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myofascial release

Spine

QL muscle release – Exercise for low back pain

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Your Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle is a very common cause of back pain, so being able to treat this yourself, effectively, can be a huge relief. Here is a great self QL muscle release to loosen off your low back and reduce your low back pain.

First of all, here is a bit of information about the QL:

QL release anatomyAnatomy:

This muscle runs down either side of your low back, from the top of your pelvis, all the way to your bottom rib. This is why it can affect your breathing when it is in spasm and it pulls down on the lower rib of yours. It also attaches along the way to the side of your spine.

Purpose:

  • Side flexion/bending of the spine
  • Fixation/stabilization of the low rib

The problem:

QL release trigger pointsWhen muscle knots form in the Ql or it goes into spasm due to overload or injury, then it can give you real grief! Often this is more one-sided than the other also, giving you a real lopsided feeling and can make it seem like you have one leg shorter than the other or that your “pelvis is out” (which can’t really happen). The QL refers pain elsewhere and isn’t always felt at the muscle. The referred pain is generally felt in the outer hip and in the glutes and is often described as a deep ache but can be a sharp pain when moving. The trouble is that this muscle is very hard to stretch – but, it is quite easy to do a QL muscle release!

QL muscle release: Release your low back

QL muscle release1. Position

Lie on your back and place a firm massage ball (or a specific, purpose made tool like what the QL Claw) under your QL muscle, which you will find in-between the top of your pelvis and your bottom rib, off to each side of your spine.

QL muscle release low back and erector spinae2. Action:

Bring the knee on the same side as the ball up towards your chest, which puts pressure on the ball. Once you feel like you have the right spot (you will feel it!), holding onto your knee you can either:

1. Rock your knee out to the side and then in again and repeat, OR

2. Repeatedly bend your knee up and down towards your chest.

Slowly and gently work into it for 1-2 minutes on each side and feel free to move the ball up or down slightly to get the right spots.

Do this great myofascial release once a day for two weeks for longer-lasting results and check out new Complete Low Back Self-Rehab Guide that you can download that is packed with self-treatment advice and exercises for more.

Tip: Help prevent this recurring and giving you ongoing trouble by strengthening your QL and the surrounding muscle so that they can handle everything that is asked of them!

Note: If you have acute low back pain, pain going down your leg, or any neurological symptoms please see your local health professional first.


Health

Ankle Pain Running? Improve Your Ankle Range, FAST.

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Limited ankle range can cause you a lot of problems, and not just at the ankle.

Can you spare 5 minutes to improve your ankles and in turn, your running?

Well then you are in the right place! As I discussed in last weeks post,  whether you’re an amateur, weekend warrior or a pro, good ankle range is a must for many basic movement patterns. If you don’t have it, you can’t squat right down, you can’t have a proper stride when walking or running AND it loads up other areas of your body causing pain and injury.

But luckily, there are three easy exercises that you can do to improve your ankle range.

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First: Have a quick look at the post I mentioned above to take the ankle range test, so that you know your score (this way you can see how well you improve!)

 

 

 

 

These are the three things will improve your score in days:

calf stretch , soleus, gastroc - self treatment for shin splints1. Calf stretch

Lets get the basics right. The easiest way to do it is to, one foot at a time, drop a heel of a steps, as shown.

Hold this for 30 seconds

Swap over and do the other foot, and then you are done.

 

2. Self myofascial release – Plantar fascia and calf

For the second exercise, you need to work over some of your tight soft tissue (muscle and fascia etc)

  • First, get a nice firm ball (eg, tennis ball, lacrosse ball). While standing, place it under one foot and apply medium pressure. Now slowly roll it around the bottom of your foot, right through the arch for 30 seconds on each side.
  • MTSS shin splints self treatmentSecond, get your Foam Roller – if you don’t have one, either buy one (great investment) or use a ball. Get down on the ground and spend 1 minute on each side, nice and slowly really working in through  your calves.

I know that was really two exercise, but I’m sure you can handle it!

 

That’s four minutes so far, one to go…

3. Ankle mobilization exercise

Check out this video by Adam Kelly, that demonstrates this exercise well – All you need is a strong elastic band or a willing helper and do this for 30 seconds on each ankle.

 

Done. You have just decreased your chance of ankle pain running, walking and more.(1)

I challenge you to make this a daily routine for 10 days and re-test and see how much your score has improved!

 

Let me know how you get on and be sure to subscribe for more.

 

 


Foot pain, Health, Lower limb

Arch Pain? Easy Self-Treatment

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sore-feet - myofascial releaseIn today’s world of concrete pavements, cushioned shoes and sedentary lifestyles – Our feet get stiff, imbalanced, achy and neglected. This often leads to arch pain and plantar fasciitis (or fasciopathy) but luckily these is a way to help loosen off your arch!

It is time to take 2 minutes to wake up your feet and get them loose and mobile again with one simple exercise.

Our feet lay the base for our entire body to work off and they really are an amazing piece of machinery, they:

  • Absorb impact
  • Propel us forward with spring-like mechanisms (see more here)
  • Have cat-like reflexes
  • Balance out and lay the foundations for our whole upright body

The amazing human footplantar fascia - myofascial release : This BBC documentary on the human foot gives a great insight into all the structures that combine to give the foot the ability to take all of our weight, day in day out. At 18-19 minutes you can see the plantar fascia that runs along the bottom of your feet clearly and how it gets tensioned as you walk, acting like a spring – this is the spring that you are going oil up with this treatment today!

YouTube player

The feet really do have a lot to do, and have a lot of weight and forces going through them every single day. This combined with us tending to keep them cramped up in fabric coffins for the better part of the day, or even worse in flat shoes and flip-flops – leaves them needing a little R & R.

So how can you say “thank you feet” and give them some relaxation and mobility?

Myofascial release foot pain, plantar fasciitisTake a ball, any ball will do (I prefer to use a lacrosse ball as they are grippy and firm) but the firmer, the better. Place it under you foot, apply some pressure and slowly roll it around the bottom of your foot.

Maintain a comfortable pressure, while rolling it into all the tight spots in the sole of your foot – namely the inner arch and outer arches of your feet between your heel and the ball of your feet.

Do this for two minutes on each foot and feel the difference. You do this while standing or sitting (under the desk at work even), so really there is no excuses 🙂

This is a great little exercise to really loosen up the Fascia (connective tissue), massage the muscles and mobilize the bones, and as a bonus, it increases your flexibility.

Myofascial release foot, plantar fascia

As a quick test to see if your tight feet are affecting your flexibility – before you start the myofascial release, slide both hands down your legs and see how far down you can get (toe touch), and remember how far down you get. Roll out both feet for two minutes each and then re-test – Most of you will be pleasantly surprised that you get significantly lower down

And YES if you have Plantar Fasciitis or Heel spurs – This will really help you.

So, if you have any foot arch pain, heel pain, calf pain or just generally want to look after your hard working feet – Take a few minutes out of your day and get this done and you will be much better off for it.

Thanks for reading, you will most likely also enjoy our Comprehensive Plantar Fasciitis Rehab Guide and these past blog posts:

Please share, like or comment if you want more


Mobility, running

Myofascial Release – Tight Hamstring Treatment

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If you experience tight hamstrings or chronic hamstring pain or if you just want to improve flexibility, then this tight hamstring release treatment is for you. This is a great myofascial release that really targets the hamstrings and is often far more effective than foam rolling or stretching.

What can this hamstring release treatment help you with?

  • back pain while squatingLess low back pain and risk of back injury
  • Improved flexibility
  • Decreased hamstring pain
  • Decreased risk of hamstring injury
  • Endorphins released, increased blood flow + You feel better!

Before you start – How do you know if this hamstring release treatment has helped improve your mobility?

Here’s how: Keeping your knees straight, bend down towards your toes – mark or remember how far down your leg the tips of your fingers get (you can even get someone to do a little mark with a pen!). After you have done this quick tight hamstring treatment, re-test and see the difference.

Hamstring myofascial release

Here is how to release your hamstrings:

Position: Sitting on a hard surface – such as a hard bed, bench or a chair. Preferably your feet should be off the ground. Place a hard ball (I use a lacrosse ball as they are hard and grippy, so it isn’t going anywhere!) under the hamstring, starting higher up as shown.

hamstring tight MFR - self muscle release

Action: Putting your weight through the leg then, as tolerable, flex and extend the knee (straighten and bend). By doing this you are gliding the muscle over the ball, stretching out the muscle, kneading out knots and breaking down adhesions.

Hamstirng, thigh self myo-fascial releaseRepeat: Straighten the knee out 10 times and then move then ball to the next tight spot (likely closer down towards the knee, in the middle of the muscle) and repeat so that you work out all those tight spots throughout your hammies. Do this on both legs so that things are evened out and then you are good to go!

Give it a go and let me know what you think and if you want more self-treatment ideas, check out our content-packed Ebook


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