Have you stopped running because of pain in the back of your knee? Maybe you are still putting on the miles, but you are left with a nagging, achy pain the next day? Your pace has slowed, and stride has shortened. The knee hurts and is hard to extend. Pain meds help, but the pain is still there. You’ve tried stretching your calf and hamstring muscles. The foam roller has become your best friend. But nothing seems to work.
Did you know there is a tiny muscle called the popliteus that sits right behind the knee? You would not think such a tiny muscle could cause an issue. The pain you are experiencing, the nagging discomfort keeping you from running may be a popliteus problem.
Low back pain is one of the most common physical complaints from people in our society. It’s a billion -dollar business when accounting for total amount of trips to the doctor, pain medications, injections, surgeries, and loss of work production. At Body Evolution Physical Therapy & Wellness , a majority of our clients come to get help with lower back pain. These clients often ask if yoga would help their pain. We know yoga can be beneficial and research has shown yoga to be positive for low back pain, but we answer our clients with ‘it depends.’
Yoga has been around for centuries. It is a philosophy that is comprised the Eight Limbs. One of those limbs is called asana. Asana are the positions and postures that most people in the West think of as yoga. Most yoga studios are centered around this aspect of the practice. These movements and postures can range from simple to exceedingly difficult to perform. Yoga when performed safely and with guidance can be a great way to improve one’s strength, flexibility, and overall fitness not to mention help with lower back pain.
Autumn is such a beautiful time of the year to lace up the boots and head out into the hills. There is nothing better than breathing in the fresh air, feeling the cool air blowing against your face, and taking in the scenery of all the yellow, orange, and red of the falling leaves. An autumn hike is surreal and magical unless you end up with a sprained ankle or a bummed knee.
There is nothing more aggravating than having to hobble slowly down a mountain trail after spraining an ankle or straining your knee. The autumn magic quickly fades away and your left with pain and the thoughts of an ice pack, anti-inflammatories, and staying at home.
The chances are that injury did not have to happen.
We know how important it is to get out there and enjoy a nice trek on your day off. The last thing we would want is for that hike to be put to a halt because you got hurt doing the thing you love. That’s why we wanted to give you some tips, ideas, and pointers on how to stay safe and prevent injuries when heading out for an autumn hike.
The summer is almost over and we are heading into fall. The air is getting cooler, the leaves are changing colors and beginning to drop off the trees, and the holiday season is approaching. This is one of my favorite times of year. It’s cool and crisp, energizing in its own unique way. But as things cool down and days grow shorter most of us begin to find ourselves indoors. The TV gets turned on, we keep ourselves cozy under the blanket, and we find we take more trips to the refrigerator.
It's easy to get caught up in the cycle of exercising in the summer and hibernating in the winter. We aren’t bears; we are meant to stay active no matter the season. Our ancestors did not have the luxury of central heating, a nice fireplace, or thermal underwear. They kept themselves moving all year-round, rain or shine…or snow. We may not be Neanderthals, but we aren’t that different when it comes to keeping healthy by staying active. There really is no better place to be active than outside.
Whether it be an easy jog around your block, hiking trails in the canyon, biking the road or the hills, or just taking the dogs for a walk, exercise outside is both beneficial and enjoyable.
In our last ‘The Office’ post we gave some tips on how to set up your workstation. We hope these tips were helpful and your workstation is now a comfortable space, letting you get your work done without the frustration of pain getting in the way of your next project.
Now that your workstation is set up for success, we wanted to give you some additional tips that will help you stop any nagging aches and pains from returning.
Have you ever watched someone work on their computer, their eyes glued to the monitor, their face practically touching the screen and then wondered how in the world can their neck hold that head up in that position for hours? How about your coworker next to you that looks like a deflated balloon sitting in their chair through the entire workday? These can’t be comfortable or efficient postures for the body to maintain all day long. Over time, these positions could lead to some stiff and achy joints, tense muscles, and even pain.
At Body Evolution we believe the best posture is the next posture. In other words, changing positions throughout the work day will decrease the stress and strain on those body parts that work overtime.
Changing posture through the day reduces the buildup of stress in our body. This is a simple thing to do during the day, but can be difficult when your job requires you to be focused on the current task causing you to be in front of the computer screen for extended periods of time.
The world has changed dramatically over the years and our lives have followed that pattern. Humans, not too long ago, spent most of their time outdoors with most of their day spent moving. But in recent times we have become more sedentary and our jobs have us sitting down for most of the day. Years ago one may have injured their knee on the job doing physical labor, but now most of us complain of neck and back pain from sitting at our desk for too long. Our bodies get stiff, we are more immobile, and feel older than we should. Humans were not designed to sit all day long staring at a computer screen. But that’s just part of the territory that comes with our chosen career path.
At Body Evolution our clients often ask us if there is anything they can do at their job to reduce their aches and pains. The answer is YES!!
This is such a common question we thought we would do a ‘The Office’ series including ergonomic setup, tips to reduce stress and strains, and a few desk jockey exercises to help you get rid of your nagging aches and pains.
Give the tips and exercises a try. If you are still having aches and pains that just don’t seem to go away, then it might be time to seek out a professional. At Body Evolution we help people like you every day. Come in for a Free Discovery session to find out how we can help you get through the workday pain-free.
The last blog was focused on dynamic stretching. This blog we will discuss what most people consider normal stretching (static). This is the type of stretching you will typically find on YouTube videos or most healthcare providers will prescribe to you.
These stretches are focused on effecting the muscles. These stretches are held for a shorter duration than myofascial stretching and longer than most dynamic stretches. Each stretch is held for about 30 seconds and often repeated several times for the same body part. While many believe they are lengthening the muscle what is happening is the muscle simply relaxes. This type of stretching has a short effect on the nervous system causing a relaxation response. Tense muscles are those that do not seem to relax. When you stretch not only do relax the muscles, but also allow improved blood flow and oxygenation. This benefit is found in all types of stretching.
Previously, in the last blog we focused on what we call myofascial stretching. To complete this blog series we will discuss what’s called dynamic stretching. This is a type of stretching you can easily find on YouTube and is often used for warm-ups prior to a workout.
These stretches are called dynamic because they involve movement. With dynamic stretching we are taking a muscle and putting length into it through movement and then shortening the muscle when moving back into the starting position. This type of stretching allows the muscle to move through its full range of motion. When stretching like this you are even able to strengthen the muscle because it is put under load. Dynamic stretching has been shown through research to be a preferred stretching method prior to a workout versus ‘normal’ stretching. ‘Normal’ stretching can be inhibitory to the muscles making them less reactive which is not something we want before sport or a higher-level activity.
In our last blog post we briefly discussed the use of stretching for reducing pain, increasing flexibility, relaxing the body, and improving the cardiovascular system. We touched upon finding stretches on YouTube and are they the best ones for you? Stretches can be done in different ways and have varying benefits. This blog post will focus on ‘myofascial’ type of stretching.
What is myofascial stretching? Myofascial simply means muscle and fascial stretching. Fascia is the connective tissue of the body that surrounds muscle tissue (and all other tissues and every cell of the body) and under a microscope can look like a spider webbing.
How could a fascia focused stretch be different than a muscle focused one? . That’s a great question.
I'm just a guy helping active adults and athletes frustrated by nagging aches and pains naturally return to a healthy lifestyle.