hand pain, Uncategorized, wrist pain

Are you Losing your Grip?

Do you find that the older you get the weaker your grip becomes? Think it is just because you are older? Do you think something is wrong or are you trying to increase the strength in your hands with little to no improvement? Don’t feel frustrated as many people 40 and over have come to see me after trying everything. The secret is, it may not be a strength issue. Instead it could be a tightness issue in various parts of your hand and arm. This tightness can make you feel weak and when you express your thoughts about it, most therapists will start strength training plans to help you. For the short term, it may help, but in the long term it can have a detrimental affect.

Strength training your hands is very easy. Take a rubber band and wrap it around each finger and thumb. Practice spreading your fingers in all directions until they fatigue. rest for 2 minutes and then do it again. You can also take a tennis ball and practice squeezing it. Hold each squeeze as long as you can. As you are holding, count until your hand lets go, then try to beat that time when you practice again. These you can do anytime and anywhere which makes them perfect for the busy person. If you go to a gym, you can use grip machines and dumb bells to strengthen your hands and forearms. Never forget, that when you strengthen any muscles you will make them tighter. This tightness can work against you. Think of a body builder that is too stiff to move.

Sometimes the weakness can come from your muscles being to tight and there are steps you can take to reduce the tightness anywhere, anytime. You do this one at the office, sitting in meetings, or hanging with friends. You can do it sitting or standing, whichever works for you. Place the palms of your hands together with each finger and thumb mirroring the opposite hand. Make the palms are touching.Now use the right hand to press down on the left hand to make the left wrist bend backwards, Hold for 3-5 seconds and reverse to stretch the right wrist. You can do these 8-10 times each way. Next take the left hand, using the thumb and index finger to squeeze between the right thumb and index in that v-shaped area. Squeeze just hard enough to feel the soreness, breathe out and let the muscle relax. Too hard and you cannot breathe out. Too little and there is no effect. Do this until the pain stops then move to another part of that area. You can even do this at the base of the thumb to the wrist. Then move to rubbing between the bones of the fingers to soften the entire hand. Make sure you do both hands and not just the one that hurts. You can stretch each finger back, one at a time. Optimally, each finger should go back up to 90 degrees to the hand.Start slow and work your way up to there, if you can’t do it yet. You can stretch the thumb as well. Place the fingers of the left hand around the thumb of the right hand. Place the left thumb at the base of the right thumb. Your left thumb is acting like a brace. Gently pull the right thumb back with the left hand stretching out the webbing of the right hand. If you feeling any stiffness at the base of the thumb, this one is perfect! There are more videos of these stretches on my YouTube Channel, The Muscle Repair Shop.if you have any questions you can contact me at butch@musclerepairshop.com. Youc an visit my website at http://www.musclerepairshop.com.

leg pain, Uncategorized

Sciatica, the most misdiagnosed ailment!

Sciatica doesn’t happen as often as you may think. Anytime someone has a pain running down their leg, they may assume it is sciatica and even their doctor may make the wrong assumption. Actual Sciatica is the pinching of the vertebrae in the low spine and here in lies our first mistake. Most people that have surgery for sciatica have a low success rate because it has little to do with the vertebrae and more to do with the muscles around the bones. So what is it that most people is sciatica?

Several things can cause the pain running down your leg. First if it is on the outside of the leg it could be an outside band called the( IT) Illiotibialtrack band which runs from the hip joint to the lower half of the knee. Above it is the( TFL), Tensor Fascia Latta, which runs from the hip joint up to the top of the pelvis. Below the knee are the 3 Peroneus muscles that run from the knee to the toes. Anyone one, two, or three of these can cause pain running down the outside of the leg. This typically what I see from clients that have suffered for months while visiting a doctor or therapist. If the pain runs down the inside it could be one of the 4 inner thigh muscles that run from the pubic bone of the pelvis to the lower half of the knee. Below that is the Plantaris muscle that runs from the knee to the arch. I rarely see this one, but it does happen. Lastly, you may feel down both sides and that would be a combination of the 2 above or the quadricep muscles, on the front of the thighs, pulling the pelvis forward causing compression on the lower spine pinching the sciatic nerves.

Typical treatments include injections, braces, pills, and even surgery. These treatments are just to stop the pain for the moment. Unfortunately, my just stopping the pain momentarily, you may run the risk of more permanent injuries down the road that could slow your life down. When I get my clients they are usually very frustrated and hopeless thinking it can never get better.

All of these can be stopped in few days to couple of weeks with a yoga strap and your hands. I have the videos on my YouTube channel, The Muscle Repair Shop or my website, http://www.musclerepairshop.com. If you are willing to do the work I can teach you how to get rid of it forever. This is a team effort between you and I.

Stiffness, Stretching, Uncategorized

Why are Muscles so Hard to Understand?

Most people would say that they know what to do for muscle pain. They would take an over the counter pain pill, heating pad, ice pack, or Ace bandage. If that didn’t stop the pain, they would seek a doctor who would shoot an X ray or MRI. If that showed nothing broken or torn, the doctor would refer you to Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy would do strength training with traditional stretching. Once your insurance runs out, you may go to a trainer at the gym, who again will do strength training with traditional stretching. Finally, if it is still is nagging you, you go back to the doctor that may put you n a brace with some pain pills or muscle relaxers to take when it flairs up. We have all been on this treadmill at some point in our lives. Usually at the end we are told it has to do with our age and we just stop doing anything that causes pain.

The problem here is, the people that should be knowledgeable of muscle pain are not really trained in finding the causes, just stopping the symptoms. The cynic in me says, it is a good money maker, but the realist in me says, they just don’t know! You cannot blame people for what they have not been trained to do for pain. Frankly, I have been surprised to learn how little , as a society, we understand about muscles. Yes, we all have been taught how to strengthen our muscles to make them bigger,faster, and stronger. However, chronic pain is more about the relationship between the muscles and the bones, and the muscles and the brain.

Our muscles are far more emotional than they are physical. In fact, the physical side of our muscles is more affected by our emotions that physical activity. Our brain is designed to protect us 100% of the time. Our brain is in total control of our muscles to make sure we do not hurt ourselves. Otherwise, our brain may say, there is a cliff ahead, please stop walking and our legs would say “screw that, we are walking.” Not a good outcome, right?

Stretching properly is very meditative. Like meditation, we focus on our breath to calm our brain. In stretching, focusing on feeling the muscle we are stretching relax and release is key as well. You cannot think of what happen and hour ago or what will happen an hour from now. You cannot listen to fast paced music or focus on a recorded book. You certainly cannot focus on the news while trying to stretch. When the brain focuses on letting the muscle go, the muscle will release. This takes the pressure off the joints, nerves, and discs. Too much pressure and the brain will fight you. Even in deep tissue massage, without the patient breathing and releasing the muscles, the patient is fighting and the therapist will injure their hands.

Stretching is more like eating than strength training. If you wake and eat breakfast at 8 am and do not eat all day, you will be hungry and you know why. If you wake up and stretch at 8 am and don’t do little stretches throughout the day you will tight again. Every movement you make causes your muscles to tighten and there is nothing you can do but stretch. It is as natural as your body getting hungry. The stretching we are taught at school, gyms, and even PT are more strength training than stretching and that will make the pain lasts longer. Check out my videos on my YouTube page, The Muscle Repair Shop or my website, http://www.musclerepairshop.com to learn how to stretch to stop your aches and pains and enjoy your life!

Back Pain, Neck Pain, Stiffness, Uncategorized

Now You Can Improve Your Movement Regardless of your Age!

It has been another great week working on people of all ages, but the most interesting clients I see are the ones over 80-95 years old and are still kicking it in high gear. How many times have you heard people say, well at your age you need to slow down or maybe you have said it to yourself thinking that your age has a lot to do with your aches and pains. Not long ago I spoke with a doctor and his reaction was surprising as he said that he seems to only see sick people where I see healthy people. So what is the difference, genes, habits, or just plain luck. It could be any or all of them, but it is not their age. The doctor’s patients are the same age as mine, yet they bodies are crippled and in pain.

I love talking to my older clients about their lifestyles and thought processes as they continue to age beyond where most people think they should be sitting in a recliner. The first thing is, they all will tell you the recliner will kill you. I was at a furniture store the other day and they have recliners with cup holders, remote holders, trays for pen and paper, and now they have USB ports for the laptop or Ipad. What is next, an arm to bring you coffee or a mixed drink? Watch a person that sits in a recliner a lot, especially when they stand. The first thing you will notice is the stiffness in their low back. Usually they have head forward posture and their belly starts to grow because they are not moving. The sad truth is, most of these people have been led to believe they should not move for fear of hurting themselves. This talk usually comes from their peers or self talk.

There are a few of the commonalities amongst my clients who are 80+ in age. They always have a plan for tomorrow. There is always a project going on, no matter how physical it is. They are committed to a healthy diet. Lastly, they use their minds to solve problems and design new ideas, no matter their age they never stop learning.

One of oldest clients plays tennis twice a week and runs his own cattle ranch whcih he started at 87. Imagine that, when most people are afraid to walk too far, this man started a small cattle ranch, built a new house, a hydroponic vegetable farm, and plays tennis twice a week. He will soon be 90 years old.

Another client of mine rides a bike on 50-100 mile trips weekly to monthly at a speed of around 20 mile per hour. The amazing thing is this client broke his pelvis in a bike accident less than a year ago. Today that client is back on the bike riding stronger than ever. Not bad for a 70 year old.

I have many stories to share, but the important thing to remember is these people never stop moving. They don’t act like they are 70, 80, or even 90 years old. They all exercise regularly, they learn how to stretch correctly from me. eat well every day, not just to lose a few pounds, and they have control of their minds. Each of these people have made a commitment to always eating healthy, working out without excuses, and focus their minds in a positive direction no matter what. You can have that same life at their ages but you have to commit to preparing your body for aging. What you do, eat, and think when you are young can influence how well you will age. Bad habits like drinking a lot, smoking, doing dangerous activities, and not focusing your mind in the right direction can be a bad recipe for your old age.

This is called taking control of your health and not just let it happen to you as if you had nothing to do with it. Out health care system is filled with people who are hoping and praying that someone will come up with a pill to solve their problem. A problem they most likely created because they did not know any better. With all the knowledge we have today, we need to get up out of that recliner and get on the computer, ask people who know, and make the commitment to improve your life forever. While there is no guarantee, at least if you do get sick, your body will be in a better place to recover faster and save you from multiple symptoms happening at one time. The side benefit is, you can give your recliner to a charity. In fact, let’s start a program that will overwhelm places like Good WIll, Habitat, or Salvation Army with recliners. If you are interested, leave your comments below.

Back Pain, Neck Pain, Stretching, Uncategorized

Get Rid of Airplane Stiffness Once and For All!

I have just returned from the “City of Love,” Paris, France. It was amazing and the people there were so much fun. Of course the food was spectacular. The toughest thing about going to Paris is the flight to and from Paris. it was 8.r hours there and 9.5 hours back. Luckily the plane we flew on was the awesome Boeing 787 which made the flight better, but for most people sitting that long can be hard on their body. Their back or neck will usually stiffen up and it can ruin a great vacation, even in Paris. Unfortunately, just a massage will not solve your problem and of course drugs are just a temporary thing. The stiffness is still there just waiting for the drugs to wear off. You must prepare for the flight before you get on the plane and after you get off.

I worked on stretching the rotation muscles in my hips and quads( front of my thighs). This would prevent low back pain when I stand up. Some of you will use stretchy back braces or sleep with a pillow under your knees to relieve the pain. The back brace really doesn’t work because the cause of your pain is on the front side of your body. The pillows under your knees is a clear sign that by shortening your quads, it takes the pressure off your low back. I also stretched my inner thighs to prevent low back pain. Again the front of my body will cause pain on the back side of my body.

I stretched my calves to prevent leg and foot cramps. Most people think by taking a drug or wearing special socks will help. Again, it is just masking the cause. I stretched my neck and chest because sitting in the seat forces my head forward which will cause my chest to narrow. The pain will show up on the back side of my neck and upper back, but the cause is on the front side. I arrived in Paris pain free, and walked all over Paris in my Merrell Vapor Glove 3 shoes with no foot and leg pain, no back pain, and no neck and shoulder pain. Got back on the plane flew back to the states and still no pain anywhere.

The secret to the stretching is knowing how to stretch correctly. 99% of people, including professionals have not clue how to stretch the body. I know this sounds a little arrogant, but I have tried many different types of stretching looking for alternatives and I have yet to find one that actually stretches the body. I know some of you are thinking, what about yoga. There are some yoga techniques that have an element of stretching to it, but the way it is taught in the United States is strength training which will tighten the body. I just went to a 2 day yoga seminar and listened to the instructor talking about how his techniques were stretching the body, yet 90% of the people in the room could not get into the poses he was teaching and the poses took a tremendous amount of strength to get into and hold. There was no stretching in any of the poses. It may look like you are stretching one side by tightening the other, but the truth is, the supposed stretched side needs to stabilize the contracted side to maintain balance. Therefore your are not stretching at all.

Check out my free videos on my YouTube channel, The Muscle Repair Shop, or contact me at musclerepairshop.com for help in stretching the correct way so you can stay pain free.


How to Choose the Right Seat!

This sounds like an oxymoron, right? Everyone knows when they sit in a bad chair, or do they? Recently, I have had several clients come in and complain about back and hip pain. All said they had not experienced back stiffness before. As I probed them with a few questions, which I always do, each of them had recently purchased a different car. My follow up question was, what kind of car did you have, and what kind of car do you have now?

Two of my clients had down-sided from a mini-van to a sports car, A third had gone from an SUV to a sedan. The problem here is pretty simple when you think about it. Each of us are shaped differently.Some of us have a short torso and long legs, or a long torso and short legs. A few of us are pretty equal between our torso and legs. The odd thing is, our car seats don’t accommodate the different shapes. Plus, a mini-van or SUV seat is higher and places you in a position like a chair at home. This takes a lot of pressure off the hamstrings.If you switch to a sports car, or sedan, the pressure is increased causing low back stiffness.

If you have long legs and a short torso then you will experience low back pain when you stand because the front of your thighs will tighten while sitting in this position. The lower the car, the worse it will get.

If you have a longer torso and short legs, then headroom becomes an issue. The seat being too long puts too much pressure on the back of your knees which can cause your legs to go to sleep. This will lead to low back pain while sitting, not standing.

The same can be true of chairs in your home. If you have short legs and the seat cushion is too long, it places pressure on the back of you legs. People with long legs sitting in a cushion that is too short will sit with their knees above their hips and they will feel back pain when they stand.

When choosing a seat for home, look at the length of your thighs and the length of the seat cushion.If they match, it will work for you. If not, you could be heading for back pain. Cars are a little more difficult. People with long legs can ride comfortable, for long distances, in cars with higher seats. People with shorter legs have to be concerned with headroom and the length of the seat cushion.

I find it odd that car seats don’t have backs that move forward and back. This would improve the seating for people of all shapes. We can move in every direction with the seat, but not the back. Oh, in case you think the lumbar feature actually helps, watch someone sitting with a small pillow on the small of their back. To see straight ahead they have to tighten the back of their neck in order to left their heads. Lumbar will cause the same reaction. This will lead to headaches and upper back fatigue.

Be very choosy about the seat you sit in. I have seen some beautiful cars that I wanted to own, but once I sit in the seat, I knew I could never take a long drive in that car. Your back will appreciate your effort. Check out my videos on stretching your body properly at http://www.musclerepairshop.com or go to my YouTube Channel, The Muscle Repair Shop.


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!