To Permanently Reverse Sore, Achy, Stiff Shoulders: Do THIS & Stop Spending so Much Money on Massage Results that Never Last!

When I was a massage therapist (way back in 2008!) every single client who walked into my office asked me (some even begged me) to dig into their shoulders. Regardless of whether or not they had other issues (and most did, like low back pain, hip pain, etc), they all wanted their shoulders to get some relief from carrying the weight of the world.

For my entire short lived (year long) career as a massage therapist, I made people feel amazing for an hour or 90 minutes. They left feeling loosey goosey, a little high and finally at peace. But every time they came back their shoulders would be right back where they were before: stiff, achy, sore and in need of some major love (or a beat down, which a lot of people requested).

I quit massage therapy in large part because, though I was very good at it, I never helped permanently reverse my clients’ pain. I’m a very goal oriented person, so this wasn’t ok with me!

If you want to permanently reverse your shoulder tension, then you need to commit yourself to not only getting the proper areas of fascia released (which is not necessarily your shoulders or traps), you MUST also strengthen your mid back muscles.

Sure, the human body can adapt to “poor” posture. You may even live that way without serious pain; for a few decades. Trust me though when I tell you, you do NOT want to end up like my older clients who are 70 or 75 and wishing desperately they had learned all of this earlier, before compensation pattern piled onto compensation pattern and a lifetime of poor posture and stressful bio-mechanics caught up to them.

Start Strengthening NOW! (You can ‘release’ any time)

These exercises will take some time to carve new neural pathways and build healthier structure so I say don’t delay for any reason, start NOW. They will yield small rewards quickly that will build over time, and you can ‘release’ the tight areas as soon as you can make time (how to’s for that at the bottom of this article).

What we’re targeting:

The upper traps are one of the most overworked and overactive muscles, ready to work for us at any given moment. No wonder they’re so tired and angry (stiff/sore/achy)!

To counteract this overactive pattern we have to strengthen the lower traps and actively STOP engaging the upper traps during so many upper body exercises.

The following exercises target the lower traps, rhomboids and lats with short intentional movements of the shoulder girdle: downward rotation (depressing the scapula), and retraction (pulling the scapula back towards the spine).

Create new neural pathways and healthy habits:

Read More

Ultimate Chest and Deltoid Release for Maximum Upper Body Freedom – Get Your Shoulders Back & Down!

I can hardly contain my excitement about this one!!!

Some of the techniques I’ve come up with here at Mobility Mastery can mimic what I do with my private clients to very satisfying degrees, but I’ve spent years wondering how on earth I can give you all out there the chance to experience the kind of lasting upper body relief that a proper chest release can bring – like the kind I’m able to offer my in-person clients. I finally cracked the code on this a few weeks ago!

That’s the good news.

The “bad” news is you’re going to need a very specific medicine ball to get the most out of this one. Something like this 4lb no-bounce ball would work: click here for a link to Amazon (I have no affiliation with this or the following company). For another option – click here.

PLEASE NOTE: a baseball, lacrosse ball, softball, larger medicine ball or just about anything NOT what I demo in the video or link to above will NOT give you the best result, may cause bruising and soreness and I do not really recommend using any of these other balls for these reasons.

Why release your chest?

I would argue that everyone (at least in the western world) needs this one! We’re all slumped over desks and phones these days, and if you’re in another category of work like a farmer or factory worker then you’re definitely going to have tight fascia here too.

As you can see from the photo there are a lot of converging muscles, nerves and fascia here. The fascia of pec major can get stuck to the fascia of pec minor along with the front deltoid, leading to a “clogged” or stuck intersection, which can definitely lead to pain, less range of motion and shoulder joint issues.

The goal with this technique is to release that front fascia enough that the shoulders are freed to drop back and down where they’re supposed to be, which will relieve the neck and head as well as the arms and even your hips!

Use this technique to relieve or eliminate:

  • Shoulder pain – front, back or rotator cuff issues
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Forward head posture
  • Pelvic tilts due to shoulder imbalances
  • Pec minor adhesions or restriction
  • Shallow breathing due to chest tightness
  • Jaw and TMJ pain

In combination with other Mobility Mastery techniques can relieve or eliminate:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Elbow pain
  • Grip issues
  • Mid back pain
  • and more

How to perform this technique:

  • For the BEST results, please use a Mobility Mastery approved ball and a foam roller (preferably a soft foam roller, but if you want to simultaneously release your quad fascia then by all means go with a hard one 😛 )
  • Your thighs will be resting on the foam roller, and you can use your hip angle to put more or less weight into the ball to compress your chest fascia in whatever way works best for you. Keep in mind that the more weight/compression you can use the better your result will be, however – it will be more intense during the technique!
  • MOVE S L O W L Y !!! I cannot emphasize this enough. Slow movement helps you target the right spots, release fascia effectively and rushing through anything has a tendency to let your brain bypass the experience and not even register that something happened! In other words – if you move fast, you won’t get much benefit.
  • Go ahead and experiment with ball placement, arm movement, rotation, bending and reaching – there’s not “wrong” way to do this if it works for you! And every one of us has different anatomy, so what works for me might not work for you.
  • That said, most of you will get a good result with the bending reaching, especially arm moving “above” your head (on the ground), and if you have restriction in the front deltoid, definitely try the rotations!
  • Spend at least 3-4 minutes per side when you first learn this technique. After you master it you can spend less time. This one can often feel kind of good – and I’m not sure we can do “too much,” because it would simply feel like nothing if the fascia were healthy. So as long as it feels beneficial and you’re keen to get after it – go for it!
  • Remember to BREATHE!
  • Get up when you’re done with one side and move around – you’ll likely notice a significant difference left to right!

 

If you liked this post please “like” and share it!

Subscribe on YouTube for new episodes every Monday.

For personalized help with head to toe pain issues, click here to schedule a private Skype consultation with Elisha Celeste. SIGN UP for exclusive email updates and get $15 off your first session.

How Diet Affects Fascia: 3 Best “Foods” for Healthy Connective Tissue

Recently I’ve been challenged to see myself in a new light; to recognize a pervasive pattern of mine that at one time in my life kept me feeling safe, but is no longer necessary and in fact had became downright destructive to my relationship. I was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy (getting exactly what I didn’t want by letting my fears control my actions).

Gaining this new insight into my own behavior has helped me see, with even more clarity, how we often act on survival instincts and do things that may at first glance seem healthy or even ethically or objectively “right,” but are in fact keeping us stuck in unhealthy nervous system patterns.

This is just as true for the relationships we have with other human beings as it is for us and our bodies, and fascia (which feels everything, records everything, connects everything and in a lot of ways manages our abilities based on our emotions, beliefs, nervous system patterns, past injury patterns and current strengths and weaknesses).

Why do you eat what you eat?

If you’re reading this then I’m assuming you’re concerned (or interested in learning) about what types of foods you “should” be eating for optimal health (including fascial health). If so, then my very first question is “why?”

Your why is far more important than what you’re eating.

Why do you want to know?

Is your curiosity coming from a place of self love and wanting to honor your body?

Is your concern born of fear? Maybe you’re afraid of getting “fat” or getting cancer, or maybe you’re afraid of the pleasure you get eating that coffee ice cream (mmmmm) or that burger and fries; or maybe you don’t want to end up like a parent, friend or other loved one who has diabetes or heart disease or is always getting injured.

While our fears are totally valid and I believe they need to be heard and honored, acting from a place of fear will likely only produce a self-fulfilling prophecy – giving us exactly what we don’t want.

So what should we be doing instead?

First of all – I believe fear starts to fade in the face of facts, or looking at a situation with as much honest objectivity as possible. Simply acknowledging what is, without making it (or ourselves) right or wrong, goes a long way towards calming the nervous system (at least it does mine – you may be different).

When it comes to nutrition or diet and fascia, the facts may surprise you.

Does diet affect fascia?

Yes.

And no.

I have clients who are totally dedicated to “healthy” eating (organic, paleo, gluten free, anti-inflammatory, probiotic etc), and I have clients who binge after jiu-jitsu tournaments on burgers, fries, candy and beer; and everything in-between (people who don’t watch their diet at all, and those who brew their own kombucha and make their own sprouts).

After all these years, there are definitely some patterns that have arisen around diet and how healthy (or not) a client’s fascia is:

Typically, the ones who obsess about eating healthy are also obsessing (and stressing) about other areas of their life as well; including how much or in what ways they exercise, whether or not they’re doing all the “right” things by their body; and it is these people who have the most consistently tight fascia that doesn’t want to let go; they get injured more frequently than my other clients and consequently they want to know what else they can “do” to prevent pain, injury, unhealthy fascia etc.

Meanwhile, the clients I have that either a) don’t stress at all about what they eat (and they probably eat “unhealthy” to varying degrees) or b) do the best they can and let go of any particular outcome, have the healthiest fascia, get injured the least and seem pretty content with their bodies and lives.

Does diet matter at all then?

Read More

How to Release Overactive/Restricted Upper Traps – Relieves Neck + Shoulder Pain, Headaches and More

Those pesky upper traps!

They want to work for us ALL the time. But it’s not their fault. We’ve trained them to be overactive by the ways we sit, stand, work out and move through activities like running and cycling, and how we carry our purses or backpacks.

For a long term “fix” here, we have to get those upper traps to stop working for other muscles like our rhomboids, low traps, low lats and our core. Yes, our traps will actually work for our core to stabilize us through certain movements and activities if our deep core stabilizers aren’t engaged. Click here to read/watch my post on the 3 “R’s” of better posture, which is a great place to start reversing this pattern, and watch out for new episodes addressing this one. It’s so chronic I’ll be covering it from various angles indefinitely!

Today, I’ll show you how to stretch and release those fascial adhesions (aka “knots”) in your upper traps or shoulders.

These knots can cause all kinds of pain and discomfort, from shoulder and neck pain to arm issues, headaches and mid back pain to name a few.

You’ll need access to a barbell and rack for this one. Every gym has one.

Please watch the video for the best results!

How to get the most out of this technique:

  • You can use a bare barbell, or if you want something a little less metalic/cold, try wrapping a towel around it, or use one of the various rack covers that most gyms provide.
  • You’re looking to do TWO things with this technique: 1) STRETCH all the tight fascia in this region which is achieved by pinning a piece of tissue and using your arm AND head to stretch in opposing directions, which creates a good stretch through the whole system (fascia is connective tissue, and as the name implies, it is all connected!) And 2) Find and break up or release the adhesion(s) in your upper traps. This one is more tricky.
  • Once you try the stretch part and feel like you’ve done a decent job at this, move on to finding and releasing the adhesion(s).
  • It may be helpful to start by palpating (feeling your hands) to find out where exactly that sucker is.
  • Then, your job is to pin the knot to the barbell and use head and arm movement to “shear” across the knot and break it up. Think about using your HEAD movement the most here, but make sure you move S L O W L Y !!! Slow movement will reveal that you’re getting it, or tell you you’re not.
  • If you can’t get that knot to “clunk” under the barbell, then try placing the barbell in a different location – maybe farther back towards your posterior and away from your collarbone. That usually does it for me, but everyone is different here.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment! Try different positions, head movements, reaching your arm or leaving it loose. Each will produce a different sensation and technique in the upper trap. Basically – find what works for YOU and your body.

 

If you liked this post please “like” and share it!

Subscribe on YouTube for new episodes every Monday.

For personalized help with head to toe pain issues, click here to schedule a private Skype consultation with Elisha Celeste. SIGN UP for exclusive email updates and get $15 off your first session.

 

Posterior Neck Release + Spine Traction – For Reverse Whiplash, Post Fall Recovery & Sore Necks

If you’ve ever fallen face first, woke up with a sore neck or had any kind of accident that leads to posterior neck and upper back muscle soreness – you’re going to LOVE this technique!

Are you finding this immediately after a recent fall?

During the day or two immediately following a fall, what we do (and DON’T) is critical. If you fell as recently as today or yesterday, BEFORE attempting the technique in this post please figure out if you have traditional or reverse whiplash, and of course – if you have broken bones, a possible spine misalignment or neck pain (in the bones/joints), please see your preferred health care professional first.

Traditional whiplash:

Traditional whiplash occurs during car accidents and other falls where the FRONT of our body locks into contraction to protect the cervical spine from snapping and killing us. Typically with this kind of whiplash your chest and biceps and maybe the front of your neck are what contract really tightly to protect you. This can happen with or without the presence of obvious soreness in these muscles.

Are you experiencing reverse whiplash?

This is what happened to me recently, and what led me to invent today’s technique.

(Please note the term “reverse whiplash” is mine, and is simply meant to describe what’s occurring muscularly compared to traditional whiplash and is not meant to diagnose or treat anyone. As far as I know it’s not an “official” name for anything).

How does reverse whiplash happen?

I was hiking up a mountain on a snowy trail wearing microspikes when one one set of spikes got caught on the other. My feet were essentially tied together, which meant I couldn’t bend a knee or put a foot down or break my fall in any other way than falling face first into the snow. My hands broke my fall, my face inches from the cold white ground. I didn’t know it at the time, but my entire posterior chain from the base of my skull all the way to my tailbone contracted quickly and powerfully to stop me from hitting my skull, pelvis or other important joints on the hard ground. Essentially, they were attempting to “pull” me back, away from the ground, which resulted in my doing a near perfect fall to low plank without anything but my hands hitting the ground.

At the time I thought I’d gotten away with it all…

Until I woke up the next morning with the most sore neck I’ve ever had. I’ve been in car 2 pretty bad accidents and walked away with less pain than this fall! I could barely turn my head or look down or move my neck, shoulders, arms or spine without intense muscle soreness. Thankfully no broken bones or joints out of place! No pain other than the most sore muscles I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve called this reverse whiplash because it wasn’t my anterior chain that took the brunt of this fall, it was my posterior chain.

What we’re targeting:

We’re going after almost everything you see below: some lateral/peripheral SCM fascia and muscle, all the splenius muscles of the cervical spine, subocciptals, multifidi, as well as portions of levator scapulae and upper trapezius muscles and fascia.

Image from Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/ap1/chapter/axial-muscles-of-the-head-neck-and-back/

We’re also targeting the entire spine from occiput to SI joint with traction; not to adjust the spine, but to gently engage it; to give it some moments of space where the brain and body can connect and get on the same page for healing. Plus, it just feels good! If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.

Before trying this technique make sure you…

  • Know WHY you’re doing it, and…
  • Make sure it feels like a safe thing to do.

WHY you should (or maybe shouldn’t) do this technique:

Anyone with a sore/stiff/achy neck can try this, even if you haven’t taken a fall recently! If you’re not in pain but sit at a desk all day or just want to give your neck some love…but all means give this a whirl 🙂

But if you have taken a fall recently it’s critical to make sure you’re targeting your body correctly.

For example, doing this technique when your body is much more in need of release on the anterior or FRONT of your body will likely set you back rather than help you find relief.

If you’re at all unsure if you should be doing this, maybe consult your chosen therapist, chiropractor or doctor first. Or consider a Skype session with me, where I can coach you through the best techniques for your body and its current challenges.

In the video I show you how to traction your spine, including your cervical spine – and if you have anything going on in your spine that might not like this (such as bulging discs, pinched nerves, vertebrae out etc) then proceed with caution or ask your doctor or chiropractor if this is a good idea for you.

You could certainly do the soft tissue part without the traction!

Do this technique if:

  • You are NOT currently experiencing traditional whiplash symptoms/pain
  • You ARE experiencing something like I’ve described above as reverse whiplash (WITHOUT the presence of structural issues)
  • Your posterior neck muscles are sore, achy, tight and you have no spine issues that would make this dangerous
  • You know traction works well for your spine, and/or
  • You’ve been cleared by a doctor to try this for whatever pain you are currently experiencing

Please watch the video for full instructions! If you need some visual reminders of what to do…

Basic sequence to love up your posterior neck:

Read More

What Kind of Animal Are YOU? The “BEST” Activities for Lifelong Health and Mobility

“How should I be moving?”

“Which activities are the best ones if I want to stay healthy and injury free?”

I get these types of questions all the time.

The answer might surprise you.

First, I have a question:

What kind of animal are you?

Wait, what? I know you’re a human animal…

What I mean is: how does your unique body love to move in the world?

If you don’t know, then you probably aren’t moving in the best way(s) for you. But don’t worry – I’m going to help you figure this out! In fact, it’s pretty simple…

Mary Oliver, in one of my favorite poems of all time, writes:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

How many of us arrive at a new workout or exercise mentality that looks and feels a lot like walking on our knees repenting for a hundred miles through the desert?! I know. I’ve been there…over and over.

So what should we be doing?

  • Do something that makes you happy.
  • Do something that puts a stupid cheesy grin on your face.
  • Do something that feels good in your bones and your soul.
  • Do something that is so YOU it couldn’t possibly be labeled “exercise.”

It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I truly let go of trying so hard to do the healthiest, best and “right” things for my body…and started to choose whatever felt the most fun and made me the happiest. You know what this feels like?

F R E E D O M

I would now argue that this philosophy is what’s healthiest and best – and, it changes over time, like we do! What we enjoy and love today might not be what we need and want a year or five years from now.

When we approach movement with the fluidity of life itself, allowing what we want and need to evolve with us – we make space for unlimited choice. We’ll feel free to move how we want, when we want, in ways we want…for a lifetime.

Maybe you’re already doing this and if so, I salute your brave departure from modern exercise mentality!

Some of you might be thinking “Yeah but some people don’t exercise at all and that’s bad for you! We all need strong muscles and hearts and there’s no way to get that without working hard for it.” Hang in here with me 🙂

If you’re a professional athlete or serious about a particular sport…hopefully that thing makes your heart and body sing and come alive, because chances are you’ll have to do a lot of other things that aren’t so fun in order to be the best at your sport. This post doesn’t necessarily apply to you.

I want to help those of you who think working out is a chore, a bore or always a downright sufferfest lacking any enjoyment. And if you’re the type of person who always wants to do the “right” thing (AKA the “healthiest” as demonstrated by science or the latest studies), then my hope is maybe you’ll find yourself forgoing what’s “right” in favor of what feels good…and in doing so discover a whole new way of moving that will last a lifetime and fuel your desires to get and stay healthy.

I am an animal that loves…

Read More

One Weird (and Easy) Technique That Can Banish Headaches FAST!

Do you get headaches frequently?

Are you on the computer a lot?

Even if you don’t have a desk job, chances are you’re on your phone a significant portion of every day.

Well, maybe everyone else is…not YOU right? 😛

Are you experiencing eye strain?

According to a 2015 report from The Vision Council, about 61 percent of Americans have experienced eye strain after prolonged use of electronic devices — that’s nearly 2 out of every 3 people!

And…even if you’re not on your phone a lot, there are some other surprising ways you can strain your eyes that have nothing to do with a digital screen. In fact, that’s how I stumbled across this one weird technique that can instantly get rid of a headache (if the cause is eye strain, or tight fascia in and around your eyeball).

In the video you’ll hear my story of a 4 hour harrowing winter mountain drive that had me fixated on the road, how this led to a raging headache and then…

I’m going to show you how to release your eyeball fascia in today’s episode! So get ready for some seriously awkward moments. Feel free to laugh at me, and then I hope you laugh at yourself as you try this!

Even if you don’t get headaches, your eyes are probably getting strained on a regular basis. I mean…no matter your age, career, hobbies or where you live in the world, chances are you’re peering intently at that tiny cell phone screen at least 2 hours a day. Your eyeball and surrounding fascia may be overworked and restricted, even without the presence of headaches.

You may just experience a feeling of spaciousness in your noggin and eyes that you haven’t had in a while.

What we’re targeting:

We’re targeting the fascia of the tiny muscles in the eyelids, eyebrows, eyeball and specifically the fascia behind your eyeball (the fascia bulbi, pictured to the left).

This technique might seem really weird, but if you think about it…we have a LOT of tiny muscles all around the eyeball! And every muscle in the body contains layers of fascia. Not to mention, every nerve ending in the body is coated in a piece of fascia and the optic nerve is no different!

The lateral and medial rectus muscles lay on the eyeball laterally and medially, and the suspensory ligament (fascia) holds the eye’s lens in place!

ALL this fascia, like any fascia in the body, can get tight and restricted. What happens to restricted fascia? It can most certainly cause pain. It also restricts blood flow! Our eyes need blood as much as any other part of the body, and if the fascia in and around our eyes is really tight…it won’t flow in as freely.

How to release your eyeball fascia:

Read More

Build a Strong Foundation for Mastering Mobility with These Simple Deep Core Exercises

Mastering mobility cannot happen without a strong foundation. For truly efficient, powerful movement mojo we have to build a strong deep core.

I’m not talking six pack abs. I’m talking about the muscles that stop us from peeing when we sneeze! Or ya know, the muscles that keep our pelvis and spine stable. Kinda important. Unfortunately, many of us neglect our deep core and focus instead on our “abs” (typically rectus abdominus).

If you want your movements in life and sports to be powerful and efficient, this is a great place to start.

If you have a glute muscle not firing (and if you’ve sorted out why and are now working on firing that puppy up), then this is a great place to start. Your glutes want your deep core turned on. A stable pelvis and spine means your glutes don’t have to become your core!

The deepest deep core muscles are quadratus lumborum and psoas major, but we’re not targeting those today.

What we’re targeting:

Transverse abdominus and internal obliques.

The internal obliques lie beneath the external obliques and are superficial to, or “on top of” the transverse abdominus. They function primarily as accessory muscles to respiration (actively contracting during exhalation), as well as rotating and side-bending the trunk (imagine moving one shoulder to the opposite hip).

The transverse abdominus (TVA) helps to compress the ribs and viscera and provides thoracic and pelvic stability, as well as helping a pregnant woman deliver a baby.

Here’s the real kicker:

Without a stable spine aided by proper contraction of the TVA, the nervous system fails to recruit the muscles in the extremities efficiently, and functional movements cannot be properly performed. The transverse abdominal and the segmental stabilizers (such as the multifidi) of the spine have evolved to work in tandem. (source: wikipedia).

There are massive implications here for ALL kinds of ‘patterns’ (compensation patterns, pain patterns, injury reversal/prevention etc). We won’t go into any today, just know – this is important!

When harnessed effectively, the deep core stabilizers are our power house for movement! I’ve personally experienced the differences between powering my trail run through my core, rock climbing through my core, lifting weights via my core – and not, relying instead on peripheral muscles. And I can tell you from experience that when we harness the power available to us in this core compartment, every other movement becomes easier and less taxing on ALL other muscles (not to mention our fascia and bones!)

Here’s what to do:

Read More

Is Your Plantar Fasciitis Happening Due to a Hip or Pelvic Instability Issue?

pf-ad-1

Modern humans tend to live very lopsided lives when it comes to sports, daily habits, how we sit for work and how we hold babies, purses, backpacks etc.

Many people are walking around with a pelvic or hip instability issue without even knowing it. This is because the human body is amazing at compensating. It will compensate and compensate, sometimes for years without any pain at all…until one day it can’t take any more, and that’s when we get a pain signal.

The list of possible injuries or pain patterns that can happen due to a hip instability pattern are so numerous we’d be here all day if I went into them all, but the big surprise is plantar fasciitis.

If you’ve tried all the typical routes or methods of eliminating plantar fasciitis and your pain persists, it could be due to an underlying hip or pelvic instability issue. (Click here to learn about the most common causes of plantar fasciitis).

The short story on this complex issue:

Due to one or more imbalances in the fascia of the legs, your pelvis can experience a tilt, shift or rotation (or some combination thereof). This means it could be rotated forward on one or both sides, tilted to the left or right or otherwise shifted out of alignment.

When this happens, it is my belief that your brain detects potential danger to the central nervous system and spine (which requires a neutral pelvis to be at optimal health), and recruits one or more muscles of the low back or hip to contract neurologically to bring you back into balance.

Often, it’s the gluteus medius that is recruited this way and when it is – that muscle is no longer able to be recruited for its normal duties.

What does the gluteus medius do?

Gluteus medius and minimus abduct the thigh when the leg is straight and during gait (walking or running) these two muscles function to support the body on one leg to prevent the pelvis from dropping to the opposite side.

With the hip flexed, gluteus medius and minimus internally rotate the thigh. With the hip extended, they externally rotate the thigh, or more accurately they act to prevent internal rotation. Without this action the knee migrates inward, creating stress on the structures of the hip, knee and foot.

As you can tell, gluteus medius (and minimus) are critical for hip stability in ALL kinds of everyday actions. If one or both of these muscles is no longer able to do its job, it has to be done by other muscles.

How glute inhibition or hip instability leads to plantar fasciitis:

Read More

Have Traditional Treatment Methods for Plantar Fascitiis Failed You? Here’s Why (opinion)

pf-ad-1

If you’ve had plantar fasciitis (or any pain) for a while, chances are you’ve tried one or more of the traditional treatment methods. Have you wondered why they’re not ‘working’? While this post is plantar fasciitis specific, the opinions expressed here would be the same for just about any pain in the body.

Don’t address symptoms, address the ROOT CAUSE!

While this isn’t a complete list, I wanted to address some of the most commonly used traditional methods for relieving plantar fasciitis and why they typically don’t work long term. Please keep in mind this is my opinion, and I am in no way suggesting you disregard the advice of a medical professional.

Rest:

While rest can be helpful, I do not believe it solves the problem at its root. Movement reveals and heals! So while I will always condone appropriate rest, I remain a fan of movement and staying mobile. Movement allows your body to tell you something is wrong (or not), and movement can often help heal.

Ice:

Using cold, either icing your foot or rolling it on a frozen water bottle, will provide temporary reprieve from the pain because ice dulls our pain receptors. The pain is still there, we just can’t feel it as strongly. As soon as the effects of the ice wear off the pain will likely come back. It’s also not addressing the root cause.

Brace or compression sleeve:

Wearing a brace or compression sleeve is a tempting plan for many looking for an ‘alternative’ approach. Most of the time we’ll wear a brace while working out, but some people like how it feels so much they wear it all day AND while sleeping. (Or, have you been told to wear the kind that places your foot in dorsiflexion all night?! I am very much against that…more on that in a minute).

Wearing a brace or compression sleeve may feel good temporarily, but the reasons it feels good are the same reasons this can kick the pain can down the road and/or make things worse (when you take it off). A brace, especially a tight one, partially immobilizes whatever joint you’re wearing it around; so you can’t move like you normally would. It may also cut off blood flow and block some nerve communication. It’s also forcing your fascia into a tight mold, and if you wear it long enough – that mold will become your new normal, the fascia stops being elastic and flexible, it loses its spring due to lack of proper blood flow and generally puts you into a scenario that will make eliminating your pain at the source even more difficult.

A night brace or sleeve that attempts to force you into dorsiflexion all night is a personally horrifying choice to me, because it’s like trying to hold a static stretch for 7-8 hours! I’m against static stretching to begin with, and trying to force your tissue (while cold and immobilized) to hold a stretch that long is just asking for something worse to happen. Muscle tissue has a tendency to resist static stretching, and more than likely it’s not your muscle tissue that’s the problem anyway…so even if you accomplish the job of lengthening those muscle fibers, chances are slim it will relieve or eliminate your pain; and it just might make things a lot worse, since the chances of irritating your attachments are now very high.

Pain pills:

I won’t be going into detail on the various kinds of painkillers. Bottom line is: pain pills work by blocking pain receptors in your brain. The pain is still there, we just don’t feel it anymore. So it may give us temporary relief, but pills will never address the root issue.

Cushiony shoes:

This option may sound like a good choice at first. Maybe you buy new shoes and suddenly your pain seems better! Until you take the shoes off.

If you baby your pain and try to silence it during the day while wearing specific shoes, while NOT addressing the root cause – then you’ve set yourself up to rely on soft shoes in order to feel less or no pain, but again, this isn’t addressing the root cause and the more you baby the pain the more likely it is to get worse in the long run.

Besides: don’t you want the option to go barefoot or wear flip flops or whatever shoes you want to wear?

Orthotics (shoe inserts):

Similar to the cushiony shoes, orthotics are not addressing the root cause and it’s another bandaid solution that makes you reliant on wearing it to feel less or no pain.

If your plantar fascia is really tight, or you have “flat feet” – those things are symptoms of mobility issues or a result of how you move through life or sports. They’re reversible too!

Not only will orthotics create another scenario of babying the pain (and when you take them out or try to go barefoot the pain usually comes raging back), but – it’s entirely possible you’ll experience new pain you never had before. Orthotics change your gait pattern, and any time you change your gait pattern you monkey with your joint and alignment. I’ve had lots of clients get orthotics for a foot issue, only to end up with knee or hip pain, or their spine going out of alignment.

Again – it’s not addressing the root cause of plantar fasciitis (or any pain).

Cortisone shots:

This is possibly a controversial stance to take, but it’s been my position for years: these shots are meant to be “merely” anti-inflammatory in nature, but there are a whole bunch of possible side effects that simply aren’t worth it (in my opinion). I am not telling you not to go for it if you want to, though I would hope you’d do so after investigating for yourself and knowing the risks (especially for shots in the feet!)

Click here to read the full list of potential side effects on the Mayo Clinic website.

Even IF these shots came with zero risk and simply took the inflammation down, it would still be my position that this isn’t addressing the root cause and by decreasing inflammation without addressing the root cause, we could make things worse in the long run.

Consider these possible side effects:

  • Joint infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Thinning of skin
  • Necrosis of nearby tissue
  • Necrosis of nearby bone
  • Tendon and ligament rupture
  • Inflammation
  • AND – the risk of experiencing any of these side effects goes up with every injection

The reason I am horrified by the thought of cortisone injections in the feet specifically is because we have so many small bones, tendons, ligaments, TONS of nerves, lots of fascia, many small joints etc. The chances of damaging any or all of these areas is significantly higher than say, getting a shot in your knee or shoulder – IN MY OPINION.

And remember – a shot does nothing to address the root cause, and may simply kick the pain can down the road, OR make things worse if you experience any of the potential side effects.

Surgery:

I won’t go into detail on this since I’m not a surgeon, but as I understand it – surgery for plantar fasciitis is a plantar fascia separation. I take this to mean they are attempting to create space through surgical separation of the plantar fascia – and you can absolutely do this naturally, on your own, with a lacrosse ball (click here for the how to). However – tight plantar fascia is typically a symptom of the underlying issue and NOT the root cause. So even doing this naturally will likely need to be accompanied by other techniques as well.

In conclusion:

What all of the above have in common are NOT addressing the root cause of pain and merely treating symptoms.

Have you been “stretching” as a way to relieve your plantar fasciitis? Here’s why it might be making things worse:

As most of you know by now, I’m not a fan of static stretching for most people (for any reason, but especially not if you’re in pain).

I see a lot of blogs and videos out there recommending you stretch your calves and feet to relieve plantar fasciitis. I NEVER recommend doing this.

Here’s why:

The plantar fascia or heel is already irritated from tight tissue upstream pulling on it. So yes, the tissue upstream does need to be released. It’s the fascia however that needs to be ‘stretched’ and/or released, NOT your muscle fibers. Not only will stretching your calves not address the actual problem, it might make things worse.

Static stretching tends to pull on muscle fibers forcing them to lengthen in a linear manner. Much of the time your muscle fibers will resist being stretched like this, and in the case of plantar fasciitis it can often make your pain worse because you’re now pulling on the tissue that’s already irritated from being pulled on!

Plantar fasciitis is a fascial issue, and to get lasting relief it needs to be addressed by looking at and releasing key areas of fascia. So, looking at the calves is very much going in the right direction. But go after the fascia, not muscle fiber if you want lasting relief.

 

Break Up With Your PF™ - Say Goodbye to Plantar Fasciitis For Good!

Click for Course Details

If you liked this post please “like” and share it!

Subscribe on YouTube for new episodes every Monday.

For personalized help with head to toe pain issues, click here to schedule a private Skype consultation with Elisha Celeste. SIGN UP for exclusive email updates and get $15 off your first session.

Page 1 of 712345...Last »