As an osteopath I find fascia fascinating by understanding its roles within the body. This helps me to look at the body with holistic glasses, allowing me to connect and join the dots of not only where the problem is but giving me a better understanding of how it could be going wrong and which areas are causing the problem.
I’ve heard so many times through friends and patients who have seen Southamptonosteopaths, chiropractors and sports massage therapists, how they have presented said therapist with shoulder or neck pain and had their pelvis treated as well as the areas concerned.
After explaining what they have had done they usually say to me “it’s all connected, right?” not really having any idea how. This is probably due to the fact that us therapists like to waffle on forgetting you haven’t spent five years reading anatomy. Of course it’s correct, through connective tissue (which is fascia, bone, ligaments, tendons and muscle; bodily tissues that connect with each other – the clue is in the name), previous injuries and longstanding postures can present with pain in other areas of the body.
I thought I would write a bit about Piriformis Syndrome (PS) since I have had a few clients recently with this condition and I know from the literature that it is relatively under diagnosed. I see so many people in Southampton with symptoms of ‘sciatica’ or gluteal pain that it inspired me to write this blog on how Sport Massage and Deep Tissue Massage can be of real benefit.
Piriformis Syndrome occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated by the piriformis muscle in the hip. Piriformis is a small muscle that connects the lower spine to the upper surface of each thigh-bone and its action is to assist in rotating the hip and turning the leg outward.
It is often stated “today’s runners are tomorrow’s cyclists” but how much truth is in this phrase? Concern over damage to joints as a result of running does seem to be a common theme runners worry about. As an osteopath I am frequently asked questions such as “am I storing up joint problems for myself later in life?” or “am I going to get arthritis from this running linked injury”.
These are questions most runners will be able to relate to, in this article I will examine the evidence linking running with osteoarthritis and future disability.
Maintaining correct posture whist carrying out stretches is vital to improving posture and getting a better stretch for your muscles. Many think you must push back your shoulders and your head should be facing upwards like an old army drill sergeant.
1. The best way to describe holding a good, steady posture is to firstly keep your whole body in line.
2. Slightly ‘tuck’ your coccyx (the lowest part of the spine) underneath you so you are engaging your abdominal muscles slightly as to not create an arch in the lower back.
3. Straighten both clavicles (collar bones) so they form a nice straight line along you body keeping your shoulders in a more neutral position.
4. Tilt your head slightly upwards so you are straight ahead instead of looking towards the ground.
5. Bring your head back so that you ears are in line with your shoulders.
6. Straighten your upper back so back is straight to avoid creating a curve in your upper back.
Sports Massage has many benefits such as the reduction of pain and tension, great preparation for a sporting event or as a relaxing treatment after an event to remove all the unwanted products. But one of the most important benefits of a sports massage treatment is the increase in flexibility and the strength in the clients’ muscles.
When I say strength I want to make it clear that a client can’t just walk in, have a sports massage and come out with bulging muscles. What I mean is through strengthening techniques and massage, over a period of treatments together we can strengthen an area so that it causes less pain to another area or to better ones posture.
There are numerous types of soft tissue injuries that many of us suffer with at some point in time whether this is through a normal, daily activity, a sporting injury or maybe even a work injury. Sports and Remedial massage is one of the best treatments for these types of injuries and the benefits can be great at getting you back to full fitness.
One common injury is a muscular strain which will most likely occur when a muscle or muscle group is overstretched and a tear occurs in the muscle fibres as a result of this. There are varying degrees of muscle tears; a Grade 1 tear is where up to 5% of a muscle’s fibres are torn which will cause some discomfort to the area but should have healed fully within 2 or 3 weeks. A Grade 2 tear is where up to 50% of muscle fibres tear causing a more intense pain with some swelling and bruising as well as some loss of movement and should repair within 3 to 6 weeks depending on the severity. A Grade 3 tear is a major tear to a muscle or a complete rupture ranging from 50% to 100% of muscle fibres torn. A lot of pain will be felt and often a popping or snapping sound may be heard where the tear occurred as well as ineffective movement in the damaged area, bruising, and swelling and because a muscle contracts when it is torn, a groove can be seen where it has gathered at one end.
A lot of people suffer with muscular pain at some point in their life, whether it’s an acute injury that came on very quickly or a niggling ache that has been apparent for years that has never quite gone away.
In this blog we talk about pain, different types of injury and where it stems from and how we can help.
As therapists we try and help people to become more self aware about their bodies, we try to let people know that the pains that they are feeling are not a natural part of life and not something that they have to get used to. Rather that there are treatments to ease tension and correct posture and most importantly reduce discomfort and pain to help them feel better and realise that they can still do certain things that they thought were no longer possible.
As therapists we see a lot of clients with issues in their legs, whether it’s a chronic issue that they have suffered with over some time or an acute injury that has happened recently and is causing a lot of pain.
Leg Massage is a highly effective way of lengthening the muscles, balancing circulation and treating, as well as preventing, soft tissue damage.
One of the main reasons people have a sports massage is due to an injury they have sustained through various activities such as whilst competing in their sport, at work or in a public place.
Other types of massage will aid the recovery process such as deep tissue and lymphatic drainage but not as well as a sports massage because of the techniques involved and the deep pressure involved in the treatment. Sports massage first came about to help athletes with their injuries as far back as when the Greeks first started holding the Olympic games. It was known that those involved would have regular treatment during the tournament to keep away injuries and prepare them for sporting activity.
During my time studying Sports and Remedial Massage and treating clients I have gained a lot of experience from those that were teaching me, my fellow students and co workers as well as the clients that I have been treating.
Throughout my studies I gained so much insight into the world of Sports Massage, I learnt the basic massage techniques, more advanced Sports Massage techniques, how to keep my posture whilst massaging, masses of anatomy and physiology which I continue to learn everyday and plenty more. I learned in various ways such as watching others through treatments, listening to my teachers and classmates describe what they were doing but most importantly to an up and coming Massage Therapist was the amount of practical work I was able to carry out during my studies at lessons and in my own time. The only way to get better at something is to carry it out over and over, so that what we did and it was very effective. Remember PRACTICE DOESN’T MAKE PERFECT, PRACTICE MAKES PERMANENT!