This is a great quote by a world renowned physiotherapist, Diane Lee, who has a clinic right here in South Surrey, BC.
Diane specializes in pelvic floor health. If you have ever given birth, had pelvic surgery of any kind, you may have felt the challenge of finding your pelvic floor muscles.
This quote is accurate of so many of the smaller muscles around our joints. If you have had an injury, surgery, or trauma, you likely found your body feeling not quite right, even years later! No one addressed retraining the small muscles, choosing instead to focus on getting the larger muscles stronger. So you start to limp; thus, you compensate by applying more weight or pressure into the healthy leg.
Helping retrain small muscles to do what they need to around our joint requires a softer approach than training large muscles.
When we train smaller muscles, our cues will be lighter. Examples:
- The cue may be 'imagine' drawing a line next to your spine on either side to retrain the small muscles (multifidi) on either side of your spine.
- The cue to help relax the glutes and pelvic floor muscles from squeezing may be 'imagine' or 'create' space between your SITS bones.
These lighter cues of imagining or creating allow your brain to work and connect to the smaller, vital, and underused muscles.
A good training program will help get you stronger. A GREAT training program will identify areas where there are imbalances, address them, and build strength on a stable foundation.
For example my client Maude. She's booked for a knee replacement surgery scheduled in the autumn. I'm working alongside her Chiropractor who has identified that the "weakness" she feels in her legs, and the pain in her heel/ankle, are being driven by "weakness" or lack of connection, with her pelvic floor. Her legs are compensating for this weakness, doing double the work that they need to.
Rather than trying to squeeze these muscles or do Kegels, I am using very specific breathing exercises in the Happy Baby Position shown below - Control. (This is not Maude)
Within one session Maude was able to connect better with these muscles! Now with practice she will gain more stability, more awareness and more control. Her legs will not have to get involved as much - so will not get so fatigued.
If you have had an injury, surgery, or trauma, have found your body feeling not quite right (even years later) and no one has addressed retraining the small muscles along with getting stronger, I encourage you to reach out so we can assess and see if we can help you.