Back Pain

The Secret to Stopping Low Back Pain!

Do you have to work to stand up every morning as you get out of bed? Usually, once you start walking, the pain will subside. How about when you get out of a chair after sitting for a while? Your low back can make you feel old? Or, what if you have to stand for a while? You feel the need to sit down to relieve your back pain. I have been there, done that!

In 2002 I was 42 years old and I felt all of those things. I just could not believe that I could be in that much pain. I was too young and too athletic to have my back disable me. I remember, at my worst, crawling out of my car onto my hands before I could stand up. That was crazy! Yes, I did exactly what everyone else did. I went to my doctor and she offered me some pills, then PT, then a back brace, especially when I was doing any activities. Finally, she said, if those didn’t help, surgery could be in my future. She certainly thought my back pain was here to stay for the rest of my life. I could not believe my ears. I had always been very strong. I was working out at the gym 3-5 days per week, running, and eating better that I ever had. I did all the things every professional had told me to do. I was mad!

Today, at 59 years old, I wake up with no pain. I work in my yard with no pain. I can do anything I want with NO PAIN! Want to know the secret? IT WAS NEVER MY BACK! You heard me right. I did have pain in my back. Every time I bent over and tried to stand up, there was pain in my back, but it was never MY BACK!

What I learned 15 years ago changed everything for me and I am sharing it with you today. I began studying the mechanics of the body and how the body balances from side to side and front to back. The muscles on one side will influence the muscles and bones on the other side. Next, I studied the relationship between my muscles and my bones. Believe or not, this stumps many doctors and therapists.The bones follow the muscles. This is scientific law, Wolff’s Law. Your muscles can, and will, apply pressure to your bones. You’ve heard of bone on bone in joints or compression of the vertebrae. This is a prime example of how the tension from the muscles literally wear out the bones and discs. Finally, I studied how the brain, mainly our emotions,and how it affects our muscles. Just a thought can create stress in our muscles which will make them contract as if we were lifting weights. When I put all that together, the secret to my back pain was right in front of me.

My back was hurting because the muscles on the front of my thighs and inner thighs were so tight from working out, working in my yard, and just moving through my life. When these muscles get tight they can shift the pelvis forward causing compression in my lower back. When I stood and gave them a moment, they would release partially which took the pressure off my back and I could move. Same thing happened when I sat too long. When standing, the pain in the back came from the muscles fatiguing while pulling against these muscles on the front that were short. Once I learned how to stretch them, I never had that problem again. The stretching we do at the gym or PT, will not work. I have developed a better stretching, Stretch n’ Release Technique that will teach you how to do it correctly.

How do you know if this is your back problem? If your back hurts when you stand up, you need pillows under your knees to ease the pain, back hurts after sitting. or when you get out of bed, you probably have the same issue. In my practice, 90% of my back pain clients have this same issue. Got to my video site at Youtube.com/themusclerepairshop/ to see videos of what I am talking about or you can go to http://www.musclerepairshop.trainerize.com and sign up to learn how to stop your back pain now!

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Foot pain, Knee Pain

Is Walking on the Beach a Dream or Nightmare?

It’s vacation time and you are so excited! You are heading to a tropical location with the most beautiful beaches on the planet. You can feel the sun touching your skin while you walk barefoot on the beautiful white sand and hearing the waves crashing down. Add a margarita to the dream and it feels like paradise.

Walking on the beach is a great way to get exercise and can be great for your feet. If you are used to walking barefoot on any surface, walking on the beach can be awesome. However, if you never walk barefoot, or wear shoes most of the time, walking on the beach can be torture on your feet about day 2 of your vacation. This can ruin your dream vacation and none of us want that,

Wearing shoes, especially shoes with arch supports and heels on any height, can actually cause the muscle in your feet to atrophy. I know, I know, we have been told since birth that good shoes have arch supports and a heel because our feet need them. The truth of matter is, our feet would be fine without them. In fact, your feet would be better off without them. The more heel support you have, the more likely you will walk heel to toe which increases the impact on your heel every time you take a step.

To prevent your feet from ruining your vacation here a few things you can do to get ready for your beach walk.

1- Sitting in a chair, cross one leg over another. Use your thumb to soften the arch of your foot. Your foot should feel as soft and thin as your hand so it can grip the ground as you walk. If you cannot cross your legs, sit in a chair, place a golf ball under the arch of your feet. Use the ball to find sore spots on the bottom of your foot. Don’t just roll the ball around. Be deliberate and look for the sore spots. When you find one, don’t increase the pressure, just maintain the pressure, breathe out and mentally relax the arch. Next move on to the next spot.

2- Use your fingers to press and rub between your bones on top of your foot. Begin at the toes and slide up to your ankle. This frees up your feet to spread which will improve your balance and the ability to grip the ground. If you feel soreness, stop and maintain the pressure, breathe out, and mentally relax the muscle.

3- Sit on the floor with your back against the wall.If you cannot sit on the floor, sit in a hard back chair, no rocking chair, and place one foot on an ottoman. Place a yoga strap. belt, or rope around the ball of your foot. No elastic bands here because your will not get a good stretch. Make sure your back is 90 degrees to your leg as you began to pull your toes back toward you. Do not use your leg muscles, only your arms. Hold 3-5 seconds and repeat 8-10 times. Next rotate your foot inward and repeat the stretch. Finally rotate your foot outward and repeat again. This is the only calf stretch I have seen that will stretch all 4 calf muscles. This will prevent arch soreness, knee soreness, and back soreness when walking as you can extend your ankle beyond 90 degrees and use your toes to push off when walking.

Walking on the beach is a great way to relax, hear the surf rolling in, the birds, and feel the sun warming your body. The sand will improve the skin on your feet because it will exfoliate the feet and strengthen the muscles in your feet. Don;t make the same mistake I made. When you begin walking, remember, the distance your walk out, is the distance you must walk back. It seems so simple, but it is easy to forget and overwork your feet. Go out and have a fun day in paradise and enjoy the beach!

Uncategorized

The Little Known Secret to Staying Cooler in Hot Weather!

We are coming into summer and we all know what that means! The heat rising during the day, humidity in Florida is high, and we are sweating uncontrollably. Most people’s first response is to wear as few clothes as possible, spend plenty of time in water, or find an air conditioner to stay cool. The problem with the last two responses is, what if you need to do something outside? How can you survive another hot summer? The biggest mistake we make, is wearing too few clothes. Yes, you read this correctly. We are wearing too few clothes in how weather.

I grew up on the coast of North Carolina and the summer there can make Florida feel like a cool place. It is not unusual there for temperatures to reach upper 90’2 to low 100’s daily from late July to early September. Humidity can stay above 95% during the day and even in the low 80% at night. The last time I was there in August, I left town at 4:20 am. The humidity at 4:30 am was 84% and water was running off my car like it was raining. I am sharing this information so you will know I understand living in how weather. I have done it all my life.

 As a teenager in North Carolina, I worked on farms during the summer to earn money. I will never forget an old farmer that I worked for because he always wore long sleeve shirts, long pants, and a hat. I know what you are thinking, WHAT? Yes, every day he dressed the same way and I could not believe it. Like many of you, I wore shorts, tank top, and flip flops, just hoping to find a little cool breeze. I decided to ask him one day how he could stand wearing all those clothes and this is what he told me.

“Young man, I am about 10 degrees cooler than you are, he exclaimed, you do not understand how your body works to keep you cool.” I was shocked and amazed at the same time. He continued to tell me the reasons behind the clothes he was wearing and how everybody should dress the same.

What I learned from this old man was, wearing a tank top and shorts allowed the hot sun to dry my sweat as fast as my body could make it. Therefore, my skin was very hot to the touch which made me very hot. With the long sleeve shirt and long pants, his body would sweat wetting the inside of his clothes, and some on the outside as well, which kept his body temperature about 10 degrees cooler. It is your body’s natural way to prevent overheating. We are the only animals in the animal kingdom that does this. The hat kept the top of his head cooler as well as damaging his skin from the sun.

I decided to try this and to my surprise, I was cooler. Since that time if I have to be outside, I always wear a long sleeve shirt with UV protection, long pants, and a hat. When I met my wife 20 years ago, she thought I had lost my mind going outside dressed in a long sleeve shirt. Even after I told her my story she still did not believe me. We would work in our yard and she was overheating and just could not understand how I could stay out there and work in the heat. After 15 years of me repeating the story, she finally decided to try it. She was amazed and can’t stop telling her friends about this new discovery! Her friends now think she is nuts too. I have recently bought hats I can wet for additional cooling. This works great at the beach, ballparks, and theme parks. I know sound crazy and the idea of you sweating sounds nasty but try it. The seating actually detoxifies your body and it keeps you cool, so there is nothing nasty about that. More importantly, you can enjoy your events and stay cool while everyone else is dying. Enjoy the Florida sun!

Knee Pain, Stiffness

Who else wants to prevent joint replacement?

My plan is to die with all my original joints.I bet many of you have the same feeling., but the question is , do you have a plan? Even if you already have no more than one joint replaced, do you have a plan to not have anymore replaced? Many joint replacements could have been avoided if we only understood what caused the joint to go bad in the first place. Most believe that they were cursed somehow with bad joints from birth, others just they were unlucky. The truth is, unless the joint became bad from a trauma, your joint went bad due to lifestyle effects.

Knee replacements are the #1 joint replacement in America. According to http://www.uptodate.com, a patient information portal, 700,000 knee replacements are performed annually on the people age 50-80. That number is expected to increase to 3.48 million annually by 2030. That is a lot of new knees. I would like to reduce that number by at least half, but I need your help in getting the word out.

The knee wears out due to shortened muscles, bad gait, and bad shoes. At every joint, the muscles run across the joint. Meaning, the muscles above the joint attach below it and the muscles below the joint attaches above it. The shortening of the muscles actually pushes the joint closer together which will squeeze out the synovial fluid, think WD40, that lubricates and cushions the joint. This will lead to bone on bone issues that damage the joint.

A shortened gait places a lot of pressure on the front of the knee as the muscles on the the front and back of the knee fatigue and pushes the joint closer together as well. A shortened gait comes from inflexible ankles that force us to use our thigh muscles to walk versus the calf muscles.

Bad shoes will contribute to knee problems as well. Arch supports prevent the arch of the foot from acting like a spring to absorb to the impact of your foot hitting the ground. Pointy toed shoes force you to rotate your feet outward causing the knee to turn outward which will lead to damage. This will also cause bunions. Padded heels will increase the impact of the ground on your knees.

Learning how to lengthen and soften your muscles correctly, improving your gait and wearing shoes designed to let the muscles in your feet actually work is the best way to improve the health of your knees. You can see videos that explain in more detail on my YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/themusclerepairshop

Stiffness, Stretching

Get Rid of your Stiffness once and for all!

Stiffness,waking up in the morning with a stiff low back, tight neck and shoulders, and even knees and hips. This is a common occurrence throughout America regardless of the age. It is so standard that we have commercials with people begging for their 2 pain pills that they take everyday to stop their pain. The over the counter pain pills are sold by the millions every year. Maybe you deal with stiffness as well and yet you may think it is just because you are getting older. Your friends and even your doctor will agree. This is a sad state in our country. There are 3 different belief systems about dealing with chronic stiffness.

1- Many believe that working out in the gym is a way to battle the stiffness. The mindset is, If I can get strong enough my pain will go away. The truth of the matter is, you are probably causing more stiffness because you are tightening your muscles which applies too uch pressure to your joints and discs.

2- Others believe that as we age we should slow down. These people are literally rusting up.The lack of movements causes the muscles to tighten, again applying too much pressure to your joints and discs.

3- Still others believe this is just a part of getting older but they are not willing to stop moving. This group will take the 2 pain killers each day thinking they are outsmarting the pain. In reality, the pain killers may cause damage to their digestive systems leaving with the stiffness and digestive issues.

The truth of the matter is your stiffness is a natural state for your body to be in. Since you are alive and you will move to some degree, your muscles will tighten. You also have emotions which will cause your muscles to tighten. Your muscles contract by burning a fuel called “ATP” which will leave a waste product called “lactic acid.” This “lactic acid” causes the muscles to harden and shorten which applies pressure to the joints and spine. You cannot drink enough water to wash it out, there are no pills you can take to clean it out, and no one else can release from your body until you know how to do it as your mind will fight back.

Watch a dog or cat, and you will see them stretch out several times a day. These animals get tight just like you and I. This how we should stretch too. Stretching is different mindset from strength training. It needs to be for periods of 2-5 minutes a ta time, several times a day. The key is understanding how your mind plays a huge role in loosening up your muscles. Check out my videos explaining in more detail at http://www.youtube.com/themusclerepairshop

In my next post I will explain why so many people wind up with joint replacements without having any previous trauma.

Stiffness, Stretching

The 4 Keys to Living a Pain Free Life Regardless of your Age.

My friends and I used to go to the gym 3 or more times per week. We would lift weights for an hour, then get on the treadmill or stair climber for another 30 minutes. Of course we would leave sweaty and tired, but we felt great! Some months it looked like we were losing weight, but never a lot. The funny thing was, after all that working out, every time we would play softball or basketball together in our leagues, somebody always seemed to get injured. I just couldn’t figure out why. Even I would sustain injuries either from playing sports or just working in my yard. How could that be? I am working out regularly as I was told, yet it seemed I was always hurting. My doctor and my friends would say, “Well you are getting older!” I was frustrated and just refused to believe that in my late thirties I could be hurting this bad.

This is where I began my journey with the muscles. I enrolled in a massage therapy school to learn the basics of muscles. On my first day, I felt something I had never felt before. It was like someone had put a CD in my head of how the muscles work mechanically. I could clearly see the relationship between the bones and muscles. Keep in mind that I had never had much interest in the human body beyond looking good to get dates. This is were I learned the need to relax the muscles to take the pressure off the joints and spine. Bones cannot move on their own and need the muscles for any movement.

Key #1Lengthen the muscles– After finishing massage school, I was introduced to a man named Aaron Mattes, the founder of Active Isolated Stretching. Aaron taught me that the way we traditionally stretch was incorrect. We hold the stretches too long and apply too much pressure. It cause our brain to fight with us. You have heard of muscle memory, right? Your brain creates habits in how you move, stand, or walk which will prevent pain, regardless of correctness. To create better habits to prevent joint damage or spine damage, we must teach the brain new habits first. Stretching is more emotional than physical. Once you can emotionally release the muscles, then you can physically release the muscles. Any other way is just a short term fix. Check our my websites for more tips on stretching, http://www.musclerepairshop.com

Key#2Strengthen muscles– This we all know too well whether we go to the gym or not. The problem is, there are 2 parts to strengthening. The first is the lifting the weights, or your body weight, to build bigger and stronger muscles. Some people will lift heavy weight with less reps for bigger muscles while others may choose a lighter with more reps to avoid big muscles. Either way you will get stronger.

Key #3- Stamina training– This tends to get lumped in with weightlifting and usually forgotten. Most problems people face have to do more with stamina and then pure strength. Unfortunately many people are diagnosed as weak and are told to lift weights. Stamina training involves being able to do an activity for long periods of time without causing the body to fatigue and spasm. Many low back sufferers suffer with this. This is not walking on treadmill or doing a cardio machine at the gym, but doing the activities you enjoy. Start slow and build up your time.

Key #4- Nutrition– Food is always a key component in the making of a healthy body. I like to think of my body as a Ferrari. I would never to put water in the gas tank, right? That would be crazy. I see many of my friends that work out, sit down and eat a high fat meal for the sole purpose of giving them more energy to work out. Feeding your body with fresh vegetables like greens, squashes, lean clean meats(smaller amounts), and healthy fats like avocados is a real key in how healthy your body will be. I am not saying you need to be vegetarian or vegan, though there is nothing wrong with that, but eating a 12-16 oz steak, baked potato with sour cream and butter, and drinking a high sugar drink will negate everything you are trying to obtain at the gym. It is like pouring water in the Ferrari’s gas tank and then complain about how bad it runs.

Living a pain free takes some work and a lot of better decisions about what you eat and choose to do. You can have a great looking body, but still be living in pain. Your pain is about the relationship between your muscles and your bones. It is up to you as to how pain free you live. Better decisions, means a pain free life! Check out our videos at our YouTube channel- http://www.youtube.com/themusclerepairshop, to learn more about the Keys to living Pain Free.

Stiffness, Stretching

What everyone ought to know about muscles!

It is amazing how much we know about getting our muscles stronger, bigger, and faster. It is even more amazing how little we know about how our muscles interact with our bones and nerves. We all know someone who has had a joint replacement, back surgery, Rotator cuff surgery, or carpal tunnel surgery, maybe you have had one of these procedures. The typical reason for joint replacement is it is bone on bone, backs are bulging disc, Rotator cuff tear, and of course, carpal tunnel is the numbness in your hands. We teach our medical practitioners how to stop the immediate pain, but we fail to teach how to ask better questions about how you got there

Of the injuries I listed above, carpal tunnel is the only one that is explained as overuse, but we don’t really understand how to help people change what they do. The truth of the matter is, they are all from overuse. Your joints don’t just breakdown overnight. Your disc didn’t bulge instantly without a trauma. Rotator Cuffs don’t just tear without a trauma either. The way you walk, the shoes you wear, your strength, and your flexibility, play a key role. Many things we have been told throughout our lives have led us to these injuries, because at the time we just didn’t know any different.

Flexibility is the most foreign part of why our bodies breakdown, because no one has ever given it a lot of thought. However, your flexibility will determine how well you age. Even in the stretching arena, the lack of knowledge about how to actually stretch your body is amazing. Your muscles are more emotional than physical. In fact, until you can release the emotions held in your muscles, it will be very difficult to release your muscles physically. Most people hold stretches too long, pull too hard, and are actually doing strength training disguised as stretching. Most people will do strength training thinking the pain will stop if they get stronger, but that can be a mistake too. Strength training will actually tighten your muscles making your body hard and more inflexible. If our bodies are 70% water, then when we have a hard body, we are actually an ice cube with legs. Not a healthy place to be.

Take a look at my videos to learn more at http://www.youtube.com/themusclerepairshop

My videos will go a little in depth to explain how to really stretch your muscles. It just may surprise you.