People come to me most often because they suffer pain or tension.
Now think of all the things you are doing which have created unnatural tension over the years, thus creating unnatural loads for your bones and soft tissues. Notice tension and lack of mobility in your...
* feet - mostly due to tight, stiff, heeled, cushioned shoes
* neck and shoulders - due to sleeping on soft beds with fluffy pillows which prevent movement but also spending long hours hunched over a desk or mobile phone
* lower back - due to sitting on sofas/chairs or in car/train/bus seats for extended periods, rounding the lower back, tucking the pelvis under, losing the ability of your torso to hold your body up
* mid-back - wearing tight clothes, wearing bras, belts, rounding the back
* hands - gripping, typing, driving
* relationships, your thoughts - getting to the root cause is beyond my competence, but we can address the physical side. When you are in tune with your body, you are more likely to be in tune with your feelings and make good decisions.
What happens next?
- Tense muscles will eventually be painful
- Tense muscles cannot generate force
The implications go far beyond the musculoskeletal system, they affect all other systems, down to the cells and their ability to function optimally, to fight infection, to repair and to heal. Why?
- Tense muscles cannot pump nutrient-rich blood round the body, which affects the health of related tissues (localised effect)
- Tense muscles cannot flush out waste products, which means cannot flow freely and can no longer keep your arteries, organs and general tissues clear of debris (systemic impact)
If you think long-term health, you will want to address all forms of tension before they lead to more complex issues.
I can think of several ways of addressing muscular tension:
1) Manipulation - where more tension is imposed on the body, which may provide some short-lived relief but more often than not, nothing is done to prevent the re-occurrence of symptoms or to educate the person
2) Drugs - muscle relaxants, steroids, painkillers, antidepressants. They may take the edge of the pain, but for how long? Long enough to open a window of opportunity so you can move more? This is not a reliable solution for the long-term. Be aware of the potential side-effects.
3) Massage and Soft Tissue Therapy - is beneficial so long as it is done mindfully, without causing undue tension and in combination with breathing, body awareness and active movement
4) Exercise and movement - is helpful so long as performed mindfully, without adding more unnatural tension and without compressing parts of the spine. It can aim to:
* reduce tension locally
* distribute loads evenly across joints and soft tissues
* restore length where needed
* take loads off ligaments
* isolate a specific movement at a specific joint
5) New habits are helpful, including breathing, footwear, clothes, sitting habits, walking, moving, etc. as they will have a major impact on your overall health, potentially beyond all expectations.
6) Relearning how to walk as nature intended, with a posterior push-off, letting the feet do their job, unhindered by shoes and allowing the hip to extend behind you
7) Checking in regularly with your body, addressing tension on a daily basis, giving your body what it needs.
Mum of 4, nature lover, passionate about the power of human movement.