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Latest "Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems" Posts

Bye-Bye Back Pain By Practicing this Simple Back-Opening Breathing Exercise

Reducing Back Pain with Breathing Are You Ready to Take Action and Do Something About Your Back Pain?

Back pain can be anywhere along the spine from the tip of your tailbone, all the way up to the base of your skull.  Regardless of where it hurts, or what you’ve done to aggravate it – the truth is, that all anybody ever really wants is a quick fix to make the pain go away.

I know personally how life-altering it is to live with chronic back pain.  I was born with defects at L5-S1 and that instability has made maintaining my core strength a necessity to keep me healthy.  And if you’re low back is out of alignment, nothing stacked on top of that is quite right either so back pain can result anywhere from the bottom to the top.

If it’s not your low back that’s bothering you, it might be your mid-back, or upper back / neck and shoulders.  It’s nice if a chiropractic adjustment can get you back in alignment, but then the question remains – how long will your adjustment hold before it hurts again?  Pills and shots tend to mask the pain so you feel amazing while you’re medicated, and worse off when it wears off!

There are 2 critical things to pay attention to that can quickly begin alleviating your back pain problems. 

  1. Better Posture
  2. Breathing

Ideally our spine is designed to move freely in all directions.  When the bones are “out of balance” it restricts movement.   Muscles get into tight over-holding patterns, and the daily activities we do over and over sometimes only make it worse.  Muscles move bones, so getting the right muscle balance to maintain healthy body alignment for better posture really does matter if you’re serious about fixing your back pain problems.  We need stability AND mobility.

It’s nice to think, “ If I could just “relax” my back would feel better.”  But the truth is, it’s a combination of both work and release that will make the biggest difference to improve your health.  Right now that work/release balance for good posture is out of whack, and the only way your body can tell you there’s a problem is with a pain signal.

Improving posture is going to be a long-term project…  There is lots to become aware of, bad habits to replace with better habits, and never-ending opportunities to incorporate posture-improving exercises into your weekly workout program. If you’re interested in getting started paying attention to your current posture habits click here to take this Posture Quiz.

Now let’s talk about breathing: Keep reading and take in a few deep breaths.  Notice where the air is going inside your body.

  • Does your low belly stick out when you inhale?
  • Does most of your air rise up into the front of your chest? 

(Both of these not-so-hot breathing habits are contributing factors to low back pain.)

  • Are you able to take a full, deep breath, or are you a shallow breather?

If your back really hurts you might be compensating by not breathing deeply enough to avoid more pain (when in fact this choice is only making the lock down effect worse, and creating more tension.) 

  • Do you breathe evenly into BOTH lungs?  Or tend to fill one side more than the other? 

(Not breathing evenly, back muscles are not working/stretching evenly.)

  • When you inhale do you lift your shoulders up around your ears, or is the ribcage lifting and the shoulders are just riding along on the lift of the cage?

(If you’re actively hiking your shoulders up, you’re jamming your head/neck into your body compressing the cervical spine.)

Since so many people these days have forward head posture your poor neck and shoulder muscles are already on over-drive to keep your head from falling off your body, which is a part of why your shoulders want to hike up to begin with and why you may be dealing with neck pain, mid-back pain or both.

Poor neck! Poor shoulders! Poor back!  Have I gotten your attention yet?

Posted by administrator in Back Pain, Breathing.

Alleviate Shoulder Tension with These 10 Healthy Movement Habits to Help You Feel Great

Alleviate Shoulder TensionAre you sick and tired of aggravating neck and shoulder pain, and ready to change your habits to help alleviate shoulder tension?

I’ve had the opportunity to help so many clients over the past 20+ years teaching Pilates who have walked thru my door complaining of neck and shoulder tension, stress, chronic pain, or rotator cuff injuries.  It’s amazing how quickly things can improve with a better understanding of posture, breathing, body alignment.  Then getting the right exercises into your weekly workout program to reinforce healthy new movement habits and alleviate shoulder tension is the ultimate way to keep the pain away.

It’s a 3-Step Process to get your brain and body in sync for better health.  We don’t know what we don’t know. It’s impossible to make corrections or improvements with our movement habits to alleviate shoulder tension if we don’t realize we need to change, or have never been shown a better way to stand, sit, breathe, or move.

Step 1: Your brain has to be able to send the right message to your muscles. Cognitively understanding what needs to happen is the first step. If you don’t even realize that there is something you’re doing with a daily habit, task, or exercise that is creating the pain, OR that there is actually something that you can do about it, how on earth can you ever fix it? Your brain is the master controller for the rest of your body.  Your body sends a message to the brain that there is pain…  The brain is then supposed to help the body fix it!  How often do you ignore the pain and just keep doing what you’re doing? (or try medicating & masking the pain with a pill – so you can ignore the problem and hope it will just go away?)

Step 2: Improve Your Body Awareness. Being able to find and feel things working differently in your own body is step 2.  It’s important to be able to notice when you’re doing things right or wrong so you have an opportunity to make adjustments for better health.  There is a level of trust that needs to be restored between your brain and body, to improve confidence that if there is a problem, you acknowledge it, and will take action to improve the situation.

Step 3: Practice Good Posture and Healthy Movement Habits.  By applying better body mechanics to every physical activity you do, you get to put your new-and-improved posture habits into practice to help re-train the right muscles to support healthy pain-free movement; reducing your risk of injury and ensuring that whatever activity you do it’s safe and effective to help you stay healthy.  This not only helps alleviate shoulder tension, but helps develop a well-balanced body to keep your whole-body healthy!

Even when we’re sitting still, doing nothing, it can be challenging to alleviate shoulder tension!  Just thinking about things that increase our stress level can effect the amount of neck and shoulder tension we’re holding onto.  Being cold and shivering will wrap your shoulders up around your ears quickly also, and you might not even realize why it’s happening.  Too much time in front of your computer, sitting in a recliner watching TV, or bending your head forward to text message on your phone all are daily life activities that may be contributing to neck and shoulder tension problems.

If you’re tired of complaining about neck and shoulder tension and ready to start paying attention to what you’re doing along with learning how to take better care of your body, there is something you can do about it.  Yes, getting a massage might help you enjoy some temporary relief, but for lasting results it’s time to take control of your body and be pro-active to improve how you stand, sit, and MOVE.

Here are 10 healthy movement habits you can start incorporating into your daily routine to help alleviate shoulder tension.

Posted by administrator in Functional Movement, Shoulder Pain.

My Sprained Ankle Accident – And What I plan to Do to Improve My Foot Fitness

A Sprained Ankle Doesn’t Have to Become a Chronic Foot Pain Problem

Sprained Ankle and Injury RecoveryCan’t remember the last time I had a sprained ankle… It’s been 30 years or more.  My silly sprained ankle accident happened a week ago Saturday.  I stepped in a low spot in a parking lot and turned my ankle.  Really wrenched it!  My foot turned completely sideways and all my weight went on it.  I quickly righted myself, and limped for a few steps, then proceeded with my day, kind of amazed that nothing “popped” seemed to crack, or hurt very badly.  If it had been anybody else, (who doesn’t focus on foot fitness,) I’m guessing they would have been carted off to the emergency room with way more than a sprained ankle, probably a fractured foot, or lots of torn tendons and ligaments.

Is my foot 100% back to normal, not quite.  I overstretched things a lot! And I’m counting myself very lucky, it should have been so much worse than just a sprained ankle.  I’m still treating it gingerly to heal fully.  BUT zero swelling, zero bruising, and when I went to the chiropractor today, I have full movement, the joint is open, and he was amazed when I told him what I’d done.  My foot and ankle are only a little sore, with a tiny bit of inflammation which is so much less than I expected based on my stupid parking lot mishap. (Silly things happen to the best of us.)

Why am I sharing this?  Because preventative medicine isn’t just pills and potions.  There are so many things we can do to ensure good health.  It starts with learning how to listen to the body and take care of our daily needs.  Eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and daily exercise can go a long way to preventing illness and injury for a happy, healthy, and active life.  I was tired, I’d had a long workout, and wasn’t really looking at where I put my foot down when my accident happened. So know I’m dealing with the repercussions of my little mishap.

It’s important to listen to our bodies when something is not quite right, to allow the healing time necessary to keep injuries from turning into chronic pain problems if you really want to stay healthy.  This seems especially challenging when we’ve got foot pain problems, because we need our feet to take us where we want/need to go.  If you limp around on a sprained ankle, and do you really think it’s going to get better quickly?

A holistic approach to good health means one should pay attention to everything they do as our choices affect our outcomes.   “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” was Benjamin Franklin’s famous saying which holds true here too.  It’s easier to stay healthy, than to get your good health back.  Making wise choices with everything you do will help maintain your good health.

My question for you to consider today…

(I’m assuming that you’re already making lots of great efforts to improve your wellness) If you’re making great health choices for the rest of your body… What are you doing for your feet? 

Good health starts from the ground up!  If you want to fine-tune your fitness, improve your posture for better body alignment and keep all your muscles working well, please don’t forget about your feet!

What do I know saved me from a serious foot injury last week and has me dealing with just a sprained ankle?  The foot fitness exercises I do and teach!  Especially what’s listed below:

  • The Terrific Toe series exercises, and Standing foot exercises from the Fantastic Feet book
  • The Super-Ankle Foot Fit Board exercises
  • My lateral skate training, and Coreglide board classes at Bodhi Body Pilates
  • My weekly Pilates workouts with focused foot exercises including Footwork, the Stomach Massage series, and Running on the Reformer.

I’m so very grateful to be walking this week! But trust me, I’m not walking for a workout, or doing much in a full-weight bearing position. Giving my foot a little rest-break to recover, then planning to double up on my foot-care routine to ensure it’s a very long time (hopefully never) before something like this happens again!

*****

To take good care of your feet, and be sure you’ve got the resources you need to stretch, and strengthen your ankles, arches, and toes – I recommend you get a Runfit Kit.  The Runfit Kit contains all my favorite foot-fitness exercise tools and toys to help keep your feet in tip-top shape for better health. (Running is not a requirement, to get benefits from the foot-care resources in this helpful foot-care kit!)

If you already have a copy of the book Fantastic Feet, and have been doing your exercises, you can purchase the rest of the foot-care resources separately in the Foot Fitness section of the Centerworks store.

Posted by administrator in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Foot Care & Foot Fitness.

10 Smart Solutions to Overcome Injuries for a Quick Recovery

Overcome injuries with these 10 smart solutions to help speed up your recovery.Have you ever been challenged by an injury?  It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, whether it’s for fun, or work, to get fit, or compete in a sport. The risk of pain, and potential injury will always be present.  Learning how to overcome injuries when they happen, and learning how to work through them in a safe and appropriate way, can make a big difference in the success of your recovery, and your ability to continue leading a healthy and active life.

To overcome injuries there are a few simple steps you can take to help ensure a quick and complete recovery.  And I say “quick” but that word might not mean what you want it to mean.  I don’t believe it’s as important that you push to get back to 100 percent fast, but rather to focus on doing what’s best for your body, with the understanding that TIME is a very important part of the healing process.

Here are 10 Smart Solutions to Overcome Injuries for the Quickest Recovery Possible:

Posted by administrator in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems.

3 Trouble-Shooting Tips To Reduce Shoulder Pain

Tips for Reducing Shoulder PainShoulder Pain is a CRY for Help from your body!  Are you paying attention to what your body is trying to tell you, or trying to ignore the problem?

Over the years, I‘ve had my fair share of aches and pains in my arms and shoulders, (gymnastics and dance, and weight lifting involve a lot of upper body conditioning!)  And have seen lots of clients with a host of different shoulder pain injury issues.  Everything from “Frozen Shoulders,” Rotator Cuff injuries, shoulder impingement issues, “Broken-Wing Syndrome,” headaches, chronic upper neck and shoulder pain, and more…

For some clients, these shoulder pain problems  have been bugging them for years due to old sports injuries from baseball, softball, or other sports.  Other clients have gotten hurt lifting heavy weights in the gym, or over-training for a triathlon.  Some tried a little too hard to get a bigger stretch in their Yoga class, other folks for what they believe is no good reason, have developed nagging aches and shoulder pain due to simple everyday activities. (Computer work, carrying babies, driving…)  I even had one client whose horse reared up while she was holding the reins!  (A complete shoulder shredding, worst her orthopedic doctor had ever seen…She declined surgery and regained her mobility and strength with Pilates.)

It doesn’t matter whether your shoulder pain is due to an injury or accident, or just chronic overuse over time…  We need our arms and shoulders to be strong, and flexible to lift, tote, and carry things.  Nobody realizes just how much you use your arms, until it hurts to lift one!

Regardless of how your shoulder pain started, ultimately the question becomes “What can you do to reduce or eliminate shoulder pain?”  Here are a few insights to get you started…

  1. It’s always best to seek medical attention quickly.  Don’t wait for months and make things worse.  Popping a couple of pain pills and continuing your current activities, is only going to make things worse in the long run.  And FYI, Dr. Google isn’t the best place to seek medical advice.  Make an appointment with your REAL live Doctor – ASAP.  If you don’t like the medical advice you’ve been given, seek a second opinion, (or a third…) Surgery may not be your only option to reduce or eliminate your shoulder pain!
  1. Think a cortisone shot is going to solve your problems? DON’T DO IT!  While it might temporarily reduce some inflammation in the joint, it necrotizes tissue. (meaning it kills your tissues!)  That’s a part of the reason why they’ll only give you 2-3 shots in any part of your body and that’s it, if it still hurts after that, too bad…  All a shot is going to do is mask the pain so you think you’re healed and can do what you want.  Once it wears off, you’re going to realize how much worse you’ve made it.

Pain is the only way your muscles and joints can talk to you.  If something hurts, there’s a problem and your body is screaming at you to pay attention and do something to fix it.  Too often we ignore pain and try to muster on.  Start listening, and respecting your body.  You might have to make some adjustments in what you’re doing, for a while to work through the process of healing and reprogramming your habits, or better yet, give up the activities that are making it worse.  Ask yourself the all-important question, “Do I want to heal my shoulder pain problem, or do I want to continue to hurt?”  The choice is yours.

  1. If it hurts to move your arms and shoulders, there is something not quite right with your posture and body mechanics. As good as you might think your posture and movement habits are, trust me, there are things out of alignment that are prohibiting proper functional movement.  Your old habits are what set you up for injury, and without proper re-training, you’re going to continue to have shoulder pain.  Sure there are a lot of great arm and shoulder strengthening exercises out there, but done with poor posture, bad form, muscles not firing in the proper sequence, or movement not initiating from the right spot, you’re going to continue to aggravate instead of eliminate your shoulder pain.

I strongly encourage you to commit to working with someone who can help you get the right exercises in your weekly workout routine, done with good form and function.  Your investment in having an eagle-eye watching you and helping make corrections until you’re confident that you’re doing things correctly will be worth every penny, and help you eliminate your shoulder pain much faster.  Maybe you know the moment you hurt your shoulder, and there’s a really good reason for your pain?  But if you don’t know what you did in the first place that created your shoulder pain and it just crept in over time…how do you think on your own you’re going to be able to fix it?

And another thing to consider here when finding a mentor , therapist, or coach to help you is that just doing “shoulder and arm exercises” is probably NOT going to solve your shoulder pain problems. WHY you’re wondering?  Because the moving the shoulder and arm involves, the shoulder blade, upper arm bone, and collar bones.  And these bones can only articulate properly when the spine and ribcage are in the right place, which means good breathing habits, proper core support, pelvis in alignment, ab and low back muscles working, chest and upper back muscles working and releasing at the right moments, as well as work with the rotator cuff (shoulder muscles) and arms.  Developing healthy pain-free shoulders means getting the WHOLE-BODY to work together in harmony!  Probably not a quick-fix, but once you really understand what your bad habits are, and can learn better strategies for posture, breathing, AND shoulder and arm mechanics, you’ll be well on your way to not only improving your whole-body health, but reducing and/or eliminating your shoulder pain issues.

My client with the shredded shoulder…that was so badly injured she couldn’t lift her arm for months, but got full range of movement back with Pilates…  She called me a few years later and left a message on my phone, (“I’m in Alaska, and just spent the day ice-pick climbing!  Thank you so much for helping me with my shoulder, it feels great – zero shoulder pain!   I couldn’t have done it without you.”)  And recently, she’s taken it a step farther and transitioned into a career as a Pilates teacher.  Now she’s helping others because Pilates made such a big difference in her life.

You can reduce or eliminate shoulder pain.  But you’ve got to get the right concepts in your brain, and the right re-training exercises in your body.  With a little time, patience, and dedicated practice, it’s quite possible to feel better than you have in years!

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Interested in scheduling a Private Consultation to discuss how Pilates can help you improve your whole-body health and reduce or eliminate your shoulder pain?  Contact Aliesa Today!

Register now for the upcoming Stress-Free Shoulders workshop with Aliesa, on Saturday, May 7th, 2016 from 10am-1pm at Bodhi Body Pilates.   Download the Spring Training Series Workshop Flyer, then Contact Aliesa to Reserve Your Spot this Awesome Workshop.

Posted by administrator in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Shoulder Pain.

Rossiter Workshop – Alleviating Pain, Restoring Mobility

Wichita-Rossiter Workshop_Level 1: May 2-3-2015 Rossiter Stretching - Calf Exercise

Rossiter®  –  Mobility Restored – Pain GONE.

Have you heard of Rossiter® Stretching techniques? Even if you haven’t, you might be interested in attending the upcoming Rossiter Workshop.

I knew nothing about the Rossiter system until about 2 years ago.  I was at the Pilates Method Alliance conference strolling around the Expo floor, and there was a booth with a guy, Chuck Lubeck, offering to step on me!  After watching a few other brave folks plop down on the floor and then stand up wide-eyed amazed at how much better they felt, I got in line, and got “Rossitered.”  After one very quick and simple exercise, I stood up and literally one leg was 2-3 inches longer than the other.  It was shocking how quickly my body responded to this technique for fascia release.  I was hooked, asked Chuck  to work on my other leg to even me up, and I was instantly interested in learning more!

Before I walked off, I picked up the flyer on the table, and looked at the info to learn more about Rossiter training. I discovered that there was a Unit 1 Rossiter workshop happening only a few hours from my home 2 weeks later.  I registered immediately, and managed to get a few of my fellow Pilates teachers  and students to join me.  That was almost 2 years ago,  and while I haven’t turned Rossiter stretching into my main occupation, it has become a very valuable tool in my arsenal for helping my Pilates clients improve functional movement patterns, and reduce pain.

Why am I telling you this?  Because I thing Rossiter Stretching is a very powerful technique, that can be easily learned and can enhance any current modality – whether you are a Pilates teacher, like me, or a personal trainer, yoga teacher, PT, Chiropractor, massage therapist, athletic trainer, sports coach, you can easily incorporate Rossiter techniques into your practice.  Heck, I even had one of my Pilates students take the course, and she has had more fun, and gotten great results just helping her family members.

Richard Rossiter has created some of the most powerful techniques known to alleviate pain.  If you don’t have pain, the Rossiter system techniques can be used as a tool to keep you healthy and pain-free.  If you DO have pain, Rossiter system techniques may be a very valuable modality to help improve mobility and reduce or eliminate pain.  All you hard-core athletes, runners, Cross-Fit participants, office athletes-stuck sitting at a desk too many hours a day, laborers who have the unfortunate job of a repetitive motion task day-in, day-out, hair-dressers, dentists, bodyworkers who give to others and who’s hands, arms and shoulders are shot from taking care of everybody else…  I can’t think of a job, occupation, or sport who’s participants couldn’t benefit from Rossiter stretching session.

How does it work?

The Rossiter system techniques help restore the natural “space” inside the body.  It’s difficult to explain, and really needs to be experienced!  But if you think about a shrink-wrapped package of chicken breasts, the meat is locked in tight and immobile.  When you take the meat out of the packaging, it is supple, loose, and mobile.  This is kind of what happens during a Rossiter stretching session.  Your Rossiter Coach will use their foot for “weight” to anchor one end of a muscle.  You’ll then be coached through a series of simple movements.  After each exercise, you’ll assess the changes so you can notice the differences between what’s been worked on, and how it affects the rest of your body.  Rossiter stretching techniques, help restore the “space” inside your muscles, so that tight connective tissue (the “shrink-wrap” of our body) doesn’t restrict movement and create compensation patterns or pain.

Is Rossiter for everybody – NO.  If you’ve got serious health issues, have had surgery or have had cortisone shots on the area you need work, or are on pain medications (which do not allow you to “feel” pain or use proper judgment for safe exercise/movement), then this technique may not be appropriate for you.  But such is the case for everything, Pilates, Yoga, stretching, or exercise in general.  Not everything is for every body.  What’s important is that you are aware of what you can and should do to maintain/improve your health, and what activities or modalities you need to do with caution, or avoid to stay healthy.

I truly believe that the more things we have in our “bag of tricks” or can use as resources to maintain or improve our health, is a good thing.  And the Rossiter system techniques might be a good, or really great thing for you!

If you’re local and in Wichita, and would like to experience a Rossiter stretching session, please contact me for appointment availability and details.

And if after reading this brief little article about how much I love the Rossiter system, you’re thinking you’d like to hop in with both feet, you’ll be happy to know that NO Experience is Necessary to sign up for the Unit 1 Workshop.  And as luck would have it, there will be a workshop IN WICHITA on May 2-3, 2015, and it’s being taught by the creator himself, Richard Rossiter!   (Full disclosure: The Rossiter® organization offers an incentive for Referrals, so if you happen to register for the upcoming Wichita Workshop, or any workshop, and put me, Aliesa George-Centerworks, down as the person that sent you,  I’ll get a little kick-back reward.) 

But regardless of if you’re kind enough to use my name as a referral, I think that the Rossiter® Techniques are Amazing, and well worth learning as a lay person, or health professional!
Click Here for Details and to Register for the Upcoming Unit 1 Rossiter® Workshop.

Download PDF Flyer for Wichita Workshop

Posted by Aliesa George in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Workshops.

10 Pilates Moves to Alleviate Back Pain: Don’t Do These…

Why these 10 Pilates Moves to Alleviate Back Pain, just might make your back feel worse instead of better…

10 Pilates Moves to Alleviate Back PainI recently read an article from ACE: 10 Pilates Moves to Alleviate Back Pain and I so vehemently disagree with the exercises and information in this article that I have to share my thoughts.

Here’s the short version of what I’m thinking about this article:  10 Pilates Moves to Alleviate Back Pain if executed well because you really understand Pilates and don’t have any back problems to start with!

Now if you want a few more details about this, keep reading.  I’m on a rant and this is a longer than usual post, but if you have chronic back pain and want to use Pilates as a method to help, the info below will be worth your time to read more.

I love that Pilates is a hot topic to help people alleviate back pain, but it really bothers me to read articles like the recent post from ACE Fitness, which starts by saying that, “Many people with chronic back pain have felt their aches diminish with regular Pilates sessions.”  Yes, I agree.  Then the article goes on to say, “While equipment-based Reformer sessions can be costly and group mat classes may not target your specific needs, many Pilates exercises can help realign your movement patterns to prevent and lessen common back pain.” And then there’s more… “Here are 10 moves that, when practiced regularly, can help improve posture and strengthen the support structures that take pressure off the lower back.”

Sigh… as a fitness professional who has been in the health and wellness industry for forty years, and more specifically focused on Pilates and functional movement training for the past twenty years. It frightens me to see this article and think that people with chronic back pain are reading this and thinking, “Great, I don’t need to invest in Pilates equipment training, OR find a well-qualified Pilates teacher to help me, and why bother with group mat classes, I can just do these 10 exercises on my own and my back pain will go away!” AUUGHGHHHH!

Here’s why if you chose to follow the advice from the ACE article, 10 Pilates Moves to Alleviate Back Pain, your risk of further injury is imminent:

Posted by Aliesa George in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Back Pain, Pilates, Pilates Exercises, Techniques & Teaching Tips.

Knee Exercises for Chondromalacia Patella

Simple Strategies to Reduce Knee Pain

Knee ExercisesWhen your knees hurt, doing knee exercises may be the last thing you want to do… But making smart knee exercise choices just might be the solution to help reduce your knee pain.

Chondromalacia patella or Patellofemoral syndrome can be a very painful knee condition. The patella (or kneecap) is designed to slide in a groove between the femur and shin bones. If the patella does not track properly in its little groove, or the joint surface and articular cartilage becomes worn or irregular, friction increases. Every time you bend and straighten the knee, you may feel grinding, creaking, or crackling. It might not bother you for a while, so you continue participating in sports and activities that continue to aggravate it. At some point your knees are screaming at you to stop moving, so you finally go to the doctor to find out what’s wrong and how to fix it.

The first thing the doctor will tell you is REST! Avoid ALL activities that jam your patella against the femur with force and grind away at the back of the kneecap. Perhaps you’ll try using a knee brace with a hole cut out to help the knee cap sit where it belongs. A little ice after exercise or at the end of the day, and anti-inflammatory meds to help reduce inflammation that is also keeping the joint aggravated. But seriously, are you giving your body time to heal and stopping all activities that cause you knee pain?

The next step is actually doing the recommended exercise program as instructed by your doctor or physical therapist. Not for a week or two, but for the rest of your life! These exercises (done correctly) should help get the right muscles in balance to keep your kneecap sliding properly in its groove.

What exercises are best for you? Check with your doctor, PT, or health care specialist. “Guessing at the right exercises” or doing exercises incorrectly will only continue to aggravate your knee pain. But a good rule of thumb to start with is that if an exercise or activity hurts your knees, don’t do it!

Reducing Knee Stress

Pressure between the patella and thigh bone is minimal when the knee is straight or only slightly bent. Exercises, sports, and activities that require deep knee bending, jumping and landing, pushing, pulling, heavy weights, stopping and starting can place too much stress on the Patellofemoral joint and patellar tendon.

Here’s why you need to pay attention to the choices you’re making for healthy knees…

Posted by Aliesa George in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Knee Pain.

Reduce Chondromalacia Patella Knee Pain with the Kneecap Dance Exercise

Improving Form and Function
to Prevent Patella Knee Pain

Chondromalacia Patella Knee PainDo you struggle with Chondromalacia Patella Knee Pain? Are you looking for exercises you can do safely to reduce pressure and prevent patella rubbing so you can move, be active, healthy, and pain-free?

I received this question from a fan of my Knee Cap Dance Exercise Video on YouTube:  “Aliesa, please explain how the kneecap dance exercise helps for Chondromalacia patella. In addition to strengthening quads and not locking the knees, how can I use this exercise functionally to prevent patella rubbing?” Thanx, Samreen.

Posted by Aliesa George in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Knee Pain.

Foot Fitness Exercises for a Painful Bunion

Painful Bunion Fixing Your Feet – Foot Exercise Solutions to Reduce Bunion Pain

Do you have a painful bunion and are surfing the net looking for solutions?   When I get good questions in my inbox, I like to share the answers because I know there are other folks out there searching for solutions for their foot pain problems. This question about foot fitness exercises for a painful bunion came in this week. Check out the foot pain question, and my foot fitness tips, suggestions, and exercise recommendations below. Hope this information can help you get started alleviating foot pain too!

Questions about Foot Fitness Exercises and the Right Resources for a Painful Bunion:

“I am 58. I walk 4 to 5 miles every morning with dogs so a decent pace. I have a painful bunion on my right foot/large toe which has limited my toe movement. I have now developed pain in my left heel. It takes me a while in the morning or anytime I rise from a sitting position to gain balance. I am not large – 5’3 140 pounds. What do I need to order? Also, can I increase my right toe flexibility?” – Suzanne.

Aliesa’s Foot Fitness Thoughts and Suggestions:

Sorry to hear that you’re having foot pain. Thanks for the questions about your painful bunion, heel pain, and figuring out which foot fitness exercises will be best for you to start helping your feet to feel better.  Below are some thoughts and suggestions to help get you started with foot exercise solutions to reduce bunion pain, and fix your feet.

Consult with Your Doctor or Podiatrist
My first recommendation for you is to consult with your physician or podiatrist to see if there is anything medically that needs to be addressed for your body. With the green light from your doctor to exercise your feet, my answer is yes it may be possible to increase your right toe flexibility. In working with my Pilates clients over the past twenty years, and teaching Fantastic Feet workshops, I’ve seen a lot of people reduce foot pain and improve their health with the right exercises in their training programs.

It’s going to take a combination of strategies to start re-aligning your toes. Your doctor might recommend toe spacers, orthotics, or other devices to help hold your toes in better alignment. Then getting the right foot-fitness exercises in your weekly workouts to stretch and strengthen your feet can help you get the right muscles working for better support.

Clean Out Your Closet and Replace Your Shoes
Also the shoes you’re wearing will also make a difference. Throw away ALL flip-flops, clogs, and strapless/backless shoes. If your shoes aren’t strapped onto your feet, they aren’t helping your alignment, and your toe and arch muscles can’t work correctly! Keep in mind that your current shoes are holding your current gait patterns when you walk, so it’s important as you improve your foot fitness, that you get new shoes to help reinforce your new and improved foot fitness habits!

Start Improving the Strength, Flexibility, and Fitness of Your Feet with Targeted Foot-Fitness Exercises
In my opinion with a bunion, it’s not just the flexibility that’s needed to get the big toe back in better alignment, but the strength to HOLD it there. And targeted foot fitness exercises for your ankles, arches, and toes is the only way to create better muscle balance for improved foot fitness and whole-body health.

Centerworks® Resources for Foot Fitness Exercises to Reduce Bunion Pain
The best place to get started improving toe and foot alignment is the Terrific Toe Series in the Fantastic Feet book. These simple foot fitness exercises are non-weight bearing (and chances are your fingers will do more work than your toes for a while until the muscles in your feet get stronger.)

The marbles & sticks in the Mini-Foot Fitness Kit will be great for the next step to progress your efforts, and the Yamuna Foot Savers, and Acupressure Massage Mat can help release muscles on the soles of your feet that are creating your current “holding pattern” for tension.

If you want ONE thing to start with, I’d recommend the Fantastic Feet book.

If you want to make a long-term investment in your foot fitness, get the Runfit Kit.

The Runfit Kit will have the Fantastic Feet book and everything I’ve mentioned above plus the Super-Ankle Foot Fit Board, which may come in handy to keep your ankles strong and flexible to help eliminate your heel pain.

When our feet hurt, or bones aren’t in proper alignment, we shift our gait and change our stride to avoid putting pressure on the parts that are painful. The problem with this is while it works for a while to keep us moving, in the long run it’s only setting you up for pain and potential injuries farther up the chain – ankles, knees, hips, back…

Getting Better Balance and Body Control
Our feet play a huge role, not only in propelling us forward, but for balance and body control. Everything from the soles of your feet, to your hips and core has a role to play for better balance.

For a quick 10 minute workout that will keep you off your feet and work rest of you to strengthen your hips and core, I recommend the Pulse Power! The Daily Dozen – 10 Minute Workout Plan.

I realize that you’re only asking about your Big Toe here, but it’s all connected! I can’t with a clear conscience tell you that just doing one exercise for your big toe is going to be the magic solution for better body alignment.

If you’ve got more questions, or would like to come see me in Wichita for a consultation so I can give you more personalized recommendations to help improve your foot fitness, please let me know. And if you’re interested in participating in a workshop, click here to see the schedule for upcoming Awesome Workshops™.

Regardless of how your feet feel today, it is possible to reduce stress, eliminate aches, and pains and help your painful bunions feel better. Bunion surgery is an option, but I’m a fan of being pro-active and exploring non-surgical options first! A little more targeted training time for your ankles, arches, and toes, just might do the trick to improve your big toe alignment and help keep your feet feeling fit, healthy, and pain-free!

Posted by Aliesa George in Alleviating Pain & Chronic Health Problems, Foot Care & Foot Fitness.