Fixing Your Posture is The No Pill Pain Remedy You Can Trust

Is your day filled with mysterious aches and pains? Do you feel that everything’s a push? Are you living your life on auto-pilot? Welcome to the “always on, always going” world we live in. Work and family keep us busy 24/7, and frankly, most of us don’t know where to start to get ourselves better. The usual response? Push through it. Don’t tough it out though. Chronic pain is a sign that something is off. Use that warning as motivation to change the way you move. It is as simple as your posture, the way you move, stand, and sit. Don’t make it more complicated than that.

What is posture really?

True postural alignment is the basis of pain-free and graceful movement. Each body’s alignment is different, but there are universal constants to good posture. For example, each of us has five visible up and down joints: ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, and “ears”. These joints should all line up or be close enough to call it safe. Most of us are lucky if two of the joints line up. That needs to change. If your postural alignment is off, your movement patterns will cause your body to suffer. Discomfort follows altered movement patterns. Pain will soon be an unwelcome constant. You will have to push through every activity, even ones you love.

Can exercise help?

The solution is easier and simpler than going to the gym twice a week, taking up running, swimming, yoga, Pilates, spinning, Zumba, or any other group or individual exercise activity in your area. Not one of these activities will take away the pain or your general feeling of slogging through the day. They are good escapes, but these programs can’t do the job of getting you better on their own. Unless your posture is where it should be, each of these activities will make your pain worse and increase your daily difficulties. You must fix your posture.

Exercise by itself, like going to the gym for aerobics or muscle strength, won’t fix your posture. It will only reinforce any structural misalignments that you have. If you have a forward head and rounded shoulders, running on a treadmill will hurt your neck and your low back. Without a cervical curve, the lumbar curve flattens. When the spine is without those curves, the pounding effect of your feet hitting the treadmill goes from 2.5 times your body weight to well over 4.5 times. Should you now move to the weight rack and go for the Kettlebells? No. Please don’t.

But I thought going to the Gym was good for me?

Unless you straighten out your rounded shoulders and forward head, any lifting will just reinforce the misalignments  you already have. What do you think is going to happen to your shoulders, neck, and low back when you start throwing 20+ pounds around overhead? Overhead work is hard and with joints out of line, it’s going to hurt.

Weight work demands mobility and good posture. Unless your posture is good, you should not do this. Your trainer is telling you that you can, but as well-meaning as he or she is, she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know. And what she doesn’t know is alignment. Most trainers think it’s about getting your muscles to lift the weight. However, that should not be the goal. The goal should be to focus on your personal control of the movement. Attention should be on getting your shoulders back to the design. Once that’s done, lifting and control are easy to maintain. But first, you need to fix your posture.

 

Over 90% of the brain’s activity is used to balance your body against gravity. Balance is managed by the autonomic nervous system and this in–the-background system runs best when the body’s joints are in line and able to work in the right plane. The more mechanically distorted a person is, the more work the body has to do to adjust and merely to stay upright. This means that there is less energy available for health, metabolism, and thought. Poor posture slows everything down and alters the natural workings of the body. Pain is one result of that distortion.

How do I fix it?

Let’s think about how you can change your life by changing how you sit, stand, and move. With a few quick fixes, you can take charge of your posture, change it, and energize your life. Adopt good posture and you will experience less tension in the neck and shoulders. A common type of headache (cervicogenic) that starts from the base of the skull has a substantially lower chance of happening. Rounded shoulders and a forward head can bring on these headaches.

Breathe easily and fully with an open chest and a diaphragm and lungs that truly work. With tucked under ribs, a direct result of rounded shoulders and a forward head, your chest can’t lift, so normal breathing is compromised. Every simple movement becomes labored.

Reduce your risk of low back pain and herniated discs. By walking around and sitting with a C-curve, it’s a guarantee that you will have back pain. Over 80% of Americans suffer back pain during some part of their day, but you don’t have to join them.

Shoulder pain is preventable. Rotator Cuff tears and Frozen Shoulders are unnecessary, avoidable, or never should happen, no matter what job you have or what weekend sport you play. Strengthen your upper back and shoulders, stop sitting with a slouch, eliminate stooping over, and don’t walk with your feet turned out.

Where do I start?

  • Static Back is your beginning exercise and go to position on the floor. Do it everyday forever, but start with everyday for two weeks. Spend 20 minutes lying on your back, no cellphone, no TV, just letting your body’s muscles and joints unwind. All you need is a little patience, a chair, and the floor, equipment all of us have. Put a paperback under your head to level it out and take pressure off your neck.
  • Static Back Pullovers is a simple back-and-forth arm and shoulder exercise that will open your rounded chest and free your neck and shoulders. It may add an inch to your height but it will certainly give you better breathing plus an arm and shoulder range of motion that you haven’t had in years.
  • Hip Crossover wrings out the rotation in your hips and gets your upper and lower body to work together, not fighting each other with every step.
  • Upper Spinal Floor Twist will remove the forward or backward rotation in your torso, neck, and shoulders, allowing your ribs and chest to relax, open up, and move with your lower body.
  • Bent Knee Pillow Squeezes will build inner leg strength and get your legs and feet to move straight ahead, not out to the side with no power.
  • Pelvic Tilts is an exercise that teaches your pelvis to move through flexion and extension, not just remain stuck in one position.

It’s that easy?

That’s it. This simple series of daily exercises will fix your posture in a few weeks. Will you then be perfect? Will everything then work as it did when you were young? No, but you are on your way to moving gracefully and without pain and to living up to your body’s full potential.

For a copy of these exercises, each with pictures and clear directions, please leave your name and email on the Contact form below. We’ll send out a program for you to follow. Rid yourself of nagging pain, look better, and move better. It is up to you.

Would you like to have a professional evaluation before you start? Just give us a call or go to the website and book yourself in for an Initial Evaluation. It will take less than an hour of your time, but it is worth its weight in gold.

Take the step. Quick Fix your posture. You will be amazed at how simple and easy it is. Fixing your posture, getting your body in alignment, can be the answer to reducing injury and pain.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Chronic Pain, Not Just for Computer Users

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common chronic pain issue for many members of our society. The carpal tunnel—a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand—houses the median nerve and the tendons that bend the fingers. CTS results from the swelling of the median nerve that runs on the palm side of the wrist through the carpal tunnel of the wrist

Symptoms can include numbness, weakness, tingling, and pain. It becomes difficult to open and close the hand and the wrist itself becomes limited in range of movement. The good news is that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a soft tissue injury, and soft tissue injuries usually require six weeks for complete healing unless there are complications. That assumes that you don’t ignore it but deal with the problem as soon as the hand pain occurs.

It is often thought of as an issue for those who spend extra time at the computer, but evidence suggests that line of work isn’t a driving force behind CTS. A recent article cited a 2013 study listing the occupations of individuals diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, from highest CTS events to lowest. At the top of the list were “freight movers”, followed by nearly every other job imaginable. “Labor” seems to be at the heart of CTS symptoms.

A short list of CTS sufferers built from my personal experience would include musicians, hairdressers, massage therapists; sculptors; cashiers; secretaries; baristas; ice cream or gelato scoopers; woodworkers and carpenters; sheetrock, tile, and carpet installers; jewelry makers and designers; nurses; and house painters. And that’s just my personal list. Whether one is sitting at a desk all day, sewing, playing music, or changing tires, CTS can affect people working in all types of employment.

What actually causes CTS?

Evidence suggests that there is a connection between CTS and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism as well as metabolic issues like diabetes. These disorders can impact the swelling of tissues that surround the tendons and ligaments, which then compress the medial nerve. Many studies have also cited poor physical fitness as a contributing factor.

Barring other medical conditions and assuming a CTS sufferer is in relatively good health, why would 3% of men and 5% of women struggle with CTS?

In a word: posture. In last week’s blog, Anita showed that the position of the shoulders governs the strength and comfort of the hands. With CTS, the ligaments of the forearm tighten and compress the “tunnel” that houses the median nerve. The tightening of the forearm is the result of shoulders that are out of alignment. This, in turn, weakens the strength and mobility of the forearms and wrists.

Shoulders that are rounded, winging, flared or otherwise impinged can easily affect performance down the arm. The nerve associated with CTS can be aggravated anywhere along its path from the neck to the hand… so it is NOT just your wrist/forearm. Overuse is not the problem. The body is capable of tremendous feats of endurance when moving properly. Misuse is a problem.

How do you get relief?

Last week’s blog cites an easy test that can help you determine if your shoulders are out of alignment. Have a friend take a set of photos of you standing in profile. Shoot both your right and left side. Your arms should fall along the profile line of your body, with your middle fingers extending along the outer seam of your pants. If your hands rest closer to your lap, then it’s likely that your shoulders are forward and out of position.

Comment below to receive easy exercises to help reset your shoulders and open your forearms and wrists. It takes time to reduce the compression from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but relief is on the way if the shoulders are aligned and your back muscles are strengthened. Proper movement promotes healing.

 

Easy Carpal Tunnel Program:

Part One:

Bent Knee Resting Position

Shoulder Shrugs at Wall

Forearm Stretch at Wall

Easy Shoulder Reset

 

Part Two:

Standing Wall Clock

Supine Groin Stretch (Rolls)

Air Bench (Pillow)

 

Elaine O’Brien

Save

Learn to Build Hand Strength, Eliminate Weakness & Tension

Hands are a gateway to our nervous systems and our sense of well-being. Our hands provide a tactile as well as a practical link to the world around us and we rely on our hands to do a myriad of tasks every day. Yet hand weakness and tension are very common conditions. Weakness is a frequent complaint of all age groups and every fitness level. A lack of strength in the hands can cause frustration opening a jar or a heavy door, or even using an iPhone. It makes everyday household chores, from changing vacuum filters to hanging pictures, challenging. Recreationally, hand and wrist weakness prevents weightlifters from being able to maximize a lift because of the lack of “grip” in their hand muscles. It is also a limiting factor for many people in their work, including massage therapists, body workers, carpenters, and mechanics.

Why do our hands become weak?

We tend to use our hands in a way that creates chronic tension in them. Habits like texting and typing too much, playing video games, and obsessing on our smartphones and iPads contribute to pain and weakness. These repetitive motions generate tension in our hands and we often don’t think to stretch them. Emotional responses like gripping our hands when we experience fear or anxiety contributes to these symptoms as well. Hand tension is characteristic of neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s, MS, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Releasing the carried tension in our hands can lower our anxiety and calm our nervous system, allowing for an improved balance between our sympathetic (fight or flight) and (rest and digest and easy control) nervous systems. This alone can bring about an improved state of balance, focus, and overall well being.

When the connective tissue (fascia) and the muscles of the hands, wrists, and forearms become chronically tight, the hands loose power. A muscle that is too tight is weak. If the connective tissue is tight, the muscles cannot contract and extend optimally. The connective tissue of your hands and wrists are tight if, when you are lying down, arms resting at your sides, your fingers are curled. If this is the case, you want to work on lengthening them.

Contributing Factors

A key factor contributing to weak hands and wrists is the rounded position of our shoulders. The top of your big arm bone and your hand should line up with the center of your hip. If your shoulders are rounded and your chest is dropped in, your hands are likely forward of the ideal midline. Your hands are only as strong as the position of your shoulders. When your shoulder alignment is such that your shoulder blades rest flat on your back, neither winged nor flared, you have access to the strength and balance of your shoulder girdle stabilizers (serratus anterior and lower trapezius). These muscles are needed to maintain your shoulder so that your forearm muscles can support your hand and wrist function.

Rotation is another major factor. In a right-handed individual, the right arm and shoulder are usually dominant, promoting a right upper body rotation. When this happens, the right shoulder girdle has little stability. Because it is forward of its designed position, it is not supported by the back muscles and cannot do its job properly. The impact affects the entire right arm. The back is more than strong enough to support the work of the shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, and hand but only if the upper body’s position is neutral, not rotated.

So what can we do to develop good hand and wrist strength?

First, consider the alignment of the whole body. Look at your standing and sitting posture. Ask a friend for an opinion. Are things straight? Are your shoulders forward? Is a hip rotated back or a shoulder rotated forward? You can learn specific posture tips and use the tools on our website to help. Even better, come in for a postural assessment at BodyFix Method™. Bring your body back to the design, being aligned.

Here are a few simple to follow exercises that specifically focus on increasing hand strength, wrist strength, and mobility.

  • Doorway Stretch

Why am I doing this?

This exercise will release your chest muscles and help reduce the rounding of your shoulders so that you can get your shoulders on your back.

  • Standing Forearm Stretch

Why am I doing this?

This exercise will reduce forearm tension so that your forearm         muscles can get stronger.

  • Standing Hand/Wrist Presses- Table or Wall

Why am I doing this?

This exercise will open the wrists and palms, allowing for tendon and ligament movement in the hands and forearms.

  • Hand Scrunches

Why am I doing this?

This exercise promotes strength and stability of both the long and wide arches of the hand. It will increase finger mobility, grip, and strength. The brain and hand connection will also improve.

The secret to hand strength and function is to maintain the vertical balance in your shoulder girdle, which reduces shoulder rounding and a forward head. Next, make a real effort to minimize the rotation of your trunk. This will allow you to achieve an optimal balance of length and strength in your forearm and hand muscles. If you start today doing the exercises in this blog, you will improve your grip and easily open that bottle!

Comment below for the full Hand & Wrist Pain Relief Program!

In good health,

Anita Goodkind

 

How Healthy Foods & Drinks Reduce Inflammation & Pain

Fall is a favorite season for many. Every year, I look forward with great anticipation to enjoying dreamy pumpkin foods. I love everything about pumpkin, from its warm, cheery colors to pumpkin breads, pumpkin pie, pumpkin mash, pumpkin lattes and more. Unfortunately, fall also brings allergy season. Ragweed comes to mind, as does the lingering warm weather, and falling leaves. This year, Hurricane Irma, acting like a big vacuum, moved pollen spores and other molds around in all of our neighborhoods. Adding to that, many of these delectable fall foods aggravate allergies. Actually, it’s not the pumpkin causing allergy problems but the sugars, caffeine, pesticides, and herbicides found in these foods.

I’ve cut back on caffeine and sugar but I still miss my pumpkin latte. Going into the allergy season, I want something that will be soothing and preventative while still emphasizing that rich pumpkin flavor. Some time ago, I got unmistakable benefits from Golden Milk (coconut milk, turmeric and spices) as a cough preventative when my boyfriend had bronchitis. I learned that it also makes an amazing base for a pumpkin “chai” latte! It is also wonderful for managing allergies and inflammation. Perfect.

How Inflammation Creates Pain

It is not yet clear that inflammation plays a major role in osteoarthritis. It is easy to see that a soreness, stiffness and inflammation in a knee joint, for example, is going to cause a compensatory movement up and down the physical chain of movement. An ankle doesn’t become stiff on its own and inflammation of a knee or bursitis of the hip can easily cause that stiffness. Other painful conditions of the joints and musculoskeletal system that are not associated with inflammation include fibromyalgia, muscular low back pain, and muscular neck pain. Joint pain is extremely common, affecting one in three adults in the last thirty days. Rheumatoid arthritis, gout, bursitis of almost every joint can be helped by the foods and drinks mentioned in this article.

A Delicious Recipe for Fighting Inflammation

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice, native to Southeast Asia and a member of the ginger family. It has been used for over 4,000 years in ayurvedic medicine for everything from digestive ailments to respiratory illnesses. Turmeric contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is now believed that chronic, low-level inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, western disease.

Curcumin is powerful enough to match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis, joint pain, asthma, and allergies. Although there’s just 3% of curcumin by weight in turmeric, in our less than optimal American diet, anything that will reduce inflammation is a plus. If you want to beef up the effect, take an extract that contains significant amounts of curcumin. Eating curcumin with fatty foods, a staple of our American diet, actually enhances the absorption of the herb into the bloodstream. The body does work in mysterious ways.

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea uses a pumpkin base for this delicious fall and winter elixir. It tastes great and is both caffeine and sugar free. Like turmeric, Rooibos tea is an anti-inflammatory and fights a host of allergies, asthma, and digestive ailments. Its metabolic boosting properties are also quite helpful going into the fall and winter feasting seasons.

Flavoring your tea with a dash of cinnamon and black pepper adds even more anti-inflammatory and metabolism-boosting phytochemicals. Remember that regular dairy can actually exacerbate asthma and many allergies, so do use coconut or almond milk. Here is a recipe that I like. It is delicious with foods or on its own.

Golden Pumpkin Milk

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of sugar-free coconut milk or Califa coconut/almond milk. (Sweet, creamy and minimal ingredients)
  • 1 tsp. of Turmeric
  • 1 tea bag of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Rooibos Tea
  • Local organic honey – (optional if sweetness is needed and also great for   fighting neighborhood allergies if it is sourced locally)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • Ground ginger to taste

To experience this golden healing pick-me-up, warm 1 cup of coconut milk to steaming but not boiling. Whisk turmeric and optional ingredients until smooth. Steep tea for a minute or two, and enjoy!

As an aside, when I was drinking this two to three times a day as a deterrent to bronchitis, my skin quality improved and any signs of acne disappeared by day three. That was an unexpected side benefit, but welcome. Drinking this warm brew just before bed can also help as a sleep aid. Be sure to follow up with brushing your teeth to avoid a yellow stain.

If you would like to follow this up with a hearty and healing meal, you will love the blog including Farmer’s Market Lamb Stew for lubricating joints and muscles.

Stay in good health.

Kathryn Kohler

Save

Morton’s Neuroma: It’s Not Just Your Foot

Most people experience foot pain at some point in their lives. Whether it’s a traumatic injury or just the ache from breaking in a new pair of shoes, foot pain is almost impossible to avoid. Often we can trace our pain back to a particular pair of high heels or the moment we stubbed our toe. However, other types of foot pain can be more mysterious and without an obvious cause. Morton’s Neuroma falls into the latter category, and treating it properly requires a whole body approach.

What is Morton’s Neuroma?

Morton’s Neuroma is a painful response to continuous pressure on one of the nerves in the foot, commonly occurring between the second and third toe near the ball of the foot. Over time, a sharp or burning sensation can develop and walking becomes painful. Ill-fitting shoes that are too tight at the toes or high heels are often to blame, and so are certain high-impact sports like running. However, pressure on the ball of the foot can also develop if the head is forward of the spine and the shoulders are rounded and forward. This position of the shoulders and head can often go unnoticed, and this seemingly unrelated cause can baffle a Morton’s Neuroma sufferer who doesn’t wear high heels or play sports.

Another contributing factor is rotation of the trunk, shoulder, and hip. For example, if the right side is rotated forward, the pressure lands more on the left foot during walking and standing. Add a forward head and shoulders and the pressure falls forward onto the ball of the left foot.

How Can You Fix It?

Morton’s Neuroma is completely avoidable and requires just some common sense practices to keep your feet comfortable. Roomy, flexible footwear that fits well is a must. Stay away from high heels and shoes with a tight toe box, but also beware of walking in “comfortable” shoes that limit ankle mobility (like clogs, flip flops, and suffocating winter boots).

Keep your calves and hamstrings supple by stretching them regularly. Maintaining butt muscle strength so that you don’t inadvertently shorten your stride and limit the function of the foot and ankle. Keep track of any habit of rounding the shoulders and avoid “text neck” . Walk and stand with your feet parallel. Never walk with your toes turned out.

The first step to help relieve the pain of Morton’s Neuroma, is to rest. Stay off your feet, and take an anti-inflammatory pain reliever like ibuprofen. Taking a step back from high-impact activities like running and working out for about two weeks is a good idea.

Contrary to what most people think, movement is often the key to relieving pain. Move the lower leg to regain mobility in the ankles, and stretch the calves. Learn how to pronate, supinate, plantarflex, and dorsiflex your feet. Develop arches if your feet are flat. Address any rotation in the trunk and hip. Work to strengthen the muscles of the upper back to reposition the head and shoulders above the spine. Last but not least, its important to focus on butt strength. If the big glute muscles don’t work, the stride shortens and ankles become less functional.

Things to Remember

Remember that the source of the pain is continued, applied pressure. It’s important to identify the source of the pressure. Whether it’s footwear, athletics, or poor alignment (or a combination of factors), the neuroma won’t go away until the pressure is relieved. If you suspect your posture might have something to do with the pain, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist at BodyFix Method™ so that you can eliminate the pain at its source.

Comment below for a handful of exercises that promote good upper and lower body biomechanics and pain-free movement. These are great for anyone who suffers from Morton’s Neuroma or for someone who wants to avoid foot pain and maintain good posture. Try them out!

Save

Using Alignment To Avoid Running Injuries: Part 3 of 3

Parts One and Two of this three-part series for runners dealt with Achilles Tendonitis and Plantar Fasciitis. Part Three reviews Runner’s Knee, an all too common running injury. Don’t own this one. Getting your joints in line, strengthening your muscles, and bringing your movement patterns back to the body’s design will ensure that you don’t suffer this damaging injury.

Bones move, joints feel, and muscles react to the surfaces and the conditions that your body encounters. When your body is in alignment and the joints can function independently, the muscles can get the joints to work together. With faulty joint alignment, pain and a serious injury are just a run away. Running with your joints misaligned is not a good thing. You are a prime candidate for Runner’s Knee if your body is not in alignment.

Running demands a great deal from joints, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. However, with a few precautions, you can avoid injuries that will take you out of the game.

Runner’s Knee (Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome) – What is it?

Runner’s Knee describes several painful knee conditions under the heading of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (where the kneecap and the thigh bone meet, and the resulting pain). This syndrome is the most well known of these issues, specifically affecting the kneecap and weakening cartilage under the kneecap. This alteration to the kneecap’s tracking changes the movement of the kneecap within the groove of your thighbone.

When you run, the repetitive impact on misaligned joints irritates the soft tissues or lining of the knee. This wears out the cartilage, and strains the tendons. Runner’s Knee begins as a dull ache around or behind the kneecap, right where it meets the lower part of your thighbone. There is often swelling on the inside and outside of the knee and the knee can become reddened, too. Pain increases with walking, running, climbing, or descending stairs.

What causes it?

Joint misalignment causes it, plain and simple. Specific causes of Runner’s Knee are strength imbalances in stabilizing muscles, particularly hip muscle weakness, and poor lower leg running mechanics. This misalignment increases stress across the patellofemoral joint, accentuating the effect of hip width and the angle of the femur meeting the patella (Q-angle). Runner’s Knee hits female runners more often because of a woman’s wider hips and the resulting Q-angle.

For both men and women, poor range of motion in the ankles and weak arches further contribute to the condition. Excessive supination (feet turned out) and too much or too little pronation (feet rolling in) are also major contributors to Runner’s Knee.

When the leg lands through the entire foot and the big thighbone rotates through the neutral, internal, and external planes, the knee will be fine. However, if the ankle doesn’t work or if the thighbone is fixed in one position, the knees are forced to rotate. This something they can’t do naturally. Knees are stability joints. The ankles and the thighs rotate. If the hip is rotated or tilted forward, usually toward our dominant side, the knees will suffer. Don’t let that happen.

How to prevent it?

Pay attention to your standing posture and your running form. Ask a friend to video you as you run and to review it with you. Get a postural assessment from a professional and get your running form in line with your expectations and hard work. JackRabbit, the sporting goods store, will give you a free video assessment on a treadmill. Its information and a start towards better running mechanics. They will want to sell you shoes and insoles, but use your judgment on those.

Build your thigh and butt muscles with regular exercise. Do simple stability exercises to strengthen the lower leg, ankle, and foot, and to reduce impact. Learn to love stairs, Squats, Lunges, and Sitting Wall. Lean from your hips, not your low back, and bend your knees when you run. When you meet a steep hill, running up or running down, jog or run in a zigzag pattern. Hills demand humility and attention. The hill gods will reward you. Your knees will thank you.

Strengthen your hip rotators and butt muscles – all of them, not just the maximus, but the medius and the minimus, too. Exercises in the Mini Menu offered here will strengthen the gluteus medius and give balance to the leg and knee. A runner’s best friend is a strong and supple gluteus medius.

Fill out the Contact information below and we’ll send you a Mini Menu of exercises to keep your joints working, tendons responsive, and muscles strong and supple.

Bill Boland

Who’s writing this?

Bill Boland is a life-long runner and an exercise physiologist based in New York, where he directs the BodyFix Method™ clinic. BodyFix Method™ offers a proven series of personalized exercise and movement therapies to prevent injuries and to eliminate chronic and traumatic pain. It is not your standard physical therapy. In a city of big-time stress, hard sidewalks, traffic, and potholes, along with your desire to compete, don’t go it alone. We’ll find the underlying cause of the pain and get you back to running, but this time, it will be pain free.

 

 

 

Using Alignment To Avoid Running Injuries: Part 2 of 3

Part One of this three-part series dealt with Achilles Tendonitis. Part Two takes on Plantar Fasciitis.

This condition is serious. It can take you out of running for months. Plantar fasciitis is a far too common injury, striking everyday folks and runners alike. But, as runners, we increase the impact of the conditions causing it. There are usually many warning signals for this injury, so please pay attention to the exercises you can do to avoid being injured. Make changes to your daily running program to avoid setting yourself up for injury.

Bones move,  joints feel, and muscles react to the surfaces and the conditions that your body encounters. If your body is in alignment and the joints can function independently, then the muscles can do their job of making the joints function together. With faulty joint alignment, pain and a serious injury are just a matter of time. Run within an aligned frame. You are a prime candidate for Plantar Fasciitis if your body is not in alignment.

Running demands a great deal from joints, bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. However, if you take a few precautions, you can avoid injuries that will take you out of the game.

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is that flat band of tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. It is designed to absorb the high stresses and strains we place on our feet, but repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the ligament, leading to pain and swelling. Supple muscles, combined with flexible and independent joints, will keep the fascia strong and supportive. The body demands that the joints work on their own (independently) before they can work together (interdependently). Sounds simple, but if your joints are misaligned, it won’t happen. The workload defaults to the ligaments, tendons, and fascia, which strain, tear, or scar with that much work.

How does it happen?

Plantar fasciitis can happen if your ankles roll in too much when you walk or run. This is called over-pronation but actually, it’s the absence of a working arch. Walking with your feet turned out, like a duck, weakens the muscles of the foot, forcing the fascia to do more work than designed. Conversely, high arches are usually inflexible and can’t absorb the shock of everyday walking, much less running. Add in flat feet, standing or running for long periods without rest combined with stiff ankles and tight calves, and it’s only a matter of time before the plantar fascia breaks down. A leg length imbalance and a sloppy walking or running gait will add to the pressures that the plantar fascia must support.

Plantar fasciitis will start out like a pebble under your heel, and then progress to a sharp pain in the bottom of your foot, front, or center of the heel bone when you take your first steps in the morning. It may hurt the most when you climb stairs or after sitting or standing for a long period of time. Running is painful. Stop. Don’t run. Pushing it risks serious injury and a month-long layoff.

How to avoid it?

Move. Stretch your lower leg muscles. Make sure you can easily flex and extend your foot through the ankle. Develop independent joint strength. Correct joint position with our simple everyday exercises.

With over 20 years of experience, we have developed simple, easy-to-do daily programs to position the points, to bring your body into alignment, and to strengthen the muscles that run the joints. Once you have adopted this program, run on softer surfaces, not concrete, as sidewalk running kills. Keep distance increases below 10% per week. Stick with familiar shoe wear and ease into new brands, types of soles, and lacing. Minimalist gear is great, but it takes a year or more to acclimate your body to relying on muscles you have never used.

Who’s writing this?

Bill Boland is a lifetime runner and an exercise physiologist based in New York, where he directs the BodyFix Method™ clinic. BodyFix Method™ is a simple series of personalized exercise and movement therapies to eliminate chronic and traumatic pain. It is not your standard physical therapy. In a city of big-time stress, hard sidewalks, traffic, and potholes, along with a desire to win, don’t go it alone. We’ll find the underlying cause of the pain and get you back to running, but this time, it will be pain free.

Comment below and we’ll send you a Mini-menu of exercises to keep your joints working, tendons responsive, and muscles strong and flexible. This group of exercises will open the ankles and shins and make your feet more responsive to the workload you are asking of them. You can also check us out on YouTube for a variety of easy, at-home exercises.

Related Blogs:

Using Alignment to Avoid Running Injuries: Part 1 of 3

Here’s A Plan To Avoid Running Injuries

Running’s Muscle & Skeletal Demands

Heel Pain? Cure Plantar Fasciitis with A Whole Body Approach!

Saturday, September 23rd, 10am – 12pm

How to Run Pain Free Forever!

With Bill Boland and Kathryn Kohler

The number of running injuries increases annually, and not because more people are running each year. The total number of runners in the US has stabilized at 12 million but the injuries just keep coming. One out of two runners, male and female, are injured each year.

You will:

  • learn how to improve your running form
  • enhance your mileage and PR
  • a personalized alignment and movement evaluation
  • a take-home corrective exercise program unique to your form, height, weight, gender, and skill level.

Find your best form at this BodyFix Method™ workshop and run with ease and grace forever.

$80

NO DROP INS

SPACE IS LIMITED

Sign up Here!

Save

Save

Save

Using Alignment To Avoid Running Injuries: Part 1 of 3

 

Running demands a great deal from joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments. However, if you take just a few alignment precautions, you can avoid common running injuries.

Whether you’re on a track, out on the street, or on the treadmill in the gym, running is a great cardio activity that burns calories, builds leg and hip strength, and boosts your heart and lung capacity. If you don’t build the right ratio of flexibility and strength, or your joints are out of alignment, running will take a toll on your body. It will leave you with injuries that stop you from running.

Bones move, joints feel, and muscles react to surfaces and conditions that your body encounters. If your body is in alignment and the joints can function independently, then the muscles, tendons, and ligaments can do their job.

Here’s number one on my list:

Achilles Tendonitis (& Tear)

The Achilles tendon connects your calf muscles to your heel bone, and fires every time you walk, jump, or go running. Tendonitis is inflammation of a tendon, and it often happens when we push our bodies to do too much, too soon.

If your shoulders are rounded, your head is forward, or your feet are turned out, the joints can’t stay in line, and the body falls forward. This puts a 24-hour strain on the calf muscles and ultimately, the Achilles tendon, as it tries to keep you from falling over. When you then start an intense running or exercise program with those tight calf muscles and misaligned joints, that’s too much extra stress on the Achilles tendon. Tendons don’t stretch much. They tear.

The tendonitis will feel like an ever-present swelling at the back of your heel that starts when you get up. It gets worse throughout the day and with almost any activity. It will hurt even when you sit. If you tear the tendon away from the heel, you will feel a burning along the inside of the heel, and it doesn’t go away.

Marathon training will end quickly when the Achilles tendon acts up, and it should. Listen to your body. You cannot push through this! Take the time off and heal. Being young and “fit” won’t help you with this injury. Rest and targeted exercises will.

How to avoid it?

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Is your head forward, are your shoulders rounded, and are your feet turned out? These are loud and clear alarms. Listen. Fix your alignment before you run another mile. There are people who can help you, who know movement, and who can get your body back to its natural design. It takes time, a little money, but mostly it takes your commitment to being pain free and to running well.

Wear quality supportive shoes that are right for your level of training and ability. If you are piling on the mileage, change shoes weekly. Maintain an intelligent training balance for your experience and avoid a dramatic increase in your workout regimen. Run with a partner to keep your workout strong but in line with your conditioning levels and goals. We can all get carried away with our training!

Specific steps to take:

Stretch your calves for a minute or two, one leg at a time, on a curb, a step, or on the side of the treadmill before you take one running step.

After your run, do it again. Your calves get tight when you sit, even tighter if you put your feet under your chair, so don’t do that. Stretch them all the time to avoid being hurt when you run. An Achilles tendon tear will take you out of running for months, even years, so stretch the calves! Trust me. I lost a year of running after an Achilles tendon tear.

Strengthen your quads with a Wall Sit or Air Bench and loosen your hamstrings with a Runners Stretch. Work your ankles; make them supple, able to rotate in all directions, and to point and flex. Simple exercises like Foot Circles & Points and Flexes are easy to do every day. Your toes are there for push-off, balance, and to build the arch of your foot. Make sure they work through Toe Scrunches and Curls.

Comment below and we’ll send you a Mini-series of exercises to keep your joints working, tendons responsive, and muscles strong and flexible.

Who’s writing this? Bill Boland is a lifetime runner and an exercise physiologist based in New York, where he directs the BodyFix Method™ clinic. BodyFix Method™ is a straightforward series of personalized exercise and movement therapies to eliminate chronic and traumatic pain. It is not your standard physical therapy.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Easy Exercises to Take the Stress Out of Waiting and Commuting

 

Last week’s post was about commuting and how to use simple holding, carrying, and sitting tricks to reduce stress and strain on your head, neck, shoulders, and low back. Today’s post offers easy flexibility and breathing exercises that you can do anytime, waiting for the train, standing and sitting in the airport, or in between starting and finishing points of a long car trip.

The ride out to the weekend house or the trip to visit friends doesn’t have to be one long and uncomfortable journey. Ride for 30-45 minutes, but then get out of the car and move about. It doesn’t have to be a program, but it should have to be movement. Our bodies love motion and responds to an assortment of movements. Vary the exercises listed here. Make up some on your own and throw them into the mix as well.

Waiting for the train and waiting in general can be a good time to squeeze in a few whole body exercises to tone up your postural muscles to support you for the day ahead. Next time you are standing on the subway platform, or waiting for your plane to arrive, try any one or a combination of these exercises. There may not always be enough space for all of these, but choose one that is safe and that won’t involve others.

Exercise during your Commute!

Standing Glute Squeezes… Stand with feet parallel and pointing straight ahead. Strongly squeeze your butt muscles 25 times, holding for a count, and then releasing. Repeat 3 sets. This exercise will tone your glutes and help stabilize your pelvis to support your lower back.

Standing Overhead Arm Reach… Interlace your fingers. Reach your arms overhead and stretch your side body and your arms up. Breathe into your lungs and expand your ribs sideways. Lengthen your waist. This exercise will take pressure off your lower back by creating length in your torso.

Knee Cappers… Start with feet parallel, knees pointing straight ahead. Bend your knees over your toes as deeply as you can, keeping heels on the ground. Straighten the legs and then bend your knees to the right, feeling the stretch along the outer side of the left leg. Come back up again and now bend to the left. Repeat the sequence 10 times. This exercise promotes healthy ankles and knees, giving you lots of energy for climbing subway stairs and standing.

Pursed Lip Breathing… Inhale through your nose for a count of 4 or 5 and exhale through pursed lips as though blowing out through a straw for a count of 5-6. Continue this inhaling and exhaling for 3 to 5 minutes. Feel the action of your diaphragm and the movement of the breath in your lungs. This exercise is good for reducing anxiety and increasing overall wellbeing.

Commuting and long stretches of driving and sitting can take a toll on your mental and physical wellbeing. Adopt some of these simple tools to help your body maintain optimal balance on your way to and home from work. Your body will thank you.

For more tips on Postural Alignment, Moving, and Wellbeing, visit our website www.bodyfixmethod.com, or come and see us for a consultation.

Stay in good health,

Anita Goodkind

Save

Save

Save

Take the Stress & Pain Out Of Your Daily Commute

For many urban dwellers, our daily commute is a stressful part of our day. It doesn’t have to be painful too. In New York City, a standard commute includes a combination of trains, subways, and buses of the massive MTA system. Sometimes this system runs smoothly, but other times, it is a cause for unnecessary aggravation. In any case, your commute doesn’t have to add mental stress & physical pain to your body on a daily basis. If you suffer from a sore lower back, chronic neck pain, or shoulder tension, consider making some of the following changes to your daily commute and your body will thank you.

Your Commute

  • Your standing posture is the first thing to consider. How are you standing as you wait on the train platform? Are you putting more weight on one foot than the other? Do you kick one hip out to the side? Where are your shoulders? Forward, along with your head? You can break any of these habits just by paying attention, by being mindful.
  • The best standing posture is with your weight balanced on both feet, slightly soft knees, standing so that a vertical line could be drawn from your ankles up through your knees, hips, and shoulders. If you stand this way, you will reduce the stress on all of the joints in your body and alleviate pressure on your spine.
  • If you sit while commuting, slouching is possibly the worst postural habit for you. Slouching back in your seat strains your neck, shoulders, and lower back, compromises your breathing, and interrupts your digestion. Instead, sit on your sitting bones. That’s what they are there for.
  • Allow your shoulders to roll back and your spine to lengthen upwards. If you are going to be sitting for a long time, use a lumbar support just above your hips, behind your bellybutton. A rolled-up sweater, a purse, or a towel will do the job. You’ll love the changes to your breathing, body tension, and awareness of the world around you as you sit in this naturally supported way.
  • Next on your stress list is how much you are lugging around and how you are carrying it. An easy way to wreak havoc on your back and shoulders is to carry a bag or a purse that is heavy, oversized, and weighing you down on one side. To keep your body balanced, opt for a backpack or a cross body bag so that the weight stays equally distributed over the two sides of your body. If you are carrying bags, balance the weight equally and hold them with your palms and thumbs rolling forward so that your shoulders roll back, letting you use your back muscles to full advantage.
  • A backpack is always a great choice because the straps pull your shoulders back and let your strong back muscles carry the load on your back, not your shoulders. Your hands are free for holding onto a stair railing, subway poles, your cell phone, or even a coffee cup.

Your Habits

  • How you use your cell phone during your commute has a huge impact on your body alignment. The first habit you want to ditch is looking down at your smart phone to read or play games. This creates “text neck”, a forward head posture, which will add constant strain and pain to your neck muscles and cause your shoulders and upper back to round forward. Instead, hold your phone up at eye level, allowing your arms and mid-back muscles to do the work.
  • Avoid walking and texting. This is simply dangerous. For you and for others…look ahead and stay aware.
  • If you have to talk on the phone, use your earphones or a headset. This will also save your neck undue stress. For most of us a cell phone is a constant companion, so hold it wisely.

De-compress with Easy Breathing

Trains are often late, the subway cars are dirty, and people are harassing you, but getting all ‘hot and bothered’ only adds more stress to your day, your life, and your body. While adopting a Zen attitude towards your commute might seem like crazy idea, maintaining your cool and remaining centered on the way to work and home can improve the quality of your week enormously.

Trains are crowded. People say things we wish they would not say. Things smell bad. Some folks are pushy and aggressive. That’s how it goes. Your breath is your best tool to stay centered. When you start to feel yourself getting irritated and anxious, try a technique called Pursed Lip Breathing.

Purse your lips as if you were going to whistle and simply breathe in through your nose and out through your lips. Continue this for a few minutes until you feel calmer. This type of breathing deeply activates your diaphragm and circulates a extra burst of oxygen through your body. The increased oxygen will simultaneously relax you and energize you, and you will feel less stressed by the circumstances of your commute.

Commuting can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. Try some of the suggestions outlined above and let your breath relax your whole body. Owning these simple tools to help your body maintain optimal balance on your way to and home from work. Your body will thank you.

For more tips on Postural Alignment and Wellbeing, visit our website www.bodyfixmethod.com for a free Mini-menu of exercises, or come and see us for a consultation.

To learn more cooling and stress reducing breathing techniques, check out our upcoming workshop!

Summer Breathwork Cool Down

Thursday, August 17th, 6pm – 7.30pm with Elaine & Kat

Take a moment for yourself, and learn easy breathing techniques to cool down, both physically and emotionally. This workshop will teach simple self-help tools and techniques to break the cycle of breathing dysfunction and chronic pain, which can cause anxiety and overheating. The takeaways from this class will be an understanding of what Healthy Breathing is, how to develop better breathing patterns, and what steps to take to mitigate stress and anxiety.

Our breathing patterns, stress levels, and our sensitivity to pain are deeply related. Day-to-day stressors, such as work, restless thoughts, and poor posture, all have an impact on our breathing patterns. Anxiety causes us to take shallow breaths and breathe with only our upper chest and shoulders instead of breathing deeply with the diaphragm, our primary breathing muscle. This pattern carries over to the upper body and shoulders, bringing an irritating pain that’s always there.

Each participant will receive a DIY customized exercise program and hands-on instruction in implementing the work. Come join us on a Thursday evening to learn simple and effective exercises for cooling breathing and healthy living.

$50

SPACE IS LIMITED

NO DROP INS

Sign Up Here for Thursday, August 17th

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save