Last night I posted about Sugar and how it can supress the immune system. I then had the pleasure of bouncing ideas and theories with another Biomechanics Coach about what I had posted.
He asked me 'What causes inflammation?'.
BEYOND MY UNDERSTANDING
You see, inflammation is a response of the immune system. It's the defence that the body takes to heal and repair. But the thing is, we already know that sugar can actually CAUSE inflammation.
So how the hell can sugar both increase the immune response AND supress it?
Honestly, this is way beyond my understanding. There are, after all, so many theories out there regarding this and I do not feel educated enough to put reasoning out there for why this happens (if there are any more theories and information that you have I'd love to hear them!).
WE STILL DON'T KNOW
The connections our gut has with the brain, the immune system, the musculoskeletal and nervous system is unbelievable. We really are only just starting to understand what is actually going on inside us.
And even then, we are human. We are all different. And so what affects one person in one way may affect another person in a completely different sense.
EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT
From all this I am reminded of the quote from Hans Selye, ‘The Father of Stress’.
‘No one can live without experiencing some degree of stress all the time. You may think that only serious disease or intensive physical or mental injury can cause stress. This is false. Crossing a busy intersection, exposure to a draught or even sheer joy are enough to activate the body’s stress mechanisms to some extent. Stress is not even necessarily bad for you; it is also the spice of life, for any emotion, any activity causes stress. But of course your system must be prepared to take it. The same stress that makes one person sick may be an invigorating experience for another’
We need stress. Stress is what makes us stronger. It's what causes us to develop and evolve. However, I also believe, as he said, the same thing that makes one person sick may be an invigorating experience for another.
MODERATION IS KEY
And so when it comes to anything in life, sugar included….I believe in the term 'moderation'. However, that then begs the question….what IS moderation?!?
Did you know that sugar will temporarily SUPPRESS the immune system?
So imagine how your immune system suffers if you are eating added and processed sugars at every meal!
So if you are injured or suffer with chronic inflammation, this is a perfect reason to reduce the amount of sugar that is in your diet.
Your body will thank you for it!
I love anatomy trains. Reading Tom Myer's book was the first time I had really started to understand the connections of the body. How affecting one area could influence another.
That being said, I understand even more now that it's not as simple as the 'train lines' as described in the book. One area can influence another in a number of ways, not just through fascial connections.
I also remember reading that Tom Myers himself actually concluded that the trains were not the only connections. That you could literally connect one muscle to another via the fascia in a number of ways (I'm still searching to find where I read this originally so please don’t quote me!).
SO MANY CONNECTIONS
But the fact of the matter is….it's all connected. All of it. And I mean ALL of it. Not just from one muscle to the other. And not just via fascia.
The brain. The gut. The immune system. The skin. Our hormones. What we eat. What we hear. How we move. The stress we experience. Our emotions and our values. What we feel. How we think. What we smell. How fast or slow we move. The temperature. And on and on and on.
Everything affects everything else. It's not just about fascia (although that is pretty damn amazing to find out more about).
But we cannot look at one area without something else coming in to play. So be careful when you start to learn about the body…
"A little learning is a dangerous thing: drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and I wanted to tell you something that's been bothering me. It's difficult for me to say out loud but I need to get it off my chest.
So here goes.
When I first started treating clients (With massage originally) I had this huge problem with underestimating what my clients could understand. But since I started to work through more of a biomechanics process I realised that it was not my clients that had a problem understanding. The problem was ME. And HOW I explained the information to my them.
And so I started to explain to them what they needed to know in a way that hadn't been done before. I began telling them stories to get the information across, I showed them visual aids to help them process what was happening. I always wanted my clients to realise that we were in this together, that I understood what they were going through.
And the more I did this, the more I engaged my clients which meant that our relationships developed and became trusting. And it's this trust and understanding that is vital if people are to reduce pain and move more freely. Each of my clients is a person and not a number. Which is why I am physically and mentally exhausted at the end of each day.
It's also this developed relationship that leaves me feeling responsible for each of my clients' health. And THAT is difficult to take on.
Because at the end of the day, as much as I hate to admit it, not every client is a 'success story'.
And the fact of the matter is, I just can't 'fix' everyone.
There I said it….That is my CONFESSION!
I cannot help everyone!
Sometimes I have to refer. Other times I sit and question what I need to do. And more often than not I get back to researching how I can help even more.
Because sometimes it's from my lack of 'tools' or knowledge that I can't help them (which is and always will be, increasing all the time).
But quite often it's because they have their own issues. Whether it be poor diet, stress issues, refusal to change their 'bad' habits or simply not listening to advice.
I try to not NOT tell them something because it will offend. I realise that they need to know what is happening and where they need to make changes. But sometimes it just doesn't get through to some people.
And when I can't help, it's truly heart-breaking especially if they don't feel there is anyone else who can either.
It's taken years and years, but now I realise that I am NOT responsible for my clients getting better.
Maybe they're just not ready to change? Maybe fear of change is holding them back? Maybe there is something that they are not telling me. I don't know.
All I do know is that Pain is multifactorial. And it's super f$%king COMPLEX!
I once heard Lorimer Moseley say that Sometimes we just have to realise that no matter what we do, we can't help everyone. And while that fact hurts more than anything, it is also unbelievably reassuring to know.
I hope that, even with knowing all this about me, you will continue to read my posts, ask for advice or get in touch when you need help.
Because even if I am not able to help directly, it doesn't mean I won't try and guide you in a direction that might!
Within the body tissues there are sensors.
And these sensors, when activated to a certain level, send danger message to the spinal cord.
The spinal cord then releases chemicals which activate chemical sensors in the next neurone meaning that that neurone gets closer to firing.
If there is a continuous activation of the sensors then chances are, all the neurones will fall like dominos and eventually the message will reach the brain (For the anatomy geeks out there, yes I know this isn't 100% correct but I'm trying to keep it simple. I like simple. Simple works!)
If there is no more activation of the sensors then the message may never reach the brain. Which means no pain…Yay!!
But when impulses from inflamed, scarred, weak or acidic tissues keep arriving at the spinal cord, over and over again, the neurones of the spinal cord adapt to meet the demand and therefore get shit hot at sending danger messages to the brain.
Over and over and over again.
That's not to say that there is more damage.
It's to say that, chances are, the spinal cord is just doing a damn good job (well sort of).
This is why things that used to hurt, now hurt more. This is referred to as HYPERALGESIA which simply means that we have increased our sensitivity (or have "an abnormally heightened sensitivity to pain" if you want the actual definition).
This heightened sensitivity is also why things that didn't hurt before, hurt now. A good word for this is ALLODYNIA (Definition - pain, generally on the skin, caused by something that wouldn't normally cause pain.)
So how does our sensitivity increase?
There are a few ways.
1. The sensors stay open longer and so become easily activated.
2. There is an increase in the number of sensors - so easier to activate.
3. Chemicals (which send danger messages) get produced right next to the sensors - more likely for sensors to be activated.
One of my clients got to the point that even having her skin touched or having the temperature change around her, caused danger messages to be sent to the brain.
This meant that the brain was being given wrong the wrong information. There was no danger. But still pain was produced.
This increase in sensitivity of alarm systems is nearly always a feature in chronic pain. Hence why, once again, I spend so much time with clients going over this information.
At the end of the day, pain is normal. But sometimes the process behind it is altered and dysfunctional.
It's not always about damage.
More often than not, deep down, we are all just sensitive souls!
I've had a few clients lately that I'm really having to dig deep to figure out what is going on because it's obvious that the pain that they are experiencing is much more than physical reasoning.
After all, the brain creates pain from so many different factors…
- Stress response
- History of pain
- Fear or anxiety
- Lifestyle factors
- Work-life balance
- Past experiences
- Danger signals
- Muscle input
Is there any surprise that finding out what is going on, is not always so clear cut.
It's also why different people experience different amounts of pain even with similar injuries and why pain can change day to day.
Sometimes it is a one exercise job. Other times, there is more work to be done. Not just from me, but from my clients. I need them to start looking at all aspects of their life. I need them to be true to themselves, take responsibility and acknowledge what needs to change.
After all, it's all connected!
As we come to the end of another year, I wanted to review and share with you, my five most popular posts from 2016.
So if you missed any of these reader favourites the first time round, then be sure to click through and read the posts in full.
I also wanted to say Thank You so much to all of you for taking the time to read and share the posts from my page. It is appreciated more than you realise and gives me a reason to continue what I do.
Please remember that your comments and replies are always welcome, as are your suggestions for future posts or any questions that you may have.
And finally, I want to wish you an amazing New Year.
Here's to 2017. May it bring us all health and happiness!
Sarah (aka The Body Mechanic)
1. How Your Pelvis And Shoulder Are Connected
Biomechanically the pelvis and shoulder are linked. This is what is referred to as a Myofascial sling.
The hamstrings starting from the tibia then insert into the Ischial tuberosity. This then continues along as the Sacro-tuberous ligament and then through the thoraco-Lumbar fascia. This then continues to the Latissimus dorsi which then inserts into the opposite scapula and humerus.
Therefore your Hamstrings actually attach to your arms!!!
Read Full Article Here
2. Do X, Y and Z? It's Not Always That Simple
I have spoken before about the left latissimus dorsi (which is attached to your left arm) being connected to the right glute max (which is connected to your right leg) via the thoracolumbar fascia. I have also said that if the glute max isn't working correctly then this will put added pressure on the opposite lat dorsi with possible shoulder pain. So the initial reaction would be to get the glute max working correctly, right?
BUT….it's not always as simple as that.
Read full article Here
3. Sacroiliac Joint Pain
When I was pregnant with my boys I had so many issues with my back and my SI joint. Even today I have to work at keeping it pain free. And so I thought I would give you some information as some of you may be able to relate.
The sacroiliac joints function as shock absorbers for the body and are key players in transferring weight from the upper body to the legs, and enabling the body to twist when the legs are moving.
So if you feel pain on either side of your lower back then it may be due to your sacroiliac joints becoming inflamed.
Read Full Article Here
4. A Pain In The Butt
The Piriformis muscle can be a pain in the butt... literally. But it can also cause pains elsewhere if this muscle is in spasm (as it so often is).
Read Full Article Here
5. Shoulders Affecting Sciatic Nerve
It's all about connections!!
Ruby came to me with problems with her sciatic nerve. After a few sessions of working through her pelvis and spine it was apparent that there was something else restricting the nerve.
Read Full Article Here
I've been wanting to write about Hollowing Vs Bracing for so long but can't seem to find a way to express my thoughts any better than this article already does.
So I'm sharing it here until I feel the need to get my act together and post from my own point of view. But seriously, this is one post I wish I had written ;-)
Read the full post here
"If you’ve ever suffered a back injury, gone to a Pilates class, or worked with a fitness coach who tried to help you activate your core, then you’ve heard it already. The infamous “draw your belly button to your spine” cue.
Touted as a way to improve your core stability this technique, known as abdominal hollowing, has been a universally accepted, go-to exercise for physical therapists (PTs) and fitness coaches for the last decade. In fact, following any sort of low back injury, abdominal hollowing is usually the number one exercise physical therapists teach clients during rehabilitation.
But let me ask you something: just because something has always been done a certain way, does that make it the best way?
The abdominal hollowing technique comes from a group of Australian researcher who published a study in 1999 that indicated that in healthy individuals the deep muscles of the core - specifically the transversus abdominis (TrA) - would activate a fraction of a second before any movement was performed. In other words, before participants would perform a movement, their TrA would fire.
When they tested individuals with low back pain, however, they found the TrA had a delayed reaction. This lead to trying to isolate the TrA in order to fix the altered motor pattern, and here is where abdominal hollowing was born.
The technique was meant to engage the deeper core muscles, including the TrA and multifidis, without causing the more superficial abdominal muscles (internal and external obliques and rectus abdominis) to contract. The problem with this is that focusing on single muscles actually creates dysfunction in spines and is highly problematic.
Though it is true that studies have shown there are perturbed motor patterns in the TrA in individuals with back pain, more recent studies have shown that perturbed patterns of activation are actually found in virtually all muscles in those with back pain. You see, our muscles work as teams to not only create joint torque, but to also (and more importantly) maintain core stability. There is no single muscle responsible for this.
So instead of training muscles as a team and as they function in real life, hollowing aims to instead activate a single muscle in isolation. Now, research does show that hollowing will in fact produce increased activity in the TrA, but at what cost? Yes, you are getting a greater TrA activation, but you are also causing a weakening of the external and internal oblique muscles, as they must essentially be inactive in order for hollowing to occur. This actually leads to a less stable spine, meaning a greater chance of injury - the exact opposite effect from what we want.
Enter Abdominal Bracing
Think about what you would do if you were to prepare yourself for someone to punch you in the gut. You would immediately tense and stiffen you core to brace for the impact. This is exactly what abdominal bracing is, a term first coined by Dr. Stuart McGill of Canada, a leading expert in spine mechanics.
In abdominal bracing, you are simultaneously co-activating all layers of core muscles (remember the anatomy lesson?), in addition to activating your lats, quadratus lumborum, and back extensors. This means the entire abdominal wall is activated from all angles, sides, and directions, causing the three layers of the muscles to actually physically bind together.
Some therapists and coaches will argue that abdominal bracing and hollowing do not need to be mutually exclusive exercises. They say each technique is good and their use depends on what you’re doing. For example, I’ve spoken to therapists who say abdominal hollowing is ideal for a Pilates class, during a physiotherapy session, or during day-to-day tasks, while bracing is ideal for more complex movements such as lifting weights.
This is flawed thinking. Why would we teach our body two completely different motor patterns? If we teach abdominal hollowing for everyday tasks, we are essentially encouraging our rectus abdominis and oblique muscles to weaken and remain inactive. Furthermore, we are not allowing our core to maintain its stiffness, which means one unexpected bump, fall, or movement and we could be dealing with a significant back injury. Our bodies do not work in isolation, and we should not be training them as if they do.
When it comes to spinal stability all of our muscles work together and play an important role. These muscles must be balanced in order to be able to withstand large loads placed upon them to keep us injury free. Training single muscles leads to the exact opposite effect, instead causing an unstable, injury prone spine.
People, it’s time we stop getting this wrong. Stop drawing in your belly button, and start working on improving your core stiffness. Your body will thank you for it!"
Original Post: http://breakingmuscle.com/learn/how-are-we-still-getting-it-wrong-abdominal-hollowing-vs-bracing
Hormones. Menstrual cycle. PMS. Cramps. Breast pain. Mood swings. And on. And on.
That’s the area I'm studying in depth at the moment. And I'm finding it, not only enlightening for myself but from a health and fitness perspective, absolutely invaluable for my clients.
The problem? Sharing this information here on this page.
You see, for the past 2 years this page has been about muscles and bones, joints, ligaments and a whole load of nervous system.
It has not been gender specific. And I have avoided posting anything about women's hormones.
Honestly? I assumed that my readers did not want to read about this (or even cared). I also didn't want to 'offend' any male readers.
And although I am still getting women messaging me about how they can sync their training and nutrition with their cycle in order to improve, not only any symptoms that they experience, but ultimately their life, I have STILL held off posting.
Then today I had a chat with a friend of mine about my concerns, who enlightened me about what I needed to be doing (even if she didn't know it). I realise that all this information has changed my life. So how dare I let my perceptions hold me back from sharing what I have learned with other women? So what if I offend some people? If I can help one woman improve her life (but lose a few readers in the process) then so be it.
And guys (especially those that are coaches and PTs) even though you might not know it, YOU need to know this information too. If you have a woman in your life, if you train women, if you are a husband, father, brother, you NEED to know this too. Trust me when I say this.
After all, hormones affect EVERYTHING!
And that's just for starters.
Ladies, we live in an age where we have the chance to do it all. Careers, love, travel, families, social lives, fitness, hobbies. But we are not giving our bodies the support they need to sustain these demands. We ignore that we are different from men. We pretend that our cycle does not affect us but it does. And when it comes to our health, our fitness, our bodies, our hormones play one of the biggest roles in leading a sustainable and active life.
We need to learn how our endocrine system functions and how to work WITH our hormones not fight them.
What I have come to realise is that this is not a separate entity from Biomechanics. This is part of it. We CANNOT separate the body.
How many times have I said that everything is connected? And it is. We cannot separate the muscular system from the endocrine system. Or the nervous system. Or the immune system. Or the brain. Or the gut. EVERYTHING is connected. EVERYTHING.
And so I have decided to post information on 'Her Health' in the future. Because to me, that's what being a Body Mechanic is about.
I do hope you'll join me!
Movement is important. We all know that. But sometimes I think it's a good idea to know WHY we need to move. One of the reasons is that moving our body helps keep the body systems flushed
When we don’t move for a while, or if parts of our tissues are obstructed such as sitting on a hard surface (or a wallet in the back of our jeans pocket), fluid can build up in the muscle joints. This fluid includes waste products such as lactic acid.
Too much acid can cause the 'acid sensors' in the body to open which then sends a message to the spinal cord and the brain. Now if the brain believes that the muscles are in danger, pain will be produced. This is our body's way of telling us to do something about it.
When we are sitting for long periods of time which then cause us pain, the cheapest and most effective therapy really is just to MOVE. Sometimes it really is as simple as that!