Home Self-Care Maintenance  

May 2013

I usually assign my clients some homework to do between sessions to maintain normal muscle resting lengths in shortened or contracted muscle groups, and exercises to strengthen opposing weak muscles. In most cases, if they don't do the homework, their pain and dysfunctional pattern will return within 48 hours.

After evaluating my clients, I treat them with a multi-modality approach based on soft-tissue and structural balancing, a system that helps me quickly identify the key areas of pain and dysfunction, addressing specific muscle imbalances and dysfunctional patterns that are usually the cause of their discomfort.

I use several approaches for relieving and eliminating acute and chronic soft tissue pain and tension from stress because no single modality is the answer for treating all conditions. Integrating several disciplines gives me the opportunity to treat a more diverse range of clientele in an individualized manner.

I personally do a daily 5-10 minute stretching routine specific to my needs, and I encourage my regular clients to discover their own routine--what works best for maintaining an active pain-free lifestyle.

In This Issue
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Stretch?
Strengthen Your Core
Did You Know...

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How much time do I need to spend doing my home self-care?  It depends on your condition and motivation. Most clients settle in on a routine that only takes 5-10 minutes every day. Moderation is the key.        
  2. Should I come in for maintenance, and if so, how often? I used to think that assigning my clients specific home-care stretches would be enough for them to maintain, but I've changed my thinking on this, because many of them will quite doing their stretching when they feel better. Most of my clients only come in when they have a new problem or a flare-up of a past condition. I now encourage some clients to schedule an occasional tune-up designed to minimize future problems and flare-ups.     
  3. What's causing my musculoskeletal pain? There are a number of possibilities, usually involving muscle imbalance from: overuse, under-use, poor posture-present and past, compromising positions for extended periods of time, past injuries, stress, etc. Please remember that pain could also be a symptom of a more serious medical condition that only your MD can diagnose.

Why Stretch?

Most of us have heard stretching is good for us, for increasing our range or motion and keeping the stiffness at bay, but we usually don't start doing it until it's prescribed for our rehabilitation.

Client self-care is essential for you to keep your new normal range of motion that was created during therapy.  Performing specific stretches to create normal muscle resting lengths in shortened or contracted muscle will contribute dramatically to maintaining your active symptom-free lifestyle, and only a few minutes a day are required for good results.

After lengthening your tight contracted muscles, it's equally important to establish muscle balance by strengthening your opposing weak, inhibited muscles.  


Strengthen Your Core

I thought I had a strong core until I did an hour of Pilates with an experienced instructor. I don't know what made me think it would be an easy workout. Whew! Was I wrong. It was a rude awakening to discover my core wasn't as strong as I thought it was.

Stedman's Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions & Nursing, defines core: Made up of the rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, internal and external oblique muscles. The muscles are used to stabilize the upper torso during movement.

Core strength and stability provides neuromuscular efficiency of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, and it's ability to control an individual's constantly changing center of gravity.

Client self-care, including focus on core strength and stability, is important for achieving treatment goals: Taking an active role in reducing contributing factors, prolonging the effects of treatment by stretching, strengthening, and becoming more aware of posture will usually improve the treatment outcome.


Did You Know?
The muscle that lets your eye blink is the fastest muscle in your body. It allows you to blink five times a second. On average, you blink 15,000 times a day. Women blink twice as much as men.

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