In this Pilates mornings class we practiced side lying legwork using the Pilates Circle/Ring. Both clients said their neck hurt after just a couple of repetitions.
Why would the neck feel pain when we are actually working the leg?
We all have an amazing back muscle called the Quadrates Lumborum ( to me it always sounds like the name of a Bond villain) on each side of the spine, that allows us to side bend extend and rotate, when it isn’t functioning well, the brain has to find stability somewhere else. So, in this case, the neck wasnt the issue, it was one of the back muscles.
It was in a different place in the neck in each client, but a simple 30 second massage on the tight neck muscle activated the weaker back muscle. Stabilising the position became a lot easier as the neck wasn’t having to do all of the work.
The above picture of your side/lateral line show the line starts in the foot, so any lateral ankle sprains can also affect the back and the lateral neck as the body loses stability, it has to find it elsewhere.
Interesting …if you are a geek like me that is…
Thanks to this mornings Pilates girls for being amazing!
Homework to correct this would be to gently and slowly release the tight neck area that was compensating, followed by a few reps of a standing side bend, bending towards the same side as the released neck.
Level 3 Pilates Instructor
Lev II NKT therapist.
Appointments from my home studio in Portreath, North Cornwall, UK.
Well, the beginning of week 3 is here, testing out my pattern defectiveness with NKT on my wonderful volunteer case study
This week was pretty much the same homework for her, as she had seen great results from the gluteal, pec minor and Psoas home exercises, reporting a much reduced pain level and more movement in her shoulder which she noticed in her Yoga class this week.
One unorganised relationship to look at next is tightness in the Pectinous which seems to do the work of the Rectus Femoris and Psoas, which are much bigger hip flexors. She notices a tightness in her upper inner thigh area when she cycles, but as she’s not cycling at the moment, we decided to not challenge this for now, but to focus on the original issue of the SI Joint compression and the unorganised relationship with the glutes.
So the homework for this week remains the same as last week.
I sit here at my laptop studying, reading, writing, and I do exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. Crossing my legs, tilting the pelvis, shortening the quads – rectus femurs mainly – front of the thigh.
You know what though?
Theres no perfect seated posture! yay!! Stop sitting up straight!
I’m so happy about that because I can be such a fidget. I hate sitting still, well, for too long anyway. I will sit still when I am meditating, or watching a really good movie.
I sat still watching About Time last week, such a sad movie, a bit cheesy, but I adore Bill Nighy! He’s a great actor, but I also love that he is very rarely in the celebrity limelight. He is just himself.
So, anyway, back to those hips – which Bill sways quite nicely in the film by the way when he does a little dance, but also when he’s playing Table tennis.
Tightness, and restriction in your hips can create tightness in the lumber spine, and further up the chain, affecting the head position too. No hip sway, more lower back and shoulder compensation.
So when you stretch the thigh, what happens?
The thigh muscles, the quadriceps – theres 4 of them – one of them attaches at the knee and runs up the front of the thigh to your hip bone. Hip flexor and hip extender.
It can affect the knee as well, but thats for another post as theres other things that can affect the knee like limited ankle mobility and side thigh muscles like Tensor Fascia Lata .
Tightness can affect the knee and pelvis when walking, running, walking up and down stairs.
It can also inhibit the hamstrings from doing their thing and compress the hip joint which can in turn inhibit the glutes.
Pretty amazing muscles then aren’t they?
If you are used to stretching it by holding the ankle, have a look in the mirror and see whatyou do this what happens to the rest of your body
Shoulder must be level
Hips must be level
Knees must also be level
Common issues are that the shoulders change position
The ribs lift
The breathing changes, usually gets held
The knees change position, usually the knee thats being stretched moves forward.
Use a band around the bottom of the leg to assist you until you feel you can stretch the quads without affecting any compensational movement patterns in your body, the first picture is how not to do it, and how I see it done often though.
Heres what I mean lying down on your front- as long as you keep your pelvic bone ON the floor, if you don’t, your pelvis will be arching and your lower back gets tight. Don’t hold your breath as you stretch. When you lie on your front you can use the surface as feedback for your breath, breathe in press the belly out into the floor/mat, exhale as you gently draw it in.
Melanie Collie is an anatomist and movement therapist who specialise in helping clients out of pain and back into a life of loving movement again. Her studio is where you usually find her with her bands, balls, and circles, mats, circles, weights and TRX. She calls it her torture chamber, her clients call it their little haven.