Do you wake up in the morning, get out of bed, and the first step feels like you are stepping on broken glass? You may have Palntar Fasciitis.Ouch! It is very painful and if left untrteated, it will get worse. Traditional treatments include wearing sole cushions in your shoes, wearing a thicker sole shoe, or doctors may prescibe orthotics. If that doesn’t stop it, your doctor may prescribe injections in your heel or worse yet surgery. Yes, I have heard clients say their doctor thought that cutting their achilles tendon would solve their pain and the doctor would correct, however the patient will have a different problem. One client had both of his arch muscles cut which left him unable to walk barefoot. Many Pediatrist have stated that they tell their patients to never walk barefoot, especailly on hard surfaces. Therapists will tend to use braces to help with the pain. All of these people are really trying to help you stop the pain, so don’t believe they are terrible people. The problem here is they all believe the problem is in your foot because the pain is in your heel. It makes sense! Unfortunately, muscles differ from bones as rarely is the site of pain the cause ot pain. Most people suffer for months to years with foot pain and that is unfortunate!
I typically can help people stop their pain within a 5-30 day range without braces, injections, or surgery. All you need is an 8′ yoga strap and a little time for yourself. Let me explain why the cause is not in yoru foot. The foot is controlled by the 4 calf muscles and 3 shin muscles. These muscles control the lateral and the vertical movement of your foot. If you supinate or pronate, there is nothing wrong with your foot and no shoe or insert will help you except in the short term. Over the long term, damge will increase. Think of your car being out of alignment. Initially the car pulls a little to one side ot the other, however, if you do not get it re-aligned, the tires will wear out. The same is true for your body. 99% of people have never stretched their calves. If you thiink you are stretching the calves by leaning against a wall or standing on a slant board, stair, or curb, then you have only stretched the Achilles tendon on the back of your heel. Your calf muscles run up your leg and attach above your knee and that is the part that will need to be stretched. The arch of your foot, called the plantar fascia, is usually hard as well. To better understand how the arch should feel, press on the palm of your hand. Feel how soft it is and whne you press on both sides of your hand at the same time, feel how thin it is. Your feet should feel the similar. Your feet should feel soft and pain free when you press on them. How do they feel? In my next post I will explain how to stretch the calves and soften the feet so you can walk on the beach or floor pain free in days and not months or years. What would that feel like for you?
Anytime we feel a pain in our back we think we have a back problem, but the truth is , that it is rarely a back issue in the beginning. If you find that when you first get up out of bed your back feels stiff, then you walk around a bit, and the stiffness goes away, the cause of your stiffness is in the front of your thighs or inner thighs. These muscles can become stiff from sitting a lot, bending over and picking things up, or walking badly. The muscles on your inner thighs attach at the pubis bone on your pelvis and travel down to your lower knee. When the inner thighs, there is 4 of them, get stiff they can either cause the pelvis to tilt forward causing a kink in your back or cause inner knee pain. A great way to stretch these muscles out is to sit in a chair, cross one leg so your lower leg is resting on the knee of the opposite leg. Start by using your fingers to find sore spots. When you find one, do not increase the pressure, but maintain it. Breathe out and let your brain release the tense muscle. You will find that the pain will subside. Once you have worked the inner thigh with your fingers, place the palm of your hand on your knee that is sticking up. Gently apply pressure, just a little more than the weight of your hand and breathe. While breathing, use your brain to let the muscles release. Over a short period of time the muscles will release.
If it is the front of your thighs causing the pain you can help yourself by lying on your on your side and doing a quad stretch. Most people try stretching their quads by standing and pulling their heels up toward their hips. This does not work! You will use the same motion, but lying on your side. Grab the ankle of your upper leg and bring your heel toward your hip while holding onto the lower knee with the other hand. Now bring your knee back behind your torso to stretch the upper part of your thigh. Hold for 3-4 seconds and repeat 8-10 times.
These 2 techniques can stop most of the low back pain suffer with every day. It only takes a little patience and you should see results within a few days. Do you suffer from low back pain every time you stand up? Or after you have been standing for a while?
We were all taught in grade school through high school about stretching. Some coaches even tried to teach us by many were too stiff to actually do the stretches. If you think about, they were the worst people to teach anything about stretching. Typically we have been told to hold a stretch for more than 20 seconds and try to stretch as many muscles at once as possible. That is recipe for disaster, or as in most cases, nothing happens. Sadly many professionals use this same tactic to teach stretching today and some organizations will tell you to never hold a stretch for less than 20 seconds. I recently wrote a paper at the University of South Florida comparing strength training to stretching and I was shocked at what I found. There are hundreds of studies about strength training and how to build muscle. There were very few studies about the benefits of stretching. I was shocked!
Stretching is about reducing your risk of injuries and reducing the wear and tear of aging on the joints. Your joints are held together with ligaments which are like taffy. When you overstretch the the ligaments they do not bounce back into shape. This is why highly flexible young people may experience joint issues as they age becuase the joint is too loose. The tendons connect the muscles to the bones and they are like rubber bands. You can stretch them and they will retract back to their original form. Keep in mind that mosat muscles cross over a joint. For instance, the lower muscles attahc above the knee and the upper leg muscles attach below the knee. When the muscle get tight and start to shorten over time, you will loose spacing in the knee between the upper leg bone (femur) and lower leg bones (Tibia and Fibula). Without the proper stretching, you can experience bursitis which is a sac that tells you the joint is too close together, arthritis, which is really the drying of the joint, or wrose yet breaking of the cartilage leading to knee replacement. When the bones are too close together, the bones squeeze out the synovial fluid(lubricant) that the body naturally injects into the joint to provide lubrication and cushioning. When this is squeezed out, the joint dires and leads to arthritis. All of this can be avoided by simply learnign how to stretch and doing it consistently every day. Think about your dog or cat, they stretch every day without anyone telling them to do so. Guess who’s smarter!
How do you stretch? Do you hold for long periods of time? Do you have a chronic injury?
What I am about to tell you may sound like I have lost my mind, but I have used it since I was 17 years old and it works. I grew up in WIlmington, NC and the summer temperatures can stay in the high 90’s to 100’s with humidity above 95% every day, whether it is raining or not. As a kid I work on farms to earn money between sports seasons and an old farmer taught me how to stay cooler on those hot summer days. He told me to wear a long sleeve shirts and long pants with a wide bream hat when I was outside. I know, like I said, it sounded nuts to me too. However, I decided to try it as I was dying every day in the heat. He was absolutely correct. He explained that by wearing the long shirts and pants your body would sweat which would keep you cool. The clothes would absorb the sweat and keep your body about 10 degrees cooler. You are sweating no matter what you wear, however, when the skin is exposed with shorts and tank tops, the sun dries the sweat as soon as you sweat, which will makes the skin sizzle. This will increase the temperature on your skin causing you to sweat even more without the cooling effect. Sweating is the body’s way of cooling you down naturally and it removes the toxins from your body. I know you may hate to sweat and some of you may even say you never sweat, but most of us do sweat unless your body’s sweat glands do not work properly. To help you wrap your brain around this idea, imagine how cool you feel if you jumped into the pool with your clothes on. In fact, when you would intially get out you may be a little chilled. Your sweat does the same thing.
The wide bream hat will keep the sun from baking onto your head whch will also increase your heat level. If you are concerned about skin cancer, the hat will prevent skin cancers from forming where you part your hair and this can happen to men and women. Getting sun exposure for short periods of time, like an hour or so, is good for you, but if you will be out in the sun for long periods of time be sure to wrap up and stay cool. This will protect your skin from the dangerous sun rays that can damage your skin. Happy sunning!
The Muscle Repair Shop is unique in how we view the human body. We look for the causes of your pain and what you arer doing that could causing the pain to re-occur or get worse. When I started this business in 2005, I was suffering from severe back pain. It was so bad that I would crawl out of my car by placing my hands on the ground to get out. I drove an old Lincoln Town Car and you knwo how big they were! I have a 2 year degree from Florida College of Natural Health and my focus was on Neuromuscular massage and Sports massage. After graduation, I studied with Aaron Mattes, founder of Active Isolated Stretching, for 6 months. The anatomy of the muscles came very easy to me as if by some divine intervention. Recently, I completed a Bachelors degree from Univeersity of South Florida in AGing Sciences. This has helped me better understand how we age from our 30’s until we die. I look at the body from a mechanical viewpoint. Our body balances from side to side and front to back. The muscles, unlike our bones, tend to cause pain on the opposite side of the cause. In other words, if your inner thighs are tight, you may experience low back stiffness, not inner thigh pain. I then attended a lecture at Sarasota Memorial Hospital about dementia and the brain’s role in our lives. I relaized from that lecture that our brains contorl our muscles physically, but more importantly, emotional as well. That was a big piece of the puzzle. I began combining the Neuromuscular massage, Active Isolated Stretching,and releasing the emotion with our brain. It was amazing the results I got from people that had been suffering for decades, in some cases, with chronic pain. Common ailments liek low back pain, palntar fasciitis, and tendonitis were being resolved with this technique. The best part is, I can teach my clients how to help themselves. This has baffled many practitioners. If you would like to come and talk about how I can help you, I am offering a 30 minute free consult. Just schedule here: Schedule a Free Consultation