There are no independent structures in the human form.
That “betty boop” hip swing is actually a weak glute med. whose job it is to keep your greater trochanter (ball) contained in your acetabulum (socket), among others. It’s called a Trendeleberg’s Gait and leads to hip pain in the long run. Lunges tighten this up as well as round out your butt.
Either that or she’s just workin it.
from “Anatomy In Motion” on fb
What is Fascia?
Fascia is tough connective tissue that creates a 3-dimensional web extending without interruption from head to toe. Fascia surrounds and infuses every muscle, bone, nerve, blood vessel, and organ, all the way down to the cellular level.
The fascial system affects every system and function in your body- musculoskeletal, neurological, metabolic, etc. The white, glistening fibers you see when you pull a piece of meat apart or when you pull chicken skin away is fascia.
What is Fascia made of ?
Fascia consists of a complex which has three parts:
1. Elastin fibers - This is the elastic and stretchable part of the complex.
2. Collagen fibers - These fibers are extremely tough and give support to the
3. Ground substance/matrix: A gelatinous like substance that transports metabolic
material throughout the body
What does fascia do?
The fascial system generally supports, stabilizes, and cushions. Fascia creates separation between vessels, organs, bones, and muscles. It creates space through which delicate nerves, blood vessels, and fluids can pass.
What are Fascial Restrictions?
In a healthy state, the collagen fibers wrap around the elastic fibers in a relaxed, wavy configuration. Trauma, repetitive motion, inflammation, or poor posture can cause the fascia to become solidified and shortened. These thickened areas are referred to as a fascial restriction. Fascial restrictions have the capacity of creating up to 2,000 pounds of pressure per square inch in a restricted area. That crushing pressure can compromise any physiological system in the body resulting in pain and dysfunction.
The fascia throughout the body is all interconnected like the yarn in a sweater or a complex spider web. A restriction in one area of the body creates tension throughout this web pulling on other distant structures. This explains why some people may have pain that appears unrelated to their original injury. Furthermore, myofascial restrictions do not show up on common standardized tests such as x-rays, MRI, CAT scans, etc.
Fascial restrictions can pull the body out of its normal alignment, compressing joint surfaces and bulging disks, resulting in pain, loss of motion, and weakness.
Info collected from Spine - Health, Mayo Clinic, NIH & Medterms
Art by Dan Beckemeyer
Kick Your Asana – 4 Yoga Positions for Tight Hips
Got tight hips? These four poses will assist your asana by stretching the piriformis, hamstrings, and glutes. This simple sequence is meant to warm, stretch, strengthen, and stretch again.
“it’s all in the hips” -tubbs
HMH FIT TIP #14
This is a fantastic set of stretches emphasizing DURATION over INTENSITY, a key concept of effective stretching. Just as training the lower body nets full body benefits, keeping a free, unrestricted range of motion in the lower body prevents musculoskeletal restrictions system-wide. Pain and restriction in your legs and hips (hip range of motion is so important!) creates compensatory movement patterns that can negatively impact your spine, neck muscles, breathing patterns, etc. Your lower muscle groups are connected to your upper muscle groups by complex, elegant, symmetrical fascial lines and slings (bands of connective tissues that hold us together). Imagine pulling on the bottom lace of your tied shoe. This may tighten up the bottom of the shoe at first but after walking around, the entire lace system will adjust itself and compensate for the changes at the bottom. That’s right, a sore ankle CAN mean a sore shoulder! As athletes, we may compartmentalize some of our training (though fitness training is evolving towards full body functional training) but understanding and working with our body becomes easier (and more interesting) when we relate to it as the interdependent system of systems that it is. So, even if you’re not a runner, try these stretches, get a massage, get a foam roller, soak in heat, get acupuncture, whatever will help you to keep your hips and legs swinging freely. The rest of the body, their passenger, will reward you for the smoother ride.
A New Look at The Cause of ACL Injuries
ACL injuries are common injuries in may sports. The knee undergoes many opposing forces during practice and competition. Now, science takes a new look at what causes an ACL injury.
6 Steps to Heal Your Low Back Injury
So you’ve done it, you pulled too hard with a rounded back on that last deadlift, or waited one second too long before tapping. You’re a CrossFitter or BJJ with a hurt low back. Now what?
Great tips for the most common athletic injury there is. Do whatever you can to heal a low back injury back to pre-injury condition. Without proper healing, an injury is vulnerable to reinjury, making low back problems a chronic companion, undermining almost every movement one makes.
It’s Massage Therapy Thursday! Let Your Breath Do The Work
(on Friday because I was working last night)
Let your breath do the work. I tell my clients to partner up with me and use their awareness to ‘work’ on the muscle with me.
The first and basic skill is a diaphragmatic yoga breath. Many of us are unconscious ‘apical’ breathers, filling only the top third of our lungs with air as we move through the day. We can learn to provide more nourishing oxygen and energy to every cell of our body by first pulling the diaphragm down, drawing air into what seems our belly and allowing it to rise outwards. We then top up the breath with the chest muscles in that upper third of our lungs we are used to using. Then we empty out our lungs in reverse. Imagine it like filling and emptying a glass of water. You can lie on your back with your hand on your belly and practice by making your hand rise and fall, saying to yourself “in, out” or “new, old” or whatever is meaningful to you. Using your nose controls the flow and filters the air, but feel free to slowly exhale out of your mouth. Breathe in the new and exhale the old. Let your inhale bring fresh air to your muscle and carry out all tension and holding with the exhale.
I also encourage all of my clients to develop a basic understanding of their anatomy so they can visualize and create a relationship with their muscle. Get a look at where it starts and finishes on your skeleton and what it’s job is. When receiving a massage, stretching, or even just relaxing, hold a cooperative, grateful and nurturing attitude toward your muscle. Tell it that it’s work (contraction) is done and that it is free to return to its original resting length. The breath is the language that our muscles best understand. Use it to be a more conscious operator of your body.
It’s Massage Therapy Thursday!
For the amount of time some of us spend at our desks, it’s worth considering how our positioning is slowly cementing in a posture that can produce tension and pain and patterns of restriction that could be difficult to undo.
Too many of us are stretching out our rhomboids in our back and shortening our pectoralis minor in our front, while keeping our heads ahead of our rounded shoulders. This will lead to tension headaches, nerve entrapment for the arms and hands and a load on the spine that is much greater than it was designed to handle. Why age yourself? Don’t you do enough at work?
- First, imagine there is a string attached to the top of your head stretching upwards to the sky. Let an imaginary force be constanly keeping that string taut, as though your head is lifting your body.
- Next, your new mantra is “back and down”, referring to your shoulders. You may need to repeat this to yourself dozens of times/day at first, but eventually it will feel like the most comfortable position. You may even find your pesky trapezius and pec minor pulling your shoulders forward and up just seconds after you’ve intentionally moved them “back and down”. Stay at it. Its a habit worth breaking and you will.
- Finally, tuck your chin in. Feel the stretch in the muscles at the back and base of your skull. This will keep those suboccipital muscles long and relaxed and prevent nasty ‘tension’ headaches.
These are three simple steps you can take immediately to hold your body in a healthier position and keep your muscles at their intended, healthy length. This will support the skeleton and all surrounding systems and structures and keep you working and playing at your best.
(NB - all of this applies to the similar position of driving a car)
back and down
back and down
back and down :)
It’s Massage Therapy Thursday!
According to Kapandji (Physiology of the Joints, Volume III), for every inch your head moves forwards, it gains 10 pounds in weight, so you have to work that much harder to keep your head (chin) from dropping onto your chest. This is going to make you TIRED, Really TIRED, maybe even irritable.
This forward head tilt forces the muscles in your neck to remain in constant contraction, putting pressure on the delicate nerves in your neck. This nerve compression may cause headaches at the base of your SKULL. Pressure on the nerves can also mimic sinus (frontal) headaches and a whole host of other disorders and organ mal-function.
Rene Cailliet M.D., states: “A head in forward posture can add up to thirty pounds of abnormal leverage on the cervical (neck area) spine. This can pull the entire spine out of alignment. Forward head posture (FHP) may result in the loss of 30% of vital lung capacity which means you’re not going to breathe very well. Less oxygen means a SICK and ILL body. This is primarily due to the LOSS of the curve in your neck, which blocks the action of the muscles, especially the muscles responsible for helping lift the first rib during inhalation.”
Persistent forward head posture (a.k.a. “hyperkyphotic posture”) puts compression upon the upper back (thoracic vertebra), the heart, and is also associated with the development of the Hump, which can evolve into compression fractures (anterior wedging). A recent study found this was associated with a 1.44 greater rate of mortality (rate of death).
It’s not uncommon to find a 2″ forward head placement in patients. That would be like having a 20-pound watermelon hanging around your neck. If you don’t take care of it, you get worse. The RIGHT kind of structural/functional corrective chiropractic care CAN correct this (just like you’re receiving in our office). Our specialty is in reversing subluxations, which will take the watermelon off your neck, and allow your brain to properly transmit life-giving messages and healing to your body, so your body can restore itself back to its God-given best level of health.
The benefits of stretching your gluteals are more than just range of motion, but creating and maintaining a free pathway for the major nerves and blood supply to the legs. People often neglect to stretch their glutes, and general lower body, because of the discomfort of their restrictions. Through gentle stretching at the edge of your personal range of motion, breathing deeply, focusing on the duration of the stretch over the intensity of the stretch, you can coax your muscle out of its habitual holding and return it willfully to its original length and state of health. This then creates a better environment for all of the nearby and cooperative systems and structures of the body. Stretching doesn’t need to be painful or aggressive. A passive and cooperative mindset with your body can make stretching a time of the day you look forward to.
This is a great post by the Globe and Mail of this and many more stretches. With the figure four stretch, you can try it with your bent leg on a table, your arms reaching forward. This offers good control over the depth of the stretch. Yoga practitioners open the ‘rear gate’ of the pelvis, practicing this stretch by leaning into the bent leg on the floor in front of them, their other leg stretched behind them. Try it! It sounds hard, but it’s not and it feels great.