More October Yoga: Tight muscles, thermal baths and my osteopath
I have a monthly standing appointment with my osteopath. It’s a lifesaver for me, because as I go about my daily life of practicing yoga, teaching, hiking, and other physical activities, things happen that cause parts of my skeleton to come out of alignment. I’ve mentioned before that I have laxity in my ligaments which can causes misalignments amongst the bones. My osteopath and I joke about how my “ligaments are just useless” and that I need to keep my muscular tone up to do the job that the ligaments are unable to. My problem is not unique – lots of people have lax ligaments also known as hyper-mobility.
Sometimes when the bones become misaligned, the discomfort can range on a scale of 1 to 3 out of 10. If I have fallen this can cause some discomfort in the 4-6 range. After my hip surgery in 2011, the discomfort tended to range in the 6-8 category.
I went to see my osteopath this week with a problem in my right hip and sacrum after luxuriating in a thermal bath last week that had those super cool and powerful jets that massage the body. I was focusing on my hip and letting the jet stream do its magic on the lateral rotators (Piriformis) of the right hip. About 24 hours later, I noticed that the whole right side was off. Ankle, knee, hip and shoulder pain along with some weakness started to show up. Not bad, but surprising and noticeable to me.
My osteopath and I had a discussion that was interesting and I wanted to share with you. He had seen that some people who had a massage on an area that was chronically tight, developed discomfort within a day or two in that area or another. He told me that if your body is holding muscle(s) in a contracted position to protect an injured, weak or unbalanced area and that muscle(s) is released, the area that it was protecting can become vulnerable. This can put a strain on the surrounding and supporting musculature and skeletal structures. In my case, some of the other bones became misaligned. My sacrum was moved out of alignment and my tibia (lower leg bones) moved out of alignment with the femur (upper leg bone). The end result? Lower back, hip, knee and ankle pain. All from releasing the tight muscles in the hip.
What this highlighted to me is that instead of trying to release the tight muscles of my hip I should find where the issue is and strengthen those muscles so that my poor hip muscles don’t need to work so hard.
Are you ready to deepen your practice to dive into these areas in your own body? If so, come and join me for a class.
Til next month –