Have you noticed that more and more people are having knee issues? Too many people are having their knees replaced, why? Some will say it is old age, others will relate it to an old injury. The truth of the matter is, some do happen due to a past injury, however, most happen due to poor mechanics throughout their lives. The shoes you wear, how you walk, other flexibility of your hips and ankles. I want to address each of these areas and help you better understand how this could happen to you.
Let’s begin by saying the pain in your knee isn’t because you were born with a bad knee unless you had a birth defect. We are not just trying to stop the pain, as that is symptom-based thinking, but we want to solve the problem in what we do to create the problem. Once you change your thinking than seeing the why will become clearer.
How you walk is a real key in how knee pain you will endure. Have you ever seen a person walk and their legs seem bowlegged, but you remember they were not bowlegged when they were younger? Chances are this person walks on the outside of their feet. When a person walks on the outside of their feet, they will have a tendency to push their hips out on each stride and that causes the knee to get pushed out as well. This movement will shorten the inner thigh muscles which attach to the lower half of the knee and shorten the inner calf muscle which is attached to the upper half of the knee. Over the years this movement will cause the inside of the knee joint to be closer together than the outside. This will lead to arthritis, or rust, and cartilage damage that may lead to a knee replacement. If you think you are walking on the outside of your feet, walk barefoot in your house slowly. Feel how your feet contact the floor or you can look at the bottom of your shoes. if they are worn on the outside, that is a clear sign you do. That is better than Dr. Scholl’s machine. To change the habit, practice walking on the inside of your feet around your house until your feet start to contact the ground flatter.
Next your shoes. If you wear arch supports, they will shift your feet toward the outside edge. Do not pull them out and start walking without them. After the pain, you will not like me anymore. Stretch your calves first and soften your feet with your hands. You can get the calf and hip stretches on my website, www.musclerepairshop.com. Shoes contribute to knee pain by the heels being too high or too much arch support which prevents the ankle from bending through its full range of motion. This will cause shin splints and tight calves which will affect the knee joint. These types of shoes will affect the flexibility of the hips as well. When the ankle cannot bend completely, the hips cannot move through their full range of motion either. This causes the front of your thighs to shorten, hamstrings to shorten which again cause damage to your knees.
As you can see most knee pain has little to do with the knee and more to do with what we do every day. Learning how to protect your knees and can give you a lifetime of pain free living. If you already have some knee pain, these stretches can improve and maybe stop the pain too. Give it try or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you figure out what to do.
Nearly 10 million people per year suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome(CTS) each year in America. We are clear on the symptoms and what is exactly causing the pain at the moment of pain. However, we are not so clear on things we do to cause that pain to occur. Every health care practitioner can explain that the pain comes from the 4 tendons running through the carpal tunnel on the bottom side of your wrist are inflamed and presses against the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. The question is, what causes the tendons to inflame?
The inflammation is not the same inflammation you get when a part of your body swells or edema. That can be stopped by using ice. The type of inflammation is caused by the repetitive use of the forearm muscles in the bottom side of your arm. The term repetitive use does not mean doing the same thing over and over, but the continual use of these muscles. The 4 muscles on the bottom side of your forearm, the flexor muscles, allow you to grip anything you want to pick up, move, or hold. Driving your car and holding too tight on the steering wheel. Playing a sport that requires you hold a racket, bat, or club in order to play. Holding a cup of coffee, typing, or writing can cause this inflammation. There is no way to stop the inflammation from happening because we all do these things daily and are not going to stop.
There are several treatment plans available that most people have tried with limited success. Strength exercises may help in the short term but will cause the pain to get worse over time because you are shortening the muscles. Braces are very popular and do help in relieving some pain, but without changing what you are doing daily, it is just going to get worse. Plus over time the brace will stop working as well too. Injections can help as a short-term relief, but again, it will come back. Finally, surgery is a treatment many doctors use and it is only a short-term fix for your pain. I know it can be frustrating, but the problem is, we are not looking at the cause!
Any time you use your hands and fingers you are creating inflammation in the flexor muscles( bottom side) of your forearm. As the muscles contract to move your fingers and hands, they are burning the fuel ATP which leaves a waste product in the muscle fiber called lactic acid. You cannot drink enough water to wash it out. there are no pills to make it go away. The only way to get rid of it is to massage it out and then do a couple of simple stretches for your wrist and forearm. When you are massaging your forearm, don’t just rub, but use your thumb to press in various spots on your forearm looking for sore spots. When you find one, maintain the pressure, and breathe allowing your brain to release those muscles. Your forearms should be as soft as cotton candy regardless of how strong you are. Work up and down your arm.
The first stretch is to stand next to a table that you can place your hand flat on the table.Make sure your fingers are pointing behind you and lean into the stretch. Not too hard as your brain will fight with you, but just enough that you can begin to feel the stretch. Breathe and let your brain release the muscles in your forearm. The second stretch, make a light fist with the affected hand and bend the elbow. Place the opposite hand on top of your fist and gently pull down. This will stretch the fingers that are tight from gripping too hard. Finally, place both hands together, like you are praying, keep both against your stomach and press one hand down to stretch the bottom wrist. Be sure to always do both sides in each of these exercises. You can see videos on my website.
For many people, the type of massage they receive is irrelevant because they are usually so tired, the client is basically paying to sleep on the massage table for an hour. Due to living a hectic and stressful life, anytime we can lay down and have someone rub our body, especially our back or feet, our body will relax and we will more than likely fall asleep. Remember how your mom used to do that and it felt so good! Many people believe that this is a great massage. In reality, how would know if the therapist was great at massage because you were not there consciously to feel what they were doing. If the therapist has to wake you up when you turnover and you go back to sleep, then the therapist could have just stood there and rubbed your body, regardless of any technique they ay have mastered. This is a flaw in our thought process about determining a great massage from a simple rub down. There are 226 different types of massage and every massage therapist is a little different. Every therapist has a different educational background therefore their style can vary. Massage is about trust which means, you need to talk to them. I am not talking about a lengthy conversation, but talk about the technique and how it can help you. The therapist needs to know what medications you are taking, what treatments you are currently having, and how you feel overall. These questions are important because the therapist will be moving fluids and affecting tissues which can negatively affect your health.
Massage therapy requires communication between the therapist and the client. As the therapist is finding areas of your body that are tight or sore, they can coach you to breathe and release using your brain to let go. Muscles are just as emotional as they are physical. Physically, your muscles can feel tight and sore, however emotionally they can feel atttacked if the pressure is too much. If the therapist can communicate with the client when to breathe, then as a team you can release your muscles, blood will flow better, and your body will feel more at ease. When a client goes to sleep, the brain has been turned off, so even if the therapist pushes really hard, all your body will remember is soreness after you wake up. The next time someone touches you, your body may flinch, feel pain, or you may feel a tickle. This is because your body doesn’t remember why, but it knows something is not correct and it reacts.
What of level of undress should you do? That should be up to you based on how comfortable you feel at that level of undress. I have done massages with clients that are totally nude to totally dressed. It doesn’t matter, as long as the client feels comfortable. Sometimes, the client may be allergic to the oils or just doens’t want to be oily when going back to work, then doing a massage fully dressed,or lightly dressed, can be done.
I have found that with certain clients suffering with fibromyalgia or polymyalgia, combining massage with light stretching works best. In this situation,it is best to have the client fully clothed with clothes they can move around in. This reduces the soreness brought by the disease and allows better freedom of movement.
Bottomline is get to know your therapist and feel comfortable in their surroundings. Few people are allowed to get that close to you and you should make sure of your trust of the therapist and the surroundings. Ask for their credentials and understand what they will be doing to you. Research the technique to better understand if that particular technique will actually help you. A good therapist will recommend another therapist that does a different modality that could help you.
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?