Apr 4

Don’t Forget Your Legs! They Have Feelings Too!

We all have a love-hate relationship with our backs when it comes to MassIT-Band.144713age Therapy. We love to spend the whole hour treating our backs because we hate the pain our shoulders and lower backs cause us. However, we tend to forget we have other muscles in the body and they have feelings too: feelings of tightness, fatigue, and overuse. Our body is one working unit in which muscle pain in one area can cause a ripple effect to surrounding and further muscle, ligamentous, and joint structures.

Let’s start by talking about our good ole friend Iliotibial Band (ITB for short), a fascial structure that runs from hip to knee on the side of your leg (think the seam of your jeans). Its partner in crime is called Tensor Fasciae Latae (a muscular structure). Combined they have the actions of hip flexion, rotation, and abduction (moving the leg out like scissors). Both structures can become extremely tight causing hip and knee pain, especially in runners, cyclists, hikers, and weight lifters. ITB itself can cause inner knee problems as it pulls on the inner structures of the knee and can even pull the kneecap laterally (outward).

Because ITB is a fascial structure (connective tissue containing collagen fibres) not muscle fibres, it does not respond as quickly and easily as would treating a muscle. Which also means knuckle kneading and elbowing this structure ccupping.144941an be quite more painful with less effectiveness. But don’t run away yet believing there’s no hope, because there is: Cupping. Cupping is the use of suction cups on the body to release Myofascial tension. And, since fascia is a head-to-toe one unit structure that wraps around every muscle, individual muscle fibre, organ, bone, and joint, it in turn releases the tension of all these surrounding structures as well. What my wonderful elbows can’t do to your ITB, my Cups can do threefold and less painfully. Remember, you’ve ignored your legs for so long that they are now cranky and rebellious, so expect some amount of discomfort from Cupping and possible several-day-lasting suction cup marks. Basically, you may look like you’ve been attacked by an octopus, but that only makes for an interesting story to tell your friends.

upping can be used in both static and gliding techniques on other structures of the leg as well. Your calf muscles (Gastrocnemius and Soleus) which form your Achilles tendon are commonly tight from either overuse or weakness (so basically inescapable) on most people. The Achilles tendon helps form the arch of the plantar fascia on the sole of your foot, which can become tight when the calf muscles become tight, causing sole and heel pain. And because the bFire_cupping_IMG_0503.145352ody, as I mentioned before, is all connected and can cause many rippling effects, the hip, ITB, knee, and foot can be one another’s worst enemies causing conditions such as ITB Syndrome and Patellafemoral Syndrome. Since one can cause the other and vice versa, and postural issues play a key role as well, I won’t go into too much detail about these syndromes besides to stress the point that your legs need attention too.  So remember, just because your shoulders can scream louder than your legs, it doesn’t mean your legs don’t ache for attention as well.

Serena Dixon, RMT.

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