Over a month ago, I woke up with a tiny throbbing sensation at the back of my left thigh, right below the bum. “Must’ve pulled something”, I thought. I knew for sure that it wasn’t the belly of my hamstring muscle (hamstrings are located at the back of your thigh are responsible for actions such as bending the knee and extending your leg backwards) I shrugged it off thinking it would eventually go away. I thought I’d just avoid stretching it and it would eventually heal. I like trying to “fix” things myself first before asking for help so I rested and practiced Yin yoga (passive stretches). While those things helped ease the pain that manifested each time I’d go into a deep stretch (such as a split with the left leg extended in front), I’d feel it every now and then signalling that it hasn’t really healed after all.
But, as all things fall into place, I found out about Polarity Physiotherapy Center. If you didn’t know yet, the Quezon City area is gradually becoming a place for secret spots, not anymore just for food, but for fitness and wellness. Polarity is one gem I, luckily, got to explore. I love that the place is a house converted to a Physiotherapy center, giving it a welcoming and cozy vibe. The beautiful photos that grace their walls is a huge plus for me too. Fun fact: these are original photographs taken by one of the owners.
Physiotherapy primarily focuses on the rehabilitation of injuries or physical disabilities through movement and exercise, manual therapy and the education of patients by licensed physiotherapists. At this point, you probably think only athletes or highly active people would benefit from physiotherapy. While many injuries stem from high levels of physical activity, the same amount of risk also comes from the lack of exercise and movement. So, if your day consists mostly of sitting in front of the computer, read on.
ANTERIOR PELVIC TILT AND A WHOLE LOT OF JARGON SIMPLIFIED
Our posture tells us so much about our bodies and during my assessment, I was told that I have an anterior pelvic tilt, a fancy term for my low-back curving outwards/my butt naturally sticking out. Ladies, I know you probably think this would look nice, but it has a lot of impact on even the simplest activities. This assessment explained so many things, including the pain I felt every now and then during childhood or the ones I got after walking around for about an hour or so on some days. Apparently, those days are when my buttocks and hamstrings aren’t strong enough to pull my hip bones down from the back. It also signals weakness in the stabilizing muscles in the core. My mom has always had a problem with her lower back, so I’m not sure if this has anything to do with how mine turned out to be. The jamming of the discs in the spine is what causes pain.
Now, the real culprit in my injury was a deep stretch while my body wasn’t ready for it (not warmed up) not to mention I deliberately skipped strengthening my legs for a while because I was so happy with how flexible my hips have become. Our hips, thighs, even knees and ankles are closely connected so if anything goes wrong with one part, it’s common for the next joint to experience problems as well (mine used to creep down to my left knee). Strength training also tightens the muscles, which is why you must always work towards a good balance between strength and flexibility. However, constantly sitting on your butt or just lying in bed for hours at end has the same effect–it causes the tissues to fuzz over.
MELTING THE FUZZ
Quill, my physiotherapist, went on to explain more about the condition of my pelvis in a way that any patient could understand, after which we proceeded to my MFR or Myofascial Release session.
Let me try to explain this better.
Picture this, we are all covered by a web-like structure that hardens much like thin plastic. These are underneath our skin, in between and around our muscles and covering our organs.
I like to call this thing “fuzz” (from Dr. Gil Hedley’s The Fuzz Speech), but it’s really called fascia. This “fuzz” hardens and tightens from lack of movement (aka exercise) and works extra hard when your body is protecting itself from injury (the pain is what tells you not to go further) or even when healing from a previous injury so as not to cause more damage in the tissues.
You can understand it better through this video. No Anatomy background required!
Myofascial Release or MFR at Polarity, is the technique of manually “melting the fuzz” through the application of sustained pressure onto areas wherein motion has been restricted. My physiotherapist worked on releasing my hamstrings first and then moved on to adjacent areas such as my sacrum (lower back) and buttocks. I immediately felt so much relief especially after the tightness in my lower back was released.
I felt like I was re-introduced to proper body alignment as I was asked to perform a series of core exercises that allowed me to become aware, once again, of how my pelvic tilt could be corrected.
To complement my MFR session, Quiolo gave me a workout designed to strengthen my weaker muscles. Those are mainly my glutes and hamstrings as well as my lower abdomen. And because he understood the condition of my body, all the exercises felt right and were definitely effective. I could seriously tell after just one session.
Apart from strength training, Polarity will soon offer group exercise classes, such as yoga, in their studio.
A couple of weeks after my visit, the small throbbing on the tissue connecting my thigh to my buttocks has gone. I continue to do the set of core exercises at home to correct my posture.
Now, I’m always aware of correcting that anterior tilt especially when I stand in line to get myself a cup of coffee.
What I love about Polarity is that they don’t just take care of you while you’re in their facility, they also teach you to take care of yourself–something many of us need to be reminded of from time to time.
To see the list of services Polarity Physiotherapy Center can offer, check out their Facebook Page HERE..
You can visit them at 47 Examiner St. Bgy. West Triangle, Quezon City or get in touch with them through firstname.lastname@example.org and (0943) 658 4890.