Friday, September 14, 2007

The muscular approach to myofascial pain relief.

While it may not be the neurological cutting edge of pain and spasm relief my approach to reducing locked muscles and joints with the foam roller, vibration massage, pressure stretching( my version of ART) and static stretching still does quite a nice job for me.But then I have many more old injuries and scar tissue than most.

Case in point; despite knowing better in an effort to really hit my hips after a few days of not swinging I ended up 'squatting' my swings too much on Wednesday and, as is usually the case, ended up with some weird hip and leg pain. But this time on my 'good' leg, the right.

My right adductor,lower abdominal and hip flexor felt dinged and when I checked, sure enough the piroformis and other hip rotators were tight as a drum.It did give me a scare as I my back has been SO good lately and this reminded me WAY too much of the pain I got when I herniated L4 -L5 back in 2000.My lower abs locked up so hard back then that every step felt like it would tear them.Not fun.

To be honest the first thing I tried was the Z style hip, knee and ankle circle work that Andrea showed me at the cert. Granted I don't know what I am really doing with this( I have ordered the R phase and neural warmup dvds) but I got the gist of what Andrea was showing me. No go and things were locking down very tight. I am used to my left leg not cooperating but when my right side goes belly up I get scared.Every step caused my lower abs and adductors to yell at me.I knew my back was next.This had me worried.

So it was myo fascial release work with the ball, stick, foam roller and g5 massager as well as my Rifga stretch routine. A few hours later, when I got a hardy 'thunk' in my sacrum during sumo squat stretches, I knew I was on the right path to pain relief and I was right.The tight,spasmed areas released almost immediately.Did I go 'into' pain?Yes. Did the pain decrease and activate slower as I worked it? Yes. Was the affected area better almost immediately? Yes. Did the affected area stay better overnight? Yes.

And when I 'discovered' how tight my right rectus femoris and TFL were this morning during my normal foam roller assesment working that out til it didnt react made an even bigger difference in the residual stuff that I hadnt gotten yesterday.

When something"goes out' I am like a man possesed as far as getting back to full mobility and out of pain. I will work on an area for many, manyhours; as long as it takes, to 'convince' it to let go.The way I see it the muscles are holding the joint out of position and if I release the tension in the muscles it will release it's hold on the joint.Like chiropractic- in Reverse! It's been working very well so far and yesterday really showed me just how little pain I have been in lately. Yesterday was like old times- the bad old days, where nothing was in the right place and everything always hurt.

I experienced some very cool things with Z this last weekend and am looking forward to acquiring new skills with this technology. But I doubt I will ever give up my foam roller and massager.They may not be the best or the latest but they certainly serve me well and give me a sense of control over my body.
Find the spasm, kill the spasm, get the joints back to normal( or what passes for normal in my body).
I also realized that not having had trained since last wednesday made mondays and wednesdays workouts a pretty good load on ' fresh meat'.The last two workouts really put the emphasis on speed too and even though the bell is lighter the total forces are high.Just a bit sore; normal for the week after a cert. Adrenaline is depleted too. Time to drop volume and intensity and cycle back up.

Oh yeah,note to self: my swing is a pull NOT a squat, dummy. DONT forget that again.


Franz Snideman said...

Nice post! Does myofascial work help? YES, YES, YES x 100000

People are so quick to jump on other things and abandon working on muscles and fascia. Yes the nerves control the muscles, but muscles are much bigger and have the greatest surface area. Nothing,I repeat, NOTHING gets me feeling better than specific myofascial work!

Rock on Rif, you know what works for you and you do what works for you!

Royce said...

Its cool you are willing to explore the "cutting edge" as you put it. Z really interests me too. Bottom line though is if something works it works!! All of this side of health is pretty new to me.

Brett Jones said...

We have talked about this and I am with you - I am attending the R-phase this coming week and will be experiencing Z first hand.
Massage - when applied correctly - has a couple thousand years of validation.
Foam roller - when applied correctly - is a great tool.
Mobility work etc... is a another tool in the tool box.

Will it become a major tool in the tool box - we shall see.

Always plan a down week after a cert and don't squat your swings! ;)

Mark Reifkind said...

lol. that WAS down week work,lol. Just didnt think I would get so sore. it's easy to forget how much work you can build up to.

Mark Reifkind said...


yes it do and for me, with the huge amounts of pain I had I didnt care at all why something helped as long as it did.
which is why I will investigate and probably incorporate z work as well.
the drills andrea just showed me seemed to help quite a bit. very interesting to say the least.

BJ Bliffert said...

Talk about new tools in the box, I'm going to steal that cue, "Don't squat your swings!"

Very pithy.


PS, I love my roller, as we'll.

Mark Reifkind said...


when I was performance focused I always prided myself on being on the cutting edge of the state of the that I know so much more than what my body can do I really appreciate the simple things.
I have to remember z is about movement and I've always used as my first rule after a injury: restore full ROM as soon as possible.And try to move as normally as possible as soon as possible.
very exciting stuff

Chris said...

Very helpful post. Thanks

Jen Waak said...

I can't help but jump in here, because this is a fascinating topic for me. I'm finishing up my R-Phase cert, and what Andrea should have also told you was that the first rule of Z is "Never move in to pain".

So, when you lock down the way you did, you have no choice but to use the release methods you did. Then, you can use Z -- on joints that don't hurt or within a ROM that doesn't hurt on a painful joint -- to complete the rehab process. It's not that these other methods don't have their place -- this is another tool in the toolbox. The other idea is that eventually you get to a point where you become more resilient and less likely to hurt yourself because you are just plain moving better.

For me, 3 sessions (and the ongoing work at home) completely did away with 20 years of chronic (and often severe) back pain as a result of a car accident in high school. When I went through the RKC two years ago, you actually helped me when my back went out -- I couldn't do swings for any length of time (more than about 50 had me on the floor). I can now do 500 in a session and it's my grip that gives out first.


Mark Reifkind said...


lol,yes I have been told that by geoff and other z people but if I followed that advice I would never get out of bed,lol!
But I really appreciate how you are putting that; you are the first z health person to recognize that the other modalities have a place in the 'tool box' and that z doesnt superced everything else.
so great that the z has helped you, I remember your back going bad at the cert.this is very good news that you can now do so much more.
I am definitely looking forward to integrating z into my work.
but I have SO MANY old injuries, impacts ,scar tissue, adhesions and restricted joint ROM that Ihave to use EVERYTHING I can to stay mobile and strong.
thanks for commenting and stopping by. Please do often.

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