We have recently been involved in a health week with a local business and besides the question of “What is Myotherapy?” the second most popular question was “How do I tell if Myotherapy is right for me?” so today I’m going to provide you with a questionnaire to help you determine if Myotherapy might be of benefit.
Question One – Pain
If you answer yes to one or more of the following Myotherapy may be right for you:
a) Do you experience pain that you or your doctor thinks is from your musculoskeletal system?
b) Have you recently injured yourself at work, from a recreational activity or overdoing a activity such as spring cleaning or tidying up the garden?
c) Has another health professional recommended you get some soft tissue work done for your pain or dysfunction?
d) Have you had surgery which has left you with pain from scar tissue or from lack of mobility during the recovery time?
e) Do you have an ongoing pain complaint that other practitioners have not been able to relieve? Or it gets better for a little while but then comes back?
Total number you answered yes to in this section: __
Question Two – Dysfunction
If you answer yes to one or more of the following Myotherapy may be right for you:
a) Do you believe you have bad posture either while standing, sitting or during certain activities?
b) Has another health professional told you that you need to work on your posture?
c) When you do stretches does one side feel tighter or more uneasy than the other?
d) Have you been told you have a leg length difference, a scoliosis, an increased kyphosis or other bony abnormality?
e) When you move your body do you sometimes feel as though you can’t move as well to one side such as turning your head or your body?
Total number you answered yes to in this section: __
Question Three – Stress
If you answer yes to one or more of the following Myotherapy may be right for you:
a) Do you ever experience tension in your shoulders or back when you are stressed?
b) Do you get headaches or migraines that you or your doctor believe could be related to stress?
c) Do you have a stressful or high pressured job that you think one day might catch up to you?
d) Do you see a health professional for stress related problems?
e) Do you now or have you in the past taken medication (natural or pharmaceutical) for a stress related problem?
Total number you answered yes to in this section: __
Grand total of all three sections: __
Yes 0: You might not benefit from Myotherapy at this time, if you think we have missed something or you have a specific question about your problem, please contact us and one of our friendly Myotherapists will get back to you.
Yes 1-5: There is a strong possibility that Myotherapy will help you especially if you answered yes in multiple sections. If you pain or dysfunction is just in one area you will only need to book a short Initial Consult with us. If you’d like to make a booking click here to go to our online booking service.
Yes 6-10: There is a strong possibility that Myotherapy will help you especially if you answered yes in multiple sections. It sounds like your pain or dysfunction might be a bit more widespread, if this is the case, make sure you book a standard Initial Consult with us. If you’d like to make a booking click here to go to our online booking service.
Yes 11-15: Looks like you have quite a bit going on at the moment. Don’t fret; there is still a high possibility that Myotherapy can help you however it is a good idea to check in with your GP about your symptoms if you haven’t already done so. If you feel confident you have had the once over with your doctor click here to book using our online booking service. Please note it may take a little longer during the assessment phase to properly find out how to best treat you.
If you have any questions for our Myotherapists please fill out our contact form here and we will get back to you as soon as we can. Feel free to share this page with your friends and family if you think they might benefit from Myotherapy treatment.
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.
The Body Back Buddy is amazing! It is one of the most versatile self trigger pointing tools you will ever own! Have you ever tried to spiky ball the top of your shoulder? Really really difficult right?! Even harder if you have an injury or pain to maneuver your body over a spiky ball or foam roller. Here are 3 areas that are much easier to treat with the Body Back Buddy.
Top of shoulder
As mentioned above, it is really tough to get into this upper trapezius trigger point at home. If you own golf clubs your in luck as you can loop your 9 iron over the shoulder onto the trigger point and gently pull down for 60 seconds or less until you feel the pain ease off. If you don’t have golf clubs then the Body Back Buddy is a great tool to have. You loop the pointed end of the S over the shoulder onto the trigger point and then use the handle and the bottom of the S to gently pull down and forward. If your clothes are too slippery put a slip mat over your shoulder or use the Body Back Buddy on bare skin. Once you find the exact centre of the sore spot hold it for 60 seconds or less until it releases. This is great for people who experience headaches related to this upper trapezius trigger point which usually refers to the base of the skull and into the temporal area.
Back of neck
The only other tool that can get into this area are the peanut shaped balls such as the BakBall but you have to be able to get down on the floor and lie on your back, and because the neck area doesn’t have much weight in it, it’s hard to get it to work effectively. With the Body Back Buddy you simply put the 2 close together knobs at the back of the neck over the area to be treated then hold the end of the S and gently pull forward and down. You can try moving it up or down until you find the exact right spot. This is great for people who work at computers or people who are doing a lot of upper body work at the gym, also good for people in gymnastics or acrobatics.
The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) or lower back flank muscles are very hard to self trigger point with any other tool. The nearest would be a spiky ball or lacrosse ball but even then you are probably more releasing the overlying erector spinae muscle. The beauty of the Body Back Buddy is that it’s more like a therapists thumb, you can maneuver it under the border of other muscles to hit just the right spot! To get the QL spot hold the Body Back Buddy with the point on the spot and the S coming across your body in front of you. Push inwards with the hand closest to the side being treated and pull away from your body with the other. There should be no strain or struggle. If this is not enough pressure you can place the area of the Body Back Buddy you are pushing on against a wall with a slip mat and gently push into the wall while pulling the other end, just make sure to hold and guide to avoid slipping!
Other areas you can self treat…
There are over 11 points you can get into with the Body Back Buddy including the bottom of the foot, the glute, the thigh and the ones mentioned above. Once you get more confident you can also try the pec and the lat muscles. Keep an eye out for upcoming workshops on how to get the most out of your Body Back Buddy! As usual we would love to hear your success stories, please feel free to comment here or write us an email at [email protected]
Anyone been watching Le Tour de France? I know Daniel (one of our friendly Myotherapists) has been pulling all-nighters to watch the live action. I think he is crazy, I’m just as happy with the video updates! My Dad does it too, I’m sure there’s lots of avid Tour de France watchers out there currently sleep deprived wondering what I am on about! Well today’s blog is for you, it’s also for the parents whose children aren’t sleeping through the night, people who are woken by some kind of pain in the night and then can’t get back to sleep, women going through menopause who are woken with hot flashes, pregnant women having to get up to go to the toilet for the hundredth time, insomniacs, midnight foodies and so on…
Sleep deprivation is a serious thing. I need at least 7 hours in the summer and 8 hours in the winter! Everyone is different with how much sleep they need, some only need as little as 5 to be a functioning humanoid and others need 9 hours all year round! Recently a lot of research has been circulating as to the importance of sleep and what it does for our brains, our immune systems, our bodies ability to repair and so on but it is a fact of life that from time to time we can end up with a bit of ‘sleep debt’ so here are my top 3 tips for surviving!
You can call this a mini-nap or nana-nap if you prefer. It’s not the name that counts so don’t get too hung up on the word meditation. If you have only been able to get a few hours sleep before your day begins and a full days work is ahead a 5 min power-
Click here for more on mindfulness meditation
nap or meditation session will do you the world of good to get through the day. I have recently read about some high performing CEO’s that do this all the time! Start with 5 minutes as the car warms up or on the train (set an alarm in case you fall asleep!), take another 5 at morning tea, take 10 minutes at lunch if you can, another 5 as you again ride the train home or warm the car up to head home, another 5 minutes before or after dinner perhaps; before you know it you will have added 30 minutes of rest into your day; you will be amazed at how much better it makes you feel, and how much more productive you will be at work! I use the app ‘HeadSpace’ which has single 5 minute and 10 minute sessions you can have a go at, there are lots of great free audios you can get online and have ready to go on your phone or ipod as well. Also once your sleep deprivation has ended, remember to pay back your sleep debt with a few early nights!
There are a few things to mention around mindfulness and before we get too far into the topic, again if you prefer we can call it observing, paying attention, taking a chill-pill; whatever you want to call it is fine with me! When we are sleep deprived we can tend to get a little short with those around us. Our loved ones usually cop the brunt of it but co-workers, co-commuters and baristas can all be on the end of the shorter fuse. If you feel frustration starting to erupt, try to remind yourself it’s just the lack of sleep taking over your brain and emotions; and instead, take a deep breath and observe your surrounding more closely. You might pick up that the coffee shop is short staffed or that your co-worker has also been watching the race and therefore is also sleep deprived! Just noticing these things can be enough to switch your mood back to your happy smiley self! One more thing to mention around mindfulness…try not to pile on yourself when you are sleep deprived. Try to do one task at a time, don’t even check Facebook or Instagram, no multitasking allowed! It will make your day go much more smoothly!
Increase Immune Boosting Foods
This time of year there are lots of bugs around and sleep deprivation can make you more vulnerable to catching them so make sure you increase your intake of foods high in nutrients, anti-microbial herbs and so on. It is also a good idea to avoid sugar, alcohol & too much caffeine because they do the opposite – they lower your immune system and leave you more vulnerable. Enjoy loads of vegetables, adequate protein, healthy fats, fresh water, herbs such as turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger
Click here for Cauliflower & Fennel Soup Recipe
and cinnamon! If you’re thinking of grabbing a third coffee, try a Crio Bru (ground cacao beans brewed like coffee also has anti-bacterial properties and is high in magnesium among loads of other benefits) or a matcha green tea instead. A bulletproof coffee in the morning can give you more sustained energy until lunch time as well. Prepare meals ahead of time or keep it simple; simple meals can be yummy too and only take around 10 minutes to throw together, if you need some tips, let me know!
I hope you enjoy the rest of Le Tour de France if that’s been the cause of your sleep deprivation lately. If you decide to increase your bike riding or tackle a race such as Around The Bay or The Great Victorian Bike Ride Myotherapy is great for combating injuries or niggles and can help with pre and post race too. If you’d like to have your bike fitting looked at, make sure you book with Daniel on Saturdays and bring your bike along, obviously! Take care everyone, and as usual if you have any questions please comment or write me a personal email at [email protected]
Did you know this term I have been going to ballet classes?! I am not yet graceful, I do not look beautiful and elegant and there is no gliding across the dance floor to speak of. I am clumsy, I have 2 right feet (or is that left) and seem to keep adding moves where there shouldn’t be any! However, everyone else in class is going through the same thing so I am determined to continue and give it a real go! Luckily I treat ballet dancers a whole lot more confidently that I execute the moves.
When I was going through university one of my house mates was studying ballet so right from the word go I have been interested in the musculoskeletal effects of dancing. Here are some of the common problems that ballet dancers face, if caught early they are all treatable and manageable.
Anterior hip pain and ‘snapping’ hip
This happens when the head of the femur (thigh bone) is sitting too far forward inside the acetabulum (hip bone). It can result in pain at the front of the hip, a snapping sound when lowering the leg or circling the leg and long term can place undue stress on the labrum (a ligament that helps to hold the head of the femur inside the acetabulum) leading to labral tearing. If you have any of these symptoms you should get assessed as soon as you can and start a program to help move the head of the femur back to its rightful resting place.
In Myotherapy we would first assess through movement and palpation that the femur is indeed moving in the wrong direction inside the hip joint. We would check that the acetabulum is not a possible cause at this point but if so refer you on for further investigation. We would then release and stretch any tight muscles found that relate to the problem and go through exercises to strengthen the long or weak muscles present as well as give motor learning type exercises to re educate the joint. We would also consider your full body posture and make sure that something else in the body was not contributing to the problem to prevent future occurrences.
This usually happens from all the kicks and leaps in ballet. Similar to in football the quads are dominant over the hamstrings in terms of strength and sometimes due to inadequate warm up, kicking or jumping beyond limitations, or dehydration the hamstrings can grab on when they should be letting go and bang…at worst a hamstring strain or tear that takes around 6 weeks to heal (sometimes longer) and at best some micro tearing that takes a few days to heal.
Myotherapy can help with both of these scenarios. Dry-needling and Electro-needling is particularly helpful but the best part, like with the hip pain, is the assessment. To discover why something might have happened in the first place is very valuable so that you can fix the problem and stop reoccurring episodes. Unfortunately once you have strained your hamstring once you are more likely to repeat it, treatment can help break this cycle.
This can occur for 2 main reasons and is often misdiagnosed. Firstly in ballet, particularly if tired (or lazy – yes this happens!), when practicing a skill or learning a new skill it is easy to use the wrong muscles. Especially when there are 20 people or so in a class, the teachers eyes can’t be everywhere at once. In ballet it is important to keep the hips facing forward and to keep them level for most of the moves but it’s common to see people letting one hip hike up instead of working the extra bit to keep them level especially during side kicks or prances and when bringing the foot back to its start position. Not holding the correct posture can cause overuse of the back muscles and the deep gluteal muscles. Either one on their own can cause back pain and sciatica symptoms, both together they can feel like you’ve compressed a nerve! It is very unpleasant! Having said that some of the forward bends if done incorrectly could cause a nerve compression. Furthermore the sciatic nerve also exits through the piriformis in some people which means if the muscle gets tight, the nerve gets compressed.
For the reasons mentioned above it is very important to get this properly assessed to find the true cause of your pain. Myotherapy can absolutely help you. Personally this is one of my favourite things to treat having suffered with it in the past myself. As a Myotherapist we will do some assessment to determine exactly where the problem lies, treat accordingly and give you exercises and advice to heal quickly and get you back to ballet ASAP!
Shoulder impingement syndrome
In ballet our arms are always rounded at the front of our bodies which over time can lead to rounded shoulders if not done correctly. Unfortunately most people at ballet I have seen are using the wrong muscles to make this happen. Similar to the hip problem mentioned above, this continued incorrect posture leads to certain muscles shortening and others lengthening which allows the head of the humerus (top of the arm bone) to sit incorrectly inside the glenoid fossa (shoulder socket). Another way the shoulder can become impinged is by the scapula (shoulder blade). If the scapular doesn’t move through it’s normal range then the shoulder socket won’t be pointing in the right direction for the arm to be able to lift properly. In both scenarios we usually end up with pain when trying to lift the arm to the front or to the side of the body. Sometimes this pain can also refer down the arm or into the neck and long term it can do damage to the rotator cuff tendons so get this one looked at as soon as possible.
Don’t panic! Myotherapy can absolutely help. This is another one of my favourite things to treat! Shoulders are so multifaceted that many practitioners shy away from them but I love the investigatory work that goes into ‘getting the bones back in the right place’. We would start by assessing the problem, diagnosing the first layer (there may be multiple layers), doing some treatment and reassessing. If there is still some limitation or pain we would then look for the second layer and so on until your range of movement is back to full and pain free. This sometimes happens in the span of one session but often happens over a few sessions. We would prescribe strength, stretching and motor learning exercises and educate you on how to engage the correct muscles.
Those are some pain conditions that you really want to get looked at, however Myotherapy is great for treating tight muscles from all types of exercise including from ballet and other forms of dance. So even if you are just feeling tighter in your muscles compared to usual it’s worth having a treatment, you will feel so much better for it! As always if you have any questions please feel free to comment or email us at [email protected]
In Aussie rules football, injuries to the ankle, knee and shoulder joints are common – it is a contact sport after all; but hands down each season we see more hamstring strains than any other injury. The research shows you are most at risk if you have had a previous hamstring injury and if you are over the age of 25 (read the study here) so if that is you, I encourage you to read on! Not interested in why? Scroll to the bottom for some tips on how to prevent a hamstring strain this footy season.
Why are hamstring strains so common in football?
A hamstring strain is most likely to occur during an eccentric contraction or when the muscle is lengthening. In football this occurs during sprinting as the leg strides ahead and during kicking, especially a powerful kick designed to make the ball go long distances as we see in Aussie rules. Due to the direction and power needed to strike the ball, a football player’s quads will often be very strong and dominant over the hamstrings as well. A muscle is at it’s strongest in the mid range so as the hamstring goes beyond this mid range and towards the end of it’s flexibility range it becomes weaker and less likely to be able to create enough contractile strength to control against the dominant quadriceps muscles.
Another component to consider is what gives us flexibility in the first place; the nervous system. The nervous system is a key component to flexibility, in fact studies have proven that there is no alteration to the muscle length when you increase your flexibility but rather a change in the muscles ability to ‘let go’. Pretty incredible, the brain really does control everything! (A great article explaining this in more depth can be found here)
When you play football your nervous system needs to communicate the message from your brain to your hamstrings to be short to create a powerful push off during a sprint and then to be long if you need to stride out or if you need to kick the ball a long way down the field. If anything disrupts this signal or if the signal gets muddled this can spell disaster for your hamstring.
There are a number of factors that increase your risk of a hamstring strain such as the lack of warm up before a training match or game; previous hamstring injury particularly if not rehabilitated properly; increased age; lower back injury; lack of flexibility in the hamstring; increased neural tension and poor lumbar posture. If any of this sounds like you, read the ideas below on how to prevent a hamstring strain, but even better, get to a Myotherapist, Physiotherapist, Clinical Pilates Instructor or Exercise Physiologist for some advice more specific to you. (Some more light research reading for you!)
Some tips to prevent a hamstring strain.
Train your hamstrings to be long and strong
Many hamstring strengthening exercises train the hamstrings in their strongest range, the mid range. If you want your hamstrings to remain strong even when they are towards the end of the flexibility range it makes sense to train them to be that way. One of the most popular eccentric workouts for your hamstrings is the nordic curl (pictured below). If you don’t have someone to hold your legs down simply hook them under something heavy or sturdy. To make it easier you can use bands around your body anchored behind you and to make it harder you can extend your arms over head or hold a weight of some kind.
In the gym you can try straight leg dead lifts and in the Pilates studio I love front splits (pictured below) which again works the hamstrings whilst lengthening them. It can easily be made easier or harder depending on a persons capabilities as well.
Look after your insides too
Many people forget that their insides effect the musculoskeletal system too. Things like dehydration, electrolyte imbalance and increased inflammation can all have an affect on your body. Don’t panic, I’m not about to recommend a new eating plan! Everything in moderation (so long as you don’t have a allergy or sensitivity to something) is the key. Inflammatory foods and drinks such as refined foods, alcohol, sugary drinks and fried foods should be kept to a minimum and increasing anti-inflammatory foods such as vegetables, oily fish, small amounts of nuts particularly macadamia nuts (highest in omega 3) and olive oil just to name a few. You can also use herbs such as turmeric in your cooking and some people find supplements such as magnesium, curcumin (concentrated form of turmeric), fish oil, glucosamine and chondroitin helpful. Consulting with your GP or equivalent before introducing supplements or making dramatic changes in your diet is always a good idea, however if you make a few small changes here and there, it could make all the difference!
Warm up properly before training and games
Try to arrive on time and do the warm up. You would be amazed the amount of people who come in with injuries who skip the warm up. Even if you’re running late, do your own warm up before you join the team if you can, it’s not worth risking an injury! If you feel your team warm up is not effective for you, get to a professional and get some personal advice. You may have something that needs tweaking in your posture or movement.
Get a professional to check your posture
As mentioned above, if you feel your warm up isn’t doing the job, it’s a good idea to get looked at by a Physiotherapist, Myotherapist, Clinical Pilates Instructor or Exercise Physiologist. Particularly if you have pain or tightness somewhere. It’s a good idea to get someone to tape a small section of your game, particularly of your running style and of your kick to help the professional work out what is going to help you the most.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and empowered you to change something either about your diet or your warm up; maybe I have even convinced you to give Studio Pilates a go!