Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Austin Rolfing: Pulled Muscles

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

A pulled muscle is when you over-stretch muscle fibers past their normal working length.  Sometimes, if the muscle fibers are stretched too far, there can be tearing of the muscle fibers.  Often the pulled muscle will keep you out of your sport from anywhere between 2 – 6 weeks pending on the severity of the pull and the quality of your recovery program.

Ok, so how can Rolfing help with pulled muscles? Often, the tendency is to think that the reason the muscle was pulled in the first place was because it was too short.  So, stretching it should lengthen it and problem goes away right?  Well, not so much.  Let’s assume for a moment that the pulled muscle is your hamstring.  What if the opposing muscle (ie your quadriceps) is too short, which pulls your pelvis in to an anterior tilt.  Your hamstrings are attached to the back of your pelvis; so, if your pelvis is being pulled into an anterior tilt, then the hamstring is being pulled too long.  In this scenario, if you try to lengthen the hamstring, you are only exacerbating the issue.   In fact, you would want to lengthen the quads which allows your pelvis to sit in a more neutral position and takes the excess strain off of the hamstring.  You would then want to strengthen the hamstring to bring tensional balance back to the system.

Why were your quads too short in the first place?  This is something we would discuss in your Rolfing sessions to get an idea of how you are using your body, as your body is only responding to how you are using it.  We would take a look at how you sit throughout the day and your workout regimen to see if your muscle groups are getting balanced workloads.  If there is an imbalance in your system, it’s important to do an evaluation to see how you are contributing to it with how you are living your life.

Another reason you can get a pulled muscle is if your “wiring” is off.  When we are toddlers, crawling around the house we establish our “wiring” by moving opposite arm and leg to propel yourself forward.  Occasionally, we can have an injury or a poor habit that will disturb the sequence of when muscles are supposed to fire or relax (ie. our wiring).  You’ll then have muscles that are not firing when they are supposed to and they don’t have the capacity to contract to keep them from overstretching and you get a muscle pull.

Hydration can also be a key factor.  Without proper hydration, your soft tissue won’t have the proper elasticity to lengthen as much as it is capable.  Here’s a simple test to find out if you are dehydrated: Pinch the skin directly behind any knuckle on your hand. The skin should flatten out right away when you release it. If the skin you pinched stays pinched for more than a second, you are dehydrated.

  • 6 Signs of temporary dehydration: It only takes 2% dehydration for athletic performance and mental alertness to decline. Look for these 6 symptoms:
    • Hot, red, skin with no sweat *
    • Confusion *
    • Thirst
    • Dry, chapped lips
    • Salty, white residue around lips
    • Fatigue

There are many ways you can get a muscle pull.  At my Rolfing practice in Austin, TX we’ll do a thorough examination of your body mechanics, movement patterns as well as talk about body usage to get a better idea of the true source of the issue.  We’ll then talk about and execute a treatment plan.

Austin Rolfer: Sciatica

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Sciatica is a pain in your butt…literally.  The sciatic nerve has its roots from L4 – S3 (L standing for Lumbar vertebra and S standing for Sacral segments) and continues all the way down the back of your leg and into your feet.  If the nerve gets compressed or pinched anywhere along the line, it gets irritated and you feel pain.  I get a lot of clients coming in to my Rolfing practice pointing to their butt and complaining of Sciatica.

Nerves can be tricky little suckers.  They’re really good when telling you that something is wrong, but very frequently can be a bit misleading as to the where something is wrong.  Often the symptoms will show up further down the line of the nerve.  And to make things even more confusing, nerves communicate with one another, so if one nerve is compressed and irritated often one or multiple nerves around it will try to communicate to the brain that something is wrong.  The brain then interprets the info and tells you that those nerves should “hurt” as well and bingo you have multiple areas that seem inflamed.  For a really good explanation on how pain works, you should check this This Blog out.

Compression points (spinal, organ, muscular).  There are a few areas that are common compression points for the sciatic nerve.  One is right at the spine; if you have damage to one of the intervertebral discs, it can protrude into the nerve area and irritate it.  You can have a narrowing of the opening at the vertebra.  The nerve can be completely healthy coming out of the spine and then get compressed by one of the organs that is sitting in front of it (ie. the Sigmoid colon, Rectum, etc).   One other common compression point is when your piriformis (a deep lateral rotator of the femur) is too tight and compresses in on the space where your sciatic nerve comes out of the pelvic bowl and heads down into the back of your leg.

At My Rolfing Practice in Austin , TX I see clients quite often with sciatica type symptoms.  Using a few diagnostic tests, I discern which nerves are involved and if the visceral system is involved or not.  I then free up the affected structures.  We might then need to balance some of the other surrounding structures.  We might also need to take a look at your movement patterns to see if we need to retrain how you are moving.  I also often have to talk to people about how they are using their body that might have gotten them here in the 1st place and see how we might be able to alter some of the habits and/or patterns.

Austin Rolfer: Pregnancy & Rolfing

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

 

 

I’ve been asked by many women as to whether it is possible and/or safe to receive Rolfing sessions while pregnant and the answer is an emphatic YES!  Expecting mothers go through a myriad of physical & emotional changes while pregnant.  Outside of the obvious changes in their abdomen, expecting mothers also go through some additional physical changes in preparation for delivery.

During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone known as Relaxin, which is believed to help prepare the pubic area and the cervix for the birth. The Relaxin loosens the ligaments in your body, making you less stable and more prone to injury. It’s easy to overstretch or strain yourself, especially the joints in your pelvis, lower back, and knees.  A lot of different pains can show up in your body that weren’t there before the pregnancy. That’s why its even more important to have proper balance throughout your structure.

Rolfing sessions in My Office in Austin, TX will help ensure that you’ve got proper balance throughout your body.  This will help decrease pain and mitigate any pain you might have developed with a less balanced body.

Austin Rolfer: Knee pain

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Austin Rolfer: Knee Pain

Knee pain can be pretty debilitating.  It can affect your ability to play sports, walk without a limp, get up out of a chair, or walk up a set of stairs.  If not treated quickly, it can lead a host of issues throughout the rest of your body due to the compensations that take place.  The knee is a pivotal hinge joint, which permits flexion and extension as well as a slight medial and lateral rotation.  This means that you can bend & straighten your leg as well as rotate (ever so slightly).  It’s not designed to move laterally or rotate excessively; these movements should happen at the hip and the ankle.

At my Rolfing office in Austin, TX, I treat a lot of people with knee pain that can come from a multitude of sources.  Some of these sources could be:

  • Lateral knee pain stemming from a too short IT Band
  • Knee cap tracking issues stemming from overdeveloped lateral quads
  • Meniscus issues (pain behind the knee cap) due to a damaged meniscus or tracking issues
  • Medial pain due to an aggravated nerve that originates in the abdomen or an underdeveloped medial quad VMO

The list can go on and on.  My job as a Rolfer is to not only figure out where the pain is showing up, but figure out where it is stemming from.  Some of the questions I might ask myself when reviewing the client’s pain are:

  • Is there enough movement at the ankle
  • Is there enough movement at the hip
  • Is a nerve being aggravated by something going on in the abdomen
  • Is there proper balance between the ligaments on the inside of knee vs. the outside
  • Does the knee cap track straight and if not, why not
  • Is there a nerve or artery that is compressed on the back side of the knee

Again, the list can go on and on.  As a Rolfer looking at knee pain, I try to bring balance back to the tissues surrounding the knee as well as improve mobility of tissues up in the hip and ankle so that there is less strain on the knee to do movements it is not designed to do.  We would also take a look at giving exercises for the client to do at home that might help strengthen muscles that are currently too weak to perform their expected task.  Another item to look at is whether the imbalance is coming from a specific activity (i.e. cycling, running) and whether we should modify the clients form while they are performing the activity.  If we don’t change the behavior that is causing the pain, the imbalance and subsequent pain will continue to come back.

As always, my goal is not only to make the pain go away but to also find and address the source of the imbalance that causes the pain (which is often nowhere near where the pain actually shows up).

Austin Rolfing: Raising Your Fallen Arch

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Raising a fallen arch is not easy but it can be done.  This is assuming that we’re talking about a “fallen arch” not flat feet that you might have been born with.  There are a couple of things to think about when trying to raise your arch. The first being what exercises you can do to strengthen and hopefully “lift” your arch.  The second is opening up or lengthening tissue that might be keeping you in a fallen arch.

Two of the primary muscles that help raise support your medial (inside) arch are your Tibialis Posterior and your Abductor Hallusis.  The Tibialis posterior tendon (a leg muscle that crosses the ankle joint and inserts in the medial arch) is usually focused on during acquired flat foot deformities as a primary cause.  It however doesn’t kick in until the passive support of the arch breaks down so we will not focus on it here.

The abductor hallusis muscle starts at the inside base of your heel and inserts into the base of your big toe.  The best way to work this muscle is called the “short foot” exercise.  Here is a brief explanation on how to do it:

To perform a short foot exercise, sit in a sturdy chair, using good posture. Place both feet flat on the floor with your toes pointing straight forward.  Raise the arch of your right foot off the floor without curling your toes and lifting your heel. This is called the short foot position. Hold this isometric contraction for six seconds. Relax, and repeat with the left foot. Inch your feet forward and perform another rep with each foot. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions with each foot to strengthen and stabilize the muscles that comprise the longitudinal arch of the foot. Reposition your feet a little farther away from the chair each rep to target the muscles at slightly different angles. When this exercise is executed properly, you will feel muscle contraction in the foot and lower leg.  As quoted by, Dr. Nicholas A Campitelli – Podiatric Medicine and Surgery

Here’s a Youtube video that will give you a visual on how to do the exercise: Click Here

I’ve done this exercise myself quite a bit trying to maintain healthy arches.  It’s a bit awkward at first but you’ll get the hang of it in a few days as long as you are diligent about doing it a few times per day.  I also find it useful to do the exercise while standing since eventually you’re shooting for this muscle to support your arch while you’re standing and walking.

The second part you need to do is lengthen the tissue on the outside of your feet.  To do this you can stand on the outside of your feet and slowly bend your knees until you feel a stretch on the outside of your ankles.  You will probably also need to see someone who does structural integration Like Myself at my Rolfing practice in Austin, TX. Who can take a look at the bones of your feet to see if the bones in your feet are articulating against one another appropriately?

Here are a couple of links to other sites with exercises you can do IN ADDITION to, not instead of, the short foot exercise:

-http://www.livestrong.com/article/142341-what-exercise-can-i-do-my-fallen-arches/?utm_source=RELARTICLES_R1

-http://www.marksdailyapple.com/flat-feet-treatment/#axzz25hIOMaaQ

Austin Rolfing: Neck Pain

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Most of us have had a pain in our neck.   No I’m not talking about how our significant others or children are annoying us but rather a sharp pain in our neck that just won’t go away.  Sometimes that pain comes from just sleeping the wrong way for one night and then putting up with the pain for a few days until it goes away.  Sometimes, however the pain seems to come from nowhere and lingers on for weeks, months and even years.  At My Rolfing Practice in Austin, TX there are two important questions that I ask myself when clients come in with this issue.  The first is, “where is the source of the pain coming from” which might be nowhere near where the client feels the pain.  The second is, “how do we put this person’s body in a better position to heal itself and make the pain go away”.

 

When addressing where the pain is coming from, typically there is an imbalance somewhere in the client’s body that is making a nerve get pinched or aggravated in the neck.  Using a myriad of diagnostic techniques, I find the source of the imbalance.  The imbalance can be a musculoskeletal issue, a nerve that has become pinched or entrapped, or even an organ in your abdomen that is irritated and shares a common nerve with one in your neck.  The important part is that we find and treat the source, not just where the symptoms are showing up.

 

After finding the source of the issue and addressing it, the important thing to do next is to figure out how we can keep the issue from coming back.  To do that, we need to decide if the imbalance came from poor body usage in your everyday life, a nutritional issue, or maybe an old injury that the rest of your body is compensating for.  In my Rolfing practice, it’s paramount to discuss how you are using your body and look at your health history to best provide a roadmap at what changes, if any that you need to make in your everyday life to keen your neck pain from coming back.  We need to re-educate your body on how it should hold itself and move.

Austin Rolfing: Improving Posture

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Is posture important? The answer to that questions is very clear….Yes and No. Not very clear was it. But it’s true, posture can be important in some cases and not so much in others. Let’s start off by taking a look at some of the ways that “good” posture can be helpful.

One of the ways that a healthy posture can be a good thing is that it means you’re fighting less against gravity. For example, if your head is properly positioned over your torso (your ears should line up with your mid shoulder as viewed from the side) then you entire structure gets to support the weight of your head. This allows the muscles in your neck to perform their designed tasks of stabilizing and mobilizing (i.e. turning, nodding, etc.). However, if your head is shifted out in front of your body it puts a lot of stress on the muscles in the back of your neck and shoulders to hold the weight of your head up while gravity pulls down on your head. This fatigues these neck and shoulder muscles as they weren’t designed to counterbalance the pull of gravity all day long. So they get tight from over-contracting all day long and they’re not freed up to help rotate and extend your neck and head as they were designed to do.

Posture, from a structural integration standpoint, can be an indicator that something is not right in the body. The postural imbalance might be coming from a usage imbalance, or an entrapped nerve that is not allowing a muscle to fire as it is supposed to, could be a genetic variable, etcetera. There are many ways that posture can be affected.

More important question to ask your self when looking at posture is why is the posture not “correct”? As well as, asking whether the poor posture has a potential to be harmful to the body over time. You can have great posture with pain and an ill-functioning body. In which case, the pain may be stemming from something on a deeper level like an entrapped nerve or an irritated organ. Conversely, it’s certainly possible to have poor posture and have a very efficient functioning body with no pain. What’s most common however is that if your posture is off, it’s a strong indicator that you have some type of compensation going on in your body that needs to be addressed so that your body can function at a more efficient level. As a Rolfer in Austin, I will review your posture and ask those bigger questions to find where the true source of the issue is coming from in the body.

Austin Rolfing: Does Rolfing Hurt?

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The short answer to that questions is no, at least not in my office.

Rolfing® Structural Integration has a bit of a reputation for being painful and there are practitioners out there that contribute to that belief. Even though all of the Rolfers go through the same basic training, we all have our own personalities and belief systems and as such, work differently. I believe, and my experience has shown me, that it is much more productive to work WITH the person’s nervous system to help facilitate change in their body in lieu of working the clients tissue to mold it how I want it with disregard to the client’s comfort level. If I’m working too deep, too fast your body will naturally tense up to try to protect itself and we’ll be fighting against each other. I try to work at the appropriate depth and allow the tissue to open up at its own pace. With that said, we are trying to facilitate change in your body so we will be pushing your system some. But the idea is to work at a level so that you’re not tensing your whole body up on the table. The more you can stay relaxed and focus on the sensations, the more change will happen in your body.

Overall, there will be a broad spectrum to how the session feels. When I work with your organs or free entrapped nerves, the work will feel incredibly gentle. On the other hand, you might have patterns in your body that have been held for a very long time and the tissue might be sensitive to accepting change. Persistence and communication will be important in these cases.

At my Rolfing practice in Austin, TX it is always important that we communicate with each other throughout the sessions. I encourage every client to notify me when something is getting too intense. Every client’s sensitivity thresholds are different, so I need you to be my guide as I do my best to read what’s going on in your body. As long as we communicate, there should be no issues.

Please CONTACT me if you are interested in learning more about Rolfing or scheduling a session.