A Helpful Tip for Hip Pain

Sports people are prone to suffering from pain in the hips and knees due to the forces they endure. This can be due to many factors, one being referred pain from trigger points in the thigh muscles, which can be eased with self-myofascial release.

Foam Rolling Your IT Band
itbBy rolling sideways along a foam roller to release these trigger points in the ITB is beneficial, although can be painful in the beginning. If, after a period of rolling, your ITB remains tight, then the issue could be coming from your tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscle and gluteus maximus.

TFL is a muscle on the side and top of your thigh, and the ITB is its thick tendon. The TFL helps bend the knee and hip; it raises the thigh up, rotates the leg inward and stabilizes the hips while walking and running.

As intense activities can easily overwork the TFL and cause a build-up of trigger points, so can prolonged sitting and sleeping with your knees up, as this position keeps the muscles shortened and supports the formation of trigger points. As a result, you may feel pain in the hip or down the leg and your hips may be stiff. Myofascial release will help to loosen up the TFL muscle and eliminate the trigger points.

Steps to Releasing the TFL Muscle with a Tennis Balltfl

1. Lie down on the side and place a tennis ball under your hip and start slowly rolling across the hip (note: this can be extremely painful).

2. Each time you find a tender trigger point, stop moving, and let the ball push into it, while relaxing and breathing deeply.

3. When the pain dissipates, move to another spot and repeat until you have covered the entire hip area.

4. Develop the habit of always looking for trigger points in your muscles and eliminating them before they lead to more serious problems.

Knots – What Are They?

knotI have a lot of people asking me about knots. What are they? How do I get them? Will they go away?

Knots are basically a build of tissue that gets deposited at certain sites around the body. Common areas are neck and shoulders, glutes and calves. Knots can be due to muscles working overtime, being contracted continually, and not getting enough stretching so that it works the muscle in the opposite direction to bring it back to its natural state. Knots may cause painful spasms and restricted movement which can also lead to other dysfunctions.

Knots can be attributed to a build of toxins and by-products in the system that have not been flushed out sufficiently enough after exercise, for example, and therefore has been deposited. A build-up of scar tissue from an operation or a torn muscle can also lead to knots as the tissues are in a repair phase.

Muscle fatigue can also lead to knots; if a muscle is in a contracted state for an extended period of time then the muscle fibres stick together and there is build-up of muscle tissue trying to support the posture, for example sitting a computer for hours. A static posture also restricts the blood flow around the body which also causes a build up of metabolic waste products. This specific prolonged posture causes issues with glutes, lower back, hips, neck, shoulders, mid-upper back and head.

Depending on the size of the knot, the severity, the length of time it has been there, the location determines whether it may disappear over time or not. If the knot is in a position where it is unlikely to be rested for a period of time after treatment, it may take longer to improve. Sometimes, just the reduction in size of the knot is enough to feel better, as a therapist we aim to break down a knot into smaller knots so that the body can dispose of the smaller ones more easily.

Regular treatment will certainly improve the process as we will continually focus on reducing the knots over a period of time. This is much more beneficial than seeing a therapist only when you can’t stand the pain anymore and only come for a once off treatment.

Drinking Water After A Massage

Pedrinkingwaterople say to me, ‘I’ve heard that you should drink water after a massage. Is that right?’

Well here is the reasoning behind this… when you have a massage your muscles are being kneaded and your knots are being broken down, releasing toxins.

Massaging increases the blood flow throughout the body due to the friction of the therapist’s hand movements on the skin, which increases the body’s temperature.

As muscles and knots soften, they release toxins and other by-products which get deposited into your circulatory systems – blood stream and lymphatic system. From here, they get ready for elimination from the body via the urinary tract or the skin.

Drinking water after a massage aims to assist in flushing out these toxins at a faster rate, sort of like helping it along a bit. So yes, I would recommend that you do drink water after a massage, even after exercise too!

Drinking smaller but more regular amounts, is preferred, to assist in this cleansing process rather than consuming a large quantity and saturating your system.

If you are not a huge fan of plain water, there is no harm in using clean substitutes such as Green Tea or Water with some fresh Lemon (hot or cold). Avoid liquids with caffeine and sugar as you would be putting toxins back into your body.

Therapeutic Massage v Remedial Massage

It is quite common, especially for first timers, to clients not to know the difference between the different types of massages. So we will start off with these two as they are the most common.

Therapeutic Massage

therapeuticmassageA therapeutic massage is a gentle soft tissue massage with little to no discomfort involved. It is a gently, flowing kneading of the muscles aimed to improve circulation, de-stress, calm nerves and relax.

It is great for people who are highly stressed and need to relax more, it assists with anxiety as it helps with calming the nervous system, it is a good ‘time-out for myself’ massage. Treatments can be from 60 mins to 90 mins.

Therapeutic massages are also beneficial for people are predisposed with conditions such as MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Arthritis, Osteoporosis etc. It is a good for people who are sensitive to pressure, such as people with Fibromyalgia and even the elderly as their skin and body becomes softer and more fragile.

Therapeutic massage can also be used as ‘touch therapy’ and is very important and beneficial to those who are in need of people contact and comforting. From experience, people who have Dementia really enjoy this type of therapy.

Remedial Massage

remedialmassageRemedial Massage employs many techniques to get the job done – deep tissue work, joint mobility, trigger point work, myofascial release and stretching. Some therapists also use other complementary methods such as cupping and dry needling.

Remedial Massage may cause a level of discomfort for the client, however, on the pain scale of 0-10 (10 being the highest), you should never feel pain greater than 8. If you do, you should tell your therapist immediately.

The aim of Remedial Massage differs for every person’s requirements. Some may need it for improved joint mobility, others to reduce muscle tension and dysfunction, some for rehab requirements so you can get back doing the things you love faster.

Treatment times can be from 30 mins to 60 mins depending on the requirements. If you still are unsure what massage type is for you, just speak to your therapist, they will be able to help you for sure.