I’m Moving!

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It’s 12 months since I moved to Crossfit Wrexham but unfortunately my time there has come to an end. Family commitments have taken priority which has led me to move back to my old office in Llangollen. (Any appointments from July 3rd onwards will be back at The Malthouse).

Originally the decision felt like I was taking a step backwards in my career by moving to Llangollen, however I realise it is anything but.

We don’t make mistakes in life. Instead we create opportunities to learn from our experiences. And these last 12 months have created many lessons for me, both personally and professionally.

I am full of gratitude for what this past year and all the clients I have worked with have taught me. At times it’s been challenging but that’s what makes it so worthwhile. It’s with these challenges that we evolve and become better therapists, better people.

So yes I’m moving back to my old ‘home’ but as a therapist I’m without a doubt, moving forwards.

Sarah X

Simple But Effective

LLD

This is an example of how quickly a functional leg length can be improved with just one exercise and less than 3 minutes. (The images show lines placed below the lateral malleolus/ the inner ankle bone on both legs)

In this instance the hip of the shorter leg was contracting and holding tight (hence the shorter leg). When this happens, I’ve found that stretching often makes no difference.

However, using isometrics or muscle energy techniques (where the muscles contract but don’t more) can make a huge difference even if it feels like you’re hardly doing anything.

There is often the belief that you have to do something big to achieve something big but this really is not always the case.

When I see leg length discrepancies I simply take them as a baseline from which to work from. No big fuss. I just use them to help me find out what works and what doesn’t.

I then try a technique and retest. If it changes the LLD then I’m happy that whatever we did is probably going to help in some way. If it doesn’t change then I try a different technique. And so on until I’ve created a change. This doesn’t always happen (sometimes a person has a structural leg length discrepancy). But more often than not, something is simply holding one leg shorter than the other. The key is to test and retest until you work out what!

This particular client had come to see me with plantar fasciitis as well as an old shoulder issue and back pain in sacroiliac joint, all of which can be caused by a leg length discrepancy like this. And again, more often than not, it’s the simple techniques and movements that make the biggest difference.

The exercise that was used to create the changes in the image is the good old leg press

(Hold for 20-30 seconds; Repeat 2-4 times; Repeat 2-4 times a day)

Why People Have To Squat Differently

“There is absolutely no one size fits all squat position. If you don’t believe me, you are in for a treat. This article will help show you why athlete comfort should dictate squat width, why some people’s (not EVERYONE) feet point out (no matter how much “mobility” work they do), why some people have a really hard time squatting deep, and why some people are amazing at pistols while others can’t do them at all.

When someone has difficulty squatting, or their feet turn out, or they like a wide stance, we all want to jump on the bandwagon and say “your hips are tight, you need to mobilize them”. If we say that without considering anatomical variations of the hip joint, we can be misled.”

Conclusion?

“Athlete’s won’t squat the same, and they SHOULDN’T!

Athlete comfort will dictate the stance that puts their hip in a better bony position. There are narrow squatters and there are wide squatters. That may have nothing to do with tight muscles or “tight” joint capsules and have more to do with bony hip anatomy.

Very few people are at the end range of their hip motion, so hip mobility drills are definitely a good idea.

People will express their hip mobility in different planes, and that is not a bad thing.”

Read the original article here.

The Little Big Things

6185_7db18e5322dda43e4bdd54ee50b144adWhen I picked up the book “The Little Big Things” by Henry Fraser I did not realise it would affect me the way that it did. What particularly stuck with me was his mentality. Here was a 17 year old who had his spinal cord severely crushed so badly that it left him a paralysed from the shoulders down. But that never stopped him.

The way that he looks for the positive, how he acknowledges his progress no matter how small and how to accept and adapt to the darkness if it comes is exactly the mentality I try so hard to instil within my clients.

As the saying goes, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. And this couldn’t be further from the truth!

This book is one that I will be returning to again and again when my own dark clouds hit.

“…in a relatively short space of time I’d become far more resolute, far less frightened of trying new things even if they didn’t work out, and had somehow rewired my brain to avoid looking at the wrong things.

Instead, more often than not, I was able to look to the right things, the places where my energies would be rewarded by progress, however small.

All of us had come to realise that we would become stronger if we focused on the things we were able to do, not the things we couldn’t.”

Memory And Pain

Marathon running race, people feet on city roadAccording to this article, when marathon runners are not in pain anymore, they underestimate their memory of pain.

The findings provide the first robust evidence for a relationship between memory of pain and present pain during recall.

How many times have you said “never again” during or immediately after a race only to find yourself signing up again soon afterward?

You’re definitely not alone. I’m guilty too!

But maybe it’s a good thing that we forget pain. After all, if we DID remember fully the pain we were in, women would never go through childbirth more than once!

Put The Glass Down

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I absolutely love this video which illustrates perfectly how stress affects us.

Stress is often a result of wanting things to be different from how they are right now.

But sometimes we really do need to let go of the constant need for change and accept things how they are in this present moment.

That doesn’t mean giving up on our goals or letting others walk over us.

Reducing stress is about changing our attitude to what is happening; learning to let go of the need for control, to forgive, to move on, to accept.

We need to accept the things we cannot change and have courage to change the things we can. But more importantly, we need to have the wisdom to know the difference.

Put the glass down!

You Can’t Ignore Your Emotions

6185_4bbc284c2184a7590168cdc26591ce42Emotional and physical pain, when processed in the brain are probably quite similar.

After all, emotional pain causes physical issues, a change in muscle tension and can also affect our immunity and hormone cycle.

The thing is, when people come to me with physical pain they forget to mention the emotional issues they are going through. They feel it’s irrelevant to their knee, shoulder, neck or back pain.

But sometimes, it’s exactly that emotional discomfort that needs dealing with in order to change the physical.

NOTHING in the body works in isolation. NOTHING!

* For the record, the image is simply a way to illustrate this connection but the details may not be accurate.

Sleep & Back Pain

6185_9d65aa4936561819a3805454f109ec90Suffer with back pain? Here are 10 facts about how sleep patterns can affect it:

1. Poor sleep can be a cause of persistent pain in healthy people

2. Being tired can give you pain

3. Poor sleep can lead to persistent pain or recovery delay

4. The number of hours sleep needed depends on the person

5. It is not only quantity, but also quality

6. Pain is one of the body’s protective responses to poor sleep

7. Sleep schedule is important

8. Exercising regularly is a must

9. Boosting mood and reducing stress is key

10. Poor sleep doesn’t always lead to back pain

Tennis Balls & Self Massage

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Using a tennis ball for self massage (or self myofascial release as it’s known) is an amazingly effective and cheap way to release knots and tension within the body.  Simply trap the ball between your body and something else… like the floor or a wall. This can be used on any part of the body that you are feeling tightness.

Ok so this is the ‘fun’ part… you are looking for the painful spots. Yes I said painful. But what I actually mean is those spots that are uncomfortable when you press on them. You’ll know when you find them. *

When you find a spot, hold the ball in place with sustained pressure (or alternatively you can ‘milk’ the area by moving a couple of mm over the area).

Put enough pressure on so that you are reaching around a 7-8/10 on the discomfort scale. Breathe. Relax into the ball. Let your muscles release. Drop your shoulders.

Hold until the discomfort reduces to around 2-3/10. This sometimes takes around 2-3 minutes. If it still hasn’t dropped after this time come off and try a different spot. **

Listen to your body and stop if anything feels “not right.” It should feel like a ‘good’ pain. Again, you’ll know what I mean when you hit the right spots 😉

* If you’re not sure if you have or not, chances are you haven’t!

**Use the 10 second rule….if the pain INCREASES after 10 seconds and you haven’t increased the pressure then this could be more of an acute injury to the tissues. This doesn’t need massage. It needs time to heal.

How Your Pelvis & Shoulder Are Linked

Anatomy Trains
Biomechanically the pelvis and shoulder are linked. This is what is referred to as a Myofascial sling.

The hamstrings starting from the tibia then insert into the Ischial tuberosity. This then continues along as the Sacro-tuberous ligament and then through the thoraco-Lumbar fascia. This then continues to the Latissimus dorsi which then inserts into the opposite scapula and humerus.

Therefore your Hamstrings actually attach to your arms!!!

So….if there is tension through this sling caused from a rotated pelvis, then the infraspinatus (a muscle on the scapula) can go into spasm and so prevents the biomechanical function of the shoulder. This is a common cause of shoulder injuries.

In order to reduce risk of shoulder injuries the pelvis must be in good biomechanical shape.

Therefore if you have shoulder pain, then you will need to have your pelvis assessed.

I’m really not going crazy if I assess your pelvis before looking at your shoulder!

Image: Thomas Myers Anatomy Trains

Myth Busting: Perfect Posture

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We must always stand or sit as straight and upright as possible.

Myth!

The fact is that there is no perfect posture that we should remain in for hours.

Our body works best when we move so if our back is sensitive then we would do better trying to change things up every 20 minutes or so.

And to be honest, when it comes to pain and posture, making ourselves sit or stand with an exaggerated ‘good posture’ can actually cause more problems. Think shoulder blades pulled back, tummy muscles pulled in tight, and sitting very tall in the chair. Contracting all our muscles in this way can be very irritating for our bodies and very tiring for our muscles. It may be something that we’ve all learned to do but for most people it really doesn’t help in the long run.

Truth…

There is no perfect posture. Once again, moving often is key!