Active Release Technique [ART]

by | Jun 8, 2019

Active Release Technique [ART] with Heather Pearson.

This is her go-to technique to release tight hip flexors in clients with lower back pain.

You’re going to learn how ART works and what to expect in an treatment session.

You’re going to discover a whole lot about anatomy as we  get specific on the different muscle groups of the lower back and Heather tells us about the root cause of piriformis syndrome.

So make sure you stay with us for the 3rd episode of 4 with Heather Pearson creator of the Pearson Method.

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Active Release Technique [ART]

Heather feels lucky to have found ART.

It was very effective for her own problems and, as a practitioner, it’s her primary method to help her clients out of pain.

“Active Release Technique is by far the best soft tissue release I’ve ever come across”

It’s all about plapation, so the therapist feels the texture of the fascia under his/her fingers and thumbs.

This will determine how the release technique is applied.

Heather tells us that clients feel the release straight away.

“Most people instantly feel the difference” 

Today’s Guest

Respected therapist, and author of

Back Pain Free: Put an end to your suffering with the Pearson Method

Heather Pearson

 

Live Pain-free Eliminate Chronic Pain without Drugs or Surgery

Tight Hip Flexors and Back Pain

Tight hip flexors are a very common cause of lower back pain.

When the hip flexors are shortenend, this pulls the front of the pelvis down – anterior tilt.

“As soon as you release the hip flexors, then it relaxes the low back”

Check out the links below for some user-friendly anatomical diagrams to help you find your hip flexors:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/hip-flexors

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_flexors_of_the_human_body#Hip

 

 

Hi, I’m Iain Barker creator of Back Pain Liberation.

I got back pain young and it got worse over time. Like many others in this situation, I saw plenty of doctors and therapists – all to no avail.

In the end self-help worked best – it often does for bad backs. Now I train regularly, focus on what works, and don’t get back pain.

My goal is to share what I learned. To help you find a more effective way when treatment doesn’t hit the spot.

 

Lower Back Muscles

We continue with anatomy and the postural muscles of the back, starting with the erector spinae that go the whole length of the spine, then bring the focus down to other muscle groups that

“Play a huge part  in the lower back –  specifically for posture”

Piriformis Syndrome Cause

According to Heather there is a veyr simple explanation for Pririformis Syndrome.

“Piriformis syndrome is weak glutes”

So when the other muscles in that area are weak, the piriformis takes over and has to work overtime.

The solution is to release and stretch the piriformis, then strengthen the gluteal muscles.

Full Episode Transcript – BPL28

Iain Barker

When you were doing your personal training, training, training to become a personal trainer, you went on to do I think was sports injury trainer. And there was some session that you were doing with, with someone where they did some kind of treatment on you. And there was a loud click from your back and you felt immediately better. But what was that?

Heather Pearson

So when I after I had the accident, because I was I was working at a company, which I can’t mention the actual company, but they were very big company and they, they had an in house physio, and the physio that I saw, taught me to sit incorrectly. And the way he taught me to sit by had, I had a big arch in my back. That’s how he told me to sit, which is really bad. Yeah. And what happened is, although I already had a clicking my back when I was working with clay, I will I had that for a few years. But because he taught me to sit like, like, in this specific fashion, two of my bones were fusing together, they were becoming one. And they were they became so stiff that the physio that taught me sports injuries. When he assessed me, these two bones were really stiff. And he he needed. I wasn’t getting much blood flow in those areas. So he needed to, to click me. But he said you’re going to do it yourself.

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Iain Barker

So is this similar to a chiropractor

Heather Pearson

Like a chiropractor, yeah. [Okay]. An adjustment, basically. And he, you know, I did this specific adjustment, which was just, you know, hugging yourself kind of thing. And he got me into certain position and, and loud click. Yeah. And soon after, you know, I was sore for a week, because obviously, I hadn’t had blood flow to the area.

Iain Barker

Yes.

Heather Pearson

You’re always sore if you’re in that situation. For a little while, then. And then afterwards, yeah, I felt fantastic. And I was taught how to sit up straight properly. And correctly. So yeah, I mean, again, amazing to go through it. Not very nice to go through it. But very good to experience that sort of thing.

Iain Barker

Well, a week of soreness is nothing compared to ongoing, agonizing pain is it?

Heather Pearson

Yeah, a life lifetime of of injury, whic would then lead to probably surgery and goodness knows what else, you know. [Yeah]. So yeah, I was lucky. Had a lucky escape on that one, for sure.

Iain Barker

Yeah.

At the end, you mentioned AR t, this is something that comes up quite a lot. Was it active release [techniques], techniques, technique? Yeah. So this is something that you, you really think is very important and very effective?

Heather Pearson

Yeah, I Active Release I came across, I think six years after my accident, I was very thankful, and grateful to come across it, because I’ve had a lot of different types of treatments with all my injuries, trapped nerves, etc. and ART is by far the best soft tissue release I’ve ever come across in the world. And, you know, there are lots of other good tools that can help with specifics. But ART is, you know, I mean, it’s amazing. You know, the things that you can fix very, very quickly, [okay], it’s very, very powerful. And I couldn’t fix low back pain without ART, it’s the quickest way to release tissue, which changes the feedback to the brain instantly. It’s so instant, it’s unbelievable.

Iain Barker

So is this a fascia release?

Heather Pearson

Yes,it’s based on fascia which is, it’s the, I always explain this is the white cotton wool, in between muscle and muscle fibers. That gets stuck and shortens and becomes thicker and more dense in certain areas where you have scar tissue. And that’s where muscles feel bruised to touch because then they don’t have blood flow. And as soon as you start to release the fascia, then the muscles start to have blood flow again, and they can breathe again and they start the dysfunction starts to reverse.

Iain Barker

So if someone was to get a ART therapy, what could they expect in a session? How does it work?

Heather Pearson

So it depends on obviously, what the issues are, but typically for back pain, and a lot of, ART for, for a back…. Normally, you wouldn’t even touch the low back on a first session. Because the tissue – there are certain muscles in the body that shorten and certain other muscles that lengthen in a situation of back pain, the most primary muscle or the hip flexors. So the muscles at the front of the hip, which I which gives you gives you an anterior tilt, which I call duck bum syndrome. So like like a duck waddling, unless you release the hip flexors, you never going to fix low back pain, when you release the hip flexors. Most people instantly feel the difference. And I’m talking within minutes, you feel the difference, because all of a sudden your back has been stuck in this position. And as soon as you release the hip flexors, then it relaxes, the lower back relaxes is instantly you know, give give it five minutes and and then you want to you need to look at the ligaments in the pelvis, which would have shortened because the lower back’s in the duck bum position then look at the quads and and the hamstrings because of the biomechanics. And just on the first session, and potentially the glutes too, because you want to get those glutes you want to get muscle sorry, blood flow back into the glutes and get them strong. So, but ART is the quickest way to do that. Because of it’s fascia that releases and and what I found with a artist is a guaranteed hold when you do the rehab on top after an AR t session that sets it in stone for and then you start to see the progress. So most people who’ve have ART that they never going to go back to square one. Unless Unless they just have one session and then never go back. Sometimes, you know, you only need one or two sessions to be fair, because it’s such a quick release.

Iain Barker

Is this something the therapist does with with their hands or how does it work?

Heather Pearson

Yeah, so it’s a hands on technique, you use your fingers and your thumbs. You never ever use any of you never use your elbows, it’s always because you’ve got to go on touch. ART’s all about touch. It’s all about palpation. So it’s what you can feel under your fingers and under your thumb, you should be able to feel the texture of the the fascia and muscle underneath your fingers and thumbs. That will determine the depth and the and the amount of tension that you use to generate tension. It’s very specific with shortening and lengthening of joints. Sometimes the patient moves their joints sometimes the the ART practitioner will move the joint it It all depends on the different structures. But you will also always go to patient tolerance. So everyone’s different.

Iain Barker

So if they’re crying you’re doing it too hard

Heather Pearson

You never want to be wincing in pain put it that way

And so yeah, you sometimes you have to go slower with certain structures that have less blood flow, like a ligament or tendon, your, you’re going to hold end range for a lot longer. With muscle tissue, you’re not going to hold as long at end range to gain the most benefit of releasing the fascia itself. So it’s very much about palpation skills and, with active release techniques. We’re lucky, you know, we’ve been teaching in Europe now for I think 10 years, which is great. So people don’t have to travel to America, like the likes of myself and my colleagues, Shane and Anders we all and Paul, we all teach in Europe.

Iain Barker

Anders, is he a Swede?

Heather Pearson

He’s, I have to get this right now, he’s Danish. [Okay]. I always get him mixed up with Finland. He has a go at me.

Iain Barker

Yeah.

Heather Pearson

So yeah, I mean, it’s an amazing technique. As I say there are other tools that I certainly use in my treatment room, but ART, especially when it comes to lower backs. I mean, I had a stunt guy I saw very early this morning. And he’s had his lower back, he has shortened, disc spaces, and there’s nothing else I could use on his lower back and pelvic ligaments and his certain muscles, there’s the more advanced, actually the level 2 ART protocols now, where you treat 2 tissues at the same time, which I did on him this morning, to release his low back. I mean, they’re absolutely unbelievable. And the whole session, there’s nothing else I can do, because everything that he’s got wrong with him and his lower back. It’s all about ART and his pain came down from a seven, to a three, you know, so he’s got to do a shed load of rehab. This is the power of ART, you know, the amount of people with back issues, some people I’ve treated who have had surgery, you know, they’re walking around pain free now. Other people, you know, lots of people with disc issues, that’s generally a weakness in the glutes and core and lower back, but you have, you need to do the ART with them, you know, so the quickest way to the resolution. And you know, ART practitioners around the world have the same successes. So not just me. It’s an amazing technique, trap nerves, also, you know, sciatic nerves, lot of people have sciatica, sciatic issues, you know, releasing sciatic nerve, sometimes, you know, one session, sometimes it’s gone. Now, other people have more chronic issues, it takes a few you know, because the nerves quite track. So, it takes a few sessions to, to release the scar tissue around the nerve. Sometimes it’s trapped in more than one area. But I RT for me is the best. So yeah. It’s, I feel very lucky to have been taught this technique and to teach this technique to other people, because I’m, you know, the few of us that teach in Europe, where we’re very proud. Everyone is who teaches at you, you’re very proud to teach your craft. Because you’ve seen the success it brings and how quickly you can fix people and resolve their problems, you know, so? Yes, that’s top of the tree for me.

Iain Barker

Yeah, good. So, um, we’ve talked a lot about the glutes. And something I always think is, would they go up quite high, don’t they, we think of them as being, you know, the butt that we sit on, but they there they actually go to the top of the pelvis, don’t they, which is if you kind of sort of have a feel of it when you know, people sitting down. It’s, it’s not just the backside is it is they go up a little bit higher than that.

Heather Pearson

Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, actually, you say that how many people say ‘Oh, I’ve got low back pain. I’ve got low back pain.’ And actually the pain is in the glutes.

Iain Barker

Yeah, exactly. Yes,

Heather Pearson

it’s for exactly that reason. And you’re right. And some people, a lot of taller people have very high pelvises, you know, they have a lot of room in between the, the, the lower rib and the pelvis itself. And, and often there, there are issues in the top part of the glutes, you know, around glute medius, and glute minimis where they’ve you know, they’ve developed scar tissue because of that shortening we were talking about earlier. And it’s been there for so long. And also that, you know, the ligaments too. So, yeah, it’s, and this is another thing about ART where you get around the front of that, that pelvis, so you got the back. And then that bone, or the ilium, where it goes around to almost the front of the hip, slightly, right on the side kind of side and a little a bit around the front, that, that those fibers kind of get forgotten about. And a lot of people get quite stuck in those fibers as soon as you release them, along with the TFL, which is the muscle on the the the side, the top part of the hip, but on the side of the leg, those two muscles get very stiff with people back pain, especially with with people who exercise a lot, he trained a lot with weights and do a lot of running and sprinting type exercises.

Iain Barker

Yeah, and you differentiate in the book between the glutes, and the lower back. So when you talk about the lower back, which muscles do you actually mean.

Heather Pearson

So talking about the lower back itself, you’re looking at the, the covers, the kind of the front cover the top layers, you looking at the the spinal muscles that run from the bottom of your pelvis all the way up to the base of your head, the whole spine. [So these are the erector spinae], erector spinae, yeah. And so they play a huge part. But underneath them the deeper layers where you’ve got the you’ve got the rotatores, which is kind of horizontal, and then the more angled fibers, which are the multifidi, they play a huge part in, in the lower back. Specifically for, for posture. But also, then there were the more intricate muscles, which is is is more so what I I worked with today with this patient this morning. And you have on the spine, you have a ligament, the spinous ligament and and the problem is, is when you have low back pain, that ligament shortens. So often you have to work the ligament effectively with you when you when that person has enough strength and starts to rehab. Because when you work the ligament and and the muscles on either side of the ligament also can be become shortened on one side, especially if you have a disc issue. Generally that side tends the muscles tend to be shorter and more compromised. [Okay]. And when you start to lengthen these muscles, then two things happen, the muscles in the lower back themselves can start to become functional, again, with the rehab. But also you’re opening up the disk spaces. And what happens is nerves penetrate through those spaces. And if that if that space is compromised and shortened, then the nerves don’t communicate properly to the muscles that they’re feeding back to. [Yeah], then you can get your feedback to the muscles. And then you find a lot of people report back on, I suddenly feel stronger. You know, within two weeks of having a treatment and doing the rehab, they’re feeling stronger, because they’ve got suddenly more strength in the low back itself will strengthen the glues, but the feedback to the quads, hamstrings and all the other muscles are much more efficient. So you gain more strength. So a lot of a lot of athletes understand their bodies very well. And they feed that back very, very, very much people who exercise in general. So but it’s quite the low back is quite intricate in that respect. You know, most people say, oh, there’s just one lot of muscles, it’s actually quite a few. And then that you have Yeah, the the other muscles that that around the area like the QLs, massive, massive, massive, important factor in low back pain, you know stabilizer of the pelvis, which works in conjunction with the piriformis, which is the kind of I call it the most greedy muscle of the glutes, it is, you know, when all the other muscles aren’t really doing their job, the piriformis is the strongest, and will really take over. People call it piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is weak glutes. So it’s, you know, you can stretch it out, get it released, but then you got to rehab the glutes on top. But the QL on the side of the pelvis, which goes all the way up to the 12th rib, you know, works in conjunction with the performance. And those two muscles are very important for low back pain. So you know, for some people, you’ve got to release the QL itself, for that part of that lower back to really open up along with the smaller little intricate, intricate muscles. And again, you have to look at agonists and antagonists the synergy between the lower, the front of the body and the back of the body. If you don’t release the hip flexors, then the low back is always going to stay short. And so so you know, it’s a combination.

Iain Barker

Yeah, I guess this is why you’ve just referred to it as the lower back because it kind of gets a bit involved doesn’t it. Most people know where the glutes are. And it’s kind of easy to talk about them. But if you start talking about all the individual muscle groups, it can be a little bit technical, I suppose.

Heather Pearson

Yeah, complex. And it’s easy just to keep to specific groups. This is the lower back area. [Yeah], the glutes areas, you know, most people don’t realize there are nine glute muscles.

Iain Barker

I didn’t know that. I knew that there was the the maximus

Heather Pearson

minimus medius

Iain Barker

I didn’t know there were more than this.

Heather Pearson

Yeah.And then you have all the deep the deep, the deep muscles as well. And you know, the muscles associated with with, with the glutes, and it’s, but this is these are the intricacies. And the massive advantage of ART is that you learn more anatomy in a ART, with muscles and structures than you will anywhere with any other modality. Every chiropractor and every physio, osteo that I’ve ever taught says the same thing, ‘everyone should learn ART, just for the anatomy’, because you don’t learn that in-depth anatomy on any other course. So and you learn about every little intricate muscle. So yeah, well, most of them. So yes, very, very good. In that respect.

Iain Barker

The human body is an amazing machine, isn’t it?

Heather Pearson

It is amazing, amazing.

Iain Barker

On a kind of simpler, more everyday level, you’ve got a list of things you should do, and things you shouldn’t do in your book. I haven’t written all of them down. But avoid aggravation is one of the things you should do. things that make your back worse is kind of, I guess it’s obvious, but maybe it’s something that we don’t always do.

Heather Pearson

Yes, it’s probably one of the hardest things. For a lot of people. It’s one of the most obvious, but it’s amazing how many people aggravate themselves, and you really have to be forthright. So it sometimes it comes down to you don’t even realize that you’re aggravating yourself, like walking, you know, if your glutes are not firing properly, any form of exercise where you’re on your feet, is going to aggravate your situation. And one of those things is walking, believe it or not. And I often get you know, someone comes in, says ‘Oh, I’m far worse. I’ve been doing the exercises. I don’t know what’s happened.’ And I’ll ask that person. Is there anything you’ve done to aggravate yourself? ‘No, no, I haven’t done anything out of the norm.’ And then halfway through the session, you will still be talking about what they’ve done. And ask ‘what did you do on the weekend?What did you do the last few days,?’ so nothing out of the ordinary and then halfway through the session they’ll say, ‘Oh, I did go on a three mile walk’. And then I’ll have explain that that’s an aggravation, even though it may have come up the session beforehand, but people that that most people don’t realize just normal everyday activities can aggravate your pain that you

Iain Barker

Yes because a three mile walk. That’s not something out out of the ordinary you think most people should be able to do that.

Heather Pearson

yeah. And, and even a mile walk, to be honest, you know, I can’t go for long walks, because, you know, my spine is is pretty messed up. And I really feel pain. You know, feel pain, if I go on a long walk. As much as I’m pain free. In general, there’s there’s things I could probably go for a mile walk, I’ll be okay. But probably a five mile walk, I’d start to feel discomfort. But it’s it’s very typical things, people who exercise a lot. Don’t exercise, just yet, you know, wait until you’re more stable, you know, at least a week, maybe two weeks.

Iain Barker

So we’re in the kind of first aid mentality at the moment. I’ve got this problem, and I’m going to take it very easy. Until I’m further along the road to recovery.

Heather Pearson

Yeah, and for some people, it’s that for some people who are who are in a very bad situation, who in agony with back pain is very difficult to then say, look, you still need to move. Yeah, but there’s a fine line with doing too much. Yeah, worst thing you can do is do nothing and rest

Iain Barker

Yeah, totally

Heather Pearson

Yeah, for some people. If you are in a really, really, really bad way, you do need more rest. So it’s a it’s a very fine line, but rest doing your exercises, sometimes I will say to someone who’s in a really bad way, rest for a week. Absolutely no walking nothing up, just you know, work and back, that’s it. I don’t want you doing anything else. And I want you resting as much as possible, just for one week, but you’ve got to do your rehab, then we can start to start to add more exercise in which could be just literally, you know, walking to the local shops and back. So, but there is that fine line of, you know, of aggravation and rest to that point. But sometimes it is just it’s just being sensible. You know, when you’re…. people who who exercise a lot, they find it hard to taper that down. [Yeah,] for a week or two. But it’s only a week or two. Which is nothing, than having to give something up permanently. So, you know, it’s never the end of the world.

Iain Barker

Often,you get the advice of not to think of your spine as sort of some fragile thing that needs to be kind of, you know, babied. So what’s your take on that?

Heather Pearson

Well, I think this comes down to it’s understanding your situation, and knowing that you can resolve it. So it’s, you know, everyone is different. And again, this comes a lot of this comes down to psychology and that particular person, how positive they are, how negative they are. Because you you do want to be aware of things that aggravate you, as we just talked about, you’ve got to be sensible. But at the same time, you know, you’ve got to understand ‘what level are you?’ So if you are at level one exercises, for some people, they’re going to be on those exercises for a long time, because their weakness is bad. For other people, they don’t have to worry about that as much. So it depends what what level you are at and understanding that you know, and then doing the psychological work on top. You know, the visual with having that symptoms chart is really good. Have confidence and give you confidence so that you don’t baby your spine too much. You don’t mollycoddle yourself too much. But you still have to if you are in a bad way. You do have to make sure you take the steps up at the right pace. You don’t want to rush things or else you’re going to end up coming tumbling down.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Thanks for Listening!

How did you release tight hip flexors?

Maybe it’s an issue that you are trying to resolve now and you are trying to figure out the best way?

Let us know in the comments below.

All the best

Iain

Photo https//www.flickr.comphotosjdowns66

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Active Release Technique [ART] with Heather Pearson.

This is her go-to technique to release tight hip flexors in clients with lower back pain.

You’re going to learn how ART works and what to expect in an treatment session.

You’re going to discover a whole lot about anatomy as we  get specific on the different muscle groups of the lower back and Heather tells us about the root cause of piriformis syndrome.

So make sure you stay with us for the 3rd episode of 4 with Heather Pearson creator of the Pearson Method.

Click the play button to listen to this episode now

Today’s Guest

Respected therapist, and author of

Back Pain Free: Put an end to your suffering with the Pearson Method

Heather Pearson

 

Live Pain-free Eliminate Chronic Pain without Drugs or Surgery

Active Release Technique [ART]

Heather feels lucky to have found ART.

It was very effective for her own problems and, as a practitioner, it’s her primary method to help her clients out of pain.

“Active Release Technique is by far the best soft tissue release I’ve ever come across”

It’s all about plapation, so the therapist feels the texture of the fascia under his/her fingers and thumbs.

This will determine how the release technique is applied.

Heather tells us that clients feel the release straight away.

“Most people instantly feel the difference” 

 

Hi, I’m Iain Barker creator of Back Pain Liberation.

I got back pain young and it got worse over time. Like many others in this situation, I saw plenty of doctors and therapists – all to no avail.

In the end self-help worked best – it often does for bad backs. Now I train regularly, focus on what works, and don’t get back pain.

My goal is to share what I learned. To help you find a more effective way when treatment doesn’t hit the spot.

 

Tight Hip Flexors and Back Pain

Tight hip flexors are a very common cause of lower back pain.

When the hip flexors are shortenend, this pulls the front of the pelvis down – anterior tilt.

“As soon as you release the hip flexors, then it relaxes the low back”

Check out the links below for some user-friendly anatomical diagrams to help you find your hip flexors:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/hip-flexors

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_flexors_of_the_human_body#Hip

 

Lower Back Muscles

We continue with anatomy and the postural muscles of the back, starting with the erector spinae that go the whole length of the spine, then bring the focus down to other muscle groups that

“Play a huge part  in the lower back –  specifically for posture”

Piriformis Syndrome Cause

According to Heather there is a veyr simple explanation for Pririformis Syndrome.

“Piriformis syndrome is weak glutes”

So when the other muscles in that area are weak, the piriformis takes over and has to work overtime.

The solution is to release and stretch the piriformis, then strengthen the gluteal muscles.

Full Episode Transcript – BPL28

Iain Barker

When you were doing your personal training, training, training to become a personal trainer, you went on to do I think was sports injury trainer. And there was some session that you were doing with, with someone where they did some kind of treatment on you. And there was a loud click from your back and you felt immediately better. But what was that?

Heather Pearson

So when I after I had the accident, because I was I was working at a company, which I can’t mention the actual company, but they were very big company and they, they had an in house physio, and the physio that I saw, taught me to sit incorrectly. And the way he taught me to sit by had, I had a big arch in my back. That’s how he told me to sit, which is really bad. Yeah. And what happened is, although I already had a clicking my back when I was working with clay, I will I had that for a few years. But because he taught me to sit like, like, in this specific fashion, two of my bones were fusing together, they were becoming one. And they were they became so stiff that the physio that taught me sports injuries. When he assessed me, these two bones were really stiff. And he he needed. I wasn’t getting much blood flow in those areas. So he needed to, to click me. But he said you’re going to do it yourself.

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Iain Barker

So is this similar to a chiropractor

Heather Pearson

Like a chiropractor, yeah. [Okay]. An adjustment, basically. And he, you know, I did this specific adjustment, which was just, you know, hugging yourself kind of thing. And he got me into certain position and, and loud click. Yeah. And soon after, you know, I was sore for a week, because obviously, I hadn’t had blood flow to the area.

Iain Barker

Yes.

Heather Pearson

You’re always sore if you’re in that situation. For a little while, then. And then afterwards, yeah, I felt fantastic. And I was taught how to sit up straight properly. And correctly. So yeah, I mean, again, amazing to go through it. Not very nice to go through it. But very good to experience that sort of thing.

Iain Barker

Well, a week of soreness is nothing compared to ongoing, agonizing pain is it?

Heather Pearson

Yeah, a life lifetime of of injury, whic would then lead to probably surgery and goodness knows what else, you know. [Yeah]. So yeah, I was lucky. Had a lucky escape on that one, for sure.

Iain Barker

Yeah.

At the end, you mentioned AR t, this is something that comes up quite a lot. Was it active release [techniques], techniques, technique? Yeah. So this is something that you, you really think is very important and very effective?

Heather Pearson

Yeah, I Active Release I came across, I think six years after my accident, I was very thankful, and grateful to come across it, because I’ve had a lot of different types of treatments with all my injuries, trapped nerves, etc. and ART is by far the best soft tissue release I’ve ever come across in the world. And, you know, there are lots of other good tools that can help with specifics. But ART is, you know, I mean, it’s amazing. You know, the things that you can fix very, very quickly, [okay], it’s very, very powerful. And I couldn’t fix low back pain without ART, it’s the quickest way to release tissue, which changes the feedback to the brain instantly. It’s so instant, it’s unbelievable.

Iain Barker

So is this a fascia release?

Heather Pearson

Yes,it’s based on fascia which is, it’s the, I always explain this is the white cotton wool, in between muscle and muscle fibers. That gets stuck and shortens and becomes thicker and more dense in certain areas where you have scar tissue. And that’s where muscles feel bruised to touch because then they don’t have blood flow. And as soon as you start to release the fascia, then the muscles start to have blood flow again, and they can breathe again and they start the dysfunction starts to reverse.

Iain Barker

So if someone was to get a ART therapy, what could they expect in a session? How does it work?

Heather Pearson

So it depends on obviously, what the issues are, but typically for back pain, and a lot of, ART for, for a back…. Normally, you wouldn’t even touch the low back on a first session. Because the tissue – there are certain muscles in the body that shorten and certain other muscles that lengthen in a situation of back pain, the most primary muscle or the hip flexors. So the muscles at the front of the hip, which I which gives you gives you an anterior tilt, which I call duck bum syndrome. So like like a duck waddling, unless you release the hip flexors, you never going to fix low back pain, when you release the hip flexors. Most people instantly feel the difference. And I’m talking within minutes, you feel the difference, because all of a sudden your back has been stuck in this position. And as soon as you release the hip flexors, then it relaxes, the lower back relaxes is instantly you know, give give it five minutes and and then you want to you need to look at the ligaments in the pelvis, which would have shortened because the lower back’s in the duck bum position then look at the quads and and the hamstrings because of the biomechanics. And just on the first session, and potentially the glutes too, because you want to get those glutes you want to get muscle sorry, blood flow back into the glutes and get them strong. So, but ART is the quickest way to do that. Because of it’s fascia that releases and and what I found with a artist is a guaranteed hold when you do the rehab on top after an AR t session that sets it in stone for and then you start to see the progress. So most people who’ve have ART that they never going to go back to square one. Unless Unless they just have one session and then never go back. Sometimes, you know, you only need one or two sessions to be fair, because it’s such a quick release.

Iain Barker

Is this something the therapist does with with their hands or how does it work?

Heather Pearson

Yeah, so it’s a hands on technique, you use your fingers and your thumbs. You never ever use any of you never use your elbows, it’s always because you’ve got to go on touch. ART’s all about touch. It’s all about palpation. So it’s what you can feel under your fingers and under your thumb, you should be able to feel the texture of the the fascia and muscle underneath your fingers and thumbs. That will determine the depth and the and the amount of tension that you use to generate tension. It’s very specific with shortening and lengthening of joints. Sometimes the patient moves their joints sometimes the the ART practitioner will move the joint it It all depends on the different structures. But you will also always go to patient tolerance. So everyone’s different.

Iain Barker

So if they’re crying you’re doing it too hard

Heather Pearson

You never want to be wincing in pain put it that way

And so yeah, you sometimes you have to go slower with certain structures that have less blood flow, like a ligament or tendon, your, you’re going to hold end range for a lot longer. With muscle tissue, you’re not going to hold as long at end range to gain the most benefit of releasing the fascia itself. So it’s very much about palpation skills and, with active release techniques. We’re lucky, you know, we’ve been teaching in Europe now for I think 10 years, which is great. So people don’t have to travel to America, like the likes of myself and my colleagues, Shane and Anders we all and Paul, we all teach in Europe.

Iain Barker

Anders, is he a Swede?

Heather Pearson

He’s, I have to get this right now, he’s Danish. [Okay]. I always get him mixed up with Finland. He has a go at me.

Iain Barker

Yeah.

Heather Pearson

So yeah, I mean, it’s an amazing technique. As I say there are other tools that I certainly use in my treatment room, but ART, especially when it comes to lower backs. I mean, I had a stunt guy I saw very early this morning. And he’s had his lower back, he has shortened, disc spaces, and there’s nothing else I could use on his lower back and pelvic ligaments and his certain muscles, there’s the more advanced, actually the level 2 ART protocols now, where you treat 2 tissues at the same time, which I did on him this morning, to release his low back. I mean, they’re absolutely unbelievable. And the whole session, there’s nothing else I can do, because everything that he’s got wrong with him and his lower back. It’s all about ART and his pain came down from a seven, to a three, you know, so he’s got to do a shed load of rehab. This is the power of ART, you know, the amount of people with back issues, some people I’ve treated who have had surgery, you know, they’re walking around pain free now. Other people, you know, lots of people with disc issues, that’s generally a weakness in the glutes and core and lower back, but you have, you need to do the ART with them, you know, so the quickest way to the resolution. And you know, ART practitioners around the world have the same successes. So not just me. It’s an amazing technique, trap nerves, also, you know, sciatic nerves, lot of people have sciatica, sciatic issues, you know, releasing sciatic nerve, sometimes, you know, one session, sometimes it’s gone. Now, other people have more chronic issues, it takes a few you know, because the nerves quite track. So, it takes a few sessions to, to release the scar tissue around the nerve. Sometimes it’s trapped in more than one area. But I RT for me is the best. So yeah. It’s, I feel very lucky to have been taught this technique and to teach this technique to other people, because I’m, you know, the few of us that teach in Europe, where we’re very proud. Everyone is who teaches at you, you’re very proud to teach your craft. Because you’ve seen the success it brings and how quickly you can fix people and resolve their problems, you know, so? Yes, that’s top of the tree for me.

Iain Barker

Yeah, good. So, um, we’ve talked a lot about the glutes. And something I always think is, would they go up quite high, don’t they, we think of them as being, you know, the butt that we sit on, but they there they actually go to the top of the pelvis, don’t they, which is if you kind of sort of have a feel of it when you know, people sitting down. It’s, it’s not just the backside is it is they go up a little bit higher than that.

Heather Pearson

Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, actually, you say that how many people say ‘Oh, I’ve got low back pain. I’ve got low back pain.’ And actually the pain is in the glutes.

Iain Barker

Yeah, exactly. Yes,

Heather Pearson

it’s for exactly that reason. And you’re right. And some people, a lot of taller people have very high pelvises, you know, they have a lot of room in between the, the, the lower rib and the pelvis itself. And, and often there, there are issues in the top part of the glutes, you know, around glute medius, and glute minimis where they’ve you know, they’ve developed scar tissue because of that shortening we were talking about earlier. And it’s been there for so long. And also that, you know, the ligaments too. So, yeah, it’s, and this is another thing about ART where you get around the front of that, that pelvis, so you got the back. And then that bone, or the ilium, where it goes around to almost the front of the hip, slightly, right on the side kind of side and a little a bit around the front, that, that those fibers kind of get forgotten about. And a lot of people get quite stuck in those fibers as soon as you release them, along with the TFL, which is the muscle on the the the side, the top part of the hip, but on the side of the leg, those two muscles get very stiff with people back pain, especially with with people who exercise a lot, he trained a lot with weights and do a lot of running and sprinting type exercises.

Iain Barker

Yeah, and you differentiate in the book between the glutes, and the lower back. So when you talk about the lower back, which muscles do you actually mean.

Heather Pearson

So talking about the lower back itself, you’re looking at the, the covers, the kind of the front cover the top layers, you looking at the the spinal muscles that run from the bottom of your pelvis all the way up to the base of your head, the whole spine. [So these are the erector spinae], erector spinae, yeah. And so they play a huge part. But underneath them the deeper layers where you’ve got the you’ve got the rotatores, which is kind of horizontal, and then the more angled fibers, which are the multifidi, they play a huge part in, in the lower back. Specifically for, for posture. But also, then there were the more intricate muscles, which is is is more so what I I worked with today with this patient this morning. And you have on the spine, you have a ligament, the spinous ligament and and the problem is, is when you have low back pain, that ligament shortens. So often you have to work the ligament effectively with you when you when that person has enough strength and starts to rehab. Because when you work the ligament and and the muscles on either side of the ligament also can be become shortened on one side, especially if you have a disc issue. Generally that side tends the muscles tend to be shorter and more compromised. [Okay]. And when you start to lengthen these muscles, then two things happen, the muscles in the lower back themselves can start to become functional, again, with the rehab. But also you’re opening up the disk spaces. And what happens is nerves penetrate through those spaces. And if that if that space is compromised and shortened, then the nerves don’t communicate properly to the muscles that they’re feeding back to. [Yeah], then you can get your feedback to the muscles. And then you find a lot of people report back on, I suddenly feel stronger. You know, within two weeks of having a treatment and doing the rehab, they’re feeling stronger, because they’ve got suddenly more strength in the low back itself will strengthen the glues, but the feedback to the quads, hamstrings and all the other muscles are much more efficient. So you gain more strength. So a lot of a lot of athletes understand their bodies very well. And they feed that back very, very, very much people who exercise in general. So but it’s quite the low back is quite intricate in that respect. You know, most people say, oh, there’s just one lot of muscles, it’s actually quite a few. And then that you have Yeah, the the other muscles that that around the area like the QLs, massive, massive, massive, important factor in low back pain, you know stabilizer of the pelvis, which works in conjunction with the piriformis, which is the kind of I call it the most greedy muscle of the glutes, it is, you know, when all the other muscles aren’t really doing their job, the piriformis is the strongest, and will really take over. People call it piriformis syndrome. Piriformis syndrome is weak glutes. So it’s, you know, you can stretch it out, get it released, but then you got to rehab the glutes on top. But the QL on the side of the pelvis, which goes all the way up to the 12th rib, you know, works in conjunction with the performance. And those two muscles are very important for low back pain. So you know, for some people, you’ve got to release the QL itself, for that part of that lower back to really open up along with the smaller little intricate, intricate muscles. And again, you have to look at agonists and antagonists the synergy between the lower, the front of the body and the back of the body. If you don’t release the hip flexors, then the low back is always going to stay short. And so so you know, it’s a combination.

Iain Barker

Yeah, I guess this is why you’ve just referred to it as the lower back because it kind of gets a bit involved doesn’t it. Most people know where the glutes are. And it’s kind of easy to talk about them. But if you start talking about all the individual muscle groups, it can be a little bit technical, I suppose.

Heather Pearson

Yeah, complex. And it’s easy just to keep to specific groups. This is the lower back area. [Yeah], the glutes areas, you know, most people don’t realize there are nine glute muscles.

Iain Barker

I didn’t know that. I knew that there was the the maximus

Heather Pearson

minimus medius

Iain Barker

I didn’t know there were more than this.

Heather Pearson

Yeah.And then you have all the deep the deep, the deep muscles as well. And you know, the muscles associated with with, with the glutes, and it’s, but this is these are the intricacies. And the massive advantage of ART is that you learn more anatomy in a ART, with muscles and structures than you will anywhere with any other modality. Every chiropractor and every physio, osteo that I’ve ever taught says the same thing, ‘everyone should learn ART, just for the anatomy’, because you don’t learn that in-depth anatomy on any other course. So and you learn about every little intricate muscle. So yeah, well, most of them. So yes, very, very good. In that respect.

Iain Barker

The human body is an amazing machine, isn’t it?

Heather Pearson

It is amazing, amazing.

Iain Barker

On a kind of simpler, more everyday level, you’ve got a list of things you should do, and things you shouldn’t do in your book. I haven’t written all of them down. But avoid aggravation is one of the things you should do. things that make your back worse is kind of, I guess it’s obvious, but maybe it’s something that we don’t always do.

Heather Pearson

Yes, it’s probably one of the hardest things. For a lot of people. It’s one of the most obvious, but it’s amazing how many people aggravate themselves, and you really have to be forthright. So it sometimes it comes down to you don’t even realize that you’re aggravating yourself, like walking, you know, if your glutes are not firing properly, any form of exercise where you’re on your feet, is going to aggravate your situation. And one of those things is walking, believe it or not. And I often get you know, someone comes in, says ‘Oh, I’m far worse. I’ve been doing the exercises. I don’t know what’s happened.’ And I’ll ask that person. Is there anything you’ve done to aggravate yourself? ‘No, no, I haven’t done anything out of the norm.’ And then halfway through the session, you will still be talking about what they’ve done. And ask ‘what did you do on the weekend?What did you do the last few days,?’ so nothing out of the ordinary and then halfway through the session they’ll say, ‘Oh, I did go on a three mile walk’. And then I’ll have explain that that’s an aggravation, even though it may have come up the session beforehand, but people that that most people don’t realize just normal everyday activities can aggravate your pain that you

Iain Barker

Yes because a three mile walk. That’s not something out out of the ordinary you think most people should be able to do that.

Heather Pearson

yeah. And, and even a mile walk, to be honest, you know, I can’t go for long walks, because, you know, my spine is is pretty messed up. And I really feel pain. You know, feel pain, if I go on a long walk. As much as I’m pain free. In general, there’s there’s things I could probably go for a mile walk, I’ll be okay. But probably a five mile walk, I’d start to feel discomfort. But it’s it’s very typical things, people who exercise a lot. Don’t exercise, just yet, you know, wait until you’re more stable, you know, at least a week, maybe two weeks.

Iain Barker

So we’re in the kind of first aid mentality at the moment. I’ve got this problem, and I’m going to take it very easy. Until I’m further along the road to recovery.

Heather Pearson

Yeah, and for some people, it’s that for some people who are who are in a very bad situation, who in agony with back pain is very difficult to then say, look, you still need to move. Yeah, but there’s a fine line with doing too much. Yeah, worst thing you can do is do nothing and rest

Iain Barker

Yeah, totally

Heather Pearson

Yeah, for some people. If you are in a really, really, really bad way, you do need more rest. So it’s a it’s a very fine line, but rest doing your exercises, sometimes I will say to someone who’s in a really bad way, rest for a week. Absolutely no walking nothing up, just you know, work and back, that’s it. I don’t want you doing anything else. And I want you resting as much as possible, just for one week, but you’ve got to do your rehab, then we can start to start to add more exercise in which could be just literally, you know, walking to the local shops and back. So, but there is that fine line of, you know, of aggravation and rest to that point. But sometimes it is just it’s just being sensible. You know, when you’re…. people who who exercise a lot, they find it hard to taper that down. [Yeah,] for a week or two. But it’s only a week or two. Which is nothing, than having to give something up permanently. So, you know, it’s never the end of the world.

Iain Barker

Often,you get the advice of not to think of your spine as sort of some fragile thing that needs to be kind of, you know, babied. So what’s your take on that?

Heather Pearson

Well, I think this comes down to it’s understanding your situation, and knowing that you can resolve it. So it’s, you know, everyone is different. And again, this comes a lot of this comes down to psychology and that particular person, how positive they are, how negative they are. Because you you do want to be aware of things that aggravate you, as we just talked about, you’ve got to be sensible. But at the same time, you know, you’ve got to understand ‘what level are you?’ So if you are at level one exercises, for some people, they’re going to be on those exercises for a long time, because their weakness is bad. For other people, they don’t have to worry about that as much. So it depends what what level you are at and understanding that you know, and then doing the psychological work on top. You know, the visual with having that symptoms chart is really good. Have confidence and give you confidence so that you don’t baby your spine too much. You don’t mollycoddle yourself too much. But you still have to if you are in a bad way. You do have to make sure you take the steps up at the right pace. You don’t want to rush things or else you’re going to end up coming tumbling down.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Thanks for Listening!

How did you release tight hip flexors?

Maybe it’s an issue that you are trying to resolve now and you are trying to figure out the best way?

Let us know in the comments below.

All the best

Iain

Photo https//www.flickr.comphotosjdowns66

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