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Posts Tagged ‘muscle imbalance’

RangeRoller: Hard to Reach Muscles

Chuck Swanson is a runner/athlete born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska.   He runs a couple marathons and 3-6 road races every year, and he intends to run an ultra marathon (50 miles) in the near future.  Chuck’s training includes 30-60 miles of running each week, increasing during peak training times.

As a runner, Chuck has suffered many aches and pains. His list includes fighting issues with; illiotibial band syndrome (ITBS or IT Band Syndrome), plantar fasciitis, calf strains and tight calf muscles, as well as Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) issues, to name a few. Chuck was given the opportunity to use and review the RangeRoller, for deep tissue massage therapy. Here is what Chuck said;

“I like the RangeRoller’s ability to help get those sore spots that need a little ‘TLC’.  The RangeRoller is easy to use and is easy to take to races, both close and far away.  It is easily cleaned up and is compact and effective.

massage stick for calf pain tight calvesI use the RangeRoller to get to those spots that my foam roller can’t reach or get to.  It is a great item to help with this because of the raised pieces [Trigger Treads] that allow for a more ART [Active Release Technique] type therapy.  I am able to get out the soreness and muscle trauma spots with ease.  I also use the RangeRoller at races to help get my muscles loose and warmed up before my races, in addition to dynamic stretches and jogging/running.

I use the RangeRoller at home, in my car (close local races), and at the hotel/motel (farther destination type races).  Outside or inside the product is easy to use, and can be used anywhere you want really.

RangeRoller massage for foot painThe RangeRoller can sometimes pull the hair out of my legs when I use it, but the rewards far exceed the pain!

This product is unique and I didn’t really have anything similar to it.  I use a foam roller and the RangeRoller together because they work similar but are great compliments to one another.  I was in the market and ready to purchase The Stick and saw a tweet that intervened, the rest is history.  I am glad I was able to get the RangeRoller to try and am definitely a fan.

illiotibial band massage rollerI would definitely recommend this product to a friend.  I would recommend it because I have ZERO doubts that it has helped me go through my first training cycle for a marathon injury free.  I have always encountered some type of injury that has caused me to miss at least a week of training in every marathon I have run (8 total).  This training cycle has been different and I have honestly never felt better health wise.

The RangeRoller has helped with my chronic ITBS issues and calf issues.  Paired with my foam roller and Bio Freeze, it works hand in hand with getting me out to train and doing it injury free. “

For more information on deep tissue massage therapy or to purchase the RangeRoller visit www.medi-dyne.com.

Professionals Use ProStretch for Injury Prevention

Chain Reaction Injuries

Have you ever sprained an ankle only to find a week later you’re suffering from lower back pain? Then you’ve experienced first-hand how weak links put undue stress on stronger ones.

Weak muscles cause tighter (stronger) muscles to be recruited by the central nervous system in order to perform the same movement. The results are muscle imbalances and “chain reaction injuries”.

ProStretch for Calf Stretches

Pictured: The ProStretch Double (Original Wooden) on the pre-season game sidelines of the Dallas Cowboys. The ProStretch Double Wooden is the heavy duty version of Medi-Dyne’s popular ProStretch Plus. This bigger and stronger version is often used by pro teams, fitness clubs and clinics.

One of the most critical muscles to keep flexible are the calf muscles. Calf injuries or even just tightness can move in either direction of the body’s interconnective chain, causing Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, knee pain, tight hamstrings or even lower back pain.

Stretching with ProStretch products strengthens and stretches the calf muscles and ligaments in the calf muscles, plantar fascia and Achilles tendon, keeping the lower leg strong, balanced, and healthy!

To purchase a ProStretch, or for more information on chain reaction injuries and injury prevention techniques and tools, visit medi-dyne.com.

How Flexible Are You?

 Test your flexibility with the StretchRite.

How flexible are you? If you are a Coach, how flexible are your athletes?   What are you doing to increase your or your athlete’s flexibility?   Get the StretchRite advantage!

StretchRite is a device to help ensure that each athlete has the necessary flexibility to stay injury free during intense athletic competition. This device enables the athlete to do the type of stretching that normally requires a second person’s assistance.

Joe Dial, former World and American Record Holder for the Pole Vault, and Head Track Coach at Oral Roberts University says:

“Our Athletes are excited about stretching now that we are using the StretchRite program. Flexibility, strength, and leg turnover are keys to maximum performance.”

Read more reviews of the StretchRite at Running Supplement or medi-dyne.com.

TEAMS CURRENTLY USING StretchRite:

University of Arkansas
University of Arizona
University of Florida
University of Wisconsin
Kansas State University
Louisiana State University
University of Oregon
University of Kansas
Illinois State University
University of Nebraska
Oklahoma State University
University of Louisiana
Oral Roberts University
Texas Tech University
Texas A&M University
University of Texas
University of Wisconsin

Transitioning to Minimalist Running

This is the story of how Kabri became a runner, and the tricks and tools she used along the way. Read more about her running story in Part 1 and Part 2.

Part 3: Transitioning to Minimalist Running

Using Medi-Dyne during the transition to minimalist running.

Three years ago, I began training for my very first half marathon. Little did I know that my journey of becoming a “runner” was just beginning.

If you’re just tuning in, I am an advocate of stretching and massage for runners. How do I know all of the benefits of stretching and massage now? And why didn’t I incorporate these great Medi-Dyne products into my recovery and maintenance three years ago?

Well besides the fact that hindsight is always 20-20, I was recently able to put my newly-acquired ProStretch Plus and RangeRoller tools to the test while I was transitioning back to minimalist running. You see, the popular “barefoot” trend requires a runner to build up their foot, ankle and knee muscles. You must build up your muscles and expose them to the shock and stresses that a cushioned sneaker may have absorbed in the past. This transition takes time and patience to avoid injury, and is similar in many ways to the muscle development that takes place while trail running.

After moving to San Francisco over a year ago, I transitioned from running on mostly trails to road running. The city’s hills kept my leg muscles strengthened, but I was quickly losing the strong muscular protection I had built up around my knee and ankle joints.  In order to maintain the muscular support my joints had worked so hard to establish, I decided that I would slowly transition into a pair of popular “barefoot” style shoes. On my first runs I found that first, I absolutely loved being able to feel the road under the soles of my feet—my toes having to grab for the road. Secondly, by landing on the forefront of my feet, my calves were tightening up as quickly and as painfully as when I initially started trail running.

To promote healthy muscle growth and alleviate the soreness, I would do a concentrated stretching routine with my ProStretch Plus after each run, focusing on not only my calves, but also my Achilles tendons. I found that this newly experienced “tightness” would travel down my Achilles and into the bottom of my feet. By simply adjusting the angle and wedge on my ProStretch Plus, I was able to increase the flexibility of not only my calves and hamstrings, but also my arches and toes.

In short, I believe that injury prevention and muscle growth can be facilitated by the proper stretching of overly-tight muscles and by “combing” out the knots that develop in damaged muscle fibers, promoting renewed blood flow and muscle repair. I have found the ProStretch Plus and RangeRoller to be my two key tools for ongoing maintenance in my trail and minimalist road running interests. This year I look forward to setting a new road marathon PR at the Oakland and San Francisco Marathons! Finish strong!

For more information on the ProStretch Plus or RangeRoller visit www.medi-dyne.com.

Golfers Increase Flexibility with CoreStretch

The term athlete has never more aptly applied to golfers than it does today. While strength continues to remain an important part of the game, power gained through flexibility and balance are now what put a great golf game within reach for many.

So what’s the key to achieving the level of flexibility and balance that will transform your game?

Core muscle group flexibility. Think about it. Your swing revolves around your navel, the area supported by the core muscles. Not just your abs but the entire core – your obliques, glutes, piriformis, hip flexors, and hamstrings. Your ability to get the most out of this major muscle group could mean a 20 yard or more difference in your drive.

Fitness expert and author Kelly Blackburn explains, “In your golf swing your hips and glutes provide a solid foundation for balance as well as supplying the mechanism for acceleration. A flexible core allows you to fully extend your swing and maximize power at impact as you rotate through into the finish position.” She suggests a simple flexibility test.

“Take a 5 iron and move into your backswing position. At the top of your backswing your left arm (assuming you’re right handed) should be completely straight and the club should be directly parallel across your shoulders. If it’s not you’re not alone but you are definitely losing power due to a lack of flexibility.”

But flexibility exercises that are not specific to the golf swing and its physical requirements, while helpful, will not provide the flexibility and balance that will deliver the power that golfers are looking for.

One device making a big impact with both professional and amateur players is the CoreStretch. Previously available only to physical therapists and athletic trainers, the CoreStretch has recently become available to all golfers. Unlike conventional stretching methods that force the back to curve, the unique design of the CoreStretch elongates the back enabling a deeper more effective stretch of the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the core. The CoreStretch works on a three-plane swivel for up-and-down, side-to-side and twisting motion provides optimal stretching for three levels of fitness for the lower back, obliques, hip flexors, piriformis, glutes and hamstrings – enabling users to fit their individual needs.

Weighing about a pound, the CoreStretch is light-weight and collapsible, so it can conveniently be taken to the office, business travel or even kept in your golf bag so that it can be used daily, even several times a day in seated, standing or floor positions. The unique design of the CoreStretch ensures proper techniques so that users can achieve an effective, dynamic stretch that without the risk of injury.

Blackburn has begun recommending the CoreStretch to her clients, both professional and amateur as well as adding it to her Golf Fitness product line. “While there are other methods of stretching the core muscles, none provide both the position stability and portability of the CoreStretch. It’s become so popular that I’ve created an entire mulit-level game-enhancement program around the CoreStretch.”

For more information on building flexibility or the CoreStretch visit Medi-Dyne.com.  Also for Golfers: Tuli’s

Back Pain Relief: Part 2

Back Pain Relief: Part 2 – Solutions

Preventing Pain Before It Begins
Since pain occurs after the imbalances arrive, not before, relying on pain as the only indicator that your interconnective chain may be imbalanced or overstressed could lead you to a life of back problems. While statistically it is likely that you will suffer from back pain at some point in your life, taking preventative measures may help reduce the severity of the strain and positively impact recovery time.

Keeping your posterior chain (calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back) strong and flexible is one of the best things you can do to prevent back pain. Exercises that increase balance, flexibility and strength can decrease your risk of injuring your back, falling, or breaking bones. (5)

 

Long-Term Back Pain Relief
Any sufferer of back pain will tell you that their immediate objective is to reduce pain and restore mobility. While the natural tendency may be to rest, exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain. A Finnish study found that persons who continued their activities without bed rest following the onset of low back pain  appeared to have better back flexibility than those who rested in bed for a week. (6)

Exercise, including stretching and strengthening of the muscles along the posterior chain (calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back) has been shown to benefit many lower back pain sufferers by restoring muscle balance, strength and flexibility. 5, 7

  • Strengthen your core: Not surprisingly, a person in good physical condition will generally reduce their risk of back injuries while the risk for those with weak core fitness is nearly doubled. Your core is made up of much more than your abs. So be sure to focus on the bigger picture. True core exercises work both your posterior chain and anterior chain (abdominal muscles) to increase your strength and flexibility.
  • Increase flexibility: By stretching the muscles in the posterior chain and anterior chain, you can maximize your flexibility and drastically reduce your risk of muscle imbalance injury. Key muscles to target include the gluteus maximus, piriformis, the iliotibial (IT band) and hamstrings. Tight hamstrings can cause the hips and pelvis to rotate back flattening the lower back and causing back problems.
  • Work on coordination and balance: Just walking regularly for exercise can help you maintain your coordination and balance. Performing balance exercises can also help to keep you steady on your feet and reduce the risk of micro injuries.
  • Check the foundation: Your feet are designed to protect you against the shock your body feels when you take a step. Every time the heel of your foot hits the ground, a shock wave travels up through your body, all the way to your head. A healthy body will absorb this shock. But if your feet are not in their correct functioning position, more of this shock is allowed to move through the body to weaken other joints including the hips and spine. So be sure that your feet are healthy, that your arches are properly supported and your shoes are providing maximum shock absorption.

A Medically Proven Solution
Originally developed for use by physical therapists, the CoreStretch was developed to provide the deepest, most effective way to stretch your posterior chain and restore muscle
flexibility and interaction, thereby, increasing range of motion, reducing pain, preventing further injury, and speeding up recovery. In fact, studies have shown the CoreStretch to be an effective way to stretch the hamstrings and contribute to posterior chain flexibility.

Unlike conventional stretching methods that force the back to curve, the unique design of the CoreStretch decompresses the back, enabling a deeper, more effective stretch of the posterior muscle chain supporting your back, spine, and legs.

The CoreStretch provides a stretch that both allows the tissues to relax and elongate developing the major muscle groups that make up the core. That’s why in therapeutic environments the CoreStretch is used to treat back, shoulder and hip pain, piriformis, fibromyalgia ,sciatica, arthritis and osteoporosis.

Most people find that just a few minutes of stretching every day with the CoreStretch reduces the pain associated with RMIs and improves quality of lifeis a light-weight and  portable stretching device that takes the guesswork out of stretching your back muscles and relieves the pain associated with RMIs

Comprehensive
The CoreStretch provides the same instant decompression and relief you get with inversion tables by creating a natural, safe traction that you can control but goes beyond the immediate relief to become part of a more comprehensive program that delivers long-term repair. The three-plane swivel enables up-and-down, side-to-side, and twisting motions for the entire posterior chain — back, hips, hamstrings, shoulders and glutes. And with three levels of fitness and 10 sizing options, the CoreStretch provides the optimal stretching tool which can easily and effectively be used in seated, standing or floor positions.

Portable
Light-weight and collapsible, the CoreStretch can conveniently be taken to the office or job site to be used daily, even several times a day as a fast an effective way to break the repetition and combat RMIs.

For causes of back pain read Back Pain Relief: Part 1 – Causes

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Back Pain Relief: Part 1

Back Pain Relief: Part 1Causes

The High Cost of Back Pain
Back pain, it’s hard to live with but it’s something everyone is likely to deal with at some point. Lower back pain is one of the top 10 reasons patients seek care from a family
physician.1 In fact, it’s one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10
people at some point during their lives. (2)

  • 1/3 of all disability costs in the United States are due to low-back disorders. (3)
  • Americans spend an estimated $50 billion each year on diagnosing and treating low back pain each year. (2)
  • Back pain is a leading contributor to decreased productivity and missed work.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that global prevalence of lower back pain could be as high as 42%.

What Causes Lower Back Pain?
It’s not often that just one event actually causes your lower back pain, although it may
seem that way. More often than not it is a series of “micro injuries” (small falls, muscles
pulls, overuse during activity). You probably don’t even remember them happening but they add up over time.

It’s All Connected
The muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints in your body act as links in an interconnective
chain, working together to allow you to accomplish basic motions like sitting, walking, and
running. If any one of these links is injured or not functioning properly the entire chain
suffers. At times a tight or sore muscle will recruit other muscles to pick up the slack so
you may not realize pain right away, but these other muscles are not made to pick up the
slack for very long and “chain reaction injuries” can occur.

Muscle Imbalances
Muscle imbalances occur when muscle strength and functioning along the interconnective chain is not equally efficient. A muscle may be shortened and tight, or weak and therefore  is unable to “relax” or contract when needed. Or a muscle or group of muscles may become chronically “over stretched” and weak and are unable to contract when needed. This imbalance modifies body movement, putting strain on muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. The end result is often lower back pain.

Repetitive Motion
We’ve all heard of carpal tunnel syndrome, but your hands aren’t the only body part that suffers when you sit at your computer all day or spend hours in a car. Any activity in which you perform a motion over and over again for extended periods of time puts stress on your body, increasing the chance of developing repetitive motion injuries (RMIs) – particularly in your back. We think of repetitive motion as doing a job over and over but individuals who sit at desks or those who stay in a seated (driver) or standing position (clerk or nurse) for extended periods of time are extremely likely to suffer from RMIs. Muscular pain is the most common symptom of RMIs, but you may also experience swelling, tightness/stiffness, tingling or numbness, and weakness.

While only your doctor can fully diagnose the cause of your low back pain, you can however identify muscle imbalances or repetitive motions that may be causing your pain. Avoiding these or putting a plan in place to negate them /remedy them is a good first step towards finding relief.

For solutions and relief of back pain read Back Pain Relief: Part 2 –Solutions

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Introducing the New RangeRoller

Medi-Dyne Introduces RangeRoller Multi-layer Massage Therapy with Trigger Treads

Medi-Dyne Healthcare Products announced the introduction of the new RangeRoller line of multi-layer massage therapy rollers with Trigger Treads™, an advancement in massage therapy rollers that engages both upper and lower layers of muscles and connective tissue.

The new RangeRoller incorporates the most sought after attributes of massage therapy sticks and rollers with its light weight and convenient size and combines it with the ground-breaking new Trigger Treads™ technology to deliver perhaps the deepest massage available from a massage therapy roller.

“We are passionate about the importance of maintaining the health of the body’s interconnective chain,” states Craig DiGiovanni, VP Sales, Medi-Dyne, “Massage therapy and trigger point relief have always played an important role in this. The RangeRoller with Trigger Treads™ takes massage to a whole new level. Users will find that they are able to reach muscles and connective tissue that they simply cannot with other products.”

Designed to meet more demanding needs, the RangeRoller multi-layer massage therapy products provide a range of benefits, including:

  • Range of Depth
    The Range Roller’s exclusive Trigger Treads™ enable users to reach deep – massaging both the upper and lower layers of muscles and connective tissue to more effectively warm muscles, increase circulation, relieve knots, eliminate scar tissue, and increase performance.
  • Range of Sizes
    Three unique sizes allow users to custom-fit their needs: • Original – Medium stiffness and convenient size make it perfect to take anywhere. • XL – The longer size make this the right Range Roller for backs and legs. • Pro – The firmest Range Roller in the line provides the deepest penetration for those who need a little extra.
  • Range of Motion
    Non-slip grip handles and light-weight design enhance control, prevent muscle fatigue and maximize roller performance.
  • Range of Color
    Available in 12 colors, including: maroon, red, pink, orange, yellow, green, royal blue, pewter, purple, black, gray, and white. Range Rollers can be customized to match team, club, or favorite color combinations.

More information about the RangeRoller massage therapy line can be found at www.Medi-Dyne.com. The RangeRoller is made in the USA.

Are You Suffering from a Chain Reaction Injury

Chain Reaction Injuries – They’re Not What You Think They Are

You’ve probably heard it all your life…the toe bone connected to the foot bone, and the foot bone connected to the ankle bone, and the ankle bone connected to the leg bone…   So it’s really no great leap of faith to think of your ligaments, muscles, bones, and tendons as an interconnected chain that work together to ensure your ability to stand, sit, walk or run.

So why is it that we so often try to treat the symptoms of our pain rather than look at the chain as a whole?

Case in point:  We recently read an article about TCU athlete Clint Renfro.  This young man is an outstanding athlete.  But Renfro’s first years at TCU were plagued by one minor injury after another. Note the word “minor”.  No one injury, in and of itself, seemed to be enough to force him to the sidelines.  Yet that’s where he remained – on the sideline or more appropriately, with the athletic trainers.

Although he initially suffered from hamstring pulls and lower back pain.  Then he began to experience increasing foot pain (which was later diagnosed as Achilles tendonitis).  When we think back to the interconnective chain we really shouldn’t be surprised by this domino effect.

When one of the links in your body’s interconnective chain is broken (pulled, sprained, inflamed) other areas in your body suffer. In an attempt to maintain your performance levels, other parts of your body compensate for the ‘kink or break’ in your chain. What may have started out as a simple muscle imbalance or slight injury can ultimately lead to increased injury, pain, and potentially a significant breakdown of your body’s interconnective chain.

A breakdown within your interconnective chain can cause you to alter your focus. Instead of solving the actual problem, you are drawn towards the area surrounding it; those muscles forced to bear the burden of compensating for the weakness of the real problem.

Whether you are a weekend warrior, a competitive athlete, athletic trainer, physical therapist or just someone who’d like to live without pain, we challenge you to do a true evaluation of muscle strength and compensation.  Look for the real problem.  See which muscles are compensating for others.  Realize that next time you suffer an injury the breakdown in your chain is not always what it seems, start from the bottom (your feet) and move towards finding a solution that ensures long-term healing.

So, what happened to Renfro?  When his injuries continued and his healing did not, Renfro sought the specialists. After dozens of consultations and increasing personal frustration, Renfro was finally diagnosed with the real problem.  A previously undetected dislocation in his right foot was determined to be the spark that lit the fuse leading to four years of fire to Renfro’s health.  Renfro suffered a simple ankle sprain, but the damage caused a chain reaction that manifested into years of injury and frustration.

You can read more on Renfro at the link below (originally printed in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram): http://texasjournalofchiropractic.eznuz.com/printFriendly.cfm?articleID=23079

Your body’s only as strong as your weakest link?  What’s yours?

Your Back Pain May Be All in Your…Legs?

A misalignment of your body no matter how small, can wreak havoc from your head to your toes. Because the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints in your body act as links in an interconnective chain it takes these links working together to allow you to accomplish basic motions like sitting, walking, and running. If any one of these links is injured or not functioning properly the entire chain suffers. For millions of people each year that breakdown occurs first in their legs and feet.

The Weak Recruit the Strong

Lower body muscle imbalances put the back and lower extremities at high risk of injury. Weak muscles cause tighter, stronger muscles to be recruited by the central nervous system in order to perform the same movement, doing jobs they were never intended to do. Often time weak legs or misaligned lower body extremities cause tighter core muscles to be recruited in order to support the back. Over time this can cause pain in the joints, muscle strains, and/or injuries. Most people don’t realize they have these imbalances until it’s too late.

Make Your Legs Work for You

You can realize both short-term relief and long-term healing by making sure your feet and legs are doing their jobs properly. Building stability, flexibility, and strength in your lower body, helps ensure the lower body is functionally supporting your back.

A simple step that leads to short-term relief is promoting stability and proper alignment. Walking, training or stretching with your legs and feet parallel, hip-distance-apart, with your toes pointed forward and your hips balanced over your knees will promote basic alignment. Also using supportive foot care products, such as Tuli’s reinforcing insoles or heel cups, will help to prevent misalignment caused by the feet or ankles. Maintaining correct structure is only possible if the muscles and fascia are balanced and operating correctly.

The next steps that will help to heal and alleviate pain from your back include stretching and strengthening your lower body muscles.  Although the skeletal system aligns our body, it is our soft tissues (muscles) that pull our alignment out of place.  Focus on stretching your hamstrings to recover correct posture, your piriforms which run from your thigh bone to the base of the spine, and your gluteus muscles for hip flexibility and pelvis support. The CoreStretch helps to provide an extended stretch for your hamstrings, hips and back.  Squats, lunges, or even lateral leg lifts will also increase strength and flexibility of tight, lower-body muscles. Such self-care solutions can help take you toward reducing and preventing back pain.

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