Did somebody tell you that peeing your pants while you exercise, sneeze, or run to the toilet is normal after you've had a baby?
If so, I'm here to tell you some good news:
This is NOT normal!
It's super common but not normal and there IS something you can do about it.
When I first met Melissa, she told me that she has two kids and wants to go back to her exercise class but is afraid....
"I pee when I work out and I can't stomach the embarrassment, not to mention I have had allergies this spring and every time I cough or sneeze it is almost impossible to keep my pants dry.”
Melissa is a forty-three-year-old busy mom of two kids (5 and 7). She didn't remember leaking being as pronounced a problem when she first had her kids but when we first met she was leaking all the time and was constantly worried that people would notice the smell. She wore pads and always always always carries extra clothes. The doctor told her after she had kids that the symptoms would go away but her youngest was five and it had only gotten worse. She joked around with her friends, and a few shared that they had the same concerns too. Melissa was afraid that this may just be a normal part of having babies but then it started getting progressively worse and she began to think about what life might look like as she got older...
Could this be happening to you too?
Ordinary incontinence is a loss of urine when you are not intending to go. There are three main types: urge incontinence, stress incontinence, or mixed urinary incontinence.
Urge incontinence is increased frequency... meaning that you go to the bathroom more than 10 times in a 24 hr period. (A normal range of frequency is 6 to 8 times during a 24 hr period). If you have urge incontinence, this also means you could be triggered and feel an urge to go when you hear running water... or even when you put the key in the door when you get home and automatically think you have to go so bad you're afraid you might pee your pants.
Stress incontinence is a loss of urine when sneezing, coughing, jumping, running ,or any kind of increased pressure to the system.
Mixed urinary incontinence is a combination of both.
Another important measure of health - in general, when you pee the urine should flow easily without discomfort in a good, steady stream until the bladder is empty. No pushing or straining should be necessary to empty the bladder.
Unfortunately Melissa suffered with this for a long time. She resisted taking medication because she didn't want to deal with the side effects. She went to the chiropractor and her acupuncturist but didn't see any improvement. She did kegels - all the kegels. Her doctor told her she wasn't a candidate for surgery until she was sure she was done having babies. Deep down, even though she knew she was done, she didn't want this one surgery to be the final ticket that secured her fertility future.
After years of disappointment, shame, and constant embarrassment she finally got the help she needed. Melissa gained a new sense of confidence and even new energy - she was finally able to workout (she calls her barre class her therapy) and felt like a whole new person.
Here's what helps Melissa:
By taking a big picture, full body approach to rehabilitation Melissa was finally able to heal and enjoy her busy life of keeping up with the kids. Today she is so much healthier because she is no longer keeping herself out of exercise classes.
If you have been struggling with incontinence for longer than a few weeks and you want to learn more about what the “root cause” could be…
Apply here to speak with an expert pelvic floor therapist at Empower PT & Pilates.
We'll schedule you for a free first 30 min session one-on-one with an expert pelvic physical therapist, where you'll get a chance to:
All you need to do is tell us a bit about what's going on through this quick form and we will have a conversation about how we may be able to help.
See you soon,
P.S. If you'd simply like more information, check out our free guide "Top 5 Secrets to End Embarrassing Leaking."
Summer is here and I'm thankful for the chance to get out with the family and get some exercise, all while enjoying fresh mountain air. The front range has some great hiking trails that are just a short drive away from Denver. Here are some of my family's favorite hikes to try out this summer!
Be sure to go in the early morning to avoid the heat. And bring lots of water!
Bear Creek Trail at Lair O’ The Bear Park
Lair O' the Bear, in our family’s opinion, is the best family hike near Denver. First, the drive into the canyon on Bear Creek road is beautiful. Once at the park you’ll find great hiking trail options, the cool water of bear creek, great parking, and some good picnic spots. There are open areas as well as shade. Our one big suggestion is to keep your kiddos close to you on the busier trail segments as this is also a mountain biking mecca. You'll find maps and parking information here. I recommend making the trek to Panorama Point if you have the time!
Chimney Gulch Trail at Windy Saddle Park
It’s a demanding hike up Chimney Gulch near Golden, Colorado, but the views at the top are worth the workout. This hiking trail crosses streams as it zigzags up the side of local landmark, Lookout mountain. Explore this hike profile for the trail map and all the details and tips that you’ll need to get out the door and hike Chimney Gulch.
Clear Creek Trail in Downtown Golden
The Clear Creek Trail in Golden Colorado is it! It’s got shade, the kids can bring their bikes, and you can finish your hike with a stroll around downtown. We might get some flack for calling this a hike, because it runs through the business district of Golden... But you can wear the soles of your shoes down on this one. Jefferson County even has plans to expand the trail several miles into Clear Creek Canyon, and construction is well under way. See more details about walking along the creek here.
North Table Mountain Trails
When the sun rises over the North Table Mountain, you’ll see this mesa rising above the town of Golden, Colorado. A vast network of trails awaits hikers, mountain bikers, and nature photographers. This is a perfect hike near Denver for when you don’t have much time on your hands but need some fresh air. While the trails on Table Mountain are accessible all year round, the best time to hike it is in early Summer when wild flowers start to bloom. Check out this detailed description of the hike, the Table Mountain trail map, and driving directions so that you can explore this unique Colorado hike.
Are you suffering from knee or back pain? I'd love to help you feel STRONG again, able to do the things you love to do... Set up a phone appointment with a physical therapist today to see if we are the right fit for you.
Let's put some miles on those hiking boots this summer!
Dr. Casey Murphy
Can you believe it’s already June?? Time hasn't felt quite the same recently. Is that just me?
Summer is in full force, which means everyone has gotten back outside to enjoy the beautiful (and today, HOT) Colorado weather. But with your return to biking, hiking, or gardening... especially after months of staying indoors on the couch.... you might be noticing a few new (or returning) aches and pains.
The past week I've talked to so many people calling to say their back has “flared up” again or they just can’t enjoy their favorite outdoor activities like they used to without popping pain killers.
Because so maybe people are suffering from debilitating back pain right now - maybe that's you, or maybe you have a friend you can share this with - I wrote you this blog with some simple tips to help ease those aches and pains.
Back pain is something you never think will happen to YOU... until it does!
You’re going about your day without concern. Then suddenly… you feel a twinge in your back and you know immediately that something is not right.
Your first thought is that it’s nothing and that it will go away on its own. You probably blame a poor night’s sleep or a muscle strain from doing chores around the house. The truth is when back pain “just happens out of nowhere” most of us have no idea or explanation to why. When it strikes, it leaves you suffering for longer than you ever imagined!
What do you do when the pain suddenly stops you in your tracks? Most people do one of two things:
1. Nothing... and hope the pain “goes away” by the next morning.
2. Resort to pain pills every few hours for days!
Neither of these are good options nor do they address the root cause of the pain.
So let’s talk about it – there are so many different ways of finding pain relief other than pain pills or rest. I want to share some options with you that I teach my clients all the time so you can find relief NATURALLY— without relying on pain killers!
My first tip to help ease back pain is to avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Look around, we all do it. However, this causes strain on your back as you twist and turn your hips and spine. Sit straight with both of your feet placed on the floor slightly in front of your knees. This will help relieve pressure on the spine.
Another easy one to fix is your sleeping position! Do you sleep on your stomach? This is the worst possible position to sleep in with back pain and it will prevent you from getting better… Avoid this position at all costs and you will sleep better and wake up with less back pain.
On the topic of sleep, try sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees and a small hand towel rolled up under your waist. This might be difficult to get used to at first, but if you can keep doing it, it decreases the amount of twisting and sagging of your spine. And if you sleep on your back, try placing a pillow or yoga bolster under your knees to reduce the tension in your lower back.
Your core muscles are a huge part of your spinal anatomy and are very important when it comes to managing back pain. If we don’t use our core with day to day activities and protect our back, we’re likely to experience more aches and pains further on down the road. Pilates can be a great tool for learning how to correctly engage and strengthen your deep core muscles.
In the same way that you brush your teeth twice a day to look after them, you need to look after your back. Try incorporating these simple daily routines to help ease and live with less back pain.
I can’t promise you that ALL these things will work for you, but I do know these tips have been proven to help my patients (and myself) to reduce the risk of back pain! If someone you know is suffering from back pain, please pass this information on to them as these tips will help!
For More Tips Download Our Free Back Pain Report!
When it comes to the CORE, most of us need to go back to the basics.
This is especially for YOU if you're athletic...
You have probably heard of the core and been told that it should be a part of your workout routine... right?
I find this to be true for the most of the people I see.
Everyone is aware that they need to add core strengthening or ab workouts into their life. However, most of them are doing exercises that are not beneficial (that’s for another post) and might even be harming them in the long run....
So we’ve heard about the core and we know we should do something about it...
But do we truly know what it is, why it's important, how to connect to it, and what is the most effective way to strengthen it?
As a physical therapist and Pilates instructor I have a lot of people coming to me for low back pain, running injuries, pelvic floor dysfunction, and shoulder or knee injuries.... and the common factor with MOST of these clients is that they have some sort of dysfunction with their “core”.
And usually it starts with a lack of knowing what the core actually involves (hint: it's not your six pack), how to truly connect with it, and what exercises are best for it…
"What do you mean, don’t I just crunch??” Not exactly...
Ok, so what is the core?
The core consists of four muscle groups: your diaphragm, your transverse abdominis, your pelvic floor, and the muscles along your spine called the multifidi. Together these all work together and form a cylinder-like system, kind of like a soda can. This is your inner core.
Your inner core system is responsible for regulating your intra-abdominal pressure as well as providing support, control, and stability to the spine and pelvis. In other words, this system is protecting you and preventing you from getting injured or suffering from back pain, hip pain, even knee or ankle pain.
And because most of us aren’t aware of the inner core, our brain isn't telling it to do it’s job... at least not well. This results in other muscles jumping in to “help out” and provide extra stability and support when those core muscles aren’t.
And this is no good - this compensation just leads to poor form, overworking certain muscles (maybe that “tightness” that you are feeling possibly in your hip flexors?), and eventually... pain.
Ok so I hear you already asking, “Why should I care about this, I’m doing just fine with my workouts/running/daily activities?”
Everything might be all fine and good now, but months or years from now all of this compensation may catch up to you.
If you have even minor back pain, hip “tightness”, any other aches or pains, had a baby, or had abdominal surgery.... there is a high likelihood you have a crack in your foundation.
But no worries, this is something we can help you determine really quickly.
If you're concerned your aches and pains might be caused by a dysfunction in your core - apply for our FREE 30 min Discovery Session (in person or virtually). In this session, you get to sit down with one of our specialist and get all of your questions and concerns answered - and there is zero commitment!
Just click here to apply.
Over 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. And many of those people will have recurring episodes of back pain. The pain subsides, they think they’re out of the woods and then 6 months later it comes back. And then it goes away….and then only 3 months later it comes back and now it’s not going away so fast. And so on and so on.
And the person gets increasingly frustrated each time the pain comes back and now they worry about it happening just about every day. They can’t enjoy the active lifestyle they once had because either they physically can’t do those things anymore or even if they can, they are afraid it will cause the pain to come back.
So why does the pain go away for a while and then come back?
Here are the 5 reasons I have come across most often in my 10+ years of treating athletes and active people:
1. You Haven't Actually Done Anything to Fix the Problem..
This is by far the most common reason people’s back pain cycles on and off. When I meet people and tell them what I do for a living (physical therapist), so many people go on to tell me about their back pain and how it’s annoying, frustrating, etc. And when I ask them what they have done for it, the typical response is nothing… or they've just been taking pain meds!
How can you expect your pain problem to get better if all you do for it is say a prayer at night and hope it will go away on its own!?
And the more people have talked to me about their back problem (really any problem), I realize that a lot of people choose not to do anything because they simply don’t know which of the many options out there is the best choice for them. And they’re afraid of making the wrong decision or confused about where to start. So instead, they live in this paralyzing state of indecision and continued pain that limits their active lifestyle.
This is why I set up my clinic to offer a few different free options to help people BEFORE they commit to us. It’s a way for people to learn what they can do for their problem and see what option works best for them.
Ready to actually doing something about it? Inquire About Cost & Availability.
2. Past Treatment(s) Didn't Address the Underlying Issue
Have you received some form of treatment in the past for your back pain, only for that pain to come back later?
There's a good chance that the treatment you received (i.e. injections, medications, unspecific/rushed PT, etc.) only took care of the symptoms (your pain) and didn't address the underlying reason for your problem.
It's like having someone help you bail water out of your sinking ship versus having someone help you plug the hole. It's the difference between constantly having to worry about it happening again and being able to enjoy the things you love to do without worry.
3.You Didn't Follow Through With Your Treatment Plan and/or "Homework"
There are times when someone is getting great treatment that is working on the underlying cause, but when they start to feel much better, they decide to stop the treatment plan early...and a few months later they're back in with a "flare-up." And this "flare-up" may have been avoided had they seen their treatment plan all the way through and not quit just when the pain went away. Remember, addressing the underlying issue is key!
Other times, people don't do their physical therapy "homework" - the tips and advice given to them to do on their own time. If you see us 2 x week for an hour each time, that's only 2% of your entire week. What you do in the other 98% will have a HUGE effect on your outcome.
4. You Progressed Your Activity Level Too Quickly
Another classic reason for someone's back pain to come back... they start feeling a lot better so they decide that a 10 mile bike ride is okay to do... even though they haven't ridden in a couple months. Or they're feeling good because they're finally back to their at home workouts... and they decide the "boot camp" class that's free on youtube is a great idea. Or a friend asks them to do a charity 5k with them... I men, it's for charity so it's got to be ok, right!?
You're probably chuckling right now... not because the examples are that funny, but because you know you've been guilty of this too.
I understand that when the pain starts to go away, you get excited to do the things you love again. Our job is to help you make sure your activity level makes sense with your treatment plan - both short and long-term.
Arrange a Free Phone Conversation with a Physical Therapist
5. The Rest of Your Life Isn't Healthy
You don't sleep well. You're stressed. You work too much. You don't eat well. You get the idea...
All these things play a role in your recovery and can affect your expected outcome - both the amount of relief expected and the time it will take to get that relief. We're here to help you find ways to live a healthier lifestyle year long, life long... not just for 3 weeks! Here at Empower, we're all about results that LAST.
So there you have it - the 5 most common reasons back pain comes back. I hope this article is able to help you make a better decision for your health and if you think a friend or family member would benefit from reading this (or needs to read it), feel free to forward it to them.
Let's work toward results that LAST.
P.S. Join us for a FREE Virtual Back Pain Workshop on Wednesday June 10th 2020 at 6pm! You can save your spot here - limited availability, so don't wait... we will see you then!
Do you sometimes laugh so hard that you pee just a little?
Are you always wearing a panty liner to workout or play with the kids “just in case”?
Do you feel like it’s getting weak down there as you get older?
Well, ladies... you’re NOT alone.
Many women suffer from what we call stress urinary incontinence which is just a fancy way to say you pee or leak urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump, or exercise.
This is very COMMON among women, especially those that have given birth, but it is NOT NORMAL. I will repeat that... this is NOT NORMAL and we can help.
You don’t have to live the rest of your life worrying about working out in groups. Or laughing too hard with the ladies. Or having to remember if you brought any panty liners with you. And you don’t have to fear the dreaded trampoline with the kids.
Those embarrassing moments CAN end and NEED to end!
You CAN improve this pretty easily, in fact... and I don’t care how old you are!
Why is this happening then??
Stress urinary incontinence happens when there is an excessive amount of stress on the bladder that the pelvic floor can not withstand. And this happens because there is a failure in one or all parts of the “system”, which is the deep core. I talk more about that here.
Please don’t ignore this.
The longer women wait the harder it will be to fix and the more problems it can cause. Most of my clients have put it off for 10, 15, even 20 years. But that’s not really their fault...they didn’t know any better.
They have never been told by any doctors, OBGYNs, or other health care professionals that this is a problem and that there IS help out there for it. Sadly, our society has totally normalized this issue because we are too uncomfortable to talk about and actually address it.
But not to worry! If this sounds like you and you’re thinking you’re doomed, think again. We have helped so many women that have suffered for years.
Take Kristen for example...
She is 43 years old and has three kids - aged 13, 8, and 6. She runs and works out a few days a week but has to wear a pad EVERY time she is active because she will leak right through it.
She was worried it would get so bad that she would be wearing pads all day every day for the rest of her life... and she isn't even that old yet!
When Kristen heard about us from a friend she was so excited that there was help for her...
After only a few sessions she had so much more confidence and LESS leakage! Kristen is no longer worried about the future of relying on pads or anxious about another embarrassing moment.
There is HOPE for you too!
If you’ve been looking for help but didn’t know where to turn OR you didn’t know there WAS help, then this FREE report will help you.
Or if you want to get the help that Kristen got, you can apply for our FREE 30 Minute Discovery Session where we can help you discover what is causing your problem and how you can fix it.
p.s. Difficulty getting a babysitter? Or a bit embarrassed about coming in person the first time? Apply for a VIRTUAL first 30 min discovery visit and start building toward the future now. It's time!
What are the 3 things you MUST have to
sport healthy joints and live pain-free & injury-free?
Without one or more of these you are at a greater risk of pain, stiffness, and injury....
Let me explain...
Flexibility is the full length of a muscle when stretched to end range (think how far you can stretch your hamstring). This is forced.
Stability is a joint’s ability to stay put when outside forces are acting upon it. Think of this as your ability to control your movement, like balancing on one leg with perfect alignment with zero swaying or ankle wobble.
Mobility is how much a joint (bone to bone) can move before being restricted by the surrounding tissue such as tendons, muscle, ligaments, and fascia. Mobility is moving your shoulder in a circle or your ability to move your hip freely. Unlike flexibility, this is not forced movement.
Now that you know what each one is…
Why are they important??
Well, they all affect each other. If we don’t have good stability we may lose our mobility. And despite what you may have been told... simply stretching will not improve your mobility. So yoga and only yoga will not keep you injury free... and in fact might even CAUSE injury.
We need all 3 to move and function at our best.
“True flexibility can be achieved only when all muscles are uniformly developed.” - Joseph Pilates
Does your fitness or workout routine focus on ALL THREE?
Does the treatment you are receiving for your back, knee, or shoulder work on ALL 3 of these?
Most likely not…
The focus on all mobility, stability AND flexibility in a holistic way is usually a HUGE missing component in many exercise/fitness routines AND even in some health and wellness treatments.
Here at Empower, when we treat an injury we focus first on making it feel better with mobility (massage, dry needling, adjustments, joint mobilizations, etc. Then we add flexibility (dynamic stretching exercises) and then we MUST teach this area to protect itself going forward, which is stability. This combination is what gets YOU lasting benefits.
Many treatment styles or methods only focus on one, maybe two of these components.
And the one that gets left out is usually STABILITY.
Stability is the control and protection of a joint, and we need this protection in order to stay pain and injury free.
Our joints need stability to feel SAFE.
If they don’t feel safe then, to compensate, we often sacrifice our mobility and flexibility to simulate that safety.
So that stiffness you feel (aka your lack of mobility) may actually be a stability issue - and it's not going to get any better if your trainer just keeps making you do mobility drills over and over and over again.
This is why the combination of working with an expert Physical Therapist and a certified Pilates-based rehab specialist is one of the best ways to improve overall movement, function, and physical health.
So if you’re constantly foam rolling and/or stretching and not getting anywhere...you might be missing an essential component.
If that weekly or monthly massage or chiropractic adjustment feels great but is only giving you temporary relief….you might be missing an essential component.
You may require expert help to figure out what other healthcare providers couldn’t do for you.
But here's the good news - with the right help, you will no longer have to deal with these injuries on an ongoing basis.
I help hundreds of people each year find and fix that missing component and get them back to better health and movement. By looking at the body more holistically and focusing not just on the symptoms but on the ROOT CAUSE of your problem, I'm able to get you lasting results.
If you want to know if I can help you, apply for a Free Discovery Session here.
This is a 30 minute visit with an expert PT to help get you started on your road to recovery - and, even better, we can do a VIRTUAL video call in order to get you started this week.
You've been dealing with this for too long already. It's time. Call us today.
Or join our next 8 week Pilates series - all about creating the perfect balance of stability, mobility, and flexibility to help you improve your posture. You'll stand TALL & PROUD & stop having to worry about your low back pain in the middle of the night. Join us!
Are you suffering from lower back pain? Maybe you've recently started working from home and are spending long hours sitting in your dining room chair... Whether it's a new discomfort or something that's been bothering you for years, lower back pain affects most people at some point in their lives. In a majority of cases, lower back pain can be significantly reduced or completely relieved with Pilates.
Nagging back pain can come at any age, and far too many of us are familiar with it. In fact, 8 out of 10 Americans will experience an episode of lower back pain at some point in their lives. It is one of the most common reasons for missed work and back pain sufferers are spending an average of nearly $3,000 a year in the U.S. on top of other medical expenses to try to combat it... and most of the time, they aren't getting any relief.
The good news is that most back pain isn't caused by a serious medical condition, but rather by everyday habits like poor posture, exercise, or simply sitting too much. And it can be easily managed by physical therapy and Pilates.
A combination of deep abdominal strengthening, postural awareness, and dynamic stretching exercises makes Pilates extremely effective in the prevention and treatment of lower back pain. However, it is also important to apply the techniques taught in Pilates into your everyday life. (You can read more about the many other benefits of Pilates here.)
The Pilates exercises below will help you to connect with your deep core muscles so they can begin supporting your back again and remove any added strain. To really feel a difference, you’ll want to do this routine 3-4 times a week consistently.
IMPORTANT: when dealing with any pain, it is always best to consult a physical therapist to get to the root cause of the problem before starting a program like this on your own.
Remember to go slowly and gently, and always listen to your body—you should never do anything that hurts!
If any of these moves do hurt or you don’t feel like you’re doing them correctly, I suggest you take advantage of our Free Discovery Session (now offered virtually!). We specialize in back pain and Pilates-based rehab and can help you discover exactly what is causing your pain in order to help you learn to move correctly.
Cat, Cow & Tail Wag
The Roll Down
Single leg stretch (prep exercise)
Looking for individualized Pilates instruction tailored specifically to YOU and your body?
Ask us today if you're the right fit for a 30 minute (free!) Pilates taster with a certified Pilates instructor. Now available virtually so that we can meet you where you are!
Do you find yourself wondering how and when you got so old?
Are you waking up each morning finding it harder and harder to get out of bed?
Does it take you a while to get moving in the morning or after sitting too long?
You’re not alone!
This happens to a lot of people as they enter into their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s.
So why does this happen…
There are 2 big reasons so many people experience joint stiffness or pain as they age.
As we enter into each decade of life we are compounding years and years of less than optimal posture, bad habits, and lots of wear and tear on our joints.
We enter into our 20’s and 30’s and begin careers and families that take up most of our time and usually lead to us being much less active. We run our kids around and sit behind desks for 8-10 hours a day. Even if we are engaging in regular exercise (which is of course good for you), our muscles do more sitting than moving and therefore they are not as cooperative as we need them to be during that run or weight lifting session.
This leads to compensation and a host of other problems.
Our muscles become less and less supportive of our joints and that’s when they begin to yell and scream each morning or throughout the day.
Another big reason for joint stiffness that the traditional healthcare system won’t tell you about is that our diets and environments have become more toxic than ever, leading to excessive and chronic inflammation in the body.
That inflammation in our joints does not feel good and leads to stiffness and pain.
The average American's diets consist of processed foods including chemicals, dyes, and sugar... foods that lack any real nutrients. This all-too-common diet is also full of inflammation-causing foods like gluten, dairy, and meat.... with far too few nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables.
All of this puts stress on our body’s immune system creating chronic inflammation throughout the body. The problem is, most people just accept this as a fact of aging and think that they just have to live with it!
And I’m here to tell you that is absolutely NOT the truth.
Here at Empower, we help people every day to learn how to move better, stay active, and create healthy lifestyle habits which promote quick recovery and renewed vitality.
In fact, let me tell you about my client Mike.
He was experiencing joint stiffness every single morning. This stiffness had gotten so bad that he had to take a hot shower and spend a few minutes stretching just to get moving in the morning. He has an active job and an active lifestyle but had to be very careful not to push his limits... or else he would pay for it for days and sometimes weeks afterward. He began avoiding the things he had previously loved - like hiking 14ers and running - because of this.
After working with us, not only does Mike no longer need to stretch AT ALL to get going in the morning... but he is more active for longer periods of time (with NO pain the next day) than he was 10 years ago!
So my question is, are you going to be one of those people that just accept pain or stiffness as a part of aging?
Or are you going to be like Mike - searching for a real solution NOW, so that you can enjoy the life you imagined for years to come...
If you have a little bit of hope and believe that you have more active years ahead of you - and want to really enjoy them - then I would love for you to apply for our free Discovery Session. We will answer all your questions about Physical Therapy, learn more about you and the lifestyle you want to lead, and together create an individualized plan to get you there.
It's a quick 30 minute session with an expert Physical Therapist, it's FREE, and you can schedule a virtual session too - no commute necessary!
There's no reason to wait. Apply for your Free Discovery Session today.
I don't know about you... but there are definitely several people in my life who have all of a sudden taken up running to get out of the house during this crazy time. Here are some things I want all my friends to know as they get out on their lunch break for a jog...
Why do some runners seem to always get injured while others are seemingly bullet proof?
Injury can be the biggest obstacle you face when trying to be healthy. You finally get into a routine of workout or running and BAM injury strikes! The first step to address this is being aware that you are injury prone and that you may need to CHANGE something in order to reverse this... which must be the case if you are reading this article.
The next step is where I come in, to educate you on how to take the proper precautions and be an injury free runner.
If you’re frequently injured, it’s time to take a step back in order to understand why you keep getting hurt in the first place. Avoiding injury is always best. If you feel yourself trying to “push through” pain or an injury and it’s not getting better or going away in 5-7 days... it probably won’t on it’s own.
But you’re in the right place - keep reading...
When it comes to injury, there are factors, like genetics and luck that are out of your control but there are WAY more factors that are definitely in your control.
Some people were just born to run! They were blessed with the right genes and seem to never be faced with setbacks. Then there are those that can’t seem to get past the first few weeks of running without achy knees or throbbing shins. Or training is going great and then just a few weeks before the race, injury strikes - forcing rest right when it's least welcome.
I see this sort of thing all the time and most often these injuries could have been prevented with a little more preparation and knowledge. Whatever phase you are in I can help you stay injury free and keep you running for the long haul.
Below I discuss the main factors that lead to injury:
Too much, too soon...
You could be doing too much too soon if you have quickly increased your training volume or session volume (i.e. training distance, mileage, or time) all at once. Too much too soon could also be a sharp increase in the number of days a week you are running. As a general rule, it is suggested that running mileage be increased at no more than 10% per week. It is also important you allow your body the appropriate rest time - the body needs time to adapt to the stress/load being placed on it. If the training load exceeds the body's ability to adapt, then injury occurs. 4 or 5 days per week of running with 2-3 rest days or cross training days is ideal. Studies demonstrate that individuals running 6-7 days per week had the highest risk of injury.
The importance of proper nutrition cannot be overstated! It’s critical in order to insure that your body is functioning at a high level and is capable of recovering from oxidative stress (which is directly related to the disease process). Most athletes focus mainly on their macronutrients (carbs, fats, and proteins)... however, it is micronutrition which is arguably more important for recovery and sustainability. These are your fruits and vegetables - your body needs them to prevent cellular damage and breakdown, keep your immune system strong, and allow ample recovery. You know how you always get sick right after a race? That’s a sign you are nutrient deficient! It is recommended everyone gets 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables EVERY SINGLE DAY and athletes need nearly double that because of the added oxidative stress your body experiences. And the only thing to reverse oxidative stress (which causes disease and cell damage) is the antioxidants we get from fruits and vegetables.
Poor Sleep Quality
Like proper nutrition, adequate sleep is a critical component to the recovery process. Again, a body that cannot recover fully cannot adapt to the training loads being placed on it. This impedes performance and increases your risk of injury.
Aside from too much too soon, this is one of the most common causes of injury I see in the clinic. And poor posture is all too common in western society as we sit too much, look down at our phones too long, and are constantly stressed. Poor posture can cause excessive loads on the body and create muscle imbalances and compensation. When you run on a poorly aligned machine it wears down much quicker. Think about poor alignment on a car - the longer you drive it the more uneven wear you are causing on the car and the tires. Any mechanic would tell you to get that fixed ASAP. Same goes for your body.
Not listening to your body...
Your body is an incredibly designed machine that wants to work as efficiently as it can. However, if we don’t provide it with the right environment (nutrition, sleep, posture, and proper training regimens) it can’t perform well... and your body likes you to know. Pain is one of the most common signs of the body letting us know something is wrong… it’s like an alarm system in a building, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Sickness is usually our bodies telling us we need more rest or better nutrients. Please, listen to your body when it is telling you something. Seek the professional help you need sooner than later. I can tell you - it’s a fact! - acting now will save you so much time and money. More importantly, you’ll be able to enjoy more of your days out doing what you love - running!
Although many muscle imbalances are due to poor posture, some can be attributed to other chronically repeated movement patterns. Often when developing a certain motor skill, one will practice and practice that skill only. This causes muscle imbalances to occur... which will ultimately result in pain. This can be easily oversimplified though. Muscle imbalances can form for a variety of reasons including: chronic movement (habits) or sitting postures; neurological input; overuse; and purposeful development.
Even running the same direction on a cambered road can cause a muscle imbalance over time.
Regardless of how the muscle imbalance occurs, once present, you are definitely at a higher risk of injury. In runners, I often see an imbalance in strength within the rotators of the hip. This can lead to altered movement patterns and excessive strain and stress throughout the lower kinetic chain. This often results in injuries like patellar femoral pain syndrome, shin splints, and plantar fasciitis. This is why cross training is such an important component to any training plan. With the right advice, training plan and cross training, you can avoid muscle imbalances and prevent injury.
In my opinion, Pilates is one of the best cross training activities any athletes can do to improve muscle imbalances and posture.
Stability refers to the body’s ability to structurally handle the load it’s being asked to bear. Poor stability can be a component of muscle imbalances, but not necessarily. When running, approximately two-and-a-half times your body weight is absorbed through each leg for each stride. The body’s structures (including the muscles, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones) need to have developed the capacity to handle the repeated stress of running. This is why it’s critical to incorporate a strength training routine into your running program. Unfortunately, the deep core is often a forgotten component of cross training programs. WHAT’S THE DEEP CORE?? It’s a crucial part of your stabilizing system and if this is not efficient, none of your movements will be efficient. I highly recommend being assessed by an expert to determine how well your deep core works. CLICK HERE FOR A FREE ASSESSMENT.
Like poor stability, this can be a component of muscle imbalance... and this imbalanced, asymmetric mobility can lead to injury. If you are either too flexible or too inflexible you may also be prone to injury. Too flexible? Is that possible? Yes! Often excessive mobility/flexibility is accompanied by poor stability and can frequently lead to injury. In the case of mobility, you need just enough to safely complete the desired task without over stressing and/or stretching the system.
So what can you do?
Let this be the beginning of a new, stronger you... not just for this weekend's race, but also so that you can keep running for years to come!
Schedule a free discovery visit and we can help find the right fit for you... an individualized plan to get you back on the road again. Maybe you need help with stability and finding your deep core, or help addressing the root cause of pain that is keeping you on the couch... whatever it is, let's develop a plan for YOU together. Here's to injury free running!
Empower PT & Pilates
We help you find a LASTING SOLUTION to back, hip, and pelvic issues so you can age with ease -without having to rely on painkillers, injections, or surgery!
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