Tag Archives: back

Mel Collie | No Pain No Gain

Mel Collie | No Pain No Gain

If you are of a certain age and go to the gym, you will have heard the “no pain no gain” phrase..and believed it. However, the more I practice as a therapist and Pilates teacher, the more pain I see as a result of too much gain.

That means that the lie the fitness industry has fed you for years that you have to feel pain, push harder and do more reps to get results is the norm…

In my therapy clinic I often see inhibited core muscles. This means they arent working as you think they should be, this means that something else has to work harder to stabilise, like the neck (neck pain doing core exercises anyone?) or the diaphragm when the breath is held.

Try this. Lie on your back. Lift the legs and arms like in the picture below. Move the opposite arm and leg away from each other, now bring them back, then change sides. Note how many reps you can do with the following:

A relaxed jaw-  so you arent clenching your teeth.

Shoulders down your back so you aren’t using your shoulders

Glutes relaxed so you aren’t clenching

Breathing fully as you move so you aren’t holding your breath

Tip – place a folded towel under your lower ribs, ask someone to hold one end and to pull it as you work, that towel should not move…

Note when your body has to move into a “cheat”

Regress to progress, if you want less pain in your neck, back, hip, shoulder, stop using them as compensation patterns and start to do the exercise correctly with the correct muscles.

If this means you may only do one rep in the beginning, whats the point in doing one right and 3 – 5 wrong? do you think that will make you stronger? It only strengthens the compensation patterns.

 

  1. If you have pain, stop going to a general class in a gym with 30 people in it and a teacher that doesn’t correct or spend time with you. If the pain is persisting, you need to get assessed and see what your compensations are. You may just be surprised that your core isn’t as strong as you thought.
  2. Years ago I attended a Pilates class for 2 years in a gym, that sometimes had 30 people in it. I thought I was at an intermediate level, I went twice a week and I attended other fitness classes..every day, sometimes twice a day. When I trained to be a Pilates teacher, I was upset to learn that I was back at beginner level because I knew nothing. I had no stability in the easiest of moves. I had to start over. Weak glutes. Weak Core. Tight neck. Tight shoulders.
  3. Speed hides need. If you are speeding through an exercise with no attention to form, you are compensating. Your speed hides your compensation. Slow down, Take it ultra slow, its really hard ..and thats where the magic happens.
  4. Listen to your body. What does that even mean? well, if your hips are tight, they could be compressing for stability because you have none from your core. Same goes for your lower back and shoulders.
  5. Final top tip – core exercises –  If your head is tilted back and your ribs are lifted , even if your toes are scrunched up- you aren’t doing core work – you are doing future pain work, compensation work. Re check your compensation patterns by building your awareness.

Mel

Pilates & NKT therapist.

Mel Collie | Back Pain?

Mel Collie | Back Pain?

Theres many causes of back pain which is why I use a method that tests whats going on in your body, because you are unique, but, here are  three things that sometimes show up:

  1. Scars. Abdominal surgery, C-sections, appendix scars, can inhibit the abdominal muscles. This means some or all of the abdominals can be weak, and not contract well, stability has to be achieved elsewhere, possibly the neck and shoulders, so if you have an ab scar, and neck tightness and pain, then there could be a connection.
  2. Feet. Your foot placement can also be a cause of back pain. If you have toe pain, especially the big toe, this can jam the sacrum leading to tightness and pain in the back.
  3. Rotation. Lack of rotation in the thoracic spine, thats the mid spine from the base of your neck to the top of your lumbar spine. Reduced movement in this area means that the back jams up. The neck and shoulder may also have issues.

So, you can see that its not just a lower back issue. Your lower back depends on the other parts around it to be working in harmony, it has no option but to tighten up to create stability.

Being assessed means the world of difference, you may have stubbed your toe, you may have had surgery , you may have had dental work, you may have tight hips, you may have a compensation strategy you aren’t aware of, until the pain starts to really bug you and you need to check it out.

Lower back pain is so common. Looking outside the box however, isn’t.

So if the usual strategies of rest, cream and pills and even some exercises aren’t helping, its not you thats broken, its the information you are listening to.

Try something different and get assessed, be ready to list your history of injury, accidents, surgery, as far back as you can remember.

One clients back pain came from when he fell off the slide as a youngster, and the brain strategy to help him move was to compress the lower back. He was still moving, but with pain in the back. Decompressing the lower back , in his case, was key to switch back on the muscles to stabilise the centre, so the arms and legs could move well.

However, that may not be your issue, because you probably didn’t fall off a slide..

Mel Collie

NeuroKinetic Therapist Level II

www.melcollie.com

Assessments and treatments from my home studio in a North Cornish village by the sea.

9 Tregea Terrace

Portreath

Cornwall

UK

TR16 4NG

 

Pain in my right lower back

Pain in my right lower back

 

Lower back pain , almost everyone has it, or has experienced it at some point.

The most common issue I see is a tight or weak (though muscles can also be weak and tight) lower back muscle, known as the Quadratus Lumborum (QL)

Mel Collie | Quadratus Lumborum

Usually one side can be working for the other so one side will feel tight and painful, the other side can be weaker, but also painful, how do you decide which one to stretch and which one to strengthen? if you decide to stretch the painful side and thats already weak, you are stretching a weak muscle, which can and very often does, create further instability in this part of the body, which will mean the brain has to compensate elsewhere in the body.

However, without guessing or hoping it will go away, I test it against its synergists, and one of those is your glutes.

We sit on them a lot, they don’t function well, so something has to do that work, there are other muscles that can come into play like the Piriformis, but also look to the lower back.

Thats why its wise to get these muscles tested against each other, so you aren’t guessing at what is working and what isn’t.

Once the glutes have been tested and we’ve got them working, the QL can get back to doing what it does , which is side bending , rotation and helping with exhalation.

So, if lack of rotation is an issue, you could have an issue with your obliques, neck, shoulders,m but also get your QL muscles tested too.

You have an amazing computer in your head, the brain will always find another pathway so you can keep moving, no matter how obscure. So you can see, that where the pain is, isn’t always where the problem is, it can be telling you that the muscles in this area are carrying an extra load from an area thats underworking.

Sounds a little confusing doesn’t it. So if you do have back pain, find a therapist who has knowledge of Neuro Kinetic Therapy under their belt, as they will not guess whats going on, but actually test, and as we are all unique, thats the best thing you could ask for your body, not a cookie cutter approach, but an individualised session.

Bliss.

Melanie Collie

www.melcollie.com

melcollie@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

Mel Collie | Feet and Knees

Mel Collie | Feet and Knees

Gait

Feet and knees – very important joints in your body, yet two that are neglected until they are painful. The feet have 33 joints in each, thats a lot in one little foot. ..each foot has 26 bones…how much time to you spend on your feet?

If the big toe isn’t landing when you walk, the rest of the leg wont be working too well, leading to other compensations up the body, in the hip, back, shoulder and neck.

We overlook the foot because we have been told the sight of pain is the problem when in truth, the sight of pain is telling you there is a problem , its working too hard, you need to look elsewhere for the issue.

Take a look at your shoes, where do they wear out the most> On the inside edge? Outside edge?

Take the shoes off and stand up, close your eyes, where do you feel you place the most of your weight, where do you feel you are touching the floor more, front foot? back foot? right toe? left mid foot?

These are all clues to help you understand where your body compensates as you stand, walk, run.

When the knee hurts I look at the foot.

When the hip hurts I look at the foot.

I check the ankles movement, does it know how to pronate and supinate?

Usually its doing one more then the other, this will affect the knee and hip joint, all the way up into the neck.

You are amazing.

Your brain is an amazing thing, it knows how to move and how to compensate, even if it brings you pain, it doesn’t care, all it wants to do is survive.

Look at your feet, understand them more, or get assessed and walk pain free using the whole of your foot.

Mel Collie

www.melcollie.com

 

Mel Collie | Jaw and Back Pain

Mel Collie | Jaw and Back Pain

My client has lower back pain, not common I grant you that, but this case was a little different when she told me as we discussed her history if pain and injuries that her jaw liked a lot since she was a kid when she had braces fitted.

I checked her jaw alignment.

It went to her right quite a bit.

When that happens the body compensates in other ways.

I checked one of her back muscles to see if it was inhibited or facilitated…it was inhibited.

Going back to her jaw, after checking to see if there was a connection with this and her weaker lower back muscle, turned out there was, releasing the jaw made her back switch on like Christmas tree lights.

Homework for her to do at least twice a day, as the brain takes a few thousand reps to unwind an old movement pattern and dysfunction, was to release that tight jaw on the right side and strengthen the lower back.

Will check back with her in 2 weeks to see if that new pattern has held.

Mel

www.melcollie.com

Level II Neuro Kinetic Therapy

Pilates Level III