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.

Stretching

“Break all the rules and get the Flexibility of a 35-year old body at 50- 60-70 and beyond!”

It is funny how we teach each other that aging has to be a terrible thing. I remember when I was about turn 50, my friends started to tease me about turning 50. They made it sound so bad that I thought, for a second, why on earth would I want to live to be 50. I mean on that magical day I will stop being young and pain free to living a life full of pain. ON my 50th birthday, I laughed and said to my friends, “I have been waiting all day and I have yet felt any pain.” Their reply was,”Just wait until you turn 55, that is when it will happen.” On my 55th birthday again I laughed and said,”Okay, I am 55 and still feel no pain!” Next my friends said, “Just wait until you hit 60.”

Then it hit me, are people just waiting for the pain to come? I thought how silly for anyone to that yet every I knew seemed to doing just that! I decided right there I was not doing that and I haven’t. At 59, I feel better than I did at 39, no lie! Here are some of the thing I do in my life:

1- I eat a diet low in grain carbohydrates to lower inflammation.

2- I stretch several times a day for 5-10 minutes at a time

3- I meditate every morning with my wife.

4- I focus on reducing stress in my life

5-I stay active to maintain my strength and stamina

These are just the things I do, your list may vary. The important part is lower inflammation, increase range of motion, and maintain a stress free life. You can read some of my other post on this blog for more information or go to my website at http://www.musclerepairshop.com

or see my videos of me explaining how I do these things at http://www.youtube.com/themusclerepairshop

Foot pain, Stretching

Give me 10 days to stop your Plantar Fasciitis

How long have you suffered with Plantar Fasciitis? Has it been months or even years? Some people are given a big boot, or air boot, to wear each time it acts up. Some people are given injections in the heel and /or orthotics in their shoes, while others are given strength training exercises to improve the pain. Maybe you have tried one or all of them just hoping that something would work, then you wake up the next day and its back. It can feel hopeless and leaves you feeling helpless to boot, no pun intended. Millions of people are suffering along with you each day. Sadly these treatments just don’t work. They are all symptom based and causal based.

It ‘s crazy that something so simple to solve has stumped so many people that should know better. The biggest mistake is thinking that the problem is with your heel or the arch of your foot. It is not a foot problem at all. Sure the arch is tight and can hurt when walking barefoot, but that is just the symptom and not the cause. The name Plantar Fasciitis is named after the arch muscle, the Plantar Fascia. How ironic! The cause is actually in the upper calf area. You have 4 calf muscles in each leg that controls your foot laterally and vertically. When the inside or outside calf muscle is tight, you will walk on the inside or outside of your foot, respectively. When the 2 middle calf muscles are tight, it will shorten your stride and that is what is causing your Plantar Fasciitis.

Some of the typical treatments are:

1- Achilles tendon stretches disguised as calf stretches. Leaning against the wall and standing on a slant board or the curb only stretches the Achiiles tendon.

2- Orthotics and shoe inserts- placing these in your shoes will cause the arch muscle to atrophy and prevent you from ever walking barefoot on any surface. Long term can cause knee issues.

3- Injections and ice- these only mask the pain because they are treating the symptom and not the pain

Some people have been offered surgeries and pain killers which rarely solve the problem.

Let’s be clear, we all should be able to walk on hard surfaces barefoot as that is what our bodies were intended to do. I do it all the time with no problems. As you can see, no of this touches the real cause of your pain.

To get rid of your plantar fasciitis in 10 days,:

1-get a yoga strap, rope, or belt, as long as it is not elastic to stretch your calves. Elastic bands are designed for strength training and that is the opposite of what we want to do.

2-Sit on the floor with your back against the wall and one leg straight out in front of you. Place the rope around the ball of your foot holding both ends together in your hands. Only use your hands to pull your toes back toward you. Do not use your leg muscles at all.

3-Make sure your back is at least 90 degrees to your legs and gently pull the toes back toward. Hold it for 3-5 seconds and repeat the stretch 8-10 times. You should feel it behind your knee. Next rotate your foot inward and repeat the stretch. You should feel it on the outside of the calf. Finally rotate your foot to the outside and repeat the stretch. You should feel it on the inside of the calf.

Always do both calves in the morning when you awake and in the evening before you go to bed. This may seem like a lot of stretching, but if you stretch correctly, it is a time to relax your mind and create a little meditative state 5 minutes at a time. If you want to see a video on stopping Plantar Fasciitis, got to my YouTube page, http://www.Youtube.com/themusclerepairshop.com .

You can also visit my website at http://www.MuscleRepairShop.com

Stretching

Here is a Method That is helping Golfer’s Improve their Swing

Whenever you watch the pros hit a golf ball on TV, does their swing look like yours? Would you like to add 10 yards or more to the distance of your ball? Most golfers think their swing is in trouble because of the placement of their hands or feet and that is important. Some golfer believe if they can buy the best clubs and hit the best balls, that will make a difference and there is an argument for that. However, beyond all that there is a basic issue that most golfers rarely give much thought about. It is the movement of their body.

When I have been on a golf course, I do see golfer stretching using the traditional stretching techniques dating back to the days of Byron Nelson. The question you should ask about this type of stretching is, “Is it strength training or stretching?” What is the most stretch you see almost every golfer do before hitting their ball.

  1. Place the club across the back of their neck, stand with their feet apart, and start twisting their spine as if the back is actually twisting during the swing. Didn’t your pro say, keep your back straight and rotate your body around the spine?
  2. Stand with your feet slightly apart and bend down with your club in hand attempting to touch your toes. What part of your game requires you to touch your toes? Besides 90% of golfers can barely get past their knees.
  3. Lastly, that is it, for the common stretches and for the majority of golfers they walk out on the course and just start playing golf without stretching at all.

The very basics of the golf swing begins and ends with the legs, more importantly the rotation of the legs starting at the ankles going up to the hips. Most people do not realize, including professionals,

  1. there are 4 muscles in each calf
  2. 3 muscles in each hamstring area
  3. 4 muscles in the inner thigh
  4. 2 muscles on the outside of the thigh (IT area)
  5. 26 muscles in your feet

All of these muscles will determine how far you hit the ball based on the flexibility. These muscles will determine the injuries you will get if they are inflexible.

Let’s look at some simple stretches you can do before you get to the golf course and while on the course.

  1. Sitting in a chair, cross 1 leg over the other leaving the ankle on the opposite knee. For most people the knee of the bent leg will not lay flat without either pushing it down or engaging muscle to force it down. In this position, focus on the muscles of the inner thigh. Place your hand on the knee, using just a little pressure than the weight of your hand, press down on the knee. While pressing for 3-5 seconds, focus on your muscles up nest to your hip and let them relax. Repeat this 8-10 times. You can even do this on a golf cart.
  2. Sitting on the floor, or in a hard back chair with an ottoman, extend 1 leg out in front of you. If you can flatten you knee that is great, if not, the tight feeling behind your knee is your calf muscles, not your hamstring. After extending your leg, place a yoga strap, rope, or belt around the ball of your foot. Gently pull your toes back towards you without using your leg muscles. Hold 3-5 seconds and repeat 8-10 times. Rotate your foot inward and repeat the stretches. Finally, rotate the foot outward and repeat the stretches again.
  3. While sitting in a chair, place a golf ball under the arch of your foot. DO not press hard as pressure will cause tightness which is not what you want. Do not roll the ball around as this may be fun, but it has little to no value. Use the ball as a guide to sore spots on the bottom of your foot. When you find a sore spot, stay there, maintain the pressure, and breathe out while relaxing the muscle to stop the pain. Do both feet.

I would suggest that you go to my YouTube Channel, The Muscle Repair Shop, and watch the videos on calf stretching and hamstring stretching. The hamstrings and calves work together to give you the freedom to rotate your body. The softness of your feet allow your body to grip the ground for better stability as you hit the ball. Once you re-gain your flexibility in these areas, and it won’t take long, the rest of your skills in playing golf will be greatly enhanced. For one on one coaching, either in person or video, go to my website at http://www.musclerepairshop.com.

Stretching, Uncategorized

Most Tennis Stretches Don’t Work and Why!

So you are getting ready to play tennis and you know should be stretching/warming up to play the match. You lift your foot, if you can, and set it on top of the net to stretch your hamstring, right? You stand there talking to your friends for 20 seconds to a minute, because the longer you stand there, the better the stretch, right?. You take that leg down and then place the other foot up there and repeat the same process. How cool! I can stretch my hamstring and talk to my friends at the same time. Most of my friends are impressed that I can actually get my foot up to the net. The ones who cannot reach the net will sit on the bench, stick their leg out in front of them and bend their ankles to stretch their calves. The rest of the players will just fly onto the court and began to play because they just not have time to stretch and besides they do not need it. They stretched yesterday at the gym. Does this sound familiar?

In all of these scenarios, none of these people have actually stretched anything. In fact, the last group has the best chance of not having an injury while playing. The first group is doing what they were told to do by their pro or instructor. The problem is, they are doing strength training disguised as stretching. First of all, the standing in that position is an act of balancing which means their calves, feet, and thighs are all contracting so they do not fall down. Secondly, they have to contract their abdominal muscles to lean forward, tightening the ab muscles. Finally, there are three hamstring muscles and they are trying to stretch all three at the same time which is impossible. All three hamstring muscles are important for tennis because you are running in many different directions and stretching them in one direction is just wrong! As a side note, the four calf muscles need to be stretched to help the three hamstring muscles work better.

The second group is trying to stretch their calf muscles, but they are tightening their shin muscles which will lead to shin splints. Sitting with your leg out in front of you and bending your foot back towards you requires the contraction your shin muscles which will cause them to tighten. I know, I know, you have been told that you should contract your muscle and release. Contract again and release, which is suppose to stretch the opposing muscle. All you have done to fatigued the muscle you have been contracting. The last group doing nothing at all, are at least not tightening their muscles more than they already are, but they are still tight and will eventually hurt themselves. So what should you do?

Get a yoga strap, rope, or belt to stretch. Do not use an elastic band as they were designed for strength training. You can sit on the ground or sit on the bench with your foot on top of something like an ottoman. Place the strap around the ball of your foot and gently pull the strap towards you without using your leg muscles, only your arms. This will stretch the 2 middle calf muscles attach into the Achilles tendon. As you begin the stretch breathe out and focus on letting these two muscles relax. You need to focus your brain on the stretch or the stretch is lost. The brain is the most important part of stretching. You have heard of the mind/body connection in yoga classes? This is very similar except we don’t hold the stretches for a long period of time. Only hold the stretch for 3-5 seconds and repeat the stretch 8-10 times. I will talk about more later. Now, rotate your foot to the middle of your body and repeat the stretch. Finally, rotate the foot to the outside of the body and repeat the stretch again.

The reason for holding the stretch for just 3-5 seconds is to avoid the stretch reflex, which is in every muscle we have. That is what keeps you free of danger until our thoughts override it, this causes injuries. Allowing the muscles you are stretching to relax frees the joint in that area and gives the brain the opportunity to release the muscle. Repeating the stretch 8-10 times allows you time to acclimate to the movement and let your brain learn that your body can move that way. Focusing on the stretch versus talking to your friends allows your brain to release the emotional tension and then the physical tension in the muscle. If you occupy your brain with information that can cause stress, sadness, anger, or even happiness the brain will not let the muscle release and in some cases may even tighten the muscles more

Tennis is a great game, but if you are not prepared to play the game, injuries will occur. My clients that do play tennis love the fact that their new flexibility improves the way they can hit the ball, attack the net, and chase down balls they could have never gotten to before adding this type of stretching to their game. My oldest tennis player is 89 years old and he plays 3 times a week against 70 and 80 year old opponents. His average game last 2-3 hours. Oh , did I say he also built his own ranch at 87.

Back Pain

The 5 Worst Low Back Treatments and Why

80% of all Americans will suffer back pain at some point in the lives and it is the #1 reason people visit their doctor. So why are so many people suffering from back pain and why can’t we stop it? The truth is we are treating the wrong part of the body. Rarely is low back pain a back issue. I have listed the 5 of the worst mistakes in treating low back pain and I will discuss why after each bullet point.

The 5 worst low back treatments are:

1Strength training your back and/or stomach. The idea here is the pain is due to muscle weakness and if we can make the muscles stronger in the stomach and back, we can stop the pain. The truth is, your back pain is coming from the front side of your body. The front of your thighs, inner thigh, and hip flexors cause more low back pain then anything else. In fact, just ignoring it or only doing short-term fixes can lead to bulging discs, herniated discs, or pinched nerves.

2Sitting for long periods of time or doing nothing. Most people sit a lot during their day whether at work or relaxing at home. The body in a seated position shortens the front of thigh, inner thighs, and hip flexors. These muscles, when shortened, will pull the pelvis forward causing a pinch in the low back setting off pain that can drop you to your knees. As in mistake #1, doing nothing can lead to more serious injuries.

3 Traditional Stretching. Stretching as we were taught in school and athletics is actually strength training disguised as stretching. We hold the stretches too long , pull too hard, and try to stretch too many muscles at one time. When the body is in pain, your brain will anticipate pain every time you move in a direction that could possibly hurt. That anticipation of pain will cause the muscles to contract as the brain is trying to protect you. Holding a stretch for more than 5 seconds and forcing the muscle to lengthen will put the brain in the fight or flight mode. This will cause the muscles to contract and increase the pain.

4- Massage therapy– Massage therapist are taught to target the site of pain. If your therapist is only working on your back trying to push out the knots, like in #3, your brain will fight back. No one can cause your muscles to release unless you allow it. Deep tissue massage can cause your brain to fight back because if the pressure is too much, your brain will fight back leaving you with only short-term relief.

5Injections, braces, or surgery. Injections for low back pain is only useful if you are trying to only stop the pain. The doctor is not fixing anything. For example, what if you went to the dentist with a toothache and the dentist only gave you a shot to numb your mouth. Did they fix the pain and will it come back? The same is true for the rest of your body. Braces are to stabilize an area that is broken or torn. Low back pain is neither. Some people think a brace is for support, but the truth is, if the front of your body causes the pain, what good is a brace? Surgery is design to fix an area that has been damaged from past movements or behaviors. For example, the bulging disc may cause some pain, but what caused the bulging disc. If you surgically fix that one and not find the cause, won’t it bulge somewhere else?

The problem with all these treatments is that they are not addressing the cause of the low back pain. There is a specialized stretch to stretch the upper quad(front of thigh) and it is not standing on 1 foot and pulling your heel up to your hip. There is a specialized stretch for stretching the inner thighs and it is not doing a split or working an abductor machine at the gym. Once you can understand the mechanics of your body, it will become clear that working on the low back for low back pain is worthless.

In my next post I will tell you the 3 best stretches to stop your back pain in 3-5 days and why they outperform everything else that is suppose to solve your problem. Every day I meet people that are frustrated and tired of the letdowns from back pain cures that just don’t work. These stretches have work for people from 21 to 95 years of age and can easily be done at home or your office. I suffered for 6 months with severe low back pain and once I figured this out, my pain went away and hasn’t come back in 15 years. You can do the same. I have many clients that have testimonials on my website at http://www.MuscleRepairShop.com

Uncategorized

We are Changing the Blog Name

Beginning Thursday, February 21, 2019, our new blog name will be. “Stretch and Release.” Our blog address will be http://www.stretchnrelease.com. Please make note of the changes so you don’t miss out on any of our posts.

“Stretch and Release” is the name of our technique for helping people stop their chronic pain and it seemed natural to name our blog the same. We will continue to give the same great information in the same format.