Soft tissues are muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and fascia. They can become injured for different reasons including an acute episode as well as repetitive or cumulative trauma. Whether the tissues are recovering from an acute injury or under constant demand from repetition they respond in similar ways, they lay down scar tissue. This is our body’s way of repairing and healing itself.
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When dealing with any type of knee problem we need to understand the relationship that the knee has with the other joints in the body, particularly the hip and the foot. It can be said that the knee is caught between the foot and the hip, and as such the foot, knee, and hip make up what is known as a kinetic chain. In fact, many of the muscles that act at the knee also cross either the hip or ankle joint. As a result of this relationship, with any knee problem both the foot and hip must always be closely examined as an abnormality in either area will greatly influence problems at the knee.
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When talking about injuries there are 2 main types – acute and repetitive. Acute injuries occur following a single event, such as a fall or hard collision. Repetitive injuries, like the name implies, occur slowly over time as a result of performing the same motion over and over again.
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Using heat or ice as a form of treatment is easy, inexpensive, and can be very effective if done correctly. These forms of therapy, more or less, help control blood flow. Generally speaking, ice is used to constrict blood vessels with a goal of decreasing inflammation, while heat will increase blood flow and ultimately bring more oxygen to tissues. Although there are many specific conditions that may require one versus the other, the timing of when each are applied is important.
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When you have back pain, whether or not to exercise may become a concern? Not only is exercise safe, but it is recommended. A typical response to experiencing back pain is to take it easy, either staying in bed or at least stopping any activity that is strenuous. While this approach is understandable and may even be recommended in the short term, when done for more than a day or two it can actually have a negative impact on how you heal. Instead, exercise is almost always necessary to alleviate pain and speed recovery.
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Poor posture of the upper back and neck will often result in pain, joint stiffness, and muscle tightness. The cervical spine and the supporting muscles become labored and stressed with a forward head posture. This is a common presentation when the chin protrudes forward rather than remaining in its proper position over the chest. At the spinal level, this can affect the joint movement which may result in wear and tear. An imbalance of the supporting muscles will most often result. The upper trap muscles are among those that become overactive and tight. Continue reading “A Simple Exercise for Neck and Upper Back Pain” »