybody at 50 does not have the same pain in the same place. Your pain has more to do with your lifestyle. Things like the way you walk, stand, and sit play a huge role in the amount of pain you suffer. I will talk in future posts more specifically about gait and posture so stay tuned for that. Be sure to ask questions or make comments on any of my posts as I am open to questions and comments.
Happy New Year! Yes, it is that time of year again when we all create our New Year’s resolution. Not surprisingly, getting in shape always seems to be at the top of the list. Unfortunately, by February 1 we feel we have failed then just quit. I used to do the same thing. I had great intentions to lose the weight by going to the gym, but the problem was I felt worse after working out than I did fat. You miss a few training sessions and now you feel it is hopeless.
I remember working in a gym as a trainer and see the same people come in every December, buy a membership for themselves or a partner. They would usually come in with new gym outfits and confident this would be the year to lose that weight. Sadly, by the second week of January, many would no longer come back. Then the next December it would start all over. Why is this so difficult?
It can be hard to believe that we are no longer 22 years old anymore and the in the gym, that is very apparent. Members would come in and try pick up their workouts where they left off in high school or college. Of course that was 20 plus years ago which is a recipe for an injury. So the injury would stop them and leave them feeling like they are too old to work out. Others would come and workout as instructed but would wake up the next day sore and stiff. They would feel hopeless because they had pictured themselves feeling awesome as in the ads for the gym. Sometimes a trainer’s ego can get the best of them and they can work you too hard, too fast. Sadly, few people understand the value of proper stretching. Traditional stretching like you see in most gyms and schools is not correct stretching and may lead to more injuries.
The #1 reason people fail to get fit, STIFFNESS! Yes, the work out will make you stronger, give you more stamina, and it will definitely make you stiff! I am not saying you should not work out, but you must add the stretching into the routine as well. Think of your car. We all know we need gas and oil for the car to keep running, correct? Think of strength training as the gas and stretching as the oil.Leave one out and the car stops, so will you.
Strength training will build strength and improve stamina, but it shortens the muscles which apply pressure to your joints and nerves, including your back. That pressure will stop your body from producing enough lubricate in the joints and discs which allow you to move smoothly. The joints and discs will dry out and create arthritic conditions.
Stretching, on the other hand, can free those joints by creating space between your vertebrae and joints which allow the lubricating fluid to soften and cushion to alleviate pain. Unfortunately, too many people hold their stretches too long and apply too much force which switches the stretching to strength training.
So let’s make plans again this year to get in shape. Begin your workouts as soon as possible, let us teach you how to stretch properly, and visit a nutritionist to learn how to eat a proper diet to achieve your goals. No diet that requires deprivation only will work. It is not about calories in, calories out, but your emotional tie to food. The quality of the food, like the quality of the gas in your car, will determine how well you run.With the proper plan you can achieve your goal. I know this works because I lost 105 lbs. in 1997 and I never re-gained it back by staying on the plan.
Most golfers, especially as they age, complain about not being able to hit the ball as far as they once could. When we were younger, our muscles were a little stronger which allowed us to make up for the lack of rotation of our body. When we were younger our bodies were a little lighter for some people and we had not built up so much time in the Lazy Boy recliner either. The bottom line here is, our inner thighs have tightened and our quads, front of thighs, have also shortened. Due to sitting too much, the inner thighs will shorten. The issues that tight inner thighs create is low back pain, in the middle of the back, when standing up after sitting for a while or, getting out of bed first thing in the morning. The inner thighs can pull the pelvis slightly forward creating the back pain. With golf, short inner thighs limit the rotation of the hips through the ball and the need to use the arms for power takes over which usually ends up with a shoulder injury.
The quads will also pull the pelvis forward when short and that will cause low back pain on either side of the low back area Both the quads and the inner thighs attach to the pelvis and as they shorten the pelvis shifts forward, putting a kink in your lower spine. When both are tight, it limits the rotation of your lower which can affect your knees, but just as important, it reduces the amount of power you can generate when hitting the ball. Most people will rely more on their upper body, or increase their strength training since they feel weak. The weakness comes from the muscles not having enough power to force through the tightness. No amount of strength training will help you do that as the brain will stop you before you hurt yourself.
ON my website, www.MuscleRepairShop.com, you can sign up to see the videos. Once you have signed up, send me a message stating that you want the lower body golf stretches and I will send them to you. There 4 different stretches for the inner thighs, three for the calves, and one for the quads. They will take about 10 minutes to do twice a day, everyday for as long as you play golf. The goal of stretching is not to relieve pain only. If you make a habit of stretching every day, you can prevent injuries from happening which will allow you to play golf for as long as you want.
Many of my clients come to see me with elbow tendonitis, or golfer’s elbow, or tennis elbow. They are all the same. The clients will usually be wearing some sort of an elbow band or brace thinking it will help their elbow. Some clients have even had injections to relieve the pain. It is very painful as I have had it myself. The problem with this thinking is, we are looking at the wrong place. This is symptom-based mentality when you think the spot of pain is the cause of pain. Unless it is a broken bone or a torn ligament or tendon, it is rarely at the spot of pain. It is best to remember that ligaments attach the bones together and tendons attach muscles to the skin of the bones. Also, tendons are like rubber bands, they can stretch out and go back to their original length. Ligaments are more like taffy, they can stretch out but will not go back to their original length.
There are 24 muscles in your forearm running from your elbow to your fingertips and there are 2 bones in the forearm. The forearm allows you to rotate, grip things, and wave with your hand. If you feel on the outside of your elbow, you will feel a bony knot which is on the end of the bone in your upper arm. Feel underneath, and you will feel another bony knot also on the end of the upper arm bone. These are important because this is where 5 muscles attach on each side that allows you to open and close your hand. It is the opening and closing of your hands that causes the elbow area to hurt. For instance, a golf swing requires you to grip your clubhead. This can cause the inside of the elbow to hurt. A backhand in tennis will cause the outside area of the elbow to hurt. There are many other things that can do the same thing. Something as simple as gripping your steering wheel, opening doors, painting, exercise, and stress if you hold stress in your hands. These muscles will get hard and pally pressure to the outside or inside of the joint. There are muscles in-between the forearm bones that, when hard, can reduce the rotating ability of the hand causing tenderness on the elbow as well.
The question is, how can you get rid of it? It is pretty simple when you think about. Every day I massage my forearms on my way home from the office because I use my hands all day. Now I am not talking about a little rub like you feel in a typical massage therapy session nor am I talking about digging down to the bone as in a deep tissue session. Use the pads of your thumbs and press in different spots on your forearm looking for sore spots, some people call them Trigger points, the bottom line is they are sore spots. Press down just enough for your brain to feel it, then breathe out allowing your brain to relax the muscle. Once it is relaxed, the pain will stop. Then move to another area and continue until the forearm is softer. Now, stand next to a table, place the palm of your hand flat on the table, and make sure the fingers are pointing behind you. Lean back gently while feeling a little pull up the forearm. More is not better so be gentle and breathe to release the muscles. Hold for 2 breaths and release. Holding for long periods of time will make it worse, not better. Next, bend the elbow and make a light fist. use the opposite hand and gently press down your hand feeling the stretch up the forearm and through the wrist. Remember to be gentle and not force the movement. Too much pressure on either stretch and the brain will fight with you and you will be strength training, not stretching. For the average person, doing these 2-3 times per week should be enough. If you use your hands a lot during your week, then I would suggest doing every day and maybe twice a day. This has kept my hands and arms from hurting in my practice.
To see videos of these and other stretches, go to my YouTube channel, The Muscle Repair Shop. You can leave comments there and on my Facebook and LinkedIn sites as well. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will reply within 24 hours.