Miscellaneous Exercises

How to Use a TENS Unit for Pain Relief

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TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) units are used to help reduce pain and increase circulation. Basically the vibration of the TENS follows the same pathway as the pain pathway to the brain and helps cancel it out. It is a great alternative to pain medication.

A TENS uses two or four electrodes with cross currents to surround the area. The deep vibration/massage helps relax the muscles and allow for healing.

In this video, I'm using the CUH TENS Unit, which has a lot of great features.

Related Video:

TENS Unit for Pain Management

Full Body Stretching Routine

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This full body stretching routine is great for general wellness, flexibility, and pain relief. This real-time video will give you a relaxing whole body stretch from your head down to your toes. Click here for a shorter version of this routine.

Each stretch should be held or done for 30 seconds.

You should always start a stretch routine with a 2-3 minute warm up getting the large muscle groups warmed up to be stretched.  This should be done for both the arms and legs.

To start off with the neck, you will do neck circles, an upper trap stretch, and chin tucks.  These should not only help loosen up the neck muscles, but it should also help with your posture as well.

For the shoulder, you will do a posterior capsular stretch, chest stretch, tricep stretch, and an arm horizontal abduction stretch.  These help stretch the shoulder area as well as open up the chest area.

Now for the upper back and thoracic area.  A seated roll down, thoracic rotation, and thoracic side bend can help loosen up the upper back, and it can also help relief upper back spasms.

Next, get down on the floor for some hip and knee stretches.  A butterfly stretch is great for the groin muscles.  A hamstring stretch, IT band stretch, and quad stretch are great for the hips and knees.  The calf stretch, soleus stretch, and anterior tibialis stretch are good stretches for the knees and ankles.

The last few stretches are more of a cool down for the whole body.  Make sure you are focusing on your breathing while doing these.  The cat/dog stretch, prayer stretch (child’s pose), and full body extension stretch will help bring your heart rate back down and get you ready for the day.

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Real-Time Knee Stretches & Exercises

Real-Time Neck Stretches & Exercises

Gluteus Maximus (Glute) Strain Stretches & Exercises

A gluteus maximus strain, or glute strain, can come from lifting too much with squats or even deadlifts. Your gluteus maximus muscles, also known as glutes, play a big role in the movement of our lower body. Here are some gluteal strain treatments with stretches and exercises.

Starting off with a knee to chest stretch is a great way to relieve glute pain. Stretching the glutes helps the healing process. Another great stretch for your glutes tightness is the figure four stretch. This is also a great stretch if you have sciatic pain or piriformis tightness.

Strengthening glutes is also very important to help heal a glute strain. A simple exercise you can do lying down, sitting, or standing is butt or glute squeezes. Also leg extensions on your stomach or in prone, do a great job of glute strengthening. You can do them with your leg straight as well as your knee bent.

A standing four way hip exercise is great for hip strengthening and hip stability. These also help strengthen the back, knees, and ankles.

The last exercise is a lunge. It does an excellent job of glute strengthening, hamstring strengthening, quad strengthening, and hip and knee strengthening in general.

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Dead Butt Syndrome

Gluteus Maximus Exercises

Dead Butt Syndrome, aka Gluteal Amnesia

Dead butt syndrome, or gluteal amnesia may sound funny, but, it's a real thing. It can happen to people who sit a lot, but also to athletes and weekend warriors. Dead butt syndrome can lead to back pain, hip pain, knee pain, and even ankle pain.

Dead butt syndrome develops when the gluteus medius muscle doesn’t fire correctly. This is one of the three main muscles in the butt, so if it’s not working properly, it can cause a lot of problems because the gluteus medius helps stabilize the pelvis and helps us walk correctly.

Here are some exercises that focus on the gluteus medius and the pelvic area in general.

The first exercise is a clamshell exercise. This is a great way to strengthen the gluteus medius and maximus as well as strengthening the hip in general.

The next exercise is a sidelying hip abduction exercise. This is not only great for the gluteus medius, it’s also great for the IT band and strengthening the knee.

Then you will do a horse kick, or I like to call a sidelying bicycle. This really helps stabilize the hip and work the muscles.

The last one lying down is a side plank with a hip drop. This is not only great for your hips, but it’s also great for your core as well.

Now standing on a step, you will do a hip hike. This helps prevent the hip from dropping when walking, which is a sign of a weak gluteus medius.

The last one is a single leg squat with an opposite side reach. This one can be tough, but it will strengthen your gluts, hamstrings, quad muscles, and all those small stabilizer muscles around the hips.

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Butt Exercises

Hamstring Stretches

TMJ Pain Relief with Simple Stretches & Exercises

TMJ pain relief can often come from simple jaw stretches and exercises that work the temporomandibular joint. The jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw are often involved. Clicking, popping, pain, and deviations in the movements of the joint are common symptoms. Stretching the TMJ and strengthening the muscles around the joint are just as important as any other part of your body. These simple stretches and exercises should help.

Start off with placing your hand under your thigh to keep your shoulder down, then side bend your head to the opposite side and gently put pressure with your other hand to get a stretch through your trapezius muscles. Hold these for 30 seconds and perform 3 times on each side.

Next you will do some gentle active range of motion stretches. Turn your head from side to side like you are looking over your shoulder. This is neck rotation. Now bring your chin to your chest and then looking up towards the ceiling. This is neck flexion and extension. These should not be painful, and if you feel any dizziness looking up, hold off on that one. Do each way five times.

Now you will massage some of the muscles that become tight when you have TMJ dysfunction. Start with the Masseter muscles. Place your middle three fingers on each side of your jaw. The muscle is in the space below your upper jaw bone. These muscles help you chew. Put some pressure inward and push upward. You can do this for 1-2 minutes.

Then you will move to your temporalis muscles that sit over your temples. These muscles get very tight when you have stress. Place your fingers over the area, and make circular motions. You can do ten one way, and then reverse it and do ten the other way.

The final exercises are isometric exercises. This means you are pushing, but not moving the muscles. You are activating them, but your jaw should not actually move. You want to keep your jaw in alignment, and have your mouth slightly open so your teeth are not touching.

First, hold your mouth slightly open and aligned. Then, with your palm, push your jaw upward. You should feel a stretch on your TMJ.

Next, push down on your bottom teeth with your fingers, and push up with your jaw. Try to keep your jaw in one place, and don't bite down.

Finally, take your palm and slowly push on one side of your jaw. The pressure is on your chin. Push back with your jaw, but make sure your teeth are aligned. Start off gently, and if there is no pain, push a little harder. Do both sides; this will increase the strength and control of the joint.

Hold these for about 5 seconds each, and build your time up to 30 seconds, doing 3-5 each.

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