Tag Archives: therapy

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

 

Mel Collie | Ever massaged your Diaphragm?

Mel Collie | Ever massaged your Diaphragm?

 

Todays Neuro Kinetic Therapy special was a curious one, but as I have learned with this technique, I go with what the body tells me.

diaphragm

I was going to do some work on the right foot , but as the diaphragm was flaring and something my client had mentioned in our chat at the beginning of the session, I tested the diaphragm against the abdominals and her glutes as she has a tucked under pelvis and shortened space between lower rib and hip bone, slight kyphosis and altered neck position…(I will ask you questions later..:) )

I found a facilitated spot on the diaphragm, a bit tender, and when I theory localised it, the glutes switched on, as did her core muscles, which meant that when we tested the core muscles, there was no visible shaking in the upper neck, and no jaw clenching.

The diaphragm can be a compensator for so many things…
It may seem too simple for you as a client to do breathing homework (what you don’t get 100 sit ups and press ups? !!…umm…nope…) ..but breathing is the most repetitive movement you will do each and every day, and I guess you’ve been doing those reps for quite a while now…

 

Mel Collie

NKT Level 1 Practitioner

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | Necking It

Heres what I used to do for my tight neck muscles – get them stretched…

Did they need stretching often ? yes…were they always tight? yes…

Why? Computer..stress..anxiety…forward head posture, clenched jaw..all that stuff means tight upper neck muscles.

Was I fed up with it..not really, after all it was my own fault right?   I knew what to stretch though, so I stretched them, I just told myself off for spending too much time on that computer

Is that you too? Hell yes I bet it is!

Years and years later…still stretching?

Here we go – the tight muscles are telling you a story, and you’ve just read it in a different language.

For all that time…

Remember the yellow fish in Hitchhikers Guide To the Galaxy?

I got me one of those fish when I started to understand the WHY

I began to understand the language

I stopped chasing the pain and looked elsewhere

What was that pain telling me? Tight muscles, overworking, tired, fed up, pissed off neck muscles.

Why?

Switched off core muscles…even though I’m a Pilates instructor, my abs were NOT working in a correct pattern.

When tested using NKT (www.neurokinetictherapy.com) my Psoas (hip flexor) TA (Transversus Abs) and Rectus Abs were unorganised…thats my polite way of saying they were inhibited. Their pattern of working was all jumbled up.

My left shoulder hikes up when I’m stressed, its been like that forever, it gets tight, I’m aware of it but I wasn’t aware those muscles were working to stabilise my core as well.

As soon as they were released and my Psoas and TA strengthened, stuff changed.

As soon as my Scalenes were released after testing to find they were facilitated (left more than right) and the left ones released (ouch! ) my diaphragm went whooosshhh…and my breathing was lighter.

Oh yes, the diaphragm is a commonly facilitated muscle too, you can practice deep breathing , but for some of us, it wont “let go” if its compensating.

I love testing core muscles when a client compensates by clinching jaw or breath holding, its a common cheat, and tells a story – do you do core work at the gym or in your Pilates class with a clenched jaw and no breathing for those tricky repetitions?

Want to stop that and do the same exercises with good form (check your neck position, if you need a towel under your head to keep it neutral, then use one or you are using your neck to stabilise , not your core)and breathe out with your mouth open, and eyes open, don’t close those eyes, that just means you are searching the brain for answers when it cant find your core muscles to do the work. Bet you are clenching the jaw and toes too …

Get yourself assessed to find out whats inhibited and facilitated, what patterns are unorganised , you will get homework to do thats specific for your unique patterning, which will involve a stretch or a massage with a ball in a tender/tight area, but what you do that follows that release is crucial to allow that “stretch” to hold, for the brain to relearn the new pattern.

It can take up to 3,000 reps for the brain to cement a new pattern of learning…thats a LOT of reps.

Its a lot of wrong reps if you are treating the wrong pattern. Guys thats why I was stretching for years and nothing changed. I was stretching the tight and not strengthening the weak. I didn’t know my patterns were unorganised.

So yes, there you go, get assessed, you can search NKT on You Tube too, to get an idea of how it works..

You will save a lot of years of stretching and chasing pain, you are unique, find out whats working..and whats not.

Phew…

Mel

www.melcollie.com

Mel Collie | Sacroiliac Pain

Mel Collie | Sacroiliac Pain

Have you ever had SI Joint pain? Painful stuff!

So, as part of becoming a pattern detective with a certificate to put on my wall, I’ve asked in a Facebook group for the village I live in, for some guinea pigs with SIJ pain, and was inundated with replies! Theres a lot of it around it seems, who knew?!

So, after doing some homework, I’ve studied the core relationship, but am also aware that it can be as far away as the lower leg, so Im hoping its the core and we can resolve it.

If the core is inhibited, the SI will compress. leading to some pain in that area.

If your body lacks stability at its core, it will fight for that stability elsewhere.

That elsewhere could be at the SIJ.

Commonly found also , along with inhibited glutes and core muscles are facilitated quadratus lumborum (yes, the James Bond of muscles, my favourite!) iliac and erector spinae.

All of theses, along with some others, will be tested, by me, as if Im not uncovering the whole story, the finest details, then Im not doing my client a service, I want them to skip off the massage therapy table and do their specific holding homework.

Homework is crucial here, home exercises that help groove the correct movement pattern in the brain can take 3,000 reps to learn, so doing the new movement pattern as many times a day as possible helps, but at first, we say at least twice a day.

Thats why you come back for further visits as per the package details in my Assessment package, you wont get very far by coming here just once and then doing nothing.

Its not about stretching tight muscles, its about re-learning a new movement pattern. That takes commitment, time , dedication and a connection with your most amazing brain.

Its a bit like Midsomer Murders! Sometimes when they think they have the bad guy, yet another villager dies (where do they all come from??) and they are back to the drawing board.

Dont do that! Use your most amazingly amazing brain, you’ve only got one, aren’t you lucky! Its such an amazing thing, it can work wonders for you!

Mel Collie

Pattern Detective in training!

http://neurokinetictherapy.com

 

Mel Collie | How to Stretch a tight Psoas

Mel Collie | How to Stretch a tight Psoas

Have you got a tight Psoas ? Most of us do, but as we are all different, some of us have a tight Psoas and some of us have a weaker one, but..how do you know? You can tell by the tilt of your pelvis, however, the tricky bit is that if your pelvis is tilted forward, your Psoas may well be tight, but it could also be weak too, so if you do stretch it, you could find that is the last thing it wants, and end up with a whole host o other compensations, and a very pissed off hip flexor.

So, enough of this anatomy speak, where is it that pesky Psoas anyway?

At the base of your ribs where they meet the lumbar spine, so thats T12 (the 12th rib of your thoracic spine) , all the way down to L5, thats the last vertebrae of your lumbar spine.Heres a lovely picture for all you visual people, (thats me!)

It then attaches to a little notch at the inside top end of the femur, thats called the Lesser Trochanter, because its small than the Greater Trochanter which is on the outer edge of the femur , clever eh! Some smart cookie knew what to call that bit of the thigh bone.

The Psoas attaches the upper body to the lower body. Flexes the femur, thats your thigh bone,the  longest bone in the body, at the hip joint.You are flexing your thigh when you are bending your knee. Some of us lose this skill and tend to use the lower back instead, thats when we can get problems with lower back pain. Too much lower back, not enough hip stuff going on.

Psoas - is it tight? Does it need stretching?
Psoas – is it tight? Does it need stretching?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretching that long Psoas can create an imbalance in a structure thats tight for a reason. Even if you’ve been told you have a weak Psoas, it can also be strong…weird isn’t it, but true.Took me a while to get m head around that one, and I still spend time thinking on how that actually works…

So, maybe its holding on, as in its tight, because something else in the pattern of your movement isn’t awake, isn’t doing its job, thats called inhibition, a muscle thats not doing its job is inhibited, its shying away from standing up to its responsibility.

If the Psoas has been diagnosed as being tight, it may be inhibited, but it may also be facilitated, that means it has high tone, it may just be overworking to stabilise a structure.

As a pattern detective, I look for the relationship of the Psoas to other muscles in its surrounding group it belong to.

The abdominals

The diaphragm

The neck

The glutes

The quadrates lumborum (what a GREAT name! I LOVE that name!)

The hamstrings

 

Pattern detectiveness (is that a word? is now!) means I look for a relationship between Psoas and other muscles, to see how they work together.

Its fun, surprising and humbling.

It means I leave my “oh, it should be doing that!” head at home, and have an open mind, listen to the body and hear what its telling me.

Uniqueness is a beauty

The body is a creative genius!

So, in answer to the question thats the title of this blog post, how to stretch a tight Psoas…you don’t!

I am a real meanie in the eyes of other fitness instructors, because Im going against the grain, and I will not teach a Psoas stretch to a client or in a Pilates/Fitness class, until I know that is what it needs, and that means you have to be assessed. Sorry fitness peeps out there! I actually want my clients to get great results and have no pain, that means working the right muscles in the right way!

Stop stretching it, and get your patterns detected by an NKT specialist. Im in training for level 1 right now, what a voyage of discovery it is too my friend.

http://neurokinetictherapy.com

Mel Collie

Pattern Detective in Training!