Osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative arthritis is a common condition familiar to many. In fact one out of three of us have a chance of developing OA. It is defined as the breakdown of articular cartilage which further affects the underlining bones and joints. The most commonly affected joints include the hips, knees, feet, hands and spine. OA can be caused by trauma, metabolic disease, congenital malformations and in some cases the cause is unknown. Clinical signs include pain, decreased range of motion (reduced flexibility), increased crepitus or cracking and occasionally joints can appear red and warm
What if I told your there was a medicine available that treats and prevents over 30 chronic diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Not only that, but this medicine could also make you smarter, happier, thinner, younger and generally feel better about your ability to handle all the physical and psychological pressures life throws at you. This medicine does have some limited side effects, but strangely, most people start liking the feeling of the side effects as they use the medication more and more. And to top it all off, this medicine was free.
If this medicine actually existed, you would beg me to tell you where you could get it. You would line up for miles to get your hands on it. It sounds like the medicine to cure all ills and you would want it, not just for you, but for your friends and family as well. If only this medicine existed…
But it does…Exercise IS this medicine!
Pain in my neck…..
Myofascial pain is refers to pain and aches in the muscle. We have approximately 640 skeletal muscles and any one of them can develop myofascial trigger points or as some people call them muscles "knots". Myofascial trigger points are small hyperirritable spots/nodules located in tight muscles bands. The main theory explaining trigger points phenomenon is a tightening of cellular components of muscles called sarcomeres. This group of shortened sarcomeres form an active trigger point. The sustained contraction of muscle sarcomeres also compromises a local blood supply causing loss of oxygen and nutrients and in turn energy shortage in the area. This lack of blood flow to the muscle fibres activates pain receptors resulting in regional pain. Trigger points can also refer pain to the different areas of the body. For example some trigger points in buttock muscles send pain to the leg, mimicking a sciatic pain. Their pain pattern happens in predictable locations and is well documented for various muscles.
Does this happen to you? You are out for drinks with friends and a joke is told and suddenly it's not so funny because, well, because you leaked a little? Or maybe you are like a friend of mine who said, no I don't really leak - except if I drink anything when I am running. Or like most moms, who will NEVER get on a trampoline again. Well, you are not alone.
Runners have got to be the most optimistic creatures out there. The personal drive and goal setting qualities of runners sets them apart from their peers putting them at risk of letting their overly optimistic nature cloud the apparent realities that this challenging sport puts one through. When challenged by friends or family about the toll that this sport takes on the body, the runner often digs into a defensive mode, spouting research studies and anecdotal evidence. Personally I am guilty of this too, as I see it as a natural protective mechanism to distract and dismiss because the flip side would question my future training and racing plans. I equate this to watching Clinton and Trump rally interviews with their overly devout supporters.