Better than a Hamstring Stretch: Active Self-Release Technique

Better than a Hamstring Stretch: Active Self-Release Technique

Hamstring tightness is a very common problem among many of the patients in our Austin-area physical therapy clinic. And for most, simply stretching the hamstrings doesn’t result in much of a lasting improvement. Our active clients often tell us, “I do hamstring stretches like crazy, but they just never loosen up.”  Does that sound familiar? Aggressively stretching the hamstrings—or any muscle for that matter—without first loosening up the muscle and connective tissue, called fascia, can actually be a waste of time. But adding a simple myofascial release technique to the stretch, as shown in the video below, can make a huge difference.

Please note, if you have a hamstring strain, this stretching technique may not be appropriate and is no substitute for diagnosis and treatment from a licensed physical therapist. If you’d like to speak with an expert manual physical therapist about your hamstring strain or tightness, you can do so for free by requesting a phone consultation here, or simply calling/texting us directly at: 512-693-8849.

Overly tight hamstrings can lead to a variety of problems and can be involved in many common issues like low back pain, knee pain, and also be a precursor for a variety of injuries in these areas…. especially the stubborn, painful hamstring strain.

Active release technique that beats the old hamstring stretch

So please check out this video for a simple, but very effective “Active Release” technique you can do on your own. You’ll use a lacrosse ball to help quickly release those tight hamstrings. Please leave your questions/comments at the bottom of this page.

It seemed that every time I get over one injury, get healthy for a week, the very next week I would tweak or pull something else. This past Thursday, we were scrimmaging at the end of practice and I felt something pop in the back of my leg. Thankfully, practice was ended shortly after I got hurt. I went to Carter Physiotherapy the next day, and my therapist immediately knew what had happened, and was able to treat me for a large tear in the fascia of my hamstring. The treatment was very painful, as he pushed and manipulated the injured area, but I left the ONE treatment being able to run (which he had me do in the parking lot after the session).

He did a complete analysis of my body and showed me all of the problem areas that were leading to my injuries. I have worked with physical therapists in the past, through college, and after, and I have never ever been more impressed. If not for Carter Physiotherapy, I wouldn’t be fit to play this weekend, and who knows how long I would be out.

AJ, Professional Soccer Player

If you are dealing with tight hamstrings and would like to know how we can help, call or text us at 512-693-8849.

If you’d like to request a call with one of our physical therapists, Click Here.

Or click here to send us an email

Video Transcription

[Please excuse grammatical errors due to the conversational nature of the video]:

Hey guys! Jarod Carter with Carter Physiotherapy.

This is a short video on a great way to loosen up the hamstring myofascial. A lot of people crank into stretches, but it would be less effective without any conservative loosening of the tissues. Sometimes, the foam rollers broad flat service isn’t quite good or deep enough to loosen tissues in specific spots.

I recommend using a lacrosse ball. First, you sit on the lacrosse ball or a regular chair, a little bit of give to the surface if possible. You’re going to start high and go low. Basically, you’re going to put the ball into the hamstrings and sit up nice and tall. Second, you’re going to extend your legs forward with your toes pulled back. It puts tension in the fascia and tissues all the way through.

Next, you’re going to extend the knee as straight as you comfortably can to the point of a stretch, but not a hard core stretch. Do that repeatedly three to five times on each spot.

If you really want to get the entirety of the hamstring, do three or four spots on the lateral or outside of the hamstrings, then three or four spots down in the middle, followed by three or four spots in the medial or the inner thigh.

Specifically, it means you have to just find another spot on the lateral or outside of the hamstrings after you are done with one spot. You either move it down or up and extending until you feel a nice stretch. Keep the toes pulled back with three to five times on each of those spots.”

Again, we provide free phone and in-person consultations at our Austin manual therapy clinic so there’s no reason you shouldn’t get answers to what’s causing your pain or limitations from the active lifestyle you deserve. If you’d like to speak with an expert manual physical therapist about anything that’s holding you back, you can do so for free by requesting a phone consultation here, or simply calling/texting us directly at: 512-693-8849.

 

Is “Pretty Good” Good Enough to Avoid Re-injury?

Is “Pretty Good” Good Enough to Avoid Re-injury?

morning runners in AustinToday I’d like to share a cautionary tale about re-injury that we see very commonly in our physical therapy clinic. People who have been injured but are doing really well with treatment and recovering nicely will start to feel “pretty good.” They return to most of the activities that their pain was keeping the from. They get back on the trail running, playing with their kids around the house, or even go back on the golf course to play the game they love.

At this point, during a PT session, they will often say they “still feel it a little,” but it is not much of a problem. This is where trouble can begin…

Learning the hard way

We know from experience that “pretty good” is not good enough. But at this point, many decide that the pain is so minor, they don’t really need to continue treatment.

I’ll explain exactly why this can cause big problems and cost them a lot more money than if they’d just completed that last 1 or 2 treatments and attained 100% recovery. But first let me tell my own story of making this same type of mistake when I was younger.

I was in Mexico doing some work with local indigenous villages helping them build a school. I ate some local cuisine that I was assured was not washed with their water. 

As anyone who has spent time in Mexico knows, even eating eating produce washed with local water can create some serious health issues. I invariably got sick from the cuisine—which was amazing by the way.

This led me to come back to the main city to a hospital because I was getting quite dehydrated from the intestinal issue I was dealing with.

After meeting the doctor, I was given some antibiotics and told very clearly to finish out the prescription even if I was feeling better. Of course, being 20 years old, I took most of the antibiotics but stopped once I felt “good enough.” 

What happened next was predictable and quite common. Once I stopped taking the antibiotics, I felt terrible again. This is a lesson we sometimes learn the hard way.

When doctors of physical therapy prescribe a certain amount of treatment, the goal is to ensure every patient gets the right amount of “medicine” we provide.

If you see your treatment through its entire prescription, you give yourself the best chance of recovering fully and staying 100% better. “Good enough” is not good enough.

How quitting when you feel “pretty good” leads to re-injury

Symptoms, abnormal movement patterns, and weaknesses need to be 100% resolved. Consequently, if you prematurely stop your therapy, it leaves the door open for re-injury or the return of stronger symptoms.

This is because abnormal movement compensations/strains will still be occurring to some degree, and those can build up over time just like they did before. Stopping at “80% better” because you feel “good enough” and you’re no longer limited in your activities can eventually put you back to square one. Unfortunately, this can cost you much more over time and knock you back out of your beloved sport/competition or ability to work.

It is important to see your treatment plan of care through its entirety for these 3 reasons:

  • Pain is a sign that something is wrong even if it is minimal. When the pain is still there or it returns, it means something is still wrong and should be addressed quickly.
  • When you see your treatment through til you are completely pain-free, you give yourself the best chance of avoiding re-injury. And that means your pain does not come back in the future.
  • The body is much quicker to adapt than it is to heal. Adaptations can get in the way of us truly healing and staying 100% better.

So whether you’re getting treatment at our Austin clinic or somewhere else, see your therapy through til you are 100% pain-free. Then you will be able to get back to doing all the things you love. You don’t have to “just live with” pain … even if it’s minor.

Trouble Looking Over Your Shoulder? This Technique Will Help: Upper Thoracic Joint Mobilization with Patient Movement

Trouble Looking Over Your Shoulder? This Technique Will Help: Upper Thoracic Joint Mobilization with Patient Movement

We make a ton of training videos for our staff and other PTs around the world. Occasionally we share them on our blog so those suffering needlessly can see how our hands-on physical therapy helps others to get back to the active lifestyles they want and deserve. This video shows an example of techniques for Upper Thoracic Joint Mobilization with Patient Movement. This might be a great option for you if you’re having trouble looking over your shoulder.

If you have pain when you are looking over your shoulder and would like to know how we can help, call us at (512) 693-8849.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been seeing my therapist at Carter PT every other week for about 5 months. I’ve had ongoing, significant pain and discomfort with my shoulder, neck and back for over 3 years. I had been to other PTs, tried Airrosti, got massages—nothing has been nearly as helpful as my time with him. I feel he actually listens to me and really cares about me as a patient. He takes a holistic approach—examining and working with the entire body, since everything is so interconnected. He also helps to identify bad habits in day-to-day life, and form a plan to correct these to eventually stop these recurring pains from persisting or returning.

Each session is a totally personalized and hands-on experience. He spends most of the hour-long session doing manual therapy and will give a few meaningful exercises for you to do on your own—without overwhelming you with a laundry list of them.

After trying multiple Physical Therapy places that accepted my insurance and having negative to incredibly negative experiences at each of them (30 short minutes of people so obviously checked out, attention divided, giving me some exercise worksheets and sending me on my way, etc.), I decided I’d go see a PT that doesn’t accept insurance in hopes that I’d get better care. Best decision ever.

This is the first time in 3 years that I feel like I have an understanding what’s going on in my body and what we’re doing to solve the problem. After 5 months, my pain has significantly decreased, and I’m continuing to chip away at it with my therapist at Carter PT.

SARAH H, AUSTIN TX

If it’s after hours and you’d like to schedule a call with one of our physical therapists Click Here. Or you can click here to send us an email.

Upper Thoracic Joint Mobilization Video Transcription

(please excuse grammatical errors and the conversational nature of the transcription):

“We are going to work on some of these joints along here to see if it relieves the pain. Ask the patient to look to the left slowly. Do a left rotation of T1 on T2, working on the spinous process and holding to the side while blocking the lower spinous process.

After that, the patient resumes looking directly forward.

As we move the segment down, do that rotation again, holding it for a second or longer, and then come back to the middle.

Then the patient looks again to the left—and ask if it has changed anything to the symptoms there.

We should make sure that all the issues with both joints and soft tissue are improving because these kinds of issues sometimes come back when there are residual muscle spasms going.”

Soft Tissue Mobilization for neck pain – Don’t forget about the triceps

Soft Tissue Mobilization for neck pain – Don’t forget about the triceps

We make a ton of training videos for our staff and other PTs around the world. Occasionally, we also share them on our blog so those suffering needlessly can see how our hands-on manual therapy techniques can help  get them back to the active lifestyles they want and deserve.

If you are dealing with pain and would like to know how we can help, call or text us at (512) 693-8849.

Below is one such video showing an example of a soft tissue mobilization technique to address neck pain.

Soft Tissue Mobilization for neck pain – Don’t forget about the triceps!

 

 

It is my pleasure to write a review about Jarod Carter at Carter Physiotherapy… I have no clue how I injured myself—but I have had a high level of neck, shoulder, and arm pain for at least a month before I started seeing Jarod. The pain was so bad I lost all my energy and had some sleeping issues.

My X-ray showed nothing and MRI showed mild herniation of cervical 3, which is nothing serious. However, I am miserable and also have a huge responsibility of taking care of my 37-year-old disabled daughter. After one call, Mary, Jarod’s office manager, got me in to see Jarod the next day.

I’m a nurse so I’m trained to assess people in other fields of medicine. Simply put, after my first visit I was so impressed with Jarod’s training, skill, thoroughness, and professionalness as well. Jarod basically is as good as it gets, and I feel blessed to have found him.

Over the last six weeks Jarod has seen me twice weekly and I have improved everytime he works on me and advises me. After 6-7 weeks I’m almost completely pain free. I’m now seeing Jarod on a maintainence basis. He has helped me with my posture, added a cervicle pillow that has improved my neck support while I sleep and given me many helpful home stretches to keep my issues at bay. Jarod also has spent a lot of time improving issues I have with being a caretaker and how I can avoid injury.

Jarod Carter is just the best and as a professional I highly recommend him and his clinic.

PAM M, AUSTIN TX

If you’d like to schedule a call with one of our expert physical therapists Click Here. Or you can click here to send us an email.

Video Transcription

(please excuse grammatical errors and the conversational nature of the transcription):

“We are working on the traps, the infraspinatus area, and the posterior area  from the deltoid to the triceps. A lot of times with these neck issues, there’s tricep tightness. Likewise, there may be lateral brachial tightness of the tissues that are involved in the problem but often go unnoticed.”

Key Treatment Technique for Mid-Back and Neck Pain – Mid Thoracic PA Spinal Mobilization in supine

Key Treatment Technique for Mid-Back and Neck Pain – Mid Thoracic PA Spinal Mobilization in supine

We make a ton of training videos for our staff and other PTs around the world. We sometimes share them on our blog so those in pain can see how quickly our hands-on physical therapy can help provide relief so patients can get back to the active lifestyles they want and deserve.

If you are dealing with pain and would like to know how we can help, call or text us at (512) 693-8849.

Below is one such video showing an example of a spinal mobilization manual therapy technique.

Mid Thoracic PA Spinal Mobilization for Mid-Back and Neck pain, with patient in supine position.

 

 

 

 

The therapists at Carter Physiotherapy are miracle workers! A few treatments with them on my neck after it was aching and cracking for weeks on end and I have had zero pain since. Amazing. My neck hasn’t popped or cracked since I saw them. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me.

KARA R, AUSTIN, TX

If you’d like to schedule a call with one of our physical therapists Click Here. Or you can click here to send us an email.

Video Transcription

(please excuse grammatical errors and the conversational nature of the transcription):

I’m going to perform a very simple mobilization through the thoracic spine and the position of my hands is as follows: The two small fingers are going to be on the left side of her spinous processes. I’m going to bunch up my thenar eminence on the right side and then the spinous process will lay right in the middle.

Next, I’m going to do a general mobilization. There might be some pops. But I’m not going to be thrusting and going for pops. I’m just trying to gently move this area. Inform the patient of this, and ask them to let you know if it hurts at any point.

Let the patient lie on their back. Don’t let their arms cross at the forearms because we’re pushing and putting pressure through the arms, so that can hurt them if they’re crossed like that. So you place one elbow under the other. The patient must relax their back over my hand. Ask her to breathe in and out, relaxing gently.”

Incredible Neck Pain Treatment Technique – Distal Levator Scapulae and Infraspinatus Soft Tissue Mobilization with Patient Movement

Incredible Neck Pain Treatment Technique – Distal Levator Scapulae and Infraspinatus Soft Tissue Mobilization with Patient Movement

We make a ton of training videos for our staff and other PTs around the world. We share them on our blog from time to time so you can see how effective hands-on physical therapy can be in getting people back to the active lifestyles they want and deserve.

If you are dealing with pain and would like to know how we can help, call or text us at (512) 693-8849.

Below is one such video showing an example of treatment techniques for treating chronic shoulder and neck pain.

Neck pain treatment with Distal Levator Scapulae and Infraspinatus Soft Tissue Mobilization

 

I recently had a treatment by my therapist at Carter Physiotherapy for a chronic stiff neck issue that has plagued me for over 5 years. At the beginning of the treatment it was painful to turn my head from side to side and I could not begin to try and look back over my shoulder due to pain and stiffness.

After several minutes of treatment, on either side of my neck and into my shoulders, I experienced a range of motion that was greatly improved and the pain had subsided. They also gave me extensive instructions on three different types of stretching exercises and how exactly to perform the motion as well as how long to hold the stretch in order to keep the problem from returning.

I plan to return to Carter Physiotherapy to continue to work out the joint and muscle tension and stiffness that has built up over the years.

VICKY B,  KYLE, TX

 

If you’d like to schedule a call with one of our expert physical therapists, Click Here. Or you can click here to send us an email.

Video Transcription

(please excuse grammatical errors and the conversational nature of the transcription):

 

“We’re going to start slowly to the left. There is a lot of tension felt here at the lower segment of the upper trap, coming down here to the levator scapulae attachment. This is a pretty common line of tension.

I’m taking it past that attachment over the infra spinatus and infraspinatus fascia because the fascia doesn’t just stop at the attachment. As a profession, we’ve got to stop this habit of thinking in terms of muscles starting and stopping in one spot but rather think of them as a continuous structure connected by the soft tissue called fascia.

So after the technique, we retest the painful movement for improvement or changes. Ask the patient to look to the left as far as he or she can, and check on how the person is feeling.”

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