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🔊 MULTIFIDUS - IT START CONTRACTING PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL MOVEMENT OF THE BODY
➡️ WHAT IS MULTIFIDUS MUSCLE
The multifidus muscle is one of the smallest yet most “powerful” muscle that gives support to the spine. Most people have the misconception that small is insignificant but it is not the case when it comes to this particular muscle.
Multifidus muscle is a series of muscles that are attached to the spinal column. These series of muscles are further divided into two groups which include the superficial muscle group and the deep muscle group.
The multifidus muscles help to take pressure off the vertebral discs so that our body weight can be well distributed along the spine. Additionally, the superficial muscle group keeps our spine straight while the deep muscle group contributes significantly to the stability of our spine. These two groups of multifidus muscles are recruited during many actions in our daily living, which includes bending backward, sideways and even turning our body to the sides.
Studies have shown that the multifidus muscles get activated before any action is carried out so to protect our spine from injury. Take for example when you are about to carry an item or before moving your arm, the mutifidus muscles will start contracting prior to the actual movement of the body and the arm so as to prepare the spine for the movement and prevent it from getting hurt.
In recent years, many studies have been carried out to identify the relationship between back pain and mutifidus. One such study was published in 2002 in the European Spine Journal. The objective of the study was to compare the level of back muscle activity in healthy controls and patients with low back pain during coordination, stabilisation and strength exercises.
Electromyographic activities of the back muscles, namely the multifidus muscles and the iliocostalis lumborum were measured when the subjects performed the exercises. The results showed that low back pain subjects, especially those with chronic pain, displayed significantly smaller multifidus muscle activity as compared to healthy subjects during the coordination exercises, indicating that over the long term, back pain patients have a reduced ability to voluntarily recruit the multifidus muscles in order to maintain a neutral spine position.
Also, with strength exercises, subjects with chronic low back pain had significantly lower multifidus muscle activity as compared to healthy subjects. Possible explanations for this finding could be due to pain, pain avoidance and deconditioning leading to reduced multifidus activity. Hence, as you can imagine, when multifidus function is poor, one will be more susceptible to back injuries.
💡 WHAT TO DO?
After understanding the important role of multifidus which contributes to good back health, it is wise to start giving more attention to IT. Doing some simple yet functional exercises will help to strengthen your back muscle.
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Happy New Year!
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HOW DOES LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE WORK? - TREATMENT FOR LYMPHEDEMA
Manual lymph drainage (MLD) is a gentle manual treatment technique based on four basic strokes, which were initially developed in the 1930’s by Dr. Emil Vodder, a PhD from Denmark. These basic strokes known as the “stationary circle”, “pump”, rotary” and “scoop” techniques are designed to manipulate lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels with the goal of increasing their activity and promote the flow of lymph.
The common denominator of all strokes is the resting and working phase. In the working phase of the stroke lymphatic structures located in subcutaneous tissues are stretched, resulting in an increase of their activity (lymphangiomotoricity). In addition to increased lymphatic activity, the light directional pressure in the working phase of the strokes causes lymphatic fluid to move in the desired direction, thus contributing to the reduction of the swelling.
Certain MLD strokes are designed to manipulate lymph vessels located in the subcutaneous tissues of larger body surfaces, such as the trunk, other techniques are better suited to be applied on contoured surfaces, such as the extremities.
Stationary circle: This technique consists of an oval-shaped stretching of the skin with the palmar surfaces of the fingers or the entire hand. Stationary circles can be applied with one hand, or bimanually and are used on the entire surface of the body, but mainly on lymph node groups (axilla and groin), the neck and the face.
Pump technique: The entire palm and the proximal (upper) phalanges are used to apply a circle-shaped pressure on the skin, operating within almost the full range of motion in the wrist. Pumps are primarily used to manipulate lymph vessels located in the extremities and can be applied with one hand or bimanually.
Rotary technique: This stroke is used on large body surface areas, such as the trunk. The entire surface of the hand and fingers are used in an elliptical movement during the working phase. Like the scoop technique, rotaries are applied dynamically, meaning the working hand moves over the surface of the treated body part in a continuous fashion. If applied bimanually, the techniques are alternating.
Scoop technique: Scoops are applied mainly on the lower parts of extremities and consist of a spiral-shaped movement. During the working phase, which can be applied with one or both hands, the palmar surface of the hand moves dynamically over the skin. The hand movement is facilitated by transitional movement in the wrist, combined with forearm pronation and supination.
Compared to traditional massage, the pressure applied with manual lymph drainage is much lower in intensity. The goal of these techniques is to manipulate the lymphatic structures located in the subcutaneous tissues. In order to achieve the desired effect, the pressure in the working phase should be sufficient enough to stretch the subcutaneous tissues against the fascia (a structure separating the skin from the muscle layer) located underneath, but not to manipulate the underlying muscle tissue. The amount of pressure needed in MLD is sometimes described as the pressure applied stroking a newborn’s head.
In the resting phase of the stroke the pressure is released, which supports the absorption of lymph fluid into lymph vessels. To achieve the maximum effect with each technique, the working phase with every stroke should last about one second and should be repeated five to seven times.
The overall goal of MLD in the treatment of lymphedema is to re-route the flow of stagnated lymphatic fluid around blocked areas into more centrally located healthy lymphatic vessels, which eventually drain into the venous system.
In the case of upper extremity (Fig. 1) lymphedema caused by breast cancer surgery, it is necessary to re-route the flow of stagnated lymph in the subcutaneous tissues of the arm around the blocked axillary area towards and into the axillary lymph nodes on the opposite side and the inguinal lymph nodes on the same side the surgery was performed. These groups of lymph nodes represent the drainage areas for the stagnant lymph fluid located in the affected upper extremity and need to be manipulated prior to initiating the treatment of the arm itself.
In the case of lower extremity (Fig. 2) lymphedema the stagnated lymphatic fluid is generally re-routed around the blocked inguinal (groin) area towards and into the inguinal lymph nodes of the opposite side and the axillary lymph nodes on the same side of blockage. As with lymphedema affecting the upper extremity, these groups of lymph nodes represent the drainage area for the stagnated lymph fluid and need to be manipulated prior to starting treatment of the leg.
The manipulation of these drainage areas with MLD strokes creates a “suction effect” in the healthy lymph vessels located in the drainage areas, which enables accumulated lymph fluid to move from a region with insufficient lymphatic drainage into an area with normal lymphatic drainage, and eventually back into the venous system.
Following this preparation, the extremity itself is treated in segments; the proximal (upper) aspect of the affected extremity is decongested prior to expanding the treatment to the more distal (lower) aspect of the arm or leg. This segmented approach ensures that lymph vessels located in more proximal areas of the extremity are properly prepared to handle incoming lymphatic fluid from areas located more distally.
In order to prevent reaccumulation of the fluid evacuated from the extremity, it is necessary that the MLD treatment is followed up with compression, which depending on the stage of treatment, is applied either with specialized padded bandages or compression garments.
Manual lymph drainage presents a unique opportunity for health care professionals to specialize and opens the door to treat and manipulate a variety of conditions associated with dysfunctions of the lymphatic system. However, the unique techniques of manual lymph drainage deviate considerably from traditional manual techniques and therefore require specialized training.
Credit: Joachim Zuther, Lymphedema Specialist
WHAT IS LYMPH?
The remaining 10% of the fluid that stays behind in the tissues as a clear to yellowish fluid is known as lymph.
Unlike blood, which flows throughout the body in a continue loop, lymph flows in only one direction within its own system. This flow is only upward toward the neck. Here, it flows into the venous blood stream through the subclavien veins which are located on either sides of the neck near the collarbones.
After plasma has delivered its nutrients and removed debris, it leaves the cells. 90% of this fluid returns to the venous circulation through the venules and continues as venous blood.
The remaining 10% of this fluid becomes lymph which is a watery fluid that contains waste products. This waste is protein-rich due to the undigested proteins that were removed from the cells.
The lymph is moved through the body in its own vessels making a one-way journey from the interstitial spaces to the subclavian veins at the base of the neck.
Since the lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump it, its upward movement depends on the motions of the muscle and joint pumps.
As it moves upward toward the neck the lymph passes through lymph nodes which filter it to remove debris and pathogens.
The cleansed lymph continues to travel in only one direction, which is upward toward the neck.
At the base of the neck, the cleansed lymph flows into the subclavian veins on either side of the neck.
THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM IS COOPERATIVE
The lymphatic system aids the immune system in removing and destroying waste, debris, dead blood cells, pathogens, toxins, and cancer cells.
The lymphatic system absorbs fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system and delivers these nutrients to the cells of the body where they are used by the cells.
The lymphatic system also removes excess fluid, and waste products from the interstitial spaces between the cells.
Arterial blood carries oxygen, nutrients, and hormones for the cells. To reach these cells it leaves the small arteries and flows into the tissues. This fluid is now known as interstitial fluid and it delivers its nourshing products to the cells. Then it leaves the cell and removes waste products.
After this task is complete, 90% of this fluid returns to the circulatory system as venous blood.
There are between 600-700 lymph nodes present in the average human body. It is the role of these nodes to filter the lymph before it can be returned to the circulatory system. Although these nodes can increase or decrease in size throughout life, any nodes that has been damaged or destroyed, does not regenerate.
Afferent lymphatic vessels carry unfiltered lymph into the node. Here waste products, and some of the fluid, are filtered out.
In another section of the node, lymphocytes, which are specialized white blood cells, kill any pathogens that may be present. This causes the swelling commonly known as swollen glands.
Lymph nodes also trap and destroy cancer cells to slow the spread of the cancer until they are overwhelmed by it.
Efferent lymphatic vessels carry the filtered lymph out of the node so that it can continue its return to the circulatory system.
Watch this space for part II
The muscle underneath your shoulder blade/scapula ... one of the 4 rotator cuff muscles.
WHY DOES THE SUBSCAPULARIS GET TIGHT?
The Subscapularis is a relatively unknown muscle among many people, however not knowing of it’s existence is likely to become problematic for an individual.
This is because the Subscapularis is very prone to becoming tight and shortened. When the Subscapularis, which is situated near the shoulder blade, becomes chronically tight it can bring several negative ramifications such as impingement pain and pinching in front of the shoulder blade.
What is the Subscapularis?
The Subscapularis is one of the four muscles that make up the muscles of the rotator cuff with it’s main responsibilty being to rotate the arm internally. If you stand up with your arms by your side then bend it to 90 degrees out in front of you, and then rotate your arm and forearm inwards, this describes what internal rotation is.
People who work a 9-5 job where they spend most of their time sitting will be prone to developing tightness in the Subscapularis. This is because the arms tend to internally rotate when we are seated with our shoulders hunched over in front of a computer. Rather than sitting up straight with our shoulders rolled back with a healthy balance between our arms being internally and externally rotated, we tend to position ourselves in the former.
Staying in a posture with our arms internally rotated for too long, will cause the muscles to adapt to this new position. In our case this means the Subscapularis will be positioned in a shortened position for too long. Over time this develops into chronic tightness in the Subscapularis.
How to Release the Subscapularis
The first step is to target any trigger points and knots which are causing chronic tightness in the Subscapularis. Then perform MFR (Myofascial Release) on it.
Institute for Integrative Healthcare - Massage CEUs and Articles
You call it a super power 🧙♂️ We call it massage therapy 🙌
DEEP PELVIC PAIN? IT CAN BE PSOAS MUSCLE TENSION
The psoas muscle may be the most important muscle in your body. Without this essential muscle group you wouldn’t even be able to get out of the bed in the morning!
In fact, whether you run, bike, dance, practice yoga, or just hang out on your couch, your psoas muscles are involved. That’s because your psoas muscles are the primary connectors between your torso and your legs. They affect your posture and help to stabilize your spine.
The psoas muscles are made of both slow and fast twitching muscles. Because they are major flexors, weak psoas muscles can cause many of the surrounding muscles to compensate and become overused. That is why a tight or overstretched psoas muscle could be the cause of many or your aches and pains, including low back and pelvic pain.
Structurally, your psoas muscles are the deepest muscles in your core. They attach from your 12th thoracic vertebrae to your 5 lumbar vertebrae, through your pelvis and then finally attach to your femurs. In fact, they are the only muscles that connect your spine to your legs.
Your psoas muscles allow you to bend your hips and legs towards your chest, for example when you are going up stairs. They also help to move your leg forward when you walk or run.
Your psoas muscles are the muscles that flex your trunk forward when bend over to pick up something from the floor. They also stabilize your trunk and spine during movement and sitting.
The psoas muscles support your internal organs and work like hydraulic pumps allowing blood and lymph to be pushed in and out of your cells.
During prolonged periods of stress, your psoas is constantly contracted. The same contraction occurs when you:
• sit for long periods of time
• engage in excessive running or walking
• sleep in the fetal position
• do a lot of sit-ups
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About Total Woman Total woman gym is a full service women only gym located in Belgravia in the capital city Harare.
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