Back Pain, Stretching

The Little Secret That Can Improve Golf or Tennis Swing!

Last weekend I was driving past a golf course, I saw several men place one of their clubs behind their neck and began twisting their upper body. Years ago when I played golf regularly as a teen, I remember seeing men doing the same thing. As I began learning about the mechanics of the human body, a lesson that I took with a golf pro kept coming back to me. This golf pro would line me up preparing to hit the ball. He would have my feet about shoulder width apart. knees slightly bent, and always told me to keep my head down so I would not top the ball. The last one was always the toughest for me and that probably kept me out of the PGA. Just kidding! What really stuck with me was, the pro telling me that when I rotate my body, keep my spine straight and rotate around the spine like it was a stick. So why do so many people continue to do the spine twist when the pros are telling us to remain straight in our spine?

When I took tennis lessons, my pro told me to pretend I was throwing the racket toward the ball and to generate the power from my legs. Which meant to start at my feet and rotate up through my thighs into my hips. I am not twisting my spine.

When I look at the human body from a mechanical view, I see the rotation of the body starting at our feet moving up through our thighs and rotates our pelvis. At no point do I see the spine twisting. Since most people don’t stretch their calves correctly and their thighs are very stiff, the power comes from the upper body which sets us up for low back pain, shoulder pain, and even rotator cuff injuries. For most people playing golf or tennis, how they swing the club or racket, will determine the amount of back injuries they sustain.

Most stretches we are taught will not improve our flexibility, but will make us less flexible. A great example is the calf stretch. How many of you stretch your calves by leaning against a wall with one foot behind the other? Or, do you stand on a slant board, curb, or step to stretch your calves? What you actually doing is stretching your Achilles tendon which is attached to your middle calf muscle, but it is in no way stretching your calves. To see a video on how to stretch the calves the correct way and to give you a quicker first step in tennis, go to my YouTube channel at The Muscle Repair Shop to see videos to stretch your calves.

elbow pain, wrist pain

Get Rid of Carpal Tunnel Once and For All!

My client, Emily, was totally frustrated with her carpal tunnel. She had been wearing a wrist brace for years after enduring 2 carpal tunnel surgeries. She thought that the surgery would fix her hand. Instead, the pain went from her hand to her elbow, which was diagnosed as cubital tunnel syndrome. Again, another surgery followed by a brace, and still there was pain. On her flight to Florida, she grabbed her suitcase and felt immense pain in her neck and shoulders. Her girlfriend referred her to me when she saw Emily in tears,mostly from the frustration and fear of not being able to use her arm.

Emily’s problem started in her hand and is still coming from her hand. Most of us have heard of carpal tunnel syndrome and understand there is a tunnel in our wrist area called the carpal tunnel. We have a total of 26 muscles in our forearms that run from our elbow to our fingers. These muscles allow us to open and close our hand. When we grip things, we are engaging the muscles on the bottom of our forearm which run through our carpal tunnel in our wrist and press on the median nerve which runs right next to these muscles.

Carpal tunnel is usually described as a result of repetitive actions like typing on a computer or cash register. However, it can be caused by gripping a steering wheel too tight, or a gold club or tennis racket. When travelling, gripping the suitcase handle can cause carpal tunnel syndrome as well. Doesn’t it sound ominous, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Surgery does relieve the pain temporarily, however since you use your hands every day it will come back. That is why so many people wear the wrist braces. It is not a strength issue as described by many therapist and trainers. It has more to do with overuse and not knowing how to release the strain from the overuse. Which means once you know how to release the pressure, you can prevent the pain from coming back at all.

I n your forearm there are 26 muscles and 2 bones that run from your elbow to your wrist. From the wrist, there 5 muscles that continue through the carpal tunnel on the bottom of the wrist to each of your fingers. In that tunnel lays the median nerve and when pressure is applied to the nerve by the muscles,pain occurs in your hand and fingers. so how do you fix it?

Using your opposite hand, apply a little pressure to your forearm and feel for sore spots. Don’t squeeze hard thinking you are going to force it out. You will only make it worse. Apply just enough pressure to feel the sore spots. When you find one, it may hurt a lot at the beginning, if so, lighten the pressure a little, breathe out, and allow your brain to relax the muscle. Do this all over your forearm until the muscles feel softer than cotton candy. No matter how strong you are, your muscles should feel soft for more freedom of movement.

Next , make a light fist with the painful hand, bending at the elbow. Place the opposite hand over your fist and gently press down. Again, you are not going to force it down and if you try, you may make the pain worse. It is not, no pain, no gain here! Hold the stretch for 3-5 seconds and repeat 8-10 times. Breathe out each time and allow your brain the chance to relax the muscles. Finally, stand next to a table and place your painful hand palm down with the fingers pointing behind you. Gently lean into the wrist and feel the muscles in your forearm stretch. Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 8-10 times. You can do this 3-5 times a day. It will only take a few minutes each time, but it will keep it away.

We cannot stop doing everything we need to do to survive or have fun. Wearing a brace may stop the pain today, but it will cause the muscles to weaken and increase the pain later which will result in multiple surgeries. Who has time for that? Emily’s wrist pain stopped within 5 days and she has been pain free for the last 2 years without the brace. In fact she donated the brace to a friend.

To learn more about how to stop common aches and pains, subscribe to this blog or go to my website at http://www,musclerepairshop.com

I have videos at my YouTube channel, The Muscle Repair Shop, which are free to watch.

elbow pain, Stiffness

Here’s a Quick Way to Stop Elbow Tendonitis!

The other day I saw a young woman that loved to play tennis. She played several times a week, but was having trouble with her elbow. Like most tennis players she purchased a band that wraps around her forearm to try and stop the pain. Though it helped, the pain was still there enough to reduce her playing time. She even tried creams and lotions hoping to reduce the pain because friends had said it was probably inflamed. That didn’t really work either. I spent 2 sessions with her and taught her why her elbow hurt and how to stop the pain.

Elbow Tendonitis is actually a hand issue, though the pain is in the elbow. There are 26 muscles in you arm from the elbow to the fingers. There are 5 main muscles on each side that attach at the elbow and allow your hands to open and close. The harder you grip anything such as a tennis racket, golf club, or steering wheel, the tighter these muscle become and the more pain you will get in the elbow. The solution is pretty easy.

First , feel your forearms. If you cannot easily feel the 2 bones in your forearm, which you probably can’t and that is why you hurt. Using the opposite hand began gently pressing on your forearm and breathing out to allow the muscles to release. The pressure you apply will not release these muscles, it is your brain that will release them. Too many people, including therapists, believe that they can push the hardness out. This is not true/ In fact, the harder you push the worse it will get. The end result result should be a softer forearm, regardless of how strong you are. Hard bodies and buns of steel are not good for the human body.

Next, make a light fist with the hand of the arm with the tendonitis and push it down with the opposite hand bending at the wrist. Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 8-10 times. Each time you press down, breathe out and allow your brain to relax the muscles in the forearm. Finally, stand next to a table and place your palm down with your fingers pointing behind you. Then lean into that same hand to release the muscles on the inside of the forearm. Hold for 3-5 seconds and repeat 8-10 times.

Nothing is torn so braces are ineffective. The inflammation is a build up of lactic acid so creams are ineffective. Even though you feel weak, strength training will make it worse. Holding the stretch too long will make it tighter. Tight muscles will make you feel weak, apply pressure to you nerves and joints, and even affect your blood circulation system.

Chronic pain cost us more per year than heart disease and cancer combined. To reduce and/or stop the pain, we must change our minds about how to address the pain first. Once we look at our cause of pain, not the diagnosis, we can change our health.

Be sure to check out my videos at my YouTube channel, The Muscle Repair Shop or go to my website at http://www.MuscleReparShop.com.

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!

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