Diaphragmatic pain- treatment and prevention

As the diaphramatic pain blog got a fair amount of interest in terms of people looking at it, I re-read it and obviously there is a lot of information about what is happening and why things are hurting, but not so much about how to stop it happening or how to treat the pain.

As alluded to by one of the comments I have been in touch with a couple of people and suggested some stretches, which seems to have stopped the symptoms. I basically sat down and worked out some things which would stretch out the tissues mentioned.

The general key when stretching out psoas/iliacus/abdominals is that you don’t just sit there and stretch out one portion of the fibres. Move around within the stretch and get into the different fibres of the muscles. They don’t just work in one plane, and have a multitude of minor variation of angles which it is beneficial to stretch into.

Here are a couple of pics of the stretch cycle that I tend to do before a run/race to warm up the torso ready for the miles that lie ahead. These are a series that stretch one hip flexor, you then have to do it all in a mirror image to get to the other.

Make sure the back knee doesn’t touch the ground, and look UP to the hand. Move back and forth, into and around the stretch. Apologies for the non-level shot, but Lynne didnt think she’d get me in the frame.
Now look at the other hand, again, the back knee doesn’t touch the ground. Move around in the stretch, feel the different fibres of muscles and breathe into them. Don’t count the seconds. Do it so that it feels right.
Last one, stretch out over the top, this is stretching the same area as the last 2 stretches, but puts the enphasis on other parts of the tissue and fascia. Again, breathe into it. To stretch the other Hip flexor do it all again but starting with the other leg forward to begin with.

You can follow these if you like, or make up your own, I find they work. If they don’t work for you, find something that does.

Another point that is worth making is that if the psoas or iliacus has become chronically shortened through overuse/abuse/misuse, it may be that just stretching might not be enough to loosen the structures out enough to be able to run painfree (hopefully it will be, but maybe not). In that case, all is not lost. It is a treatable condition, and there are a number of things that we might be able to help out with – involving assisted stretching, muscle facilitation and Soft Tissue Release, (much like the well vaunted and much publicised Active Release Therapy- its the same thing, just under a different – and I believe patented- name).

Obviously every situation is different, and each client is individual, but if you do have an issue with this and want to get it looked at to see if we can help you out, please do drop us a line, Lynne or I would be glad to help. (I’ve had it and self-treated it, and Lynne has treated me and knows what its all about – psoas, iliacus and diaphragmatic release are underused by a lot of soft tissue therapists, but having come to realise just how important they are, we try to implement it in our treatments as much as possible).

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