Your IT Band is Not the Enemy (But Maybe Your Foam Roller Is)

What is your IT Band?

Your IT Band or Rectus Femoris Muscle is one of the most powerful muscles in your body. It’s main function is to control the movement of your pelvis and lower back. Its role includes:

• Keeping your spine straight. If you have any kind of curvature in your spine, then this muscle will keep it from falling forward. When you stand up straight, then this muscle keeps you upright and stable at all times!

• Keeping your legs straight. If you have any kind of kyphosis in your upper legs, then this muscle will keep them from sagging forward. When you walk, then this muscle keeps your feet pointed straight ahead.

• Keeping your torso upright and balanced. This is the primary purpose of keeping this muscle tight and toned! This helps maintain balance throughout the body including your head and neck!

How do I know if my IT Band is Tight?

If you are having trouble standing up straight, walking normally, or balancing properly then your IT Band may be tight. You might need to stretch it out first before you go to see a professional. There are many stretches that can help loosen up the IT Band and improve its mobility.

How do I foam roll my IT Band?

While there are many techniques to foam rolling, you mainly want to focus on one thing: applying direct, even pressure to knots in your muscles. This can help decrease the muscle’s protective response which is causing the knot. Massaging the knot will actually cause it to release and relax. Here’s how to foam roll your IT Band:

1. Place the roller just above your knee.

2. Bend your knee and place your foot on the floor.

3. Cross your other leg over the top, just above the ankle.

This will help you achieve more direct pressure on the IT Band.

4. Place all of your weight on the roller and roll back and forth slowly.

Gently apply more direct pressure as you find a knot. Hold for 10 seconds and then continue rolling.

5. Once the knot releases, move down to the next one.

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What Can I do if My IT Band is Still Tight?

Your IT Band is like a long rubber band. It will snap back into place once you release the tension. However, that tension is caused by many little knots along your IT Band. If you want to get rid of the knots altogether then you may need the assistance of a professional. Your best bet would be to see a physical therapist who can help determine what’s causing the tension in the first place. From there they can prescribe exercises to do at home and maybe even give you a few tips on foam rolling.

There’s one exercise in particular that you can do to stretch out your IT Band:

1. Lay on your side and lift your top leg up. Your bottom leg should remain on the floor for support.

2. Hook your top knee over your foot so that it is directly out to the side

3. Gently push your foot away from your body while keeping your knee lifted

4. You should feel a stretch in the side of your hip and upper thigh

5. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other leg

This exercise can help release tension in the front of your hip and the back of your upper leg. Be sure to do this on both sides so you don’t create an imbalance in muscle tightness!

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Pain During Pregnancy

About 70% of all women will experience some kind of back pain at some point during their pregnancy. The hormones released during pregnancy relax your ligaments in the spine which can cause a lack of support. In addition to relaxing your ligaments, those same hormones can also soften your muscles, which can make it more difficult to support your changing body.

What are the different types of pain I might experience?

Most of the time your pain will fall into one of two categories:

1. Pain caused by the pregnancy itself (ex.

baby pushing on backbone, muscle strain, general pressure on internal organs)

2. Reproductive pain (ex.

ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, endometriosis)

The pain caused directly by the pregnancy is usually generalized and felt in many areas of the body. This type of pain will usually go away soon after your baby is born. The pain caused by reproductive issues is usually felt in a more isolated area and may even have an previous history of pain in that area for you.

What can I do to help alleviate the pain?

There are many things you can do to help with the pain during pregnancy:

1. Make sure all of your prenatal appointments include a check-up from a chiropractor or osteopath. Stretching and stationary biking are great exercises to perform.

5. If your pain is caused by reproductive issues, it may be a good idea to make an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist.

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This article comes from the Fit For Two Pregnancy site. Fit For Two is a comprehensive pregnancy wellness site including information on fitness, nutrition, yoga, mental health, and other related topics.

Source: EzineArticles

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Neurodynamic mobilization and foam rolling improved delayed-onset muscle soreness in a healthy adult population: a randomized controlled clinical trial by DPT Kolten Tea

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