Pectoralis minor (the deeper smaller chest muscle) can cause pain in the front of the shoulder and down the arm when the Myofascial Trigger Points are activated. When tight this muscle can also compromise the bundle of nerves that run down the arm and tip the shoulder blade forward giving you a rounded shoulders look and winging the lower tip of the shoulder blade off the rib cage. As Myotherapists we see a lot of tight pec minors, in fact just about everyone that comes into the clinic has tight pec minor muscles!
So with that in mind here are a few good stretches to try. If yours is really tight you may get referral down your arm when doing the stretch or you may feel like it doesn’t ease off. If this happens to you, you will need to do some self myofascial release with a spikey ball before you stretch it.
Simply find the sore point, put the ball on it and put yourself and the ball against a wall or the floor depending on how much pressure you desire. Roll it around or let it sink in for about 60 seconds on the sore spot and your done! If you still have pain during the stretch after that you might be doing it incorrectly or you might need a different stretch so best to contact your musculoskeletal specialist in that case.
Step 1. Put your hands on the door frames above head height with your elbows bent.
Step 2. Lunge through the door until you feel a stretch then slide the hands further up or down until you feel a deeper stretch.
Step 3. Hold for 60 seconds or try a contract relax version. This can also be done one side at a time in the doorway for a stronger stretch.
Foam Roller Arm Circles: my personal favourite!
Step 1. Lie on a full foam roller with it length ways along your spine including supporting your head.
Step 2. Take both arm straight towards the wall behind you so that they come close to your ears.
Step 3. Start to bend the elbows as your slide your arms down by your sides trying to let your arms relax towards the floor as you do so.
Step 4. Repeat for 10-20 reps or until you feel they have relaxed off. You may also add a small 0.5 – 1 kg weight to help the stretch.
Floor Roll Away Stretch
Step 1. Lie on your back with one arm out at a 45 degree angle above you head with the elbow bent.
Step 2. Anchor your arm with some leg weights or a heavy pillow.
Step 3. Roll your body gently away from the side being stretched until you feel the stretch coming into the deep pec area.
I hope you have fun giving these stretches a go. If you have consistently tight pec minors it is worth chatting with your practitioner about testing the strength of your lower trap muscles. These muscles do the opposite action and are commonly weak in conjunction with a tight pec minor. Click here to check out some tips on how to test and strengthen your lower trap.
Just like adults, children and adolescents can also experience musculoskeletal imbalances, conditions and pain. So how do you tell what your child is going through and what health professional to take them to?
If you child has been complaining of severe pain following a fall or injury it may be worth a visit to the doctor to rule out a fracture. If you’re not sure, come to us first to avoid exposing your child unnecessarily to radiation associated with scans. We will be able to assess whether it’s something that needs further investigation.
Other pain in children or adolescent that may be encountered include; growing pains, sprains and strains, muscle cramps, tight muscles from sport, joint alignment issues, scoliosis and other conditions such as childhood forms of arthritis. Some of these conditions we will be able to treat and some we will need to refer to your doctor or a specialist.
So how exactly can a Myotherapist help?
Step 1. Assessment
The first step in treating pain in children is to talking to your child about their pain complaint. Sometimes they need a bit of help from you (parent or guardian) but we try to develop a good relationship with your child by encouraging good communication with us directly. We might ask questions about your child’s pain; how long as the complaint been occurring? How long does the pain typically last when it comes on? Have you had this in the past? What type of pain (or can you think of another time you have had this kind of pain)? When do you notice it the most? Is there anything that relieves the pain?
Once we have an understanding of what has been going on, it gives us ideas of what things to check. This helps us rule out more serious conditions or confirm something that we can treat on the day. The assessment might be getting them to do a specific movement, it might include testing joint, nerve or muscle or getting them to do an exercise to see if it helps.
If we find something we are unsure of we will refer you to the appropriate health care professional such as a GP. If we find something we can help with we will move on to the treatment phase of the consultation.
Step 2. Treatment
With pain in children and adolescents, it’s really important to try to empower them to learn about their bodies and treat themselves. That’s why we try to stay as hands-off as possible. Treatment will usually start with specialised movement therapy or instructing them where to place a spiky ball to help. Upon reassessment if progression is slow then we will become more hands on. This hands on treatment may include joint mobilisation (not cracking), dry needling (if when discussed child and parent is not apprehensive), trigger point therapy and massage/myofascial release techniques.
Sometimes treatment will include a few different approaches but rest assured we will always explain what we’ve found and discuss the treatment plan with you as we go. We then like to retest and make adjustments throughout the treatment to make sure the pain is reducing and the range of movement is increasing. Again always discussing with your child and yourself as we go.
Step 3. Management
Next we will talk about things that are going to be helpful at home for your child’s pain complaint, we like to call this a “Remedy Routine”. This may include applying heat or ice to an affected area. It may include and exercise to stretch or strengthen, mobilise or align. It may include self treatment with a spiky ball or foam roller, it may include a care plan where we check in on their musculoskeletal complaint more regularly (this is ideal for more persistent problems). We will also answer any questions you have and make sure we have set an achievable plan that will fit into their schedule and into your life as a parent/guardian too.
We have built great professional relationships with some local sporting clubs including a gymnastics and acro club, a cricket club and some dance studios.
The clubs find their members are away less from injury when working with us and the parents find they are more confident in the clubs because they know we can offer advice and help out where needed.
We have been treating pain in children and adolescents since starting the Mount Waverley clinic in 2012. Over the years we’ve found the most common issues are posture at school and when doing study at home; not understanding how to control their bodies properly for particular sports or activities; and overuse from having breaks over school holidays, for example, then amping up training regimes when returning from the break. If this sounds like your child then get in contact and find out more about how we can help 🙂
We believe keeping your children active and happy is important to their overall health & development.
Just remember, persistent pain in children is not normal and should always be checked out. Email [email protected] if you have a specific question or click here to make a face to face or virtual booking. Virtual consultations are great for kids because we get to see their environment where they study or play and give them exercises that they can comfortably do at home. Best of all you don’t have to drive them to another appointment!
Why is my ankle stability important? Whether you enjoy running, gymnastics, lifting weights or walking the dogs, ankle stability is important. Even moving from standing to sitting and vice versa requires some ankle mobility and stability. We want your ankles to be strong and flexible. Keep reading to learn how to test your ankles and […]
I’ve labelled this blog Myotherapy & Osteopathy because they work so well together. I personally get a Osteopath treatment every 1-3 months and I get a Myotherapy session every 2-6 weeks depending on how much training I’m doing and if I have any niggles from old injuries. Many of our current patients use both Myotherapy […]
Foam rollers have been on the scene for a while now. There are new kids on the block such as the rumble roller and the power stick to name a few. However; there are some ways of using the foam roller that just doesn’t work so well with the other kinds of myofascial release tools so if you want to minimise the amount of myofascial release tools you have lying around your house, a full length foam roller is a good buy. Here are our top 4 ways to use your foam roller.
1. More than just massage
The foam roller can be used for self massage in a lot of areas of the body including the legs and back to name a few.
It can also be used for stretching the chest, stretching the hip flexors, perform balancing exercises and strengthen the lower abdominals! It is very versatile which when considering what product to buy is a huge plus. If you were only going to buy one tool, compared to a spikey ball or a rumble roller, the foam roller is definitely a winner!
2. Save you money
Foam rolling regularly on you predetermined tight areas, combined with the right stretches and some prescribed strengthening exercises, can definitely reduce the amount of trips you might need to your musculoskeletal care person. In the long run it might save you a few bucks! Talk to us about putting a program together that’s right for you. Book online here.
3. Perform better at work, hobbies and sports
When foam roller exercises are part of a program to enhance correct postural alignment or to assist the correct muscle development set for a specific sport it can really make a difference to how you perform.
For example, a runner with tight hip flexors…The push off phase of running is the part where the back of the leg needs to do the work and the front of the leg needs to start to lengthen. If you have tight hip flexors it doesn’t allow your leg to come into the correct alignment meaning you end up using all the wrong muscles and over working those that are switching on. By foam rolling and actively stretching the hip flexors before a run you’re making sure the muscles, joints and nerves are ready to perform at their peak.
At work if your posture is better you will be able to perform your duties for longer without fatiguing or pain, whether it’s a standing or a sitting job. And hobbies much the same, you will be able to do longer sessions of the things you love without having to worry about pain the next day, a good example of this is gardening. Have you ever woken the next day with a tight low back after gardening? You should be able to enjoy what you love without struggle and without pain, this is what the foam roller combined with the right advice can do for you.
4. Relieve stress
I think most of us are aware of how good it feels to release endorphins and other “feel good” hormones. You can release endorphins and other calming neurotransmitters when you foam roll. It can also be quite meditative depending on your environment. Some of my customers do their routine at night before bed. They find a quite spot where they have a block of time to themselves. They might play some music and turn down the lights to promote higher levels of melatonin to kick in. It’s about finding what works for you but some of them are counting out of how many reps they are doing, some focus on their breathing, some focus on the sensation of their muscles beginning to soften beneath the roller.
Want some ideas of what to do on the foam roller? Check out our youtube channel or this video specifically which has a foam roller routine you can follow along to.
Did you know a Myotherapist can help with pain, restriction and conditions of muscles, joints and nerves. We can assess, treat and prescribe movement therapy to help you feel better and learn how to treat yourself! Click here to find a time that suits you best.
With the current push-up challenge being a highlight of people’s time in isolation and having served as a great way to raise some money for charity, I have to admit, we were kind of cringing here at Myothrive. We rarely see a push-up performed well and furthermore we would always pair a push activity with a pull activity to balance out the strength gains. With that in mind we thought this week would be a great time to share this video on shoulder stability. Check it out and follow along to improve your shoulder posture, correctly activate the deep stabilising muscles and get stronger!
In addition we thought you might also like to check out these other shoulder stability related posts. Get some simple tips on how to improve your posture, how to stretch a tight pec muscle or how to strengthen your lower traps.
With the stretch based blog below keep in mind that we recommend more dynamic stretches for before a workout and a static stretch once warmed up or after your workout. This is because research has found that holding a stretch before a workout sends the wrong messages for the work that is about to come and can lead to a great risk of injury.
Push-ups are a great exercise when done properly. They strengthen a wide variety of shoulder, arm and core muscles; they can be done anywhere, anytime and they’re easy to adjust sets, reps and difficulty to continue to get maximum benefit. Unfortunately in the gym and the Pilates studio I rarely see a push-up done correctly. […]
Sarah explains the signs and symptoms of a weak lower trapezius muscle and how it relates to your shoulder posture or pain. She then gives a couple of exercises to help strengthen up your lower trapezius at home or at the gym.
“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey”
― Kenji Miyazawa
Where are your glutes?
You glute muscles make up your bottom. There is the biggest and one closest to the surface called the gluteus maximus, the next deepest one called the gluteus medius and finally the even deeper and smallest one called gluteus minimus. There is also one we focus on a lot when we talk glutes called the piriformis. It’s quite a deep muscle and when it gets tight it can cause hip issues and sciatica type symptoms. Getting stronger glutes can help to offload the piriformis.
Why should I strengthen my glutes?
Fill your jeans! Who doesn’t want a more shapely bottom!
Stops other muscles such as back, hip flexors and hamstrings from becoming over used and over worked.
By building and maintaining stronger glutes, it takes the pressure of your back, hip and knee joints for day to day tasks such as walking, sitting and bending.
Reduces wearing of your back joints. If your glutes and low abs are weak combined with short tight muscles in your back and inner thighs, it can cause an increased curve in your back. This increased curve also called lordosis, can lead to early onset of degeneration and other back issues.
Release tight glutes. It sounds like it should be the opposite, but where there is weakness, we often find tightness. This is due to the nervous system overreacting to feeling unstable. It will tell the muscles to spasm up to protect.
Follow along with MyoThrive Practitioner Sarah and start to strengthen your glutes! For beginners and advanced alike. Learn how to self massage the knots away, activate the glutes to fire them up and then embrace the burn!
Sarah is a Clinical Myotherapist and Clinical Pilates Instructor. She is also trained in the McKenzie method (aka Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy). She draws on her training and experience to ensure your nerves and muscles are ready to go before you start the work. “In my experience, this method results in better activation in the right muscles and also reduces the chance of injury.”
Now available online! If you’d like some extra help from Sarah and the MyoThrive team, get in contact via email [email protected] or find a time that suits you best in our online booking system.
Short calf muscles, mainly the deeper soleus muscle can easily hold back your squatting ability. When this muscle is short you will have trouble letting the knee travel past your toes. In a normal squat (and particularly once you add load) in order to bio-mechanically keep everything aligned, the knee needs to travel past the toes around 5-10cms. The only exception is if you have knee problems then you would do a modified squat. Rest assured however that healthy knees are happy squatting in the correct way and sometimes knee pain can come from the hip or bad alignment so get checked out by a musculoskeletal trained practitioner such as a Myotherapist, Clinical Pilates Instructor or Exercise Physiologist.
Dynamic soleus stretch with kettle bell and band
Anchor the band and place a 12-20kg kettle bell on the floor about 1.5 metres forward of the anchor (depending on strength and length of band)
Place the band around the ankle of the calf you want to stretch first. Walk forward until you feel the band is tight but controllable.
Step into a backwards lunge. At the bottom of the lunge, safely hold the kettle bell.
Stand up into the lunge with the kettle bell.
As you lunge down once more, place the kettle bell on your front knee. The ankle should feel like it is being gently pulled backwards and the weight is helping you to drive the shin forwards. You should feel a stretch in the bottom third of your calf and possibly down into the achilles area as well. There should be no pain.
Repeat the stand and lunge 10 times, only stretching for a few moments with the kettle bell on your knee to keep it dynamic.
Even it up on the other side.
Contract-relax soleus stretch with band and weight
Anchor the band behind you and place the weight on the floor to act as your step.
Put your foot in the band around your ankle and walk forward until you feel a good amount of resistance.
Place your pads of balls of toes on the weight and take your knee as far forward as you can.
To contract – press your pads of balls of toes into the weight for approximately 6 seconds.
To relax – ease the pressure off the weight and take your knee further forward into the stretch.
Repeat the contract/relax cycle between 3 and 5 times until you feel your knee is no longer traveling further forward when you relax. Hold this end position for 30 seconds and then slowly and carefully exit the stretch.
Putting it all together
Start with some self-myofascial release on your calf with a foam roller,rumble roller, spikey ball, lacrose ball or the handle of a kettle bell; what ever you want to use or know how to use! Do this for approximately 60 seconds on each main sore spot (soleus trigger points pictured right indicated by the cross, red area is usual referred pain pattern).
Perform 10 dynamic soleus stretches each leg as shown above.
Perform your normal squats you wish to do.
Work back and forth between the dynamic soleus stretches and however many sets of squats you have planned for that day.
When you are finished all you sets finish with the contract-relax soleus stretch to help with the long term flexibility of this muscle.
You can do the contract-relax stretch every day even away from the gym to help get flexibility into this muscle. It only takes 6 weeks of not stretching consistently to completely return back to a shortened muscle state so keep it up at least 3 times per week.