Archive for Muscle Stiffness
Healthy adults can do kids stuff to remind our muscles how comfortable they can feel once again and again.
Pandiculation is kids stuff
Most of us began to pandiculate in the 7th week of our life. If we’re a healthy adult, we continue this very natural act to reset our muscles and movement system. This gives us comfortable movement.
If not, we can remind our nervous system of its former ability and bring it back to consciousness. This ability reminds us of our feelings of well-being.
The kids stuff we used to do fortunately has been systematized as somatics exercises which are gentle, easy reminders to self-adjust our muscles back to the comfort zone.
Kids stuff reboots our movement software
The systematic somatics exercises allows us to explore our internal terrain in novel ways which fosters the development of our brain’s motor cortex as well as re-eliciting our capacity in our sensory cortex to sense ourself at finer levels.
For instance, the simple act of breathing can be opened up merely by pandiculating ourself to improved health.
This type of kids stuff is relevant at all ages… and this type of kids stuff reboots our movement software towards better breathing and more comfort in our movement system.
Stiffness or stiff movements are learned over a lifetime and are replicated as a habit. Can we dissolve what seems like chronic or acute stiffness… you betcha we can. Remind ourself of the former kids stuff we used to do and we can feel the stiffness let go in our back, shoulders, and neck for example.
A healthy vertebrate animal moves with ease, grace, suppleness and in harmony since its movement system is coordinated and not bound up, down, sideways or held twisted.
Can we free ourself back to more harmonious states? Could some simple easy kids stuff be the ticket?
Paying attention to our internal state while we are moving allows us to recalibrate. Our body knows the way back to reset ourself to comfortable states. It’s simply a matter of kids stuff when you get right down to it.
In our earlier kids stuff moments we were highly engaged in a learning matter. Now, we can rekindle this relationship of movement, let go of it artfully, then we remember how we re-navigate our internal terrain towards ease in moving around.
Sometimes we can experience a flash from the past, we can bump into past difficulties and yet smooth things out. In any case, we are re-establishing a finer way to move and self-adjust our entire movement system.
The quality of a movement rather than the strength or force of a movement is what sets us free. The precision in which we can be aware of our internal arrangements is a path to greater ease and freeing up our muscles to regain mobility while restoring natural flexibility.
When we reacquaint ourself with the method or process of natural reorganization, we might keep doing this kids stuff for the rest of our comfortable life.
Kids Stuff Class for Adults
When we’re injured it might feel as if we’re beginning from scratch to move around. All the bracing, holding on and tensing may seem normal yet when we let go of our holding patterns more quickly, we reboot as we did as children.
You can join me for an online kids stuff somatics exercise class. All you have to do is listen and follow along to remind yourself of how easy, simple movements can unlock tight, stiff, holding patterns. The brain will take care of it in seconds.
You’ll get to free up the back, shoulders, neck and hips in our one hour+ kids stuff class where you can join us live or get the replay.
The groin stretch is yet another one of those lame stretches we’ve been advised to do to get the inner leg muscles to lengthen.
Groin stretch no more
In spite of what we know about stretching, many people and especially athletes still try to the stretch the groin muscles which pull the leg inwards or keep the thighs rotated inwards.
Groin stretch, the other side of the coin
Our attempts are most often futile since pushing on a tight area actually causes the brain to send a message to re-contract and tighten the tissues.
This violation of the stretch reflex happens everyday and prevents the groin muscles from truly being reset back to comfortable levels with minimal tension.
The pains we feel are often reflected in higher than normal resting tension levels.
Some people will even lie down and attempt to do a groin stretch passively… afterwards the brain has to re-contract to get back to its preprogrammed set point.
While the set points serve us, they can also be held in shortened, tight positions. By pushing a shortened position, the brain sends messages to re-contract and pull back to the set point thus not effectively lengthening the muscles we are targeting.
Muscles respond to messages from the brain and even the spinal cord when we quickly and reflexively pull away. When we shift to using the brain’s cortex, our muscles can be reset through a brain-body process which re-regulates tension in the muscles.
Instead of the groin stretch, we can use those groin muscles to gain length. This counterintuitive approach makes sense when we feel our way back to comfort.
This 2 for 1 approach readies muscles to be used and simultaneously relaxes them. A relaxed groin area is far more ready to be used than the tight, screaming groins many people endure.
The not groin stretch class
So instead of a groin stretch, we can learn how to artfully move the inner leg muscles in a variety of ways which will allow us to feel better at any time.
Tight inner legs may cause us to feel a tight band feeling around our back and even assist turning “on” the burning sensations of sciatica.
However, muscles don’t move in isolation, we can play with coordination sequences which engage both the legs and upper body to bring us back to more relaxed feelings.
When we’ve been pulled out of alignment through high tension levels, we can reset our body to bring us back towards balance.
A groin stretch itself is not enough to regain lost function and improve how well we can move without discomfort. We need integrated patterns which restores us. Different easy movement combinations in the field of gravity will do the trick.
By making little changes, we affect how we move as a whole, healthy being.
Please join our not groin stretch online class and learn how the brain improves brawn.
Ever bump into that unkindly way our body responds when a muscle spasms?
Those muscle spasms can feel hard as a rock and at times painful and annoying when it just stops us in our tracks or leaves us writhing on the floor trying to get to a phone to call someone to help us.
When muscle spasms happen we generally react by pulling away and trying to lengthen the offending signal of the stiff, cramping muscle.
Muscle Spasms at night
Have you ever woken up at night with a painful leg cramp or muscle spasms which get your immediate attention?
Whadya do? Stand on it, eat a banana, use heat, use ice, or take some muscle relaxants. People have even had the pleasure of drinking pickle juice when dealing with muscle spasms.
We have all sorts of remedies yet we are most likely dealing with a brain signal that is easily changed once we know how to easily un-lock the code and reorganize the muscles.
Quiet down the zoo of muscle spasms
What’s a charley horse? Who is your animal?
While the term usually is used for a cramp, muscle spasms happening in the leg have fun names from other cultures.
In Norway, it’s called a thigh hen and in Germany it’s a horse’s kiss. While in southern Italy, a donkey bite and in Guam, a rat of all things.
Makes you wonder what to call a butt cramp, a charlie donkey or just a pain in the a!*?
In other countries, it’s called ice leg, paralyzer, wooden leg, hard one, crutch and wouldn’t you know… cramp in the leg.
When we’ve experienced this varied and colorful sensation, we can feel the alarm bell go off and our muscles seem to be held in the “on” position.
Sometimes the signal can last for a moment, hours or beat intermittently for some time.
In many cases, our muscles have appropriately reacted with was is known as the stretch reflex.
When we pull our hands away from a hot stove, it’s a good thing to have a quick reaction which saves us from a burn.
On the other hand, the switch can be set “on” from a previously contracted muscle which most likely was already being contracted at a rate higher than the resting or neutral rate it can lie in to be used.
Many of us live with high tension levels or compensations of an elevated hip, over arched spine, or the countless others ways we can hold ourself together more than necessary. Our muscles will keep on going to a certain point.
When they are exhausted from our activity or stress thresholds and we push pass the tipping point, we can set off any number of muscle spasms.
When we push on a contracted muscle, the good news is that the stretch reflex reflexively pulls away. You ain’t gotta do a thing about it. The reflex happens.
Your spinal cord will pull the hand away from the hot stove just as you jerk in reaction to being hit with a hammer from the doctor.
When we get a muscle spasm at night from turning over, we’ve bumped into a reflex which comes “on” even though we were in our off mode.
Interesting how a movement, such as when someone merely bends over and reaches, yet throws their back into a full blown grabbing set of muscle spasms.
Or how about someone doing some exercise like abdominal crunches and “poof” there goes the belly into yet another specific train of muscle spasms.
Lock jaw, groin pulls, and runners who pull their hamstring muscles… ‘course some people do that merely from walking a little too fast too… are again signals generated from the spinal cord to protect us.
But what if we over-ride and self-correct the offending signal with our brain’s capacity to change how much muscles can actually output.
To quite down the zoo and terms for muscle spasms, we can use a little animal know to take care of it.
When is the last time you saw a cheetah running 60 mph and set itself off in muscle spasms?
While we believe the right amount of electrolytes and a balanced diet helps the nervous system thrive instead of “pull” one for the team of our muscles. De-hydration too hasn’t shown itself to be too convincing either as the cause of muscle spasms even though we suspect it so.
Healthy vertebrate animals remain limber, agile and flexible on account of the little pandicular maneuvers they do each morning and throughout the day.
The good news is that the process they use has been systematized as somatics exercises which treat muscle spasms and other painful muscular conditions.
To deal with muscle spasms is to use the brain, the one big muscle, to re-set the offending signals.
It’s really quite easy to re-set an over contracting signal unless you have no experience at it… but we all do since most of us pandiculated in our mother’s womb.
It’s like a dusty software file in our brain. All we have to do is re-access it with a little know-how and “poof” the signal of the muscle spasms tunes down.
When we get good at reminding the nervous system how easy it is to reset it, then you can drop all the ice, balms, muscle relaxants and take care of it on the spot.
The brain can reset the resting rates of overly contracted muscles through a simple process which you yourself can replicate in case muscle spasms happens to you.
“Please bring me your muscle spasms.”
You can now access this online class. You’ll learn how to get out of muscle spasms using a little animal know how.
You’ll learn how to apply a simple 3 step method which is a piece of cake to get since we already have the movement software built in. Again, it’s just a matter a accessing it in the brain and getting the brain to release certain chemicals of relaxation.
By using the brain in a precise way, we can relax muscle spasms and calm the muscles down naturally and effectively.
OK, there may be a pucker factor or two to go through but the end will be a painless result, easier movement and the self-knowledge that muscle spasms ain’t no big thing.
When you go out to do whatever physical activity you engage in and over exert yourself, what form of recuperation do you use?
Do you use a hot tub? Do you use ice or ibuprofen to soothe your muscles?
Laurie and myself thought we were going to play in an over 45 co-ed soccer tournament last past weekend and found out it was over 40 instead. What are you going to do at our age?
Preparation & Recuperation
Good thing we both practiced our somatics exercises in preparation. We also did them in between and after the games all weekend.
This method of preparation and recuperation allows us to move more freely after engaging our bodies in an activity that is not normal in terms of our human development. All the cutting back and forth while wearing cleats is not what the natural design of the body has been used for over time.
Wearing our joints down with this un-natural and at times risky movement activity can exact a price. We’ve watched over time how many people struggle.
Even this weekend, we are watching how teenagers are barely making it through one game of soccer, in spite of all the training they are receiving.
Makes you wonder how much knowledge is applied when it comes to recuperation even at this young age.
In our age group, while others were doing some stretching, using tiger balm and downing ibuprofens… I kept a keen eye on who would make it through all the games without hearing the usual complaints of stiffness, soreness, aches, and over exertion that is very common not only in playing in adult leagues but the extra level it sometimes takes to make it through an entire weekend-warrior competition.
With our gray hairs, we both comfortably walked away with a 3rd place trophy. We were both happy how our bodies held up in the 90°+ heat in Yakima, WA at the aptly named Sunburn Tournament.
Our Preferred Method of Recuperation
Our preferred method of recuperation, using somatics exercises, allows us to be able to successfully compete and not have any of the usual stiffness afterwards. We had other weekend plans in store for the drive back.
The fresh air felt incredibly well to breathe. It was odd that only a couple of hours before we played in the heat of eastern Washington.
We didn’t have to traipse around at some 5400 feet, instead we comfortably ambled about enjoying the 5th National Park in the U.S.
Nature has a way of restoring one’s health even after grinding it out on the playing field. It’s as if our recuperation was fostered by hiking in the clean mountain air full of alpine flowers and snow in August.
The following night we headed over to our usual over 50 fun league to play a more recreational level of soccer and once again our bodies were well recuperated so that we could enjoy playing at the indoor arena.
The indoor game is a different type of game than the outdoor version. The movements are shorter and sometime quicker on account of the ball bouncing quickly off the boards and glass. Our quick reactions and the ability to respond without being hung-up is vital.
Laurie’s son accompanied us. He also got to play in a game. As we were leaving, all 3 of us were asked to just stay one more game, so we played with the younger 20’s somethings.
Now in between games, I thought I was done for the evening and would enjoy one of those malt filled beverages that many people use as a form of recuperation. Little did I know that I was about to play once again.
On our ride back, our teenager complained of being tired. Both Laurie and I heartily laughed as we compared the number of games we all had played. The old folks had him 5 to 2 (and 98 years to 15) and neither of one of us were sore, stiff, or aching as a result.
Even Grandma knows how to wield recuperation
I cannot rave enough about how amazing our recuperation powers are when we use the brain using the simple somatic movements.
While it’s of great help to have a positive mind-set, it’s fun to see how the body just keeps moving well along for the ride.
Even grandma, who missed the last step of getting off of the boat on their boating excursion to Canada, twisted her knee and asked Grandpa to show her some of those somatics exercises he diligently practices.
Grandma, like the rest of us, found how quickly her own powers of recuperation came to the fore when she used the somatics exercises which gets the brain to release held states of contraction while improving muscular function.
Brain based exercises like somatics take the edge off of the muscular tension, stiffness, and the stress we accumulate. Now had I only known this when I was living with fibromyalgia, I might have spared myself the many years of chronic pain.
No matter, to move well… can happen at least at age 50 and beyond for others. I’ll let you how it goes when I get to 60.
My hunch is… in the next decade I’ll probably learn a little more on re-balancing the nervous system and refreshing the body with somatics exercises.
All it takes is simple, easy movements which remind the nervous system to calm things down a notch. The powers of recuperation and moving comfortably lie well within us.
Stiffness, schmiffness. Tight, tense, overly worked muscles can recover quickly using the brain and body.
While it’s true that muscles get shorter overnight, we don’t have to live with muscle stiffness as a rule.
To change muscle stiffness to muscles which are relaxed throughout the body can happen with what is called somatics exercises.
Muscle stiffness and pain often go hand in hand.
It’s no fun waking up every day with stiff, tight, or tensed muscles. Less fun when that tightness won’t go away.
You see, nature has set up a very elegant manner to deal with it effectively. In fact, Fido takes care of it in a way many of us haven’t imagined.
When he releases them, his brain sends the message to the muscles to get them to relax and take out the overnight muscle stiffness.
This seemingly simple practice may help us with getting out of pain from those tight, overly stressed muscles which continue to agitate us.
While we’ve been told to stretch, there is another way to get the muscles to lengthen just like animals do.
Fortunately, this is what is at the heart of somatics exercises.
The very act that animals do – engages a part of the brain to remind not only the muscles of their function. The brain causes powerful chemicals of relaxation to be released.
How muscle stiffness can be alleviated.
Simply pandiculating with certain movement combinations turns on the brain’s cortex to change tension levels so stiffness melts away. When you pandiculate
• muscle stiffness,
• the aches
• and the pains…
can go away by doing the animal thing in a lazy, conscious, simple way.
Let muscle stiffness be a thing of the past.
Come learn what we have from Fido. There is a systematic, yet fun, gentle, easy way to get the kinks out.
Animals do about 40-50 top secret moves everyday.
Good news is. We’ve got their system down to moving more easily so you can feel what life is like without all the stiffness. Plus, it works for any age since the brain is waiting to be accessed.
Join our online movement classes to end muscle stiffness for good.
Each week I get to witness people using a variety of methods like heat, ice, and various balms, just to soothe stiff, contracted, sore muscles.
Some people even chug down ibuprofen right before kickoff.
Other people keep wearing the same brace year after year and all of them are doing the best they can to release whatever discomforts and compensations their body is holding them in.
Even traditional stretching which is now known to weaken muscles is still being used.
Nature, however, has set it up so you can achieve relaxation simply using your brain and flooding your nervous system with chemicals to change the state of your muscles.
Merely by spending some time pandiculating yourself, you can achieve the state of calmness, serenity and being-ness with which your muscles will gladly thank you for.
What’s a pandiculation? It’s merely using your brain to change the level of stiffness or contracted-ness your muscles are currently experiencing.
All healthy vertebrate animals have this know-how. They feel their stiff and shortened muscles… then they pandiculate themselves out of it. Afterwards they are ready to move easily, freely and agilely.
So if lathering yourself with creme, popping some pills and wearing braces is working for you, by all means keep doing that…
If these interventions would give lasting relief, I’d be all over it, sadly they’re just band-aids.
Nature has the answer. We’re already set up to pandiculate to take out stiffness and feel satisfied afterwards.
Somatics Exercises, which are the complete reverse of everything else out there, uses pandiculation as the means to moving more freely. Taking out compensatory patterns which bind you and lead to the cause of your stiff, over contracting muscles… is a simple matter.
You can go ahead and keep being a stiff or use that knowledge to change the signals your brain is sending by the simple act of a pandiculation.