A client of mine had been complaining of pain radiating down her arm every time she did a supine revolved pose, such as Leg Stretch #3. Shoulder and upper back YTU Therapy Ball work helped but didn’t alleviate the problem. However, we had been overlooking her neck.
I can’t find the quote, so you’ll have to trust me on this one, but a physical therapist once said, “it’s the victims who scream, not the criminals.” In my client’s case the criminals turned out to be her anterior neck muscles (see related article for details). Nine car accidents (yes, 9—none of which were her fault, she claims—but that’s another story!) had traumatized her sternocleidomastoid, scalenes and playtsma—the superficial and deep muscles of the neck that attach at various points in the shoulder and chest. They aren’t called ‘whiplash muscles‘ for nothing.
We did Marlon Brando stretches to help relieve the chronic contraction (shown below and on the 5 Minute Quick Fix for Neck). By the end of that particular class her collarbones were visibly lower than when she walked into the studio. 10 days later all of her related arm pain was gone.
The next time arm pain has you stumped, try channeling your inner Godfather for good, and arrest those criminals.
I believe most people who end up in the fitness profession are trying to heal themselves. Fifteen years ago I sought out SPIN to rehabilitate a full knee reconstruction. Ten years ago I started Pilates to help me recover from a horseback riding accident. More recently, as still-young age and old injuries caught up with me, I began a restorative and Kripalu yoga practice. In every instance, with every discipline, I've experienced a moment of “ahhh....I want to make everyone feel this good.” And so began my path toward fitness studio ownership where I could keep my classes small and focused on my client's journeys from injury, through healing, and on to strength.
In addition to figuring out how my clients and I could feel even better (as well as look better in our jeans), curiosity about human biomechanics led me to study with Helena Collins of Life in Synergy, Sadie Nardini of Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, and of course, Jill Miller. Combing the knowledge from these tremendous teachers with my strong Pilates background has enabled me to create exceptionally effective programs for my clients, who range from joint replacement patients needing post-physical therapy help to the “uninjured” wanting stronger, better aligned bodies so they can experience life to the fullest.