Tag Archives: holistictherapy

Butt Pain

Butt pain is not cool. I’m not talking rectum pain (go see a doctor if you have this), I’m talking pain right in the middle of your booty cheek. Can’t sit, can’t walk, can’t run, can’t get comfortable! What is the cause, and how can I fix it?

No one is immune to butt pain because we all have glutes (unless your glutes were bitten off by a shark). Pain in the butt may have a few causes including pinching by the piriformis, irritation of the sciatic nerve, lumbar disc bulge, low back derangement, SI/sacrum/coccyx dysfunction, and hip arthritis.

With butt pain we can assume that the glutes and hamstrings are tight and weak. There may be some associated quadratus lumborum tightness and weakness as well as quadriceps and IT band tightness (quads are usually pretty strong in healthy adults).  No matter the cause, there are a few simple fixes that can alleviate your symptoms:

Postural Change and Correction–My soap box of all time.  SYMMETRY.  It is SO important that we balance our posture.  Every 15-30 minutes change position, get up, stand, walk, stretch.  Movement helps to shift the pressures in the spine and joints to refresh and replenish the blood supply.  The blood carries vital nutrients and oxygen in and removes waste on the way out.

*If all you do is stand all day, lay down, roll like a ball, throw your legs over your head, hang upside down…change position!

LLD–what people in the biz call leg length discrepancy.  Most people have one leg that has little man syndrome.  Do not let the little or big guy rule your posture.  Either correct or overcome the LLD.  If your SI is always “out” (the biggest PT debate of all time is if the SI really moves at all), or if you have herniated discs, or a “bad side” it’s probably because the little guy isn’t up to par.  Correct LLD by placing an extra insert into the short leg.  If this feels too weird, then you will have to consciously balance your posture by even weight distribution and postural positioning throughout the day.

Cross Training–I marathon, CrossFit and practice yoga.  I began by running, and then my PT brain told me that I needed to strengthen to prevent an over use injury so I started CrossFit.  CrossFit improved my strength, which fueled my cardiovascular health for running but then I began feeling tight and too forward flexed so yoga came to the rescue.  Yoga is the the icing on the cake.  Yoga is the ultimate balancing machine.  No matter the sport, please practice yoga.

Yoga has taught me that prayer, meditation, and a healthy spiritual practice are vital components of the cross training circuit.  Again, it’s all about finding balance.  God made us to be multi-dimensional, multi-modal, multi-talented individuals capable of anything because we house His breath, life essence, talent and creation.

Eat Healthy— A healthy diet produces good neuronal firing and decreases inflammation.  Remember these simple tips:

  1.  You can’t over eat the produce aisle:  If you eat nothing but clean meat and produce, you WILL NOT be fat…it’s impossible.
  2. Clean meat:  Organic, free range, non-GMO.  Remember you are what you eat, so if your food is eating chemicals that can melt plastic, you are too.
  3. Plan your cheat meals:  Look ahead each week and decide when you are going to be bad.  Have a kid’s birthday party with a hot dog and Cheetos buffet in the future?  Know that you aren’t going to win any health awards at that party and plan accordingly.  I would recommend no more than 3 cheat meals in a week.  You can do a cheat day, where the day is dedicated to gluttony, but I’ve found it’s wiser to plan the cheat meals based on social obligations.
  4. Eat healthy most days of the week AND consecutively:  MOST days is four days out of the week. Try to string these together if you can so that your guts get a break.  You’ll notice less pain and swelling in the these four days because your energy will be used to effectively to fire your brain, muscles, and nerves.  Your guts get really tired and cranky kicking into high gear to digest indestructible carbohydrates and GMOs on a daily basis, so they’ll request energy from other sources (like your brain, muscles, and nerves).

The Earth Diet by Liana Werner-Gray is a great reference http://theearthdiet.com/.

Relationships–Look at your relationships and life, is there a pain in your butt? Shift it, fix it, or release it (as Davidji would say).  Remember that some relationships are toxic, get over it–try to shift it, fix it, or let it go if all else fails.  Look for a future blog featuring this approach to healing taken from Davidji’s book Destressifying.

Now to the physical therapy stuff…

Stretching–Feel free to totally “Zen” out in the following stretch poses:

Child’s pose:

Spread the knees wide, let the toes touch and bend forward putting your belly between your knees.  Hold for 3-5 breaths or up to 2 minutes.  Repeat with body shifted to the right and left.

child's

 

Quadratus Lumborum stretches:

This stretch is intense so please modify if needed.  Some are flexible enough to reach the top arm to the shin or grab the toes.  If you get a quarter of the way into the stretch and feel it, good job…that’s it for you today, stay and hold.

QL

Sit on the ground with legs spread wide.  Lean to one side reaching the opposite arm over head toward the toes.  You may use a strap around the ankle to assist.  Hold 3-5 breaths or 1-2 minutes.

twisted tree
Cross one leg over the other.  Allow the top leg to pull the bottom knee down and in.  You may be flexible enough to double cross the legs to take the stretch deeper.  Relax and breathe 3-5 breaths or 1-2 minutes.
Piriformis stretches:

Cross one leg over the other, grab the uncrossed leg behind the thigh and pull forward 3-5 breaths or up to 2 minutes

piriformis2

Glute stretch pigeon pose style. You can also come to elbows, or rest your head on the ground.  3-5 breaths or 2 minutes each side.

pigeon
Spinal twist by pulling one knee across the body, shift that same shoulder out and lower the opposite shoulder to the ground to deepen.  Hold 3-5 breaths or 2-3 minutes each side.

spinal twist

Quad stretches:

I like this pose because modifications can easily be done with depth of lean back (stay propped up on hands, come to elbows, lay on pillow, lay on ground).  I can totally relax and daydream for a while in this pose.  I like to let my head fall back as well.  Hold 2-3 minutes.

quad stretch

Rolling—  Sit on a tennis ball or foam roller and hang out.  Cross one leg over the other, find that nauseating trigger point and chill for 2 minutes.  Exhale through the pain, each exhalation should exit out of the trigger point relaxing it.  Just when it feels like it will never relax is when it does, so give it time–2 minutes of time, then move on to the next trigger point.  Don’t ignore the IT band because it’s often a culprit to be dealt with as well.

Glute roll:

foam roll glute
IT band roll:

ITB foam roll

Strengthening— Just because your butt cramps and spasms tighter than a vice grip does not mean that the muscles are strong.  In fact, the majority of the time, the gluteals are weak in cases of butt pain.  Try some of the following booty tighteners (after you stretch and roll):

Standing forward bend balancing on one leg: rep it out or hold 3-5 breaths.

single leg forward bend
Bridge pose (block optional):  rep it out or hold 3-5 breaths

bridge
Pistol  Squat (a CrossFit favorite):  To perform reps, you may need to modify depth, hold on to a stable object with one hand, or use a band.  Below parallel may or may not be obtained, and that’s OK.  You may also simply hold 3-5 breaths.

pistol

A New York Minute with Plantar Fasciitis

Nothing is more grounding than New York City.  Manhattan’s streets cannot be stifled even in the face of an epic blizzard. My first-hand experience during the girl’s trip of a lifetime allowed me to connect to my root in a way I could have never imagined. Every present, in the moment, minute matters in New York. Here and now…right now!  While it took me a few days to wipe the smile off of my face, and to quit excusing myself in public, I did finally fall into order. By day three, a bump on the subway awarded no human interaction or acknowledgment. I am a day dreamer, and can easily be whisked away in a bundle of lost moments. In the city that never sleeps, I noticed the inability to escape and found myself hypervigilant on the task at hand, the present minute—my safety, my whereabouts, my next stop and destination, the puddle on the ground, the color of the traffic light, the accessibility of my wallet and phone, my swift order at the counter, and the nearest Starbucks for a refuel. The days concluded with a crash into deep sleep and colorful dreams.

My deficit root chakra has left me with an absence of grounding for months, years, and possibly a lifetime. At first I hated that so many people were living so connected to the here and now, this exact minute and nothing else. The realization that it is a necessary requirement for higher cultivation surprised me. Living to appreciate and to be present in every moment is something every self-help author writes about…so maybe New York is on to something. Also, where would the world be without people connected to making it run every minute of every day? Without this necessary task to reveal our best future, we’d all be fighting for survival as oppose to day dreaming about our next get-away vacation. My misconception was that everyone’s dream job entails waking up naturally, donning yoga pants, meditating, and sharing wisdom with chosen clients or friends. The hustling business world is a dream job to many, and thank God! Just like everyone else, they must find balance, which may necessitate some time spent in elevation but I obviously lack balance in time spent grounded, preparing for the next, best moment ever.

During the trip, I had the pleasure of sharing treatment ideas for plantar fasciitis (shouldn’t be a shocker immersed in New York’s ambulatory culture). So below is the information now gifted to you! Lucky you.
Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis produces pain on the bottom of the foot, usually on the inside arch or the heel. Typically, pain is worse upon rising and with prolonged walking. Heel wearing individuals and runners are the target population to suffer from this problem; however, everyone’s got a Vegas’ chance of suffering from this condition. What can you do?

Shoe wear—depends on specific foot type but if I stereotype the typical sufferer a more rigid sole that rocks slightly is most beneficial versus a shoe with a small heel or wedge. Guys, think cowboy boots or dress shoes. Runners, the shoe should rock slightly when sitting flat on the ground. When buying shoes bend and twist them—the shoe that moves the least and rocks slightly is best.
Inserts—again, insert type varies by foot type. A custom orthotic from a prosthetist/orthotist may be the answer; however, a semi-rigid store bought orthotic may fit the bill as well (this is what works for me). Slowly incorporate the inserts by wearing them little by little until you can tolerate them all day. It is extremely normal to have some leg, hip or back pain because the inserts are changing your body mechanics. This should resolve in a few weeks and leave you with less pain all over.
Stretching—stretch the gastroc and soleus as shown in my previous plantar fasciitis blog at https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2015/05/04/pain-in-the-foot-plantar-fasciitis/.
Night Splints—these are a great solution for chronic heel wearers and sufferers, or those that get no relief from any of the above. Simply wear them at night for an eight hour plantar fascia stretch. Find them on amazon.com and refer to my plantar fascia blog at https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2015/05/04/pain-in-the-foot-plantar-fasciitis/ for more information.
Leg dominance—switch up the leg load when resting in a standing posture. Pop your hip out to the left instead of the right or vice versa.
Leg length—if you sense one leg is longer than the other, it probably is. It’s a super common occurrence. The fix? Throw an extra Dr. Scholl’s insert into the short leg’s shoe, simple as that.
Taping—watch the following video for an effective taping technique that I use called navicular sling taping as shown at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhvESzvHliE . There are about a million other taping videos out there so feel free to use the one that brings you the most relief. When treating a patient, I may blend or modify a few techniques. I suggest Leukotape or Rocktape (amazon.com) as it is more rigid for an all-day wear. If all day wear turns into all month wear, consider custom inserts made by an orthotist.
Tension release—MEDITATE, practice quiet stillness, breath practice, spend time with God, exhale through your muscles letting energy flow out. Peppermint oil and sea salt soaks can help too. Destressify as Davidji would say!

Why Me and Why Now?!

SERIOUSLY!…no, REALLY? This cannot be happening right now…I am way too busy to deal with an injury. I can hardly take care of my family much less find time to take care of myself…and this pain. How am I going to fix this? Ever wonder why a physical injury is manifested at the worst possible time? Clarity is on the way! While listening to Hay House radio one day, I heard a snippet from a lecture given by a medical doctor turned spiritual teacher. She tells a story about discharging patients from the hospital. The night before their discharge, she would ask them to answer a few questions–something similar to the following: 1) Why do you think this happened now? 2) What was happening in your life to cause this? 3) Why do you think your (heart, ankle, foot, lung, etc…) was affected? Upon follow up the next day, she reports that every patient understood why the disease/injury occurred and what caused it. As a physical therapist, I can teach you all of the exercises, stretches, and techniques you need to recover from an injury, but the true cure and preventative strategy may be to fully understand what in your life caused the manifestation. Was it the wakeup call you needed or the factor that changed your life forever? Did it simply slow you down for a while to teach gratitude, appreciation, or grace? It may have even saved your life in the long run but the realization of the reason is likely for you to come to find. If you keep tearing ligaments or muscles, maybe you need to detach yourself from a situation. If you’ve broken more bones than you can count, maybe there’s emotional brokenness that needs attention. For constant migraines or tension, is there something you’re trying to shut out of your life or are you resisting facing a situation or accepting your life purpose? For TMJ, should you practice silence? If you were victimized in some way maybe you need to step out of that role and take charge of your life, honor yourself, find self-love. Chronic pain is the embodiment of answered prayers. God…why?! He’s trying to tell you. Start thinking about what may lay beyond the physical manifestation, what is broken spiritually, socially, or emotionally? Sometimes the cure isn’t complete alleviation but acceptance, acknowledgement and a new perspective.

The Kicker–
Literally hours after I finished this blog post, I got the phone call….the mysterious “why is my husband calling me at work” call. He was on his way to the children’s hospital with my son. Thank God it was nothing life-threatening but a clavicle fracture that should heal on its own. Why me, why now? As I stared at my angel sitting as a tiny boy on a huge cot in triage, I wrestled with why God used this to get my attention. Maybe he needs some extra cuddling from mommy and daddy, maybe it’s a lesson to our daughter not to push him (she gets in trouble constantly for bullying and pushing him—ya’ know, big sis problems), maybe he needs to learn how to take up for himself. Either way, it made me reflect not only on his physical needs but his social, spiritual, and emotional needs. It also made me thank God for…well, everything.

How Can I be a Better Mother?

The Holistic Fair in Fort Worth is an event that hosts alternative practitioners, and those promoting holistic wellness. The biggest draw to me is just the idea. What do alternative practitioners do? Who are they? What do they look like, and what is this all about? These were the questions begging to be answered and which sucked me right in. I had to attend. Explaining what alternative practitioners do is not the focus of this blog; however, the lesson I learned by attending is.

I presented the question: What can I do to be a better mother? The practitioner looked away and thought for a second then responded “Love yourself more.” We proceeded to talk about what it means to love yourself, including the need to “forgive yourself.” I explained how some kind of deeply rooted, genetically inherited, out of this lifetime, anger does exists in me that I have to constantly harbor, and this makes it hard for me to love and forgive myself. My life is so wonderful, I have no justifiable reason to be so easily disappointed with myself.

I continued to explain to her that we all have those parenting moments that we’d rather forget. Most of mine are related to losing my cool. You ask your kids to do something once…twice…three times with a threat, then the parental bulging eyes and ear smoke start. Every parent experiences post freak out remorse and depression—how on earth am I to forgive myself for these parenting fails? For exposing my children to my anger?

love_yourself2To answer my question, she took me through a very simple breathing exercise. Then she led me in a mantra that brought me to tears. I had to repeat “I forgive myself for exposing my children to this anger” over and over until I believed it. I literally thought I’d never actually believe it, and I might as well give up…then after about 5 minutes I started to believe it. At that point, I understood slightly what it may mean to love myself more. We continued to talk about God’s eternal love and how it relates to the love we need to have for ourselves.

Another simple exercise illustrates this clearly: Make a list of things you hate about yourself. My hate list is about a mile long and I constructed it with ease…Next, make a list of the things you love about yourself. After thinking for 10 minutes I came up with three things.

How do we heal ourselves? The answer may be to first figure out how to love yourself. For me it started with forgiving myself for being…human.

Holistic Fair FB page: https://www.facebook.com/theholisticfair.

Neck and Shoulder Pain

Nagging neck, mid back, and shoulder pain often impedes, disrupts, or prevents peaceful sleep, and makes sitting, standing, and working in an upright position pure torture.  No matter the cause of the pain, I have created a simple list of easy, in the moment fixes as well as advanced techniques to take it a step further.

As is my soap box–the majority of our pain is a result of some habitual posture.  Balance and symmetry are key here to shift spinal pressures.  When pressures are shifted, the spine gets to “breathe.”  It is extremely important to get up and move out of habitual postures every 15-30 minutes.  You can try the following stretches while taking your posture break:  Standing pec stretch for the anterior neck, an upper trap stretch for the side of the neck, and a back extension stretch for the thoracic spine, and a wall pec/side/anterior neck stretch.  Hold each stretch for approximately 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

trapstanding pec stretchstanding back extensionwall pec

My seconds soap box–Sit with good posture.  Poor posture places more harmful stress through your spine than lifting heavy objects.  Hers how to sit with good posture:

  1.  Scoot your butt all the way back in the seat
  2. You may place a towel roll in your lumbar spine (optional)
  3. Place your shoulder blades on the seat back.  This is the most important step for neck pain sufferers!
  4. Adjust your workstation to accommodate this.  This is the only that position allows your neck muscle to relax.

Here are some additional exercises:

Upper trap stretch with 1st rib mobilization:  The first rib and clavicle often become elevated with neck tension.  Use a belt to mobilize the rib and clavicle down.  This will give an even deeper trap stretch.  belt trap

Self lateral neck traction:  If the pain is present predominantly on one side of the neck or mid back try this: Lie on the non-painful side with 1-2 pillows at your shoulder (not your head). Now hang your head and relax. This acts to open up the painful side of the neck and mid back. Also, this is an easy position to rest in.  This is a form of lateral decompression.  Hold 2-5 minutes.self lateral traction

Eagle pose arms only: Hold for a few breaths or 30 seconds. Now move the arms up for 30 seconds, and down for 30 seconds.  This stretches the posterior neck and shoulder.eagle pose arms only

Decompress with a shoulder stand and/or plow pose: Both act to provide traction through the neck and spine.  Hold 30 sec to 2 minutes

shoulder standplow pose

Floor Pec stretch:  This opens up the shoulders and lengthens the anterior neck.  Hold 1-3 minutesfloor pec

Threading Pose:  This stretches the back of the shoulders and neck.  Hold 1-3 minutesthreading

Towel Roll (rolled hand towel, you may also duck tape it for durability):  Rest with a towel roll running down the center of your back (vertically) or running along the shoulder blades at the most painful area of the mid back (horizontally). This mobilizes painful vertebrae and compresses painful trigger points.towel

Breathe: Take several deep breaths throughout the day. Send the breath to the painful area. Inhale 3-5 seconds, hold 3-5 seconds, and exhale 3-5 seconds, focusing on relaxation on the exhale.  Repeat 3-5 cycles.breathe

Strengthen the rotator cuff.  You can google specific exercises.  I like I, T, Y, rows, and external rotation.  (I will update my shoulder blog soon with specifics on this!)

Relax the jaw: Throughout the day and when trying to drift to sleep, remind yourself to relax the muscles around the jaw and let it drop slightly.relax jaw

Shiatsu massage pillow and Lacrosse Ball:  You can buy shiatsu massage pillows on amazon.com, I recommend one that has a timer to prevent skin breakdown if you fall asleep.  Using a lacrosse ball against a wall or lying down, find the nauseating trigger points around your scapula (shoulder blade), upper traps, and posterior neck.  Push the ball into the trigger points and hold 30sec -2 minutes OR until you feel a relaxation.  lacrosse

Reduce the Pillowage:  People with neck pain typically need to sleep with a flat pillow, tempurpedic pillow, or no pillow at all.  If you sleep with multiple pillows start slowly reducing that number.

Chakras:  Investigate the balance or malady present in the heart, throat, third eye, and crown chakra.  Clear energetic blockages or buildup that may  be present from early childhood or from the recent past or present.