Top ten reasons to stretch daily

Stretching exercises

Stretching is a massively overlooked component of fitness, which commonly gets a half-hearted 5 minutes at the end of a workout, if that! But really, we should all be devoting more time to it, on a daily basis, and now with active isolated stretching you can get a professional doing it for you! carefully and accurately assessing all you muscles, and working them gently until the fine balance in your body is restored and your pain is gone.

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The Piriformis is a Real Pain in the Ass

written by David Weinstock – neurokinetictherapy

The piriformis muscle is the most superior of the deep external rotators of the hip. The sciatic nerve passes underneath it and sometimes through it. Hypertonicity of the piriformis can contribute to many kinds of Low Back Pain, also known as Piriformis Syndrome. We will examine the factors that make for a hypertonic piriformis muscle so that we can have an effective treatment strategy. The most common imbalance associated with this condition is a facilitated piriformis inhibiting the ipsilateral hip internal rotators. These muscles, such as the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and the tensor fascia lata are prone to inhibition. This balance can easily be ascertained through the manual muscle testing protocol employed by NeuroKinetic Therapy. Release of the piriformis muscle is immediately followed by activation of the internal rotators to reprogram the dysfunctional movement pattern that has been stored in the motor control center. This change is first stored in short-term memory, so it becomes imperative for the client to perform their homework twice a day in order to convert this new functional movement pattern into long-term memory.

 

The piriformis is also a synergist for the gluteus maximus in extension of the hip. Problems occur when the gluteus maximus becomes inhibited, which is very common. The piriformis was not designed to carry the load of the gluteus maximus, much like a local to global muscle relationship. Furthermore, when hip flexors, such as the psoas become inhibited, the piriformis can become facilitated in this agonist/antagonist relationship. Often times the piriformis will be assisted by the quadratus  lumborum ipsilaterally to compensate for an inhibited psoas. This will create a significant case of lower back pain.

Because the piriformis is an external rotator of the hip, it works with the opposite internal rotators of the hip to create ipsilateral lumbar rotation. Therefore inhibition of the contralateral internal rotators of the hip or contralateral external rotators of the hip will create facilitation of the piriformis. Pictures of these tests are in my book, “NeuroKinetic Therapy”. The piriformis also externally rotates the sacrum and can be a major contributor to sacroiliac joint dysfunction. This is often seen in a dysfunctional gait pattern where loading on the forward moving leg is compromised. The sacrum normally externally rotates during this action. Examination of the muscles that contribute to this action, including those that create lateral flexion of the spine, is crucial in unraveling this pattern. For example, the right piriformis could be inhibiting the left quadratus lumborum, left lumbar erectors, left psoas, etc.

A properly functioning piriformis muscle is crucial in maintaining a healthy low back and sacroiliac. Understanding how to assess and treat a hypertonic piriformis is crucial in resolving dysfunctional movement patterns associated with Low Back Pain and Sacroiliac Dysfunction.

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Common shoulder injuries


people playing tennis in tropics
Whether throwing a ball, playing tennis, paddling a canoe, lifting boxes, or pushing a lawn mower, we rely heavily on our shoulders to perform a number of activities.

Normally, the shoulder has a wide range of motion, making it the most mobile joint in the body. Because of this flexibility, however, it is not very stable and is easily injured. Allot of this shoulder instability is due too muscular imbalances and imbalanced functionality patterns within the complexity of the joint 

 

The shoulder is made up of two main bones: the end of upper arm bone (humerus) and the shoulder blade (scapula). The end of the humerus is round, and it fits into a socket in the scapula. The scapula extends around the shoulder joint to form the roof of the shoulder, and this joins with the collar bone (clavicle). Surrounding the shoulder is a bag of muscles and ligaments. Ligaments connect the bones of the shoulders, and tendons connect the bones to surrounding muscle. Four muscles begin at the scapula and go around the shoulder, where their tendons fuse to form the rotator cuff.

When the shoulder moves, the end of the humerus moves in the socket. Very little of the surface of the bones touch each other. Ligaments and muscles keep the humerus from slipping out of the socket and keep the clavicle attached to the scapula.

To keep shoulders healthy and pain-free, it’s important to know how to spot and avoid common injuries.

Shoulder instability

Shoulder instability occurs when the shoulder feels like it might slip out of place. It occurs most often in young people and athletes. The shoulder becomes unstable when muscles and ligaments that hold it together are stretched beyond their normal limits. For younger people, this condition may be a normal part of growth and development. Shoulders generally stiffen or tighten with age.

In athletes, shoulder instability is caused by activities, such as tackling or pitching that put extreme force on the shoulder. Symptoms of shoulder instability are pain that comes on either suddenly or gradually, a feeling that the shoulder is loose, or a weakness in the arm. Treatment may be rest, physical therapy or surgery.

A shoulder separation, also called a sprain, occurs when the ligaments that hold the clavicle to the roof of the shoulder tear. If this happens, the clavicle is pushed out of place and forms a bump at the top of the shoulder. Sprains are common in falls, when the hand or arm is outstretched to stop the fall, or when the fall is on a hard surface. Symptoms are severe pain when the sprain occurs, a misshapen shoulder and decreased movement of the shoulder. Treatment depends on the severity of the sprain. Ice applied immediately after the injury helps decrease pain and swelling. Keeping the arm in a sling to limit the movement of the shoulder allows ligaments to heal; this is followed by physical therapy exercises. Sometimes, surgery is needed.

If the ligaments that hold the shoulder muscles to bones tear and can’t hold the joint together, the shoulder is dislocated. A fall onto an outstretched hand, arm or the shoulder itself, or a violent twisting, can cause a shoulder dislocation. The main symptom is pain in the shoulder that becomes worse when the shoulder is moved. Treatment for a dislocation is ice applied immediately after the injury to decrease pain, swelling and bleeding around the joint. Within 15 to 30 minutes of the injury, the joint will be painful and swollen. A dislocated shoulder needs immediate medical care. Doctors treat dislocations by using gentle traction to pull the shoulder back into place. When the shoulder pops out of the socket repeatedly, the condition is called recurrent instability. Recurrent instability can be treated with surgery to repair the torn ligaments.

Rotator cuff tear

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles of the upper arm that raise and rotate the arm. The muscles are attached to the bones by tendons. The job of muscles is to move bones. The tendons of the rotator cuff allow the muscles to move the arm. If the tendons tear, the humerus can’t move as easily in the socket, making it difficult to move the arm up or away from the body.

As people age and their physical activity decreases, tendons begin to lose strength. This weakening can lead to a rotator cuff tear. Rotator cuff injuries occasionally occur in younger people, but most of them happen to middle-aged or older adults who already have shoulder problems. This area of the body has a poor supply of blood, making it more difficult for the tendons to repair and maintain themselves. As a person ages, these tendons degenerate. Using your arm overhead puts pressure on the rotator cuff tendons. Repetitive movement or stress to these tendons can lead to impingement, in which the tissue or bone in that area becomes misaligned and rubs or chafes.

The rotator cuff tendons can be injured or torn by trying to lift a very heavy object while the arm is extended, or by trying to catch a heavy falling object.

Symptoms of a torn rotator cuff include tenderness and soreness in the shoulder during an activity that uses the shoulder. A tendon that has ruptured may make it impossible to raise the arm. It may be difficult to sleep lying on that side, and you may feel pain when pressure is put on the shoulder.

Treatment depends on the severity of the injury. If the tear is not complete, your health care provider may recommend RICE, for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Resting the shoulder is probably the most important part of treatment, although after the pain has eased, you should begin physical therapy to regain shoulder movement. Your doctor may prescribe a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for pain.

Frozen shoulder

This extreme stiffness in the shoulder can occur at any age. It affects approximately 2 percent of Americans, most often between 40 to 60 years of age. Although the causes are not completely understood, it can affect people with diabetes, thyroid disease, heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease. It can also occur if the shoulder has been kept immobile for a period of time. It occurs when a minor shoulder injury heals with scar tissue that affects how the joint moves. This scar tissue reduces flexibility in the shoulder and makes it more prone to injury. The major symptom is the inability to move the shoulder in any direction without pain. Treatment can be NSAIDs, cortisone injections or physical therapy. You can reduce further injury and stiffness by stretching before starting activities.

Overuse/strains

Sudden increases in activity can place extensive stress on the shoulders and lead to a decrease in flexibility. This is a common problem in middle age, especially among “weekend warriors,” or people who don’t exercise regularly but go out every now and then for an intense sport.

Although painful and inconvenient, these overuse problems can usually be treated with rest, NSAIDs and stretching exercises.

Arthritis

Beginning as early as age 50, some people develop osteoarthritis, which causes painful movement. This occurs as the smooth surfaces of the cartilage that line the bones of the shoulder joint are worn away, and joints begin to wear out and become larger. The most common cause of osteoarthritis is overuse. Treatments for arthritis in the shoulder depend on the severity of pain. The usual treatments are rest, NSAIDs and cortisone injections.  In some instances, a replacement of the shoulder joint is necessary.

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