Do you want to strengthen your gluteus maximus during day to day activities? Why is it even important? The gluteus maximus is important in preventing hip, knee and foot pain. It supports the thigh, knee and foot when you shift your weight onto your leg when you walk or run. It is absolutely essential for good balance. The gluteus maximus also supports the hip by keeping the ball and socket of the hip held closely tight, instead of allowing larger, longer muscles such as the hamstrings to pull ball towards the edge of the socket. At the image below, from “Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes” by Shirley Sahrmann PT PhD FAPTA, it can be see on the top image, that thethat the gluteus maximus, the muscle on the top of the thigh, hugs the ball into the socket. In the lower image the hamstring can be seen pushing the ball forward in the socket, which can cause groin pain in the short run and hip arthritis in the long run.
To strengthening the glut with day to day activity do the following:
1) get in to a sitting position in a chair (or even on a toilet) and tuck your feet under you
2) reach around behind you to your buttocks
3) activate (tighten) your gluts
4) use your gluts to push you into standing
5) when moving from standing to sitting reverse this procedure
If you have in leg or back problems, be sure to check with your health care provider before attempting this exercise.
If you are I’m thinking of starting physical therapy, you are probably wondering: “What methods does the physical therapist use?” “What is physical therapy really like?” “Does it hurt?”
The physical therapist’s will start by evaluating how you ARE moving and find the problem areas compared to what would be your ideal movement.
The first step is the therapist sits down to meet you. Imagine you are in the physical therapy office, the therapist will take you back to a evaluation room or area and begin by asking you questions about how you were hurt (if you were or not), where you are hurt and other questions about your history. Importantly, the therapist should ask you what YOU expect out of physical therapy, in other words what is YOUR goal?
After the therapist has met you understood your concerns, history and expectations, he or she will ask to change into clinic appropriate clothing if necessary. For example, if you have an ankle problem the therapist may ask you to pull up your slacks or skirt above the knees so she can see HOW you move below the hip. The therapist may want you to change into shorts (which the clinic usually have on hand or you can bring your own) if you have knee, hip or back problems. If you have a shoulder problem the therapist may ask you to change into a gown, open in the back and under the armpit of the bad shoulder. The therapist will then leave the room to allow you to change if it is required.
The therapist now will watch you walk (if you have a lower body problem) or raise your arms (and watch from behind to check your shoulder blade position, motion and strength) if you have an upper body problem. She will check each joint’s amount of motion AND strength (unless you are too painful). The therapist will focus in on HOW the motion and strength work together to make you move, either poorly and well. Sometimes you can be sore after an evaluation; the soreness can last for about a day. Tell your therapist if something is painful so he or she doesn’t push you too far.
NOW the therapist is ready to come to a conclusion about where your body moves well, and where it needs improvement. The therapist will again sit down with you to explain the findings and educate you about your condition. The therapist will show you pictures of the anatomy, and what your specific problem is.
On this visit or at the beginning of the next visit the therapist will start you on an exercise program to begin to correct the problem, and probably use specific massage or joint stretching techniques to loosen tight, guarded or spasmed muscles. A few exercises may hurt and if they might but are necessary the therapist will tell you in advance. Most exercises should not hurt and if you have pain with your exercises, please tell your therapist.
If your pain is on the lower end, you will probably be seen about 1 time per week, so the therapist can make the exercises harder as you gain more movement and strength. If you have had a recent surgery, you may need to come more often, or if you have a higher level of pain.
There is good news AND bad news: the good news is you have the power to improve your problem by doing the exercises the therapist gives you and the bad news is you have to do the exercises to get better.
Usually you will get better in about 8 – 10 visits if you have a lower level of pain to start with. If you have had recent surgery or more severe injury you may need therapy for 2-3 months. Either way, your progress will be gradual, and sometimes almost imperceptible. You used to have pain when you walked for 2 miles, now you don’t hurt after 2 miles. You used to have pain bringing in your groceries, now you don’t.
Physical Therapy sounds scary and the good news is it is usually not painful and can get you back to where you want to be!
Do you want to feel like an old person? Most give a thumbs down to that.
But what if the old person feels better, has less stress, moves easier, sleeps better, and can physically handle what comes their way?
After a series of physical therapy sessions, I always ask how each person how they feel. Many times they say “I feel like a new person”. They feel good, their pain is gone or reduced, and they are leaving their stress behind. They like having a specific, customized exercise program they can follow to keep their pain away. They came in having forgotten that is how they used to feel before allowing the pain and stress to wear them down. The new person they feel like is actually an old version of themselves, who feels good.
Have you forgotten how you used to feel? Do you think you have to live with pain? While it is true that physical therapy can’t solve every problem, it can help ease chronic pain by changing the way you are moving, which is causing pain, to a newer way of moving which is easier and more comfortable.
Physical therapy can improve most conditions and can help to allow your body to heal itself. For many, there is a markedly noticeable difference in how a person looks when they start physical therapy and when they end their physical therapy session. Their tension seems to have just drained away.
You can also get a nice side benefit of stress relief from physical therapy. The simple act of touch is powerful and calming. As you make progress in your physical treatment, your stress can decrease by knowing you are not stuck forever with the pain you started with. You can look forward to new adventures and renewing some activities you enjoyed in the past.
Of course, if you want to feel like a grumpy, crotchety, elderly version of yourself, don’t bother to watch what you eat, be inactive, and by all means stay away from physical therapy. I don’t recommend it, but it’s your choice.
Muscles In-Sync (R) is the method we use to analyze our patients' problems to get to the root…and fix what ever problem is present…which usually means the patient is pain free after we are done with a home exercise to perform to keep the pain away.
Now…to touch on a sensitive subject, how does the Muscles In-Sync (R) method work with pelvic pain? Muscles in the pelvic area can start getting out of sync due to many problems. Pregnancy and delivery can cause a number of problems in the pelvic area; stress and breathing incorrectly can be another cause. Did you know that when your diaphragm contracts correctly as you inhale, the process, when done right, can help your pelvic floor to relax as you breathe in..which can help elimination. How can that be?
Here is a video:
As you can see, he diaphragm, as it contracts, shortens and pushes down upon the organs such as the liver, stomach and intestines. OF NOTE: the ribs expand to the sides for this process to work well. When the ribs can do this, the organs gently push out on the abdoen, and then down on the pelvic floor which is program to relax as the diaphragm contracts. (This process, called reciprocal inhibition, is present throughout the body for example when the biceps contracts the triceps is programmed to relax) When a person is eliminating urine or feces, by taking a larger inhalation, can gently assist nature in this process, instead of bearing down and holding the breathe. If you bear down, you actually encourage your pelvic floor to contract, not relax, which can lead to pain as the muscles can get the point they never really learn to relax, which can cause problems with constipation, and pain with intercourse in women.