Over the years of you receiving my blog posts, the theme of “injury-free running barefoot” has been most prevalent. In reality, the work I do with clients reaches well beyond that. I am known as the ‘fixer’ – the one who can somehow figure out how to get you moving again – pain-free. After so many successes over so many years, I now realize that God imparted a special gift upon me – the ability to listen (believe it or not!), to ask probing questions, to ASSESS accurately what’s going on in the body and to correct malfunctions contributing to the source of pain. I also now realize that where so many different therapists, specialists and trainers fail, I succeed in spades. It’s quite simply what i DO intuitively – and this indeed is my gift.
Another example of my ‘fixing’ prowess occurred this week when one of my clients flew in from Florida (where she lives and trains almost full time now). She had strained one of the left hamstring muscles (the semitendinosus, to be specific) during a 5 kilometre Park Run 3 weeks ag0. The strain was deep in the belly of the muscle, preventing her from running without pain. With a Double Anvil race (yup – that’s TWO full iMs – 140.2 miles – back to back!) coming up on March 17-19, there was no time to ‘rest’. She had massage treatment in Florida BUT it did not fix the problem.
I had not worked hands-on with her in almost 6 months. Thus, I just KNEW she was asymmetrical, unbalanced and locked up – thus compromising her hamstring with every hard run. Once we got together this week, I set to work assessing all aspects of symmetry, balance and range of motion. She did not want to run for fear of aggravating her hamstring strain – it was that bad! Sure enough, her left leg (where she had the strain) was showing shorter than the right – unusual as she normally shows with the right shorter than the left. I introduced Michelle to the Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) – search this out for a precise definition – form of increasing range of motion in joints connected to her injured area. The use of a tension band was to teach her how to do this when there is no assistance.From there, I took Michelle through various PNF motions to release her injured hamstring and her healthy hamstrings with knees bent and locked (this made it more specific to key areas of herhamstrings). Her range of motion improved dramatically and there was NO pain!From there. I worked on releasing her quadricep muscles and hip flexors to balance off the work done on her hamstrings and gluteals.Notice the body position in each photo. The resistance is applied against my hands or shoulders and held for an 8 count before I release and then increase the range of stretch. Next, we focused on the hip adductors and abductors – my goal was to open up her anterior pelvic girdle thus releasing more of the pressure on her strained left hamstring.To get deep into Michelle’s hips, lower back and gluteal muscles, I took her through a series of PNF hip resistance movements (inner and outer regions to better isolate her groin and psoas muscles and ligaments) – somewhat stressful at first BUT highly beneficial in the end!! Her range of motion increased dramatically on both sides.It was only after all of this that I then put Michelle through my standard ‘unlocking’ process as I wanted to make sure I had the injured hamstring area released before putting it under Extensor Chain stress. From previous blogs, you will remember that these include the Functional Chain Trainer (for 3 minutes), Level 1 on the Health Bridges (for 5 minutes), Level 2 on the Health Bridges (for 2 minutes), the supine side to side leg swings, knee swings and knee crossovers (all 6 per side) and the left knee hip opening drill (30 seconds x 3 angles). Then, it was time to check Michelle’s symmetry and her ability to run with NO hamstring pain.As you can see above, she is now perfectly symmetrical AND she proceeded to run at gradually increasing pace with NO pain ANYWHERE. She commented that her hips felt ‘looser’ and her hamstrings freer.
She did a hill training session the next morning on top of an 8.7 kilometre run – again, with absolutely no pain nor restrictions for the first time in 3 weeks. Then, it was onto a plane and back to Florida. As I type this, Michelle will be into heavy trainig again for the Anvil race on March 17-19. I am also waiting for an update as to her injury- and pain-free status.
What I do is NOT rocket science NOR innovative. It’s HOW I do it that transforms people from injured messes to injury-free, pain-free active machines who will not become injured again!! I’m NOT a massage therapist, chiropractic, sports medicine doctor, physiotherapist, osteopath etc. I am simply an Exercise Physiologist who has an intuitive feel for how to unlock people and fix their injury issues.
If you are being treated for an injury and NOT being fixed within 1 to 2 hours, ask your self WHY – and then set up to work with ME!!