Tight hips? If you have them they can lead to lower back pain and sometimes knee pain as well. Try some simply massage and Pilates tips to help get your pelvis back on track. Make sure you are stretching the outside of your legs, also known as your IT band. This band of connective tissue provides the hip and knee stability and becomes tight when ever it is overused. This over use could be from working out a lot, or imbalances in your upper leg muscles that the IT band might be compensating for. You can simply stretch it or use a foam roller to "roll" to out. Remember to also stretch your hip and leg muscles to help keep everything in balance and flexible after your workouts. If you would like more information about how to stretch or strengthen these areas to help with hip or lower back pain visit our Contact Us page and email us or give me a call at 720-297-2622.
How do I know if I have a good Pilates instructor?
Most people don’t realize that there is no legislation or regulatory agencies overseeing Pilates instruction. That means anyone, and I do mean anyone can hang a shingle and say they are a Pilates instructor. So how do you know if you have a good one? You can start by asking a few simple questions:
Do you have any formal training?
How many hours did you study before you received your certification?
Do you have liability insurance?
Are you a part of any associations such as the PMA (Pilates Method Alliance)?
What is your training in human anatomy?
Do you or have you ever had a mentor?
These questions are a good place to start. It is great if your instructor has completed formal training, but not all programs are created equal. Some are short and include only mat work. Others require the teacher to have taught many hours before they are released into the wild to get paid for their trade.
You want an instructor that understands movement. Knowing human anatomy is very helpful here. You also want someone who has taken the time to understand what each exercise has to offer, how it teaches the body to move differently, and how they can build on one another. Basically one exercise helps prepare you for another, deepening your practice and helping you to a healthier more effective movement pattern. This is why having a mentor or having had one at some point is helpful. A more experienced instructor can help a new instructor understand the method more deeply.
I hope this helps. Happy hunting for a great instructor, there are a lot of quality ones out there.
Where you feel pain may not be the origin of the problem...*
it's true. For example, if you feel pain in your upper back and/or neck the real problem may be originating from your chest and the front of your neck. Ideally the skeletal system should hold up the human form, at least when we have proper posture. For most of us however, this is not the case. As we get older most of us have a head that is moved slightly forward of center, due to years of working at a desk, driving a car, holding babies etc. The human head is on average 12 to 16 pounds, which is a bit of weight. When the head shifts forward the skeletal system needs a little help holding it up and the body recruits the muscles in the back of the neck and the upper back. Over time these muscles become tight and "knot " up. This restricts blood flow from going in and out of the tissue. As a result very little new oxygen gets in and toxins aren't moving out very well. Basically creating discomfort and over time pain. So although it feels great when the upper back and neck is worked directly (which is part of treatment to encourage circulation to the area) the front of the body should also be addressed. Opening up the front of the neck, chest and often even the hip flexors can provide a lot of relief for the affected area. In addition stretches for the front as well as strengthening the back with extension exercises will help maintain a better posture and provide the client with relief for longer periods of time between massages. A great way to improve your posture, not just for your upper back but also for all areas of the body including the low back is establishing a Pilates practice. To learn more or start your journey to a whole new body call me and together we will get you started 720-297-2622.
*This blog only addresses one possible cause for upper back and neck pain. It is always a good idea to consult a doctor particularly if your pain does not get better with massage, stretching, and exercise.
Do you suffer from headaches? Perhaps neck and upper back pain too? Although headaches can be caused from many conditions sometimes a good old fashion tension headache can improve by releasing a few key areas. Try these two simply things to help release those tense muscles. First, the hair pull. Gently take a handful of your hair in one hand very close to your scalp and make a soft fist. This should pull the hair a bit which will release the connective tissue between your scalp and skull. If you can handle more pull try twisting your fist either clockwise or counter clockwise a bit. Repeat these steps starting from one side of your head and working your way around the entire scalp. This should provide some relief by loosening the connective tissue around the skull and possibly into the neck. Second, the base of the skull release. Place your hands on either side of your head with your finger tips pointing upwards towards the ceiling. This should easily position your thumbs at the base of your skull. Place them right next to each other and apply gentle pressure inwards and upwards. Hold and take deep breaths until you feel a sense of release under your thumbs. Then move them out and repeat. Do this until you have worked your way to the outer most part of the skull. Repeat the whole process if you like. This should help release the small muscles at that attach from your skull to your first and second vertebra (the atlas and axis) of your spine. These little muscles are involved in the reflex we each have to keep our eyes on the horizon, no matter where our posture might place our head. This means that the muscles that run down your back and along your spine are hard wired into these little muscles, so that they can respond quickly to what your eyes tell them to. By releasing them you send a message to all the other muscles, starting a chain reaction of relaxation. Want to know more, or need a bit more release from the tension. Call me to schedule a massage 720-297-2622.
Did you know that Colorado is so dry that we go through a cup of water a day simply by breathing? That's right a full cup. Furthermore if you are over the age of forty your body begins to lose the ability to let you know you are thirsty, which means you don't feel thirsty as often and are not drinking as much as you should. As a result we have a lot of dehydrated folks in this state. Dehydration can cause your muscles to cramp and it makes your connective tissue more sticky, which means it limits the muscle's ability to move. In general is just means unhappy muscles which are more prone to injury. So do yourself a favor with each meal make sure you drink a glass of water that way you are sure to get at least three more glasses then you normally do each day.
Born and raised in Colorado, Jamie Jolley received her massage certification in 2001 and her lymphatic drainage certification in 2012 from the Colorado School of Healing Arts in Lakewood. She received her Pilates certification through the Pilates of Cherry Creek studio in 2005. Jamie's passion is helping people feel happier, healthier and stronger through both massage therapy and Pilates training.