Muscles In Sync
Why go to physical therapy? Can’t I just buck up and do exercises myself and get better? Won’t going to a gym and lifting weights fix the problem?
Let’s take a look:
The lady above is coming for elbow pain on the left and thumb pain on each hand. You may be wondering why I took a picture of her shoulder blades and middle back? The answer: her shoulder blade muscles are the “core” of her arms and their position and movement pattern, if bad, will strain the arms. She may not know how to make sure the “core” shoulder blade muscles are strong and how to stretch the tight muscles that pull the shoulder blade down and out.
Let’s look at her elbows (the pictures below are of someone different who looks like her due to Comstock PT not wanting to expose her face):
The thumb muscle that is causing pain for her comes from the forearm, up by the elbow and twists down by the thumb. When the forearm is turned in and elbow bent, it strains the thumb and forearm muscles causing both forearm and thumb pain.
To fix the thumb and forearm pain and keep it gone, a holistic approach to the whole arm and shoulder blade system is needed to reduce the strain and help the arm improve. Why go to physical therapy to have this treated? To get the holistic treatment and get fixed!
The video demonstrated below, by an orthopedic surgeon, shows the mechanics of why shoulder impingement happens with the tendons.
See the small space between the ball acromium? That is where the impingement happens. Making sure the supraspinatus tendon, which pushes the ball down as the arm bone is lifted by the deltoid, is working well is a big part of the picture of shoulder healthy function. BUT….if you raise the shoulder blade UP by STRENGTHENING the muscles which lift it up, (such as serratus anterior) and STRETCH muscles which PULL it down (such as latissimus dorsi) you can gain more space, which puts less pressure and pinch on the supraspinatus tendon.
http://comstockpt.com/2011/11/22/neck-pain-stretches-out-olympia-wa/ This link will show you some latissimus stretches, and if you refer to Part 1 in this series of blog posts, with the man leaning against the wall you can see how to strengthen the serratus anterior
Okay, today we are discussing a very sensitive issue–Pelvic Health Physical Therapy. Having pelvic health issues can be intimidating–because, it is soooo personal. You may be wondering, what issues do people suffer that have poor pelvic health?
Lots of problems can happen down south. There are muscles in the pelvic floor (the levator ani aka pelvic floor muscles or PF) PF muscles can spasm or become weak, just like shoulder muscles, or any other muscle groups. The difference with these muscles causing problems, however, is that spasms here can cause other problems with how the pelvic organs function. Stress incontinence (leakage when you lift, cough, sneeze, run) can happen, often in women but also in men who have had prostate cancer surgery, from weakness.Urge and frequency incontinence happens when the bladder muscles decide it is time for your bladder to let go, even if You don’t think it is time, and then… you leak. Medicine can be helpful for urgency and frequency, but they leave you with dry mouth side effects.
These muscles can also spasm causing a lot of pain and difficulty with fully emptying your bladder.
A lot of other pelvic health conditions can be treated by pelvic floor physical therapy…more tomorrow
Ever had whiplash? Have you been in a car accident and been rear ended or hit from the side?
Chances are you have had treatment, maybe physical therapy, chiropractic or massage? Perhaps you have had to take pain medications? You’re probably somewhat better, but you’ve got that nagging headache, right…or…nagging tingling and numbness in your arm…or upper back pain…or all three. There is hope. New science has come out that tells us there are “core muscles” in your neck that need to be re-programmed to contract in the right order, then strengthen your neck.
Why is there a need for a “special” training program? If you have whiplash the order of the muscles contracting becomes messed up. Normally the core muscles contract the make your neck stable, then large muscles sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) pull on the neck to rotate it or pull on your neck as you lift your arm.Sternocleidomastoid by Ken Hub
After whiplash, large muscles (the big ones you can see on the sides of your neck) contract first to splint the neck. The problem is, the right order of muscle contraction does not come back and the large muscles (sternocleidomastoid and scalenes) keep contracting, which causes headaches (see the headache referral pattern for sternocleidomastoid) and arm tingling and pain (see the scalene brachial plexus picture below).
>What can you try at home to help this pain? Nod your head in little tiny nods, like you are nodding “yes” to getting better.
If that does not clear up your pain or tingling, give us a call to schedule an appointment to get relief from your whiplash pain!
New information from a class I just took: the "core" as a piston that moves with you! Turns out that the stability of your trunk, in other words your rib cage to your pelvis, is dependent on the diaphragm working together with the transverse abdominis, multifidus and the pelvic floor.
What does this mean in for you if you have pain or you are trying to get more fit? When you are going to lift something heavy do the following:
- make sure to breathe in before you lift, letting your tummy relax and lower ribs expand as you prepare to lift.
- start breathing out by pursing you lips then quickly lift your pelvic floor and then pull your tummy in as you lift
Here is a link to a video from the instructor of the class, Julie Wiebe PT:
Enjoy looking at her video!
How does this concept apply to Muscles In-Sync(R)? It directly applies because the muscles, to work best, need to work at the right time and the right way, and we can help you feel better by getting them In Sync!