Sitting Is The New Bad Word

Sitting Is The New Bad Word

Sitting has become the new bad word. A long day at work means a long day of sitting – both at work and commuting to and from the office. The problem lies in not only how long we sit but how long we stay in that position, without moving around and engaging other muscles. We tend to stay seated for long periods of time which can change muscular tension and cause that tension to accumulate in certain areas. When these unprepared areas are held in one position for too long,  your body starts to adapt toward that position causing reduced range of motion, stiffness and often pain.

When we sit, the back side of the hip gets longer while the front side gets shorter, just as your elbow has one side that shortens and once side that lengthens when it bends. The muscle that gets talked about most often with the topic of sitting is the hamstring, more specifically the hamstring’s upper attachment to the pelvic bone. But it is also important to note that when you sit, generally that upper hamstring / pelvis attachment is actually longer while the hamstring’s other attachment behind your bent knee is shorter. The real culprit to hamstring “tightness” due to sitting is the lower hamstring portion, the portion that connects to the back of your knee. When standing, a straight leg extends behind the body about 15 degrees, while a knee bends 150-170 degrees. That’s a big range of motion difference and potential.

The area that moves the most, in this case the area where the lower hamstring attaches to the knee, has the most to lose or the most to gain! Proper stretching and keeping this important muscle limber will keep some of the aches of long work days at bay. If you leave out this important connection in your body, you will have a hard time finding true relief from those hours of sitting.

LYMBR Gave Me My Life Back

LYMBR Gave Me My Life Back

How one woman finally found relief after a serious horseback riding accident.
Lucia’s story, written by Christine Baer

Whether it was the stiff leather of the horse’s new tack or symptoms from undetected Lyme disease, Lucia will never know for sure. But something was causing her horse to be extra jumpy that day in February when she went out for a ride on a wooded, snow-covered trail in Bedford.

The first time that the truck backfired from a distant road, Lucia’s horse did something very out of character for the palomino mare. She bucked. “It was a vertical, ‘bucking bronco’ type of buck,” Lucia says. One that would be difficult to manage, even for an experienced rider, but Lucia managed to hang on. The second time, she wasn’t so lucky.

Lucia grew up riding horses, and the trail ride that day was one that she took regularly on her beloved Butterscotch, whom she has owned for twelve years. She rode five days a week, and the bond with her horse was strong. So the pain she felt when she landed on the frozen ground that day ran deeper than the shattered pelvis she suffered. “I was devastated that this creature did this to me.” It simply made no sense.

There was no cell phone reception on the trail, and Lucia knew that she had to find a way to get help. With no possible chance that she could walk with her injuries, she had no choice but to crawl, grateful for the cold snow that gave her some relief from the pain as she made her way to the road.

Eventually, a passerby found Lucia and she was taken to the hospital, where she learned that she had not only shattered her pelvis, but had three broken vertebrae and a torn hamstring, as well. She would spend the next two weeks in the hospital. But that was just the beginning of her recovery.

After coming home from the hospital, Lucia spent six weeks in a hospital bed at home, finding solace in reading, writing, painting and catching up on popular television series. But, with each day, Lucia realized that time was not improving the pain she was experiencing.

Still, her doctor insisted that the pain was normal, and prescribed physical therapy. Just five days into the protocol, Lucia’s pain was excruciating. She decided to seek a second opinion, and turned to a different hospital. There, she was told that her pelvis was not going to heal on its own. She needed surgery to insert eight pins and plates. This was devastating news, as Lucia would now need to spend another eight weeks in bed.

After the surgery, and now seven months post-accident, Lucia was still only getting around with the assistance of a walker, and she was still experiencing pain and weakness. “I was so broken,” she says. “I was at a point where, at age 56, I was accepting that I would never walk normally again. That’s when I found LYMBR.”

Lucia is passionate when she talks about the thing that made all the difference on her long journey to recovery – personalized stretch therapy. When Lucia walked into the newly-opened Darien CT LYMBR studio last June, she didn’t know what it was all about. But, she knew that she was willing to try just about anything to get some relief from the pain.

Certified stretch therapist Michael Eaton admits he was a little nervous to work with Lucia after hearing all that she had been through. Her long list of injuries was overwhelming. But LYMBR trains stretch therapists like Eaton to help people who need relief from sore muscles, over-use, and even injury.

“I could see that she had some discomfort when she first walked in. I remember it took a lot of effort to get on and off the table due to the injuries,” says Eaton.

“My body was so locked up from all the trauma and surgery,” Lucia recalls. “But even after the first session with Michael, it felt like a revelation that I might not have to walk like that anymore.”

LYMBR’s stretch therapists are certified, with over 100 hours of hands-on training, to use progressive dynamic stretching that helps improve flexibility. For Lucia, this was key to getting her life back.

“The first improvement I saw in Lucia was her confidence,” says Eaton. “Lucia came in very guarded and naturally protecting the injuries. After the first few sessions, she was floating in and out of the studio with a new glow to her.”

Due to the extent of her injuries, Eaton approached Lucia’s stretch therapy with great care and caution. He constantly checked in with her to make sure that she didn’t have any pain or discomfort during their sessions, keeping her informed about which muscles he was isolating and stretching. Over time, the two developed a friendship. “We talk about everything in sessions, from the latest trends to what’s going on in our personal lives. When a session is over, I’ll usually tell her what I want to work on for the next time. Lucia always responds, ‘Okay, you’re the boss. I trust you.’”

Three months after her first session with Michael at LYMBR, Lucia says she feels like she can overcome anything. “I can walk down stairs!” she exclaims. She is back to her active self, taking her dogs on long walks without the need for pain medication or a cane. She still goes in for a LYMBR stretch with Michael one to two times every week.

“Working with Lucia has opened my eyes and helped me realize just how powerful this work is…” Eaton says. “It’s bigger than just stretching people. I get to help people who have been living in discomfort for years feel some type of relief.”

Lucia won’t be riding any time soon. But she is still the owner of five horses, one of whom is Butterscotch. After the accident, a vet discovered that the mare was suffering from undiagnosed Lyme disease, which caused the uncharacteristic behavior that day on the trail. The two were reunited after the incident.

“When I discovered how sick she was with Lyme, and saw how overjoyed she was to see me when I finally visited her in my wheelchair, my disappointment in her was replaced by understanding and gratitude that my injury was not worse,” says Lucia.

“While I am very sad that I can’t ride,” she says, “I plan to just be around the horses and take care of them until I can. LYMBR has made me so well that I can do that.”

Stretching for the Mom-To-Be

Stretching for the Mom-To-Be

We all know about the importance of stretching, but how does a pregnant woman benefit from stretching regularly?  A  woman’s body goes through  so  many changes  when she is pregnant, from physiological  changes to anatomical changes, to allow for her baby to grow.  A mom-to-be  must  juggle these changes along with her busy life and stresses at work.   Proper stretching can help make this incredible journey a little easier and a little more comfortable.

The two changes that every woman experiences during her pregnancy are weight gain and breast growth.  With each passing month, the body naturally changes  its  center of gravity because of the increase in her anterior load – the extra weight being carried in the front of the body.  This shift causes many other shifts in her body:

  • The head sits more forward
  • Her shoulders round forward
  • The back curves forward
  • Her knees can become hyperextended
  • Her feet may become pronated

These changes and compensations trigger not only a gait and posture  change but can also cause  musculoskeletal  pain.  The most common pain associated with pregnancy is back pain mainly due to the change in the curve of her spine or sway back caused by the change of center of gravity.  The sway back can cause the muscles around the spine to tighten in order to stabilize the pelvis.  Other common pains are knee, hip, and joint pain. These could be caused by a combination of ailments: relaxation of the joints from hormonal changes, swelling, fluid retention and weight bearing.

Stretching these areas – shoulders, chest and lower body, will alleviate the  pain, help correct her posture, increase blood flow, and release toxins.

Stretching will not only aid in pain relief  but also will help the mom-to-be to relax.  Stretching promotes blood flow and flushes out toxins.  Along with the increase in blood flow comes an increase in oxygen circulating throughout her body, giving her a much-needed boost in energy.

Leah Goldglantz, creator of Leahsplate.com and also a LYMBR ambassador, added personalized stretching to her routine during her pregnancy.  Leah started getting stretched at LYMBR around the beginning of her pregnancy for lower back pain, tight neck and shoulders. Not only did stretching help her with musculoskeletal pain and release muscle tension, it also helped her to relax and reduce stress.  She said: “It was very good, mentally, for me during my pregnancy.”

When a woman’s body is properly aligned during her pregnancy, it makes a big difference when the baby arrives. Bringing her new baby home with a body that feels balanced and limber makes it easier to spend hours carrying, changing and feeding her new bundle of joy. We often recommend that new moms visit us after they’ve settled in with their new family so we can make sure the imbalances are in check and mom can focus on the joy of motherhood. There are new sets of challenges that arise with caring for a newborn, which we will cover in a follow-up post.  

Written by Julie Diaz. Julie is a Stretch Therapist in our Tribeca studio.

This blog is written for information purposes. Please consult your physician prior to scheduling an appointment at LYMBR.

Graceful and Active Aging

Graceful and Active Aging

Our bodies are designed to be very efficient and active. Yet as we age, our physiology changes. The aging process causes a decrease in bone density, skeletal muscle mass and a change in our movement patterns. Even a slight change in movement pattern could lead to muscle imbalance. Changes in muscle balance can affect the position of your joints at rest and during movement. We are also inclined to lead a more sedentary life. Muscles become used to these new positions that come with less movement, altering their length and flexibility. A study released in PubMed Central regarding Age-Related Physiological Changes stated, “degenerative changes occur in many joints and this, combined with the loss of muscle mass, inhibits locomotion.”

As these new limits are put on our bodies, we tend to avoid doing the things we used to love because the movements are more difficult, and we lose a bit of confidence in what our bodies can do. Proper stretching can keep you moving as you age and give you a better chance of more mobility, balance and enjoyment out of life.

Stretching has many benefits to the physiological changes that our body experiences as we age:

  • Relaxes your connective tissues and lengthens the muscles close to or at their original length. Thus, gaining muscle balance – the proper length and flexibility of muscles surrounding a joint.
  • Increases your flexibility which improves your movement patterns. Improved flexibility also improves energy levels and efficient blood flow throughout the rest of the body, supplying the muscles with re-oxygenated blood and nutrients.
  • Corrects muscle imbalances which is a result of aging due to loss of elasticity in our skeletal muscle mass.
  • Improves joint range of motion due to tight muscles from altered posture and a more sedentary lifestyle.
  • Reduces tissue trauma that may further lead to inflammation and muscle spasm.
  • Reduces risk of injury as movement patterns, balance and confidence improve.

One of our regular clients has made stretching part of his new routine. Over the years he suffered many injuries and suffers from back problems. Coming to the studio several times a week has led to tremendous improvements in his back and his overall mobility.

Ask anyone who is in the aging category and most will tell you they wish they could get more out of their bodies. It’s so important to keep moving, and to keep moving you have to care for your body to fight back against father time.

Written by Noah Moore, Stretch Therapist in our Darien CT studio

LYMBR Golf – Get Ready for Golf Season

LYMBR Golf – Get Ready for Golf Season

As winter comes to a close and spring tries to make an appearance, golfers in the northeast are eager to play their first round. If you are fortunate to play year-round in warmer weather, chances are you have many rounds under your belt, with many more to come.

Is your body up to par?

Every golfer knows the importance of a finely tuned swing and the need for flexibility, yet their body often resists.  The golf swing is one of the most complex motions in all of sports. It uses the entire kinetic chain to transfer forces from your feet, through your hips and back, to your shoulders and hands. It’s no surprise this motion can take a toll, causing sore muscles, and often injuries from overuse.

The primary objectives of the golf swing are to produce maximum distance, be accurate, and be in control through every phase of the swing. To do this successfully with less risk of injury, proper strengthening and proper mobility and flexibility are key. We designed LYMBR Golf – a stretching and strengthening program to keep golfers strong and limber.

Golfers perform a lot of repetitive motions and do so for long periods of time. During the backswing, muscles like the quadriceps, glutes and obliques are activated in the hips and core. When these muscles are working together properly, the latissimus dorsi and pectoralis muscles can efficiently be stretched at the top of the swing to the full position of the backswing.

During the downswing, the quadriceps, psoas, obliques and glutes are a couple of the major players responsible for creating hip stability, hip extension, and internal rotation. Speed in the golf swing is created through rotation. You can’t rotate efficiently if you’re tight and off balance. The pectoralis muscles and latissimus dorsi generate force and energy that will travel to the forearms. The forearms are very important to the swing as they will affect your grip and can be a factor in your drive ending up in the center of the fairway or in the rough.

In the follow through phase, muscle groups like the core and rotator cuff muscles take charge in deaccelerating the body after maximum power is generated. This is very taxing on the body and with the proper stretching and strengthening program put in place, these muscle groups can be conditioned to perform at a high level. Keeping these muscles in good shape will also aid in injury prevention.

The strengthening part of our LYMBR Golf program uses a series of resistance-based exercises to target these muscles that are so high in demand. Our therapist acts as a resistance force through a series of guided movements, keeping your body properly aligned during each movement. Resistance is applied to help achieve full range of motion in both flexion and extension movements.

Flexibility is equally important for a good golf swing – and many golfers come to us feeling like they don’t have enough of it. The most common areas we treat with our golfing clients are the low back, hips and shoulders. Long days in the office during the week sitting behind a computer while having to endure a lengthy commute, often hinders many. Maximal rotation in backswing and downswing is hard to achieve if your hips are locked up from sitting. Often, these muscles are tight and underused which will directly affect your swing and the way you feel swinging. It’s crucial to correct muscular imbalances and tightness before compensation occurs, throwing off the entire chain.

In order for your newly strengthened muscles to perform at their best, they must also be limber. For example, if you have strengthened your hip flexors to help power your swing load and turn, but the range that muscle can go is limited, so too will the power you hope to generate with that motion. When your hip flexors are able to assist in a full and smooth rotation, the power behind your swing will be optimal. This is true for all the muscles that fire in unison when you set your tee and hope to drive the ball down the center of the fairway.

Tiger Woods is a prime example of healthy play versus non-healthy play. We’ve seen him play like a well-oiled machine and we’ve also seen him end his day very early. A few years ago, he talked about not being able to activate his glutes and thus leading to low back pain. There are several reasons this could have happened. Possibly compensation of weak or underused glutes, poor posture or compression of nerves to name a few. These are things that can happen to anyone if the proper preventative measures are not taken.

Getting ready for golf season or trying to improve on your current season takes a lot more than going to the range and hitting buckets of balls. You will get a lot more out of your game if you invest in a program designed to hit all the major muscles involved in the swing. The right program will keep you limber, strong and playing as much golf as you wish to play.

Written by Michael Eaton. Michael is a Stretch Therapist and Assistant Manager in our Darien Studio.

Learn more about LYMBR Golf.