Back Pain, elbow pain, hand pain, Knee Pain, Shoulder pain

Are Household Chores Killing Your Body?

Sorry, I have been away for a little while, but my wife and I have had our house totally re-modeled which required us to move out for two months. Oh, we also took a flight to Paris i the middle of all this too! I mentioned that in my last post. Anyway, we have been helping our contractors do some of the work and that can be harder than any workout. Of course, I spent time watching the people work visualizing the muscles that actually allowed them to do what they did. I told you , I am a muscle nerd!

Let’s start with the electrician. Our electrician had to bend her body in ways that would probably cripple most people not used to doing it. Crawling under cabinets on her back, sitting on the floor reaching around and through the walls, up on a ladder, working overhead, and the rotating of her hands to connect the wires together. The plumber made very similar movements without the ladder. Instead of working with small wires, he was working with larger pipes, but it was the same movement. Our carpenter and drywaller, the same guy, did all those thing as well, but for longer periods of time. For instance, he was on a scaffold scraping popcorn off the ceiling, replacing drywall to fix the holes left from changing fixtures, texturing the ceiling, and finally painting it. The tile guy was on his knees continuously while stretching forward to left and place large square tiles. He also had to use his shoulders to wipe across the tiles over and over as he laid the grout.All of these jobs required them to be in positions, most are rarely in. This will lead to back pain, neck pain, and fatigue.

Let’s look at these positions and think about your own body when you do these for much shorter periods of time. The climbing up a ladder and working overhead. Some of you may have do this when you are trimming tall bushes or short trees. Maybe you have painted a ceiling that left you sore. Going up and down a ladder will cause the rotating muscles in your hips to tighten as well as the quads, front of your thighs, to tighten as they left your entire body weight up each step. This can lead to low back stiffness by the end of the day. While standing on the ladder, looking overhead, they will tighten their back muscles from their pelvis to their neck, but what is forgotten is, the abdominal muscles must tighten too to stabilize your balance so they won’t fall. This cause compression on the spine from top to bottom.

Working on their knees is very similar to you gardening. First off, most of the contractors use knee pads to soften the pressure on their knee caps which will damage their knee joints. You, too, should always use a knee pad even if you are on the dirt which is softer. On top of the knee pressure from the knee caps, is the pressure on the knees from the the front of your thighs. These muscles attach below the knee cap which adds additional pressure on the knee joint, plus the upper part of the thigh will fatigue and pull your pelvis forward causing low back stiffness as well.

Working with their hands twisting wires or tightening pipes together can cause elbow tendinitis, wrist tendinitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or arthritis in those joints. Why? The twisting of the hands is created by the two bones in your forearm. there are five muscles on top of the forearm that allow to open your hand, five muscles on the bottom that allow you to close your hand and muscles in-between the two bones that allow you to rotate your hand. The gripping of the hand causes these muscles to tighten and get hard. This hardness pulls the joints closer together causes the joint to lose its lubrication and pain occurs. The rotation also increases the hardness which causes the wrist bones to lose their lubrication and increase the pressure on the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist setting off carpal tunnel syndrome. Arthritis is simply the drying out of the joint and we will discuss that in a later post.

I am always amazed at how many contractors complain about their pain and yet do very little to prepare themselves for the job at hand. Many people do not know how to prepare for yard work or house work. We all seem to just go out and do it, then we are surprised we hurt. Can you imagine a football player not preparing for one game on Sunday, then being surprised if he gets injured. These players are preparing all week and still get injuries, imagine if they did not prepare at all. To properly prepare we must understand which muscles we will be using. I don’t mean anatomically, but feel which part of your body is being used in the movements you are doing. In future posts, I will be discussing how to prepare for our chores in the house and outside of the house. These little preparations will allow you to finish your chores and have the luxury of admiring your work without sitting on a heating pad or taking pain killers for days.

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’, 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.

Since nothing is torn, broken, 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 your 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.

elbow pain, hand pain

Elbow Tendonitis, What is it?

Many of my clients come to see me with elbow tendonitis, or golfer’s elbow, or tennis elbow. They are all the same. The clients will usually be wearing some sort of an elbow band or brace thinking it will help their elbow. Some clients have even had injections to relieve the pain. It is very painful as I have had it myself. The problem with this thinking is, we are looking at the wrong place. This is symptom-based mentality when you think the spot of pain is the cause of pain. Unless it is a broken bone or a torn ligament or tendon, it is rarely at the spot of pain. It is best to remember that ligaments attach the bones together and tendons attach muscles to the skin of the bones. Also, tendons are like rubber bands, they can stretch out and go back to their original length. Ligaments are more like taffy, they can stretch out but will not go back to their original length.

There are 24 muscles in your forearm running from your elbow to your fingertips and there are 2 bones in the forearm. The forearm allows you to rotate, grip things, and wave with your hand. If you feel on the outside of your elbow, you will feel a bony knot which is on the end of the bone in your upper arm. Feel underneath, and you will feel another bony knot also on the end of the upper arm bone. These are important because this is where 5 muscles attach on each side that allows you to open and close your hand. It is the opening and closing of your hands that causes the elbow area to hurt. For instance, a golf swing requires you to grip your clubhead. This can cause the inside of the elbow to hurt. A backhand in tennis will cause the outside area of the elbow to hurt. There are many other things that can do the same thing. Something as simple as gripping your steering wheel, opening doors, painting, exercise, and stress if you hold stress in your hands. These muscles will get hard and pally pressure to the outside or inside of the joint. There are muscles in-between the forearm bones that, when hard, can reduce the rotating ability of the hand causing tenderness on the elbow as well.

The question is, how can you get rid of it? It is pretty simple when you think about. Every day I massage my forearms on my way home from the office because I use my hands all day. Now I am not talking about a little rub like you feel in a typical massage therapy session nor am I talking about digging down to the bone as in a deep tissue session. Use the pads of your thumbs and press in different spots on your forearm looking for sore spots, some people call them Trigger points, the bottom line is they are sore spots. Press down just enough for your brain to feel it, then breathe out allowing your brain to relax the muscle. Once it is relaxed, the pain will stop. Then move to another area and continue until the forearm is softer. Now, stand next to a table, place the palm of your hand flat on the table, and make sure the fingers are pointing behind you. Lean back gently while feeling a little pull up the forearm. More is not better so be gentle and breathe to release the muscles. Hold for 2 breaths and release. Holding for long periods of time will make it worse, not better. Next, bend the elbow and make a light fist. use the opposite hand and gently press down your hand feeling the stretch up the forearm and through the wrist. Remember to be gentle and not force the movement. Too much pressure on either stretch and the brain will fight with you and you will be strength training, not stretching. For the average person, doing these 2-3 times per week should be enough. If you use your hands a lot during your week, then I would suggest doing every day and maybe twice a day. This has kept my hands and arms from hurting in my practice.

To see videos of these and other stretches, go to my YouTube channel, The Muscle Repair Shop. You can leave comments here and on my Facebook and LinkedIn sites as well. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at butch@musclerepairshop.com and I will reply within 24 hours.

elbow pain, hand pain, wrist pain

Are you Suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Nearly 10 million people per year suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome(CTS) each year in America. We are clear on the symptoms and what is exactly causing the pain at the moment of pain. However, we are not so clear on things we do to cause that pain to occur. Every health care practitioner can explain that the pain comes from the 4 tendons running through the carpal tunnel on the bottom side of your wrist are inflamed and presses against the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. The question is, what causes the tendons to inflame?

The inflammation is not the same inflammation you get when a part of your body swells or edema. That can be stopped by using ice. The type of inflammation is caused by the repetitive use of the forearm muscles in the bottom side of your arm. The term repetitive use does not mean doing the same thing over and over, but the continual use of these muscles. The 4 muscles on the bottom side of your forearm, the flexor muscles, allow you to grip anything you want to pick up, move, or hold. Driving your car and holding too tight on the steering wheel. Playing a sport that requires you hold a racket, bat, or club in order to play. Holding a cup of coffee, typing, or writing can cause this inflammation. There is no way to stop the inflammation from happening because we all do these things daily and are not going to stop.

There are several treatment plans available that most people have tried with limited success. Strength exercises may help in the short term but will cause the pain to get worse over time because you are shortening the muscles. Braces are very popular and do help in relieving some pain, but without changing what you are doing daily, it is just going to get worse. Plus over time the brace will stop working as well too. Injections can help as a short-term relief, but again, it will come back. Finally, surgery is a treatment many doctors use and it is only a short-term fix for your pain. I know it can be frustrating, but the problem is, we are not looking at the cause!

Any time you use your hands and fingers you are creating inflammation in the flexor muscles( bottom side) of your forearm. As the muscles contract to move your fingers and hands, they are burning the fuel ATP which leaves a waste product in the muscle fiber called lactic acid. You cannot drink enough water to wash it out. there are no pills to make it go away. The only way to get rid of it is to massage it out and then do a couple of simple stretches for your wrist and forearm. When you are massaging your forearm, don’t just rub, but use your thumb to press in various spots on your forearm looking for sore spots. When you find one, maintain the pressure, and breathe allowing your brain to release those muscles. Your forearms should be as soft as cotton candy regardless of how strong you are. Work up and down your arm.

The first stretch is to stand next to a table that you can place your hand flat on the table. Make sure your fingers are pointing behind you and lean into the stretch. Not too hard as your brain will fight with you, but just enough that you can begin to feel the stretch. Breathe and let your brain release the muscles in your forearm. The second stretch, make a light fist with the affected hand and bend the elbow. Place the opposite hand on top of your fist and gently pull down.  This will stretch the fingers that are tight from gripping too hard. Finally, place both hands together, like you are praying, keep both against your stomach and press one hand down to stretch the bottom wrist. Be sure to always do both sides in each of these exercises. You can see videos on my website, http://www.musclerepairshop.com.