When I watch my kids move all I can think of is Gumby; you might remember that green, flexible fellow from years ago. If you don’t know Gumby don’t worry it probably means you do not need to read this blog post because you don’t have stiff and achy joints. My kids are bendy and move with such grace and ease. I remember when I moved like that and the freedom I felt within my body. Now after years of contact sports and intense training followed by years of decreasing activity and finally minimal exercise because of work and raising kids even your physical therapist gets achy joints.
I have had a lot of people ask me what I do for my stiff and achy joints. I thought I better write a blog about this topic because it comes up a lot in conversation. So be ready for some simple tips, some you may know and others you have not thought about.
At Body Evolution we use a number of different approaches to help you get back to being pain-free and active. One approach we use is called Neurokinetic Therapy. Dr. Ryan has trained extensively with the founder, David Weinstock, and has had the privilege to act as a teaching assistant.
What is Neurokinetic Therapy and how can it help you? Let’s find out...
The ‘core’ is an exercise buzzword everyone seems to know even if they have never done an abdominal crunch or a plank in their life. Whether suffering from back pain or just wanting to get back in shape, it is inevitable that you will be searching YouTube for core exercises. One can guarantee you will find planks, bridges, and crunches at the top of the list. Exercises focused on the abdomen and back muscles are the foundation for core exercises. You may come across some people who include the glutes and even the chest muscles as part of the core. Maybe you have been training all these areas, but are still suffering from back pain, joint stiffness, or a lack of strength and mobility. Could there be an area of the body that you overlooked?
When you have low back pain the first thoughts that come to mind are how do I get rid of the pain? Should I see my physician or get myself to a chiropractor? We know back pain is frustrating and that there are more options than getting an appointment with the chiropractor, massage therapist, or physician. One of the most effective ways to treat low back pain is through physical therapy. An experienced physical therapist can discover what is causing the pain, provide hands-on care for pain relief, and give you specific exercises or movements to help you get rid of your pain.
A big challenge in today’s world of healthcare is that when you have an injury or suffer from pain you often must see your primary care physician (PCP) first before a specialist. A PCP has limited knowledge in muscle and joint problems. The chances are high that you will be given some pain medication and then told follow up in a couple of weeks if you are still hurting. If your pain persists then you are referred to a specialist. If you are lucky you may get an appointment with your physicians quickly, but often you will be waiting weeks. Hopefully, your low back pain will resolve on its own. But if it does not then the ‘waiting game’ can take you from an acute phase of back pain to one that becomes chronic. By the time you get to your specialist you are in more pain. The chances are your specialist will offer you the options of an injection or surgery. If you decide on an injection you may be referred to a physical therapist or chiropractor. If you are not a surgical candidate or do not want surgery, chances are you will be referred to a physical therapist or chiropractor. You have waited weeks to months only to end up where you could have started and have had someone help you to get out of pain from the beginning.
There really can be many reasons for foot pain. Some of those reasons deal with your feet and others not.
A common reason for foot pain is plantar fasciitis. This is an inflammation of the thick, supportive tissue that runs the length of your foot. The structure and mechanics of your feet often play a role in this type of discomfort, but can be influenced from body mechanics above your feet.
Another reason for foot pain is arthritis. Your feet have a lot of bones and many joints where those bones meet. Over time those joints can begin to wear. The cartilage between those joints breaks down and bones can begin to rub. Much like plantar fasciitis this can be due to faulty body mechanics.
Even your low back can be the reason for foot pain. The lower nerve roots in your spine can create pain in the heel. This can be mistaken for plantar fasciitis.
Pain in the bottom of your feet could also be due to a stress fracture. A stress fracture is a tiny crack in the bone. These can occur due to faulty body mechanics, poorly fitting and unsupportive shoes, constantly walking/running on hard surfaces, and landing with a high impact. Remember, if you have low bone density it takes a lot less stress on the feet to cause these types of fractures.
Nerve injuries to the feet can result in intense pain or burning, and even numbness and tingling. Remember to check your feet if you have numbness because the potential to step on a sharp object that punctures the skin can create an infection.
There are a lot of reasons why the bottom of your feet can hurt with plantar fasciitis one of the most common. If you are having pain in your feet and walking or running has become uncomfortable then you should find a specialist. A physical therapist has the expertise to figure out why you are having foot pain.
At Body Evolution we like to joke that we have a foot fetish. Much of our training revolves around the gait or walking cycle and you better know a lot about the feet if you want to understand how humans move. If you are having pain underneath your feet please give us a call or come in for a Discovery session to find out how we can help you get back to walking and running without pain.
Humans were designed to walk and run. We take thousands of steps every day even if we live sedentary lifestyles. It really is our main mode of transportation. We might drive our car to get to the office or grocery store, but we spend the time at the office or store walking from one place to another. Some of us hike or run for enjoyment and exercise adding thousands more steps to their day. Those of us who have the capacity to walk and run do not think about what it would feel like when you can’t, until you can’t.
When you start to have pain under your foot or feet the thousands of steps a day can reduce to hundreds or even less. You have been walking for years and never had pain. So why now? Why are the underneath of your feet hurting?
Back pain during and after pregnancy is a common phenomenon. A woman’s body undergoes a lot of change during pregnancy and after giving birth. There are changes in how a woman walks, hormonal changes that cause the ligaments to be more relaxed, postural changes from carrying a child internally and after birth (think of holding a child on the hip), and often weakness from muscles having been stretched. If a cesarean-section was required, then there will be weakness of the abdomen and possible limitations in mobility from scarring.
Let’s be honest, women are ‘tough mothers,’ and often live through their discomfort as they raise their child(ren). But there is no need to suffer. Back pain after childbirth is treatable.
One of the first questions we ask our female clients of child-bearing age is have they had children? Was it a natural birth or Caesarean section? We know the effects childbirth can have on a woman’s body and back pain is often a result.
My mother used to call me a ‘pain in the butt.’ It was an endearing term even though I often did things that left her frustrated. Hip pain can be a literal pain in the butt and can leave you with a lot of frustration just like I did to my mother. All jokes aside, hip problems can really limit your lifestyle. Whether bending over to pick up the kids becomes difficult or not being able to go on your Saturday golf outings because you don’t want to ‘pay for it’ the next day, suffering from hip pain is no fun.
The thing about hips is that when you have a problem with your hips you can experience pain in different areas. Often you may think you have a groin issue or maybe you are having knee pain, but never realized the source of the pain was coming from your hip joint. Most people do not know where in the body the hip joint lies. Ask someone to point to their hip joint and they point to the outside area of their upper thigh where they can feel their ‘hip bone’ sticking out. That’s part of the femur, but the joint is actually really deep inside the upper thigh. The hip is a problematic area for a lot of people, and it is no wonder since most of us sit most of the day. The population is one of ‘stiff hips.’
Fort Collins is home to avid runners of all kinds. Whether it’s a Saturday morning jog or an ultramarathon this city is a mecca for those who want to move on two feet. Some folks are happy to take a leisurely run while others are gearing up for competition. No matter what level of runner you are there’s always room to run easier. The feeling of ease in your body equates to a feeling of joy and exhilaration when you run faster or longer than you have before.
We know those of you reading this are probably thinking of how can I feel more free when I run? You have tried all the tricks…hit heel to toe, no midfoot, no forefoot…stand tall, breathe easier…squeeze the glutes…push off with the toes…and some of these things help. But in a couple minutes you forget about the glutes and you are slouching. You just want to run and enjoy it, not think about when your butt should be contracting. Add a few aches and pains to the equation and the run is not so exhilarating anymore.
What if you could run better without thinking about it? What if you could run without discomfort? What would it feel like to run ‘free?’
Most people who go to physical therapy go because they were referred by a physician. Often the physician writes a prescription for physical therapy. It is common for that prescription to recommend therapy two to three times a week for four weeks. This is standard practice and can vary depending on your diagnosis and if you were referred to therapy after a surgery. While this is standard practice is this how often you should go to physical therapy?
First, let me address some issues with this standard of practice. One main problem with this standard of care is that the prescription is often written by a primary care provider (PCP). Did you know that a PCP has very limited knowledge in the understanding of musculoskeletal anatomy and function? Even most orthopedic specialists are limited to their knowledge of the specific joints they perform surgery on and do not have a comprehensive understanding of how the entire body functions as a unit. Physical therapists are experts in musculoskeletal anatomy and function and can best determine how many times per week and for how long you will require therapy.
Have you ever woken with your heart racing? You start your day dreading what’s to come? When you get to work you are afraid to check your emails because you just know your boss is not happy with your performance? You don’t want to go home because your spouse has to be upset about something you did? The racing thoughts that enter our mind throughout the day can create a sense of fear and panic that cause the day to be less enjoyable. Anxiety is no fun and can really have a negative impact on one’s life.
Anxiety is an epidemic of epic proportions that not enough people are talking about. It is real issue and is impacting millions of lives. Anxiety influences how we experience the world and how we perceive ourselves. It has one worrying about the ‘what ifs’ to the point that it affects one’s relationships, career, and other aspects of life.
There are so many factors that can contribute to anxiety including stress revolving around finances, relationships, career, and health. Stress creates anxiety and anxiety creates stress. Maybe it’s the other way around, the chicken or the egg. No matter it is a cycle one does not want to get caught in.
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.