Archive for July 2013

Levator Scapulae Muscle – The Cause of Your Neck Pain and Upper Back Pain

The levator scapulae muscle is a hard-working muscle that is very rarely talked about. The Levator Scapulae muscle elevates the shoulder blade. Levator is from the same Latin word as elevator, and Scapulae is Latin for the shoulder blade. One of My Patient Cases Which Is A Typical Levator Scapuale Muscle Issue Clinical Presentation: (Using a hypthetical name and age)- Larry, age 37, typically had levator scapulae muscle trouble. He said constant neck and upper back pain and stiffness in the right side of his neck ever since a fender bender three months earlier, and couldn’t turn his head to the right side at all. His insurance is paying for physical therapy, but the stretching attraction only seems to be making his pain worse. Electrostimulation help, but it didn’t last. Precise deep tissue massage in the form of Active Release Technique to Larry’s levator scapulae muscles cut through the pain after only one visit. It gave him the first relief in area after years of chronic muscle tightness and upper back pain. He was then shown varies ways to stretch and and relax this area himself with the use of nerve flosses. Within 10 days (and only three treatments), his pain was gone. In three weeks, he could turn its head again for the full range of motion. Symptoms and Causes Symptoms: Fascial adhesions in levator scapulae muscles cause pain and stiffness in the angle of the neck. When sufficiently active, they also refer a lesser degree of pain along inner edge of the shoulder blade into the back of the shoulder. A levator scapulae muscle fascial adhesion is what keeps your keep you from turning your head look behind you when you’re backing up in your car. You may not be able to turn your head at all toward the side of the adhesion. Causes: The lower end of each levator scapulae muscle attaches to the inner edge of the top angle of the corresponding shoulder blade. It’s upper end attaches to the side of the top four neck vertebra. This arrangement allows levator scapulae muscle to help raise the shoulder blade and thereby raise the shoulder. This function is very one that gets the muscle into trouble. When stress and bad posture habits keep the shoulders up, you can be sure that the levator scapulae muscles are doing much of the work.Because attachments to the side of the neck bones, levator is also able to help turn that your head to the same side. When trigger points or fascial adhesions develop they disabled the muscle, leaving it reluctant to contract and perform. The muscle also resist lengthening, which can keep you from turning your head and other direction too.Many things can make trouble for the levator scapulae muscle, including sleeping on your side without support your neck, typing while looking at your copy out to one side, and holding the phone clamped between your head and shoulder. Backpacks versus suspend suspended from the shoulder straps are as bad […]

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Barefoot Running – Injury Prevention Program

Benefits of barefoot running, barefoot running shoe options and barefoot running resources 1. Running in shoes promotes a heel strike, which in turn puts lots of stress on the knees and lower back. Check out this link, which provides a nice visual of the negative effects of a strong heel strike. 2. With a heel strike, you have less forward energy (i.e. speed) as the impact of the heel is transferring some of your forward momentum into your knees and hips. This can not occur in barefoot running, because the sheer impact like this after a mile or so you will start correcting to prevent injury and strain in the calf. 3. Running barefoot running promotes ideal biomechanics: shorter strides with a quicker turnover, landing on your forefoot / mid-foot instead of the heel, which I mentioned in the point above. 4. While barefoot running, your feet enjoy a greater range of motion that is more natural. 5. There is indication that running barefoot may decrease the chance of developing common running injuries such as plantar fasciitis, iliotibial band syndrome and shin splints.Of course shoes do serve a useful purpose – to protect the soles of our feet! There are however, some interesting barefoot alternatives in the market today. Even the big players like Nike have been getting into the act. The schematic above summarizes some of the injuries thought to be associated with wearing running shoes. They include:  -hamstring injuries   -iliotibial band syndrome    -shin splints     -knee pain    -calf muscle injuries                  – stress fractures      -ankle sprains     -plantar fasciitis         -achilles tendonitis Barefoot running studies Here is an examle of some of the scientific research on barefoot biomechanics Michael Warburton – University of Queensland – running in shoes increase the chance of spraining an ankle – runners are at increased risk of developing plantar fasciitis when running in shoes – oxygen is consumed at lower level when running barefoot British Journal of Sports Medicine – Hazard of deceptive advertising of athletic footwear – running shoes are associated with frequent injury thought to be caused by repetitive impact.

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Back Pain In Cyclist – Anatomy of it all

So let’s take a look at the skeletal anatomy. The spine is the support pillar of your body. The spine includes: seven cervical (neck) vertebrae twelve thoracic vertebrae (mid-back) five lumbar (low back) vertebrae a fused sacrum a fused coccyx Not a moment of support or motion of your body is possible without the support of your spine. Each vertebra has multiple contact points with the vertebrae above and below it. These contact points are called articular facets. At each level several lateral canals are formed, which allows nerves to exit from the spinal cord becoming peripheral nerves the body. The bony spine provides the hard material for the structure of our bodies. However, there would be no support and stability if not for the muscles and ligaments. They help to stabilize and hold everything together in motion and in stationary positions. Cyclist suffer from back pain and herniated disks to a higher degree because of the riding position places larger anatomical stressors on the lumbar spine. Bulging out of the the center portion of the vertebral disk call the nucleus purpulsa, can happen anywhere around the disc, but when it happens at the location where the nerves exit , called the intervertebral foramen, it allows the compression of exiting nerves because excruciating pain and weakness. Normally, the lower back has a lordotic curve. When you ride your bike, the low back will often seek to flatten the lower portion of the spine.This is due to the fact that cyclist’s like to ride with a flat back to improve aerodynamics. However the flattening of your curve and increases the chances of low back pain, and will place increased pressure on anterior portion of the low back vertebra and inner portion of the vertebral disc. It’s due these forces over a period of time and for a longer duration that leads to disc herniation. But knowing how to functionally train the lower back, working the muscles of the abdomen, and relaxing muscles of the hip (specifically the piriformis muscle), you can alleviate many problems that may arise from your cycling position. More to come next week about the muscle of the low back that can cause low back pain for cyclist. Also I will talk about a simple warm up routine that will help to relax the low back before longer rides to prevent back pain that follows for several days after longer rides.

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