Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘lower back pain’

A Pain In The . . .

Posted by terrepruitt on June 20, 2018

I was recently reading an article that stated 31 million Americans suffer from some form of lower back pain at any given time. It is the leading cause of people missing work and the second leading reason for people going to the doctor. It also stated that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at one time in their life. Since I didn’t know the age of the article I wanted to see if there were other statistics that might be more current . . . .or different, but my Google search revealed the American Chiropractic Association website with the same information on it as was in the article I read. I know that a lot of my students claim to have lower back pain. Some of them have gone to various professionals to get a diagnosis, some have not. The thing about back pain is that it can be the result of many different things. Some of my students that have lower back pain also say they experience sciatica. Sciatica, like lower back pain can be from different things.

Sciatica is a pain that travels down the path of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve goes from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and runs down each leg. Sciatic pain can be felt anywhere along this path all the way to the foot. Usually the pain is only felt on one side of the body.

I was doing a quick search regarding piriformis syndrome when I came upon an interesting, very informative website. It explains that sciatica can be caused by several different things. It lists six most common causes of Sciatica.

-Lumbar herniated disc.
-Degenerative disc disease, where the degeneration is so severe that inflammatory proteins irritate the nerve in that area.
-Isthmic spondylolisthesis, when a vertebrae has slipped out of position due to a small fracture in the spine.
-Lumbar spinal stenosis, where the spinal canal narrows and compresses nerves.
-Piriformis syndrome, when the piriformis disturbs the sciatic nerve by irritating it or pinching it.
-Sacroiliac joint dysfunction, when this joint gets irritated it might affect the L5 nerve which might cause sciatica-type pain.

This is just a very brief summary of the information. I am hoping you will check out the website yourself to get more details. Each cause has a very short video explaining the issue. I find it very interesting because it is saying the last two causes of sciatica, piriformis syndrome and sacroiliac joint dysfunction are not truly sciatica, but they can cause the same type of pain.

The Mayo Clinic’s website has a few suggestions as to how to help prevent sciatica:

Exercise regularly.
Maintain proper posture when you sit.
Use good body mechanics.

Of course this post isn’t meant to diagnose anyone or anything, but it might help you when you go to your doctor.  Sometimes it is nice to have information so that you can take part in your diagnosis and treatment.

Have you ever had lower back pain?  Have you ever experienced sciatica type pain?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Roll Out The Hamstring

Posted by terrepruitt on September 4, 2012

This is not like rolling out the red carpet or a ball of string because the hamstrings are not really strings at all.  They are muscles in the leg.  Well, actually the hamstrings are made up of three muscles, so it is a muscle group/set.  The three muscles that are included in the muscle set are the Semimembranosus, the Semitendinosus, and the Biceps Femoris.  They are on the back of the legs.  You can see them on my Hamstrings post I put up back in 2009.  According to The Muscle Book the word’s origination is “German:  hamme – back of leg, Latin: stringere – to draw together.”  The hamstrings are responsible for pulling your calf back towards your buttocks, and for extending the thigh.  There are a lot of ways to stretch out and increase flexibility in the hamstrings.  One way to treat tight hamstrings is with the foam roller.  The foam roller is a great way to ease tight hamstrings.  The roller can be used for a hamstring roll.

With many, many, many people working at desks all day, and sitting all day, tight hamstrings seems to be a common state of being for many people.  The position of the knee when one sits in a chair is part of the function of the hamstrings . . . as I mentioned above . . .pulling the calf back towards the buttocks.  So it is not unusual for people who sit a lot to have tight hamstrings.  With tight hamstrings one cannot bend over and touch their toes or easily bend over to touch the floor.  Sometimes tight hamstrings can even interfere with walking, the leg is not able to swing comfortably forward and/or allow the leg to straighten.  Does that sound familiar?  Maybe you have sat for a long time and when you stand up you don’t come up all the way and then your first few steps are short and your legs are tight.  The foam roller can help with that.  It is an easy massaging type of stretch that can be done watching TV or in between those long periods of sitting.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaUsing the full roller, sit on the roller with the roller positioned at your hamstrings (just under your glutes/butt), your legs are straight out in front of your body.  Use your arms to support your body.  The position of your arms is straight and under your shoulders supporting your weight.  Using your arms, roll so that your legs roll over the foam roller.  So you bring yourself backwards and tthen push yourself forward over the roller.  The roller is rolling along the back of your legs, gently massaging your Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, and the Biceps Femoris.  You can do this for as long as you would like.  It really is a great way to bring relief to tight hamstrings.

Sometimes tight hamstrings may contribute to lower back pain.  When the hamstrings are tight they might cause the pelvis to tilt up increasing the strain on the lower back.  So there are really a lot of reasons this easy roll with the foam roller might be something you want to do.

Do you have tight hamstrings?  Does this sound like something that you would do to ease those tight hamstrings?

Posted in Foam Rollers, Hamstrings, Muscles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Yoga – Pigeon Pose or Nia – Side Yawn

Posted by terrepruitt on May 24, 2012

Just a few posts ago I talked about simple stretches that could possibly bring relief to tight hip flexors and lower back pain.  I referred to a yoga pose called the pigeon pose.  This pose is where one leg is stretched out to the back and the front of the leg (the front of the thigh, the knee, the shin, and the top of the foot and toes) are on the ground, touching the ground, and the other leg is bent at the knee with foot towards the body, but the shin at a right angle to the body.  The hand can hold the foot.  The back is long and straight and upright.  There are variations.  Some are where the leg is bent more and the foot is more pointed toward the opposite hip.  In some the back is still long and straight, but the body is lying over the bent leg.

In Nia the variation is called a Side Yawn.  The leg is bent so the foot is near the opposite hip, as I mentioned above.  The arm on the side of the bent leg is bent while the arm on the side of the outstretched leg is straight with palm on the floor.  As the body lowers to the earth over the bent leg the outstretched arm moves on the ground reaching out further.  Allow the entire body to sink into a comfortable fold.  The lengthened side of the body yawns open.

For the more athletic version there is more weight on the bent leg and instead of just stretching out over the bent leg there are push-ups involved.  Pushing away from the earth and sinking slowly back into it.  After a few push-ups then allow your body to release to gravity and lay over the bent leg.

This is one of the moves that I mentioned were in the back of The Nia Technique Book.  Both the classic version and the athletic version of this move open and release the hips.  With the classic as you sink to the floor the side of the body is receiving a long stretch.  The athletic version enables strengthen of the arms and core.  This move is one where you would do as many repetitions as you would like and then switch to the other side.  Or you could do one side then switch and do the other side.  The point it to be sure that you do both sides.  I would bet, as with most of us, one side is more flexible than the other.

In the Nia routines I do we are often in the pigeon pose or the side yawn pose, but we do not always sink into the yawn.  Often we are dancing with our hands on the floor, not necessarily doing straight up and down push-ups, but using our arms to lower us to the earth and push-off again.  As with all moves each individual is invited to do what is best for their body at that moment in the Nia class.  So some might sink into the yawn.  So usually in addition to stretching our hips we are using our core and our arms in our cool down or floorplay.

Do you ever sense your hips are tight and need stretching?  Might you think to use this stretch to loosen up?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »