Rest is one of the most often overlooked components of staying in shape. It is hard to know when to work through pain, and when to listen to your body and back off and rest. Rest usually isn’t even considered a component to staying in shape. But rest is essential if you want to continue to exercise.
How much time should you take off? Do you take the time off completely? Will you lose conditioning if you take too much time off? These are all valid questions that can be hard to answer, even if you know about exercise.
Those of you who have thrown out their backs can attest, a pulled muscle can be more painful that a bone fracture or even than giving birth.
When you throw your back out, you are spraining or straining the muscles in the hips. A sprain or strain is a microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers. It is akin to fraying a rope. The muscle is made up of thousands of muscle fibers. When you pull or sprain or strain a muscle, you are tearing some of the fibers of that muscle.
And when that happens, the rest of the muscle reflexively contracts, to prevent further tearing. This is the start of a trigger point.
It seems that I spend most of my time in my practice trying to either convince patients to exercise, or to convince them to back off from exercise.
Most people don’t exercise enough. Many people come into my office with a health issue that’s been coming on for years, they haven’t done anything to manage it or help it out, and they want me to fix it in one treatment.
On the other end of the spectrum I get people in my office who exercise too much. Their bodies are in a state of chronic overuse which makes them much more injury prone. When a muscle is overused, it is tight, irritated and inflamed. A muscle in this state is primed for injury. When a muscle is in this state, it doesn’t take much to injure it.
The iliopsoas is a pretty cool muscle.
It’s one of the most complex muscles in the body, and it is the only lower back and hip muscle to attach to the front of the spine.
In fact, the iliopsoas is actually two muscles in one: the psoas muscle and the iliacus muscle.
The psoas muscle attaches along the lumbar spine and the intervertebral discs then descends obliquely to attach at the upper inner thigh bone. The iliacus muscle attaches to the upper two-thirds of the iliac fossa then descends to join the psoas major tendon, with some of its fibers attaching directly to the femure near the lesser trochanter.
The primary function of both of these muscles is hip flexion. In other words, these muscles work to lift the knee and take your next step while walking.
Ilio-tibial band syndrome (or IT Band Syndrome, for short) is quickly becoming one of the most common overuse injuries, especially among runners.
It’s also one of the most frustrating injuries. While most physical therapists, chiropractors and clinicians can easily identify and treat IT band syndrome, the average runner doesn’t have a clue.
They are the machines of the body. Every finger movement, every eye blink, every cough and even every toe wiggle is controlled by your muscles. And usually it’s not just one muscle involved. It’s tens to hundreds of muscles for even the smallest movement.
Each flick of the finger fires off millions of neurons throughout the brain, spine and central nervous system to contract and relax these muscle groupings. And all of this is just to scratch your nose.