Muscles, Exercise and Pain

Everyone gets a daily accumulation of tightness. Daily, repetitive motions slowly cause muscles to tighten until they get so tight that they tear and fall into patterns of spasm and inflammation.

I specialize in treating muscles through a specific,  trigger point therapy. I am a chiropractor by trade who specializes in a specific, chiropractic, trigger point technique called Nimmo. It is named after Dr. Raymond Nimmo, the creator of the chiropractic technique. I have specialized in this technique for over 12 years.

A few times a year I travel to my old chiropractic school, New York Chiropractic College, in upstate New York, to teach trigger point therapy.

I always learn something new whenever I teach. This time I learned another justification for using ice, rather than using heat, on an injured muscle. I learned that ice will slow down the metabolic process of the spasming muscle, and prevent it from producing more inflammatory waste products from the repeated contractions. Thus slowing down the inflammation.

Many chiropractors do a little bit of Nimmo, but very few specialize in it the way that I have in my practice. Through this specialization, I have learned muscle patterns. When certain muscles are inured, they can cause many different issues. I know what muscle injuries at least contribute to low back pain, hip pain, hip flexor pain, IT Band syndrome, knee pain, patella tracking problems, ankle pain, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, to name a few of the issues that muscles will contribute to, if not cause.

Throughout the years I have learned what muscle groups need to be strengthened and what other muscles need to be stretched, in order to prevent injury. This can prevent low back pulls and sprains and strains, it can also prevent any of the above mentioned problems.

Nimmo gets muscles out of these patterns of spasm and inflammation that they can fall into for months, if not years.

When muscles are injured, like in a car accident or a sprained back, they are torn on a microscopic level. When the muscle tears like that, it causes the rest of the muscle belly to contract to prevent further tearing. When it contracts it contracts so hard that it establishes a neurological pathway between the muscle and the spinal cord. This pathway is called a reflex arch. This reflex arch keeps the muscle in spasm and contracting over and over again and you’re never even aware of it. The muscle will either be tight but not painful, or tight and painful, but it will be tight and affect strength and motion whether you notice it or not.

Stretching and icing can help to get a muscle to relax and fall out of that pattern. A Nimmo trigger point specialist will help get those muscles out of those patterns of spasm and inflammation quickly, balance them out, and prime them to begin a new exercise routine. If you can’t find a Nimmo specialist, other chiropractic techniques can be very helpful at balancing the body, calming down muscle spasm, and priming the body to begin a new exercise routine.

If you start a new exercise routine while injured, you will further reinforce that injury and drive it deeper into your neurological and musculo-skeletal systems, making it harder to get the injury worked out over time. That is why the Pain Free Lifestyle starts out with stretching. It is important to loosen up the muscles and balance them out first, prior to beginning exercise. This will prevent injury, and help to keep you exercising longer and more consistently.

Stretching is one of the most over looked aspect of physical fitness. Stretching will keep you exercising. If you don’t stretch, the muscles will slowly get tighter and tighter over time. They will tighten up from work, from home life, from exercise, from sitting in front of the computer, from most everything. This causes everyone to accumulate tightness on a daily basis. I call it a daily accumulation of tightness.

Everyone has repetitive daily motions. These repetitive motions slowly cause the muscles to tighten up until they tear on a microscopic level and fall into those patterns of spasm and inflammation.

I feel it is important to stretch at least 3 to 4 days a week. I have a half a hour yoga routine that I do 3 to 4 days a week. It keeps my balanced. It prevents injury in the long term.

You don’t have to stretch around your exercise routine. If you do, then stretch AFTERWARDS! It is very important to stretch after exercise, not before it. If you stretch before exercise, you can activate a reflex in the muscle that can make it tighten up temporarily. That is why you always want to warm up before exercise, and stretch after exercise.

If you want to recover as quickly as possible from exercise, and feel as little pain as possible after exercise, finish your shower on cold after stretching and exercise. Don’t soak in a hot shower after exercise.

Soaking in a hot tub or hot shower after exercise will promote inflammation and make your recovery more painful and slower. It is counter-productive. Ending the last few minutes of shower with cold water will cause the capillaries in the skin to reflexively constrict. When the capillaries open, they allow fresh blood to come in and wash away inflammation. There is a reason why many professional athletes soak in ice baths after exercise- they work.

I worked on an offensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I got him into taking ice baths. He ended up buying an industrial sized ice machine and would soak in an ice bath for 40 minutes.

Now that would be a bit much for most of us. But even just finishing your shower on cold for a few minutes will help you feel better later. And help to prevent those muscles from getting any tighter and more inflamed.

If you only stretch and ice, you will be surprised at how much better your joints will feel. Even if you suffer from any type of arthritis and your joints are painful and inflamed. The right stretches will help  loosen up your tight and irritated joint and help to maintain and even improve range of motion. The trick is to not over do it.

If you can exercise along with stretching, then you can stabilize your painful and inflamed joints, and prevent the arthritis and degeneration or other disease process from progressing and getting worse over time.

Pain Free Lifestyle is set up to be easy on your joints. And if it is too tough, you can slow it down yourself to a level that is manageable. The stretching and exercise routines are set up to be easy on the joints, and are meant to be performed long term, and consistently. Preventing injuries is the best way to make consistent exercise possible.

Doing the right stretches to loosen up tight, inflamed, and painful joints and doing the right low impact exercises to stabilize painful and inflamed joints is the smart way. Doing it long term in through easy to follow steps, is the Pain Free Way.



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