Neck Pain Again!

  
Here are a few ideas to help you manage the type of neck pain that comes every now and then, is more likely to be related to muscular tension. 

3 Common Upper Body Issues 

1. Upper Trapezius Dominance

  
Daily stress can cause your shoulders to ‘hike’ up which increases tension in your neck and upper back.  This can lead to muscle spasms and interrupt the way your shoulder blades move. Which can, in turn, lead to major shoulder problems. 
2. Winged Scapula (shoulder blade)

  
When your shoulder blades stick our or wing away from your back.  

There are many reasons for this – which should be addressed or the pain will remain.  Often certain muscles are in spasm – tests can identify which muscles need to be released to improve function and therefore reduce or remove any pain. 

3. Rounded Shoulders

  
This must be addressed to avoid shoulder problems and neck pain. 

I see this problem quite often in Pilates classes. As the instructor I have the chance to see where my clients have difficulty in moving arms overhead, and through many shoulder movements. 

  
Simple tests can identify which muscles are working too hard, causing limited movement through some joints. Exercises can, if practised regularly, reduce or remove this pain and improve joint mobility. 

It’s important to understand that

Chronic Pain is Common NOT Normal. 

This rule holds true in training OR in Ageing!

So, next time your neck pain occurs consider what you are doing, how you sleep, how you sit at your desk, when on your computer or tablet ……

Stay Healthy! 

Jax

Advertisements

A few reasons shoulder joints are injured in training

A few reasons shoulder joints are injured in training

1. The shoulder joints rely on muscles to support them and that means you must have good strength balance and symmetry anterior to posterior. Unfortunately most fitness enthusiasts only work the front of the shoulder and forget that the back (posterior) of the shoulders is the real deal.

2. Shoulders have the greatest range of motion in the body. As a result when someone loses 25%, it can go unnoticed. However lose 25% of motion in your low back, hip or elbow and you lose big time function. No different in the shoulder except that without noticing the loss, compensate in other areas which is when the problems begin.

3. Rotation and your thoracic spine is where you really help your shoulders out. The problem is very few people train the shoulder in a rotational plane. Therefore the thoracic spine eventually gets tight. Loss of thoracic spine mobility means the shoulder has to do more rotating. Not a good thing for the shoulder long term.

4. The shoulder is a joint that must have a strong integration between the pelvis, trunk, scapular and shoulder joint in order to function successfully and stay healthy. This is lost if all strength training is done in isolation without the other areas getting involved. A shoulder that plays alone is not a happy shoulder.

5. Keeping the Scapula (shoulder blade) stable and mobile is a great place to start protecting the shoulder joint and rotator cuff. Making sure the scapula is loaded before pulling movements are performed is how you get the scapula on board instantly. Performing movements that do not require full ranges of motion is essentially informing the scapula that he is not needed.

1. Don’t always choose just 1 or 2 movements. Hit the shoulders using 4 to 5 different movement variations in a workout

2. Constantly change your base of support to get you pelvis thinking when training – especially easy with bands.

3. Don’t go directly overhead with pressing. Allow your arms to follow a more real life, scapular plane – a sweeping arc – out, up and forward.

4. Work the posterior (back) shoulder twice as much as the anterior (front) shoulder. And Yes… chest training iIS anterior shoulder training. It’s really easy to get the posterior shoulder training with bands

5. Make the thoracic spine rotate by performing unilateral (1 side) training with the shoulders not just bilateral all the time.

6. Anytime you can reinforce getting a good scapular retraction with downward rotation… Go For it. PACK UR SHOULDER BLADES DOWN.

Follow me on Twitter @jaxallenfitness
Friend me on FaceBook jax Allen

7 Ways to Ease Pain and Avoid Injury

7 Ways to Ease Pain and Avoid Injury

Sue FalsoneDecember 10, 2008

Dave Cruz

Everything you do in the gym, at work, and at home either makes you more susceptible to injury or helps reduce your risk for pain. Tip the scales in your favor with these seven simple tips.

 

1. Straighten Up

Most people realize there’s potential for injury when moving or performing an athletic activity, but what you may not realize is that poor posture can have similar if not more detrimental effects on your body than sports and exercise.

When you slouch, lock your knees, or sit with your head forward, for instance, you place unnecessary stress on areas of the body that were never built to handle it. Over time, your muscles will tighten from trying to compensate for poor posture and your joints will ache from the excessive stress placed on them. So what’s the fix?

  • Sit up straight, but keep your back naturally arched—your back’s natural curve is meant to help transfer force
  • Keep your ears aligned with your shoulders, hips and ankle bones when sitting or standing
  • Avoid hours of the same posture—try to change your position as often as possible.

2. Invest 5 minutes a Day in Injury Avoidance

We all live busy lives, but what’s more important than your health? Don’t wait to think about your body until it lets you down. That’s like thinking about retirement when you’re broke. You spend time and effort investing your money to achieve a great return. So invest in your body with proactive exercise, or what we call “prehab.” To get started, use Floor Y’s and T’s to help protect your upper body, mini band walks for your lower body, and planks, pillars & bridges for core stability.

3. Stay in Control of Your Body

Flexibility is not only movement through a range of motion, but it is the ability to control the movement through the range. Without neuromuscular control, range of motion is useless. Think of a fast car that can handle successive curves on a road. If the car did not have the appropriate braking and accelerating actions, the drive would not be smooth or safe. The same concept applies to movement in the human body. The greater the flexibility you have, the more coordinated strength you need to direct your movement appropriately.

4. Wake Up Your Muscles

Injury is often caused by one muscle group—often times, your glutes or shoulder stabilizers—being completely shut off. This causes other areas of the body to compensate, leading to injury. Following your movement preparation program will activate these inactive areas and enable your body to recall movements you may have not used since childhood.

5. Pay Attention to Your Feet

Improving the strength of your foot intrinsic muscles (the small, stabilizing muscles) will build a greater base for movement. On the other hand, lack of foot intrinsic strength will lead to inefficient movement patterns, placing excessive stress on the foot, ankle, knee, hip and low back. To check the status of your arch, see if the inside bones of your feet touch the ground. If they do, you can benefit from simple exercises to support your arch. Here are a couple:

Towel Crunches

  • Sit in a chair with feet flat on the ground with toes pointing straight ahead.
  • Then, place a towel under feet and curl toes trying to pull towel under foot while rolling feet out to lift arch up.
  • Go for 1 minute, and repeat a total of 3 times.

Tennis Ball Foot Massage

  • Place your foot on top of the ball and slowly apply pressure as you roll your foot over it. You may find some tender spots. That’s OK.
  • Apply enough pressure so it’s a little uncomfortable, but not painful.
  • Do this for about 5 minutes on each foot once a day.

6. Stay on the Lookout for Warning Signs

Pay attention to the small aches and pains that creep up in your training. They’re usually a red flag that some part of your training is not being performed correctly. It may be related to training intensity, mechanics (compensations), or slight positional faults. Ignoring them can only lead to bigger problems that may significantly impact your training later on. You’re probably already aware of your weaknesses. Start training them.

7. Follow a Real Plan

Performing workouts at random can result in injury if your training is unbalanced. You may strengthen some muscles at the expense of others, creating imbalances that result in pain or injury. So set long term goals to help set your motivation in place and help define direction and purpose in your training, but also set specific, clear, short-term goals to guide and focus you along the way. At the end of each day, ask yourself, “Did I move closer to my goal today?”

Trigger Points & Active Tissue Release Massage

Trigger Point Movements 101

Thomas KnoxMay 24, 2012

Overview

Trigger points are hypersensitive “knots” that develop in muscles. They can be painful, even causing pain beyond the affected tender area. The action you can take to work out these kinks is called trigger point therapy, or trigger point massage—a technique you can perform on yourself at the gym or even at home.

Applying gentle pressure with a variety of tools like a massage stick, foam roll, golf ball, trigger point ball, or trigger point roller can isolate and release the so-called knots. It is also sometimes combined with a stretch for added benefit.

How It Works

A trigger point develops when a muscle is constantly being activated and then stays contracted. This could be the result of overuse, misuse, inflammation, trauma, or nerve dysfunction.

Trigger point therapy works by applying gentle pressure to the knot through massage. The pressure creates a slight stretch in the muscle, disrupting the constant activation and allowing the muscle to return to its normal resting state. Trigger point movements should feel like a deep massage.

Most trigger points will respond to this pressure. If it doesn’t, you may need to seek the help of a medical professional who can apply additional treatment like myofascial release, dry needling, or injections.

When to Do It

  • Pre-workout. You can perform trigger point movements to prepare your muscles for a training session.
  • When you’re in pain. Often times, muscle or joint pain can be the result of trigger points in the area.
  • Post-workout. After training, trigger point movements can help release tension in your muscles so they can begin the recovery process.

Coaching Keys

 

  • Maintain pressure throughout the massage.
  • The more uncomfortable it is, the more it needs to be massaged.
  • Spend more time on any sore spots that you find.