Schedule an Appointment Purchase a Gift Certificate Download Intake Form
Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT

Anterior Deltoid Stretch

Stretching the front of the shoulder in this very commonly injured area

 

The shoulder is actually a very complicated joint. While it is technically a "ball and socket" type joint, the "ball" doesn’t lock in to the "socket," as it does in the hip, for example. Rather, the muscles of the shoulder serve to hold the joint in place. This makes shoulders very mobile, but particularly susceptible to injury.

A number of clients come in to my office with pain in the "front of the arm", which is really the top of the shoulder joint, specifically, the anterior deltoid. This muscle is actually really easy to irritate; with sports, sure, but I've also seen a lot of clients come in with anterior deltoid pain from gardening, carrying heavy boxes, or even something seemingly innocuous, like picking up a heavy grocery bag.

Anatomy Lesson:

The deltoid is a large muscle that serves to wrap around the entire upper arm, holding it in to the shoulder joint. It’s often referred to as a large "cuff." Because it's so large, and the different sides of it perform different movements, the deltoid is broken in to three different sections, "anterior," "lateral," and "posterior." In this article, we'll discuss the anterior deltoid, that is, the front upper section of the arm.

The anterior deltoid attaches from the collarbone, near the pec, to the deltoid tuberosity of the arm, which can often be seen as a little dimple in the top third of the arm. It's responsible for lifting straight up in front of yourself with the palm facing backward (if the palm faces up, you're using your bicep). That action can also be described as pulling toward yourself with your palm down, like when pulling weeds from your garden (that's personally how I injured my anterior deltoid!).

The Stretch:

To stretch this muscle, we need to pull the clavicular attachment away from the deltoid tuberosity attachment. Since it lies so close to the pec, it's natural to feel like the standard pec stretch against a wall is the way to go. And it's very similar, but the palm is the key: When stretching the pec, the palm is pressed against the wall. To stretch the anterior deltoid, the palm is faced out:

Stand perpendicular to a wall and reach your arm behind you. You can keep the palm pressed against the wall at this point. Stand close enough to the wall to press as much of your arm against it as possible. Gently twist your body away from the wall, moving your torso more perpendicular to the wall, but keeping the arm contacted to it. Slowly and carefully spin your wrist so that your palm is facing out. Gently twist a little more perpendicular if you can, and you should feel a lovely stretch throughout the entire front of the arm.

 

 The poor anterior deltoid seems to get injured easily. And since we use it so frequently, when it hurts, we notice it. Give this stretch a try to loosen it up. But of course, if you're noticing pain and tension still, feel free to make a massage therapy appointment with me. I'll help you get back to pain-free in no time. I'll see you in my Westport office!

The Quad Stretch, Perfected

Nagging knee pain? Give this stretch a try

 

When clients come in to my office with knee pain (and the joint itself isn’t the problem) the quad muscle group is usually the culprit. Many of us know how to stretch our quads by pulling our heel toward our butt. But did you know that only stretches three out of four of the quad group muscles?

Anatomy Lesson:

The “Quad” group (so named because it has four muscles) consists of the Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis, and Vastus Intermedius. All four muscles attach to the back of the knee (Patellar ligament.) So from just this information, stretching the knee is indicated. But the critical differentiation is where the muscles attach at their upper (proximal) attachments. While all three of the Vastus muscles attach at the lower part of the pelvis, the Rectus Femoris attaches at the TOP of the hip. This key distinction affects how we can correctly stretch it.

 

 

 

The Stretch:

First, a definition: “Stretching” is, at it’s most simple, defined as moving the bony attachments of a muscle away from each other with the muscle straight.

When we pull our ankle to our butt, the pelvis will naturally tilt forward. When this tilt occurs, the Rectus Femoris is AUTOMATICALLY not stretching. In order for it to stretch (and it’s attachments to be pulled away from each other, the muscle needs to be straight. How can we accomplish this?

 

 

 

While holding on to something, straighten the pelvis by leaning forward as far as possible.

As you can see, this makes the Rectus Femoris completely straight from attachment to attachment, and ACTUALLY stretches the entire quad group.

When performing this stretch, most clients marvel that they feel like their quads are stretching correctly for the first time. It’s also fantastic for any nagging knee pain that might be caused by overuse of the quad group.

So the next time your knees and the front of your legs feel a little tight, pause, tip forward, and stretch that quad as completely as possible! And if all this still doesn’t work out the tension, it’s time to book an appointment for your next massage therapy session. I’ll see you in my Westport office!

Bridge Posterior Hip Exercises

A subtle way to help alleviate lower back pain

Low back pain is common. So common, that it’s abbreviated in almost all medical journals (“LBP”). While pain, and causes of pain are different for everyone, it’s worth checking posterior hip health when trying to alleviate tension. This is because the area that we commonly consider our “lower back”, actually includes the very top of the gluteal muscles.

Anatomy Lesson:

The area marked in this image is the small of the back (“lordosis”), making up the lower inward curve we have there. As you can see, not only are the muscles on either side of the spine implicated in this area, but the tops of the gluteal group (Glute maximus, medius and minimus) come up on either side of the spine. So when clients come in holding their lower back, the spinal muscles are certainly involved, but the tops of the glutes are usually tense as well. It’s also worth noting that when one has pain in the lower back, they typically move it less, leading to a pain cycle. That’s where these bridge exercises come in.

 

The Movements:

Begin lying flat on your back, toes in a straight line down from the hips.

 

 

Raise your hips up as high as possible, bending the knees, keeping a straight line from the chest to the knees, forming a “bridge”. If you need to, you can hold your lower back with your hands (but try not to!) Slowly lower your hips until they’re nearly touching the ground, and raise back up. This is one rep. Repeat 10-20 reps in this position.

Still want extra work?  Kick a single leg: 

A more advanced movement, which will affect more of the gluteal muscles, is to begin with your knees in a turned out position: Again, lying flat on your back, bring your toes together and allow your knees to bow out. Keeping the feet touching, raise and slowly lower the hips as before. You should notice the effort shifts from the very back of the hips to the sides of them. Repeat 10-20 reps again.  More advanced:  Kick a leg again: 

The most advanced movement is to combine these two exercises: Begin with the knees in a straight line from the hips, raise the hips, bow the knees out, lower the hips, and repeat. Repeat 10-20 reps again.

Whenever I feel like my lower back isn’t moving as freely as I want it to, or if my hips hurt a little while I’m laying down, I’ll spend the time to do these movements. Hip bridges truly do help your lower back function well. And if you find that you still can’t locate the source of your pain and discomfort, it’s time to make a massage therapy appointment. I’ll see you in my Westport office!

© 2017 Diana Remaley Massage Therapy. All Rights Reserved.
Powered by Pebble 2.6.4 | Login
Diana Remaley, LMT
Diana@RemaleyMassage.com
(203)292-5362
19 Compo Road South
Westport, CT