The average human spends around 1/3 of his or her life sleeping. Sleep is the time when our body regenerates, and in the case of your muscles and bones, realign and rest in preparation for the new day.
That’s where things go wrong. Because of habit, environment, or other physical factors, many of us choose sleeping positions that actually contribute to stress and strain on our muscles, particularly in the upper body.
“Eighty percent of the population will have back problems at some point in [their] lives oftentimes caused or aggravated by the way they sleep,” Dr. Hooman Melamed, an orthopedic spine surgeon at the DISC Sports & Spine Center in Los Angeles, Calif.,
There’s a reason that lower back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting Americans. More than 80% of us have it at least once in our life. More women suffer from chronic back pain than men. Older-age adults are more susceptible to back pain than younger adults or children.
The bones and muscles in your back work hard to keep you upright and serve as pivot points for everything from running to grabbing the pen you’ve dropped on the floor. Turns out there are some very common ways to mess your back up. Knowing these helps be proactive to avoid the pain before it’s too late, or, at least, recognize a possible cause of back pain if (and when) you get it.
The solution: Limit the time you spend on any hand-held electronic device to no more than 15 minutes without a break. Sit up straight and don’t hunch over when you’re texting. Keep your elbows at a 90 degree angle.Watch the screen time on your laptop or desktop computer, too. Take breaks at least every 45 minutes for at least 2 minutes per break. Continue reading “Seven Ways to Mess Up Your Back”
The sartorius muscle is a long, thin, band-like muscle in your interior thigh. It’s the longest muscle in the human body. The muscle primarily helps flex and rotate your thigh at the hip joint. The muscle is so long, it also crosses the knee joint, where it helps flex the leg.
In your daily life, you’ll notice that the sartorius:
Assists in raising your leg at the thigh (bringing knee to chest)
Assists with twisting your knee inward, toward the body
Feet are complex, with 1/4 of the bones in your body located there (26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments). Women tend to have 4 times more foot problems (thanks, largely, from walking in high heeled shoes).
Speaking of walking, it is the best exercise for your feet, and we walk a lot. The average person will walk around 115,000 miles in a lifetime. That’s about 8-10,000 steps a day. It’s no wonder that 75% of Americans will experience foot problems at least once in their life.
Pecs (Pectoralis muscle group) connect the front walls of the chest with the bones of the upper arm and shoulder. You have two Pec muscles on each side of the sternum (breastbone): a pectoralis major and a pectoralis minor.
Pecs help you move your arms down (adduction), rotate your arm forward, and side to side (lateral). It assist your arms when they’re raised (as in climbing). Pecs assist in deep breathing, too, tugging on the ribs to help lungs expand.
Developed pecs are most recognized in males, because breast tissue typically hides the pectoralis muscles in females.
Your hands are amazing, hardworking body parts. They suffer more stress and strain than you may know. From arthritis, to carpal tunnel to tendonitis, it’s pretty much inevitable that at some time you’ll feel some pain in your fingers. In fact, one fourth of athletic injuries involve the hand and wrist and one third of all acute injuries in emergency rooms involve arms and hands.
Luckily, massage can help. Finding a great massage therapist and letting them know of your discomfort will likely go a long way to pain relief. They are well-versed in anatomy and kinesiology of the arm, wrist and fingers and know how to help. If you’re between appointments, though, here’s a five minute finger massage that’s a tried-and-true self-care hand treatment that’s easy to do and will bring welcomed relief.
Your “Quads” (quadriceps) are actually a muscle group. They’re not just one muscle, but four muscles, each contributing to the extension of your knee joint and the flexing of your hip. The quad muscles are crucial in running, squatting and jumping.
The quads are anatomically located in the anterior (front) compartment of the thigh. The quad muscle group is made of up of three large muscles: vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the smaller rectus femorus. Vastus lateralis is on the outside of the thigh, medialis on the inside, rectus femoris is on top, and intermedius is in the center hidden below the rectus femoris.
The quadricep muscles originate at the ilium (upper part of your hip bone) and femur (thighbone) and come together in a tendon around your patella (kneecap) and then attach to your tibia (shinbone).
Your running shoes provide cushioning, shock absorption and stability and over time, like any other often used item, they wear out.
As a general rule, running shoes last about 300-400 miles, while walking shoes last around 500.
You can also examine the shoes for wear patterns. It turns out that you don’t use the treads on the bottom of the shoes to determine whether to replace them, nor does the fact that they’re dirty mean you need to replace them. Instead, examine the midsole area.
The piriformis is a busy muscle. It is involved in almost every motion of the hips and legs.
The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. The piriformis enables us to walk, shift our weight from one foot to another, and maintain balance. It is also used in sports that involve lifting and rotating the thighs.
Specifically, the piriformis muscle is part of the lateral rotators of the hip, along with the quadratus femoris, gemellus inferior, gemellus superior, obturator externus, and obturator internus. The piriformis laterally rotates the femur with hip extension and abducts the femur with hip flexion. Abduction of the flexed thigh is important in the action of walking because it shifts the body weight to the opposite side of the foot being lifted, which keeps us from falling. The action of the lateral rotators can be understood by crossing your legs to rest an ankle on the knee of the other leg. This causes the femur to rotate and point the knee laterally. The lateral rotators also oppose medial rotation by the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. When the hip is flexed to 90 degrees, piriformis abducts the femur at the hip (Netter’s Clinical Anatomy, 2010)
The four muscles that make up your rotator cuff are responsible for shoulder movements and maintaining shoulder joint stability. And they can hurt like crazy when you mess them up.
The rotator cuff (RC) describes a group of muscles in the shoulder that connects your upper arm (humerus bone) to your shoulder blade (scapula) and the supporting tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder. The four muscles of the rotator cuff are the Teres minor, Infraspinatus, Supraspinatus, and Subscapularis.
The set of muscles gets its name from the shape formed by the muscles as they attach to the humerus–it looks like a cuff on your shirtsleeve.
Most modern day computers and mobile devices have a limit. You’ll know when you’ve hit it when things start running slowly, battery life drains fast, things just don’t work the way they should. You try everything, then pick up the phone and call for tech support–they always recommend a restart.
A mental restart sets things back to normal. It clears extra memory baggage and dismisses extraneous code that causes things to bog down. It returns important settings that balance your machine to default status. POOF! The restarted device seems to have a new lease on life. It just works better.
Compared to chimpanzees, the human foot is more adapted for walking upright. Your toes are smaller and your big toe is better suited for stability than for grasping tree branches. We’re hard on our feet though, and they often need our attention.
Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 muscles (intrinsic and extrinsic), 31 joints and over 100 ligaments. The feet contain 1/4 of all the bones of the body (52 bones in a pair of feet)
The body lines up over the feet, when a foot goes out of alignment the ankle, knee, pelvis and back follow. Analyzing the way you stand, walk, run and sit helps determine the cause of misalignment, which is most likely the culprit of pain. Finding and targeting the misalignment with massage and/or chiropractic work usually relieves the pain.
“One in six people in the US have foot problems. Eighty percent of all foot problems occur in women. Two-thirds of foot problems can be attributed to shoes.” Web MD (2013)
Research suggests that massage has both physiological and emotional benefits both before and after the event which help you have stronger, better, faster athletic performance.
Athletes routinely prepare both physically and mentally prior to an event. Typically they incorporate static and dynamic stretching, warm-up drills and mental imagery. A pre-event massage has been suggested as a strategy to decrease pre-competition anxiety and prepare muscles.
If muscle prep is the goal, pre-event sports massage, performed by qualified massage therapists, works well for many. Sports massage is a more vigorous type of massage that includes a combination of techniques such as joint mobilization, stretching, post isometric relaxation, cross-fiber friction and trigger point massage. The goal of the session is to invigorate muscle tissue and stimulate (not relax) muscles to get ready for fast-twitch response, improve flexibility, and increase strength. This massage typically happens within 72 hours of the event.
The Gluteus Maximus is the largest muscle in your body, yet it is often overlooked in pre- and post-workout stretching.
The Gluteal muscles work hard. Tightness in the “glutes” often causes pain by altering the position of the leg, causing uneven distribution of forces in the knee. They can also cause back pain and stiffness. Try these three simple stretches to keep your Glutes happy:
1. Pretzel. Lie flat on your back and bend both knees. Cross one leg over the other so your foot is on the opposite knee.Bring both knees towards your chest and gently pull the uncrossed leg towards you until you feel a stretch in your buttock. Hold for 30 secs. Repeat 3 times before and after exercise. Continue reading “Three Glute Stretches That Work”
In any given year, one in 10 (10%) of men and women in the US experience lower back pain. Some just deal with it, others are more proactive.
Lower back pain is one of the top reasons people seek medical attention in the U.S., and it is notoriously tough to treat. Most lower back pain comes from injury or overuse of muscles, ligaments and joints. Less common are pressure on nerve roots, compression fractures and infections.
Studies show very few medical therapies, from medications to injections to surgeries, reliably relieve it, and some can aggravate the problem. A new study randomly assigned 400 adults with moderate-to-severe low back pain lasting for at least three months to either weekly whole-body massages for relaxation, weekly massages that focused on specific muscle problems around the lower back and hips, or usual care (“control group”). Continue reading “Relieving Lower Back Pain”