We received the following email last week:
So Jeff and Carolyn talked and decided to send Elliot a link for the now twice revised manual for the Alexander Method of SMR Clinic. Here is his response:
You are most welcome, Elliot. It was and is our pleasure to assist you.
When we learn we have helped someone as much as we did Elliot we will bend over backward to serve them. Learn what the Alexander Method of SMR can do for your self-care efforts by clicking here to access our online education. Better yet, click here to see our workshop schedule and sign up for a hands-on class.
We wish you well in your efforts taking care of yourself. If you have any questions for us, we are here to serve you.
Neck Pain is Common
Some of us have TONS of neck tension. We get through the day with Tylenol, Advil, or some other medication to numb the constant pain in our neck & shoulders.
Use Meds SPARINGLY (if at all)
You Muscles Might Need Some TLC
In many cases our constant pain is a sign that the muscles are just plain EXHAUSTED. Poor posture, long hours staring at a computer, little or no exercise with proper mechanics…these are just a few reasons your muscles might ache nevermind pain coming from an actual injury like whiplash, a herniated disc, or even an infection such as meningitis or strep throat.
Don’t Ignore a Serious Problem
Obviously if you have a condition in need of medical attention you should contact your healthcare professional immediately. Take a minute to asses what your symptoms are and make an informed decision on your first, next, and last steps to take. Exercising good judgment is the best exercise to perform!
What Can You Do?
Assuming that you don’t have a serious medical condition, then let’s take a look at the health of the muscles. You have 16 muscles attached to each of your shoulder blades. Two of these, the traps and the levator scapulae, are particularly likely to be overly tight from pulling your shoulder blades toward your ears (like when you are stressed or angry). You should at the very least regularly practice stretching these muscles by lowering your chin toward your collar bone and breathing deeply for 4-8 breaths. Perhaps gently place your hands on top of your head with your fingers interlocked to assist these tight muscles in the back of the neck to relax.
There are more than 20 other muscles around your neck that might need attention, but you can address them all through a handful of stretches and SMR techniques. The Neck Roll is a good starting point to relax all of the muscles on the back of your neck. It is quite easy to combine that technique with the Sterno Roll which addresses the muscles on the side of your neck. By spending about 5 minutes on your back and then 3-5 minutes on your side and repeating as needed for each side you have a basic program for relaxing the majority of muscles that cause tension around your neck.
Why We love the Beastie & Beastie Bar
Just recently Rumble Roller came out with some new SMR Tools that make addressing your tight neck muscles even easier and more effective. The Beastie ball has tiny bumps on it that make it possible to get to spots the bumps on the Rumble Roller are too big to address and a smooth ball simply can’t reach at all.
The Beastie Bar has 2 Beasties mounted side-by-side on a bar with handles so you can more easily work on your own neck.
Why We LOVE the Wall System
If you combine these two tools with the Wall Mount System you can do “hands-free” work on your own neck by using leverage, gravity, and your legs & hips to press into those tight spots in the back of your neck. By NOT using your hands with the tools you can more easily turn off the muscles of your neck and get into the area you need to with less force…which means less tissue irritation or damage…which means less recovery time between SMR sessions and a quicker return to normal function! Below Jeff demonstrates a couple techniques for using the Beastie, Beastie Bar, and the Wall System:
Sample Routine for Relief
Whether you use the new Beastie tools from Rumble Roller or another tool set with which you are familiar, the goal is the same: NO NECK PAIN! Be honest with yourself and take appropriate steps to remedy your discomfort. It is not “normal” to have to live with almost constant pain, although for many of us this is our norm. Spend 5-10 minutes several times a day to overcome your initial levels of tension in those tight neck muscles, then maybe 5-10 minutes once every week or two to keep them free of restrictions (adhesions) and contraction knots (trigger points). Good luck!
When you roll out does it hurt too much? Does it seem like it never gets any more comfortable or pleasant? Maybe you are actually working too hard or using the wrong tool….
In the video clip below Jeff explains why less is more and you should be working smarter, not just harder:
Get the right tools in your toolbox to get the results you need. Get the know-how to work out your issues when you can and make that call to a professional when you need a little extra help. Over time the process of SMR should get easier to maintain and see results. If it isn’t shoot, us a message and we’ll help you get the relief you are seeking.
Muscles tighten up for a number of different reasons. Let’s not make finding the solution more complicated than necessary.
April 2014 will bring with it the first-ever Alexander Method of SMR™ Instructor Course. This 2-day intensive will dive into movement dysfunctions such as valgus knee or external rotation of the feet when performing a squat to pick out which muscles are likely over active or too short to properly perform the movement. We will also address muscles likely to need strengthening or retraining to better mobilize and stabilize joint movements.
This course requires that attendees have a strong working knowledge of anatomy and the Alexander Method of SMR™ techniques.
To check out the details of our instructor course and see our full list of our other workshops click here.
We are currently scheduling technique clinics and instructor clinics throughout the USA and soon in Asia and the Middle East. Attend one in-person to get the most out of your SMR efforts. Stay tuned for more info regarding a workshop coming to your area!
So what is an Alexander Method of SMR Clinic like, anyway?
We go over how to address your tight quads, lats, calves, and more using rollers, balls, compression straps or garments, and even hot or cold massage stones. We point you on the path to fixing your muscle issues, but it is up to you to practice what you learn and exercise good judgment along the way. Not every problem can be remedied with a roller or ball (even a spikey one!), but it can be surprising just how good you can feel if you practice a few simple techniques when you need to.
For a copy of our syllabus, click below. To check out our upcoming workshop or event schedule, click here. Whether it’s in a workshop or while providing athlete care at an event, we hope to see you soon!
Jeff Alexander is offering one last class in 2013. Choose the 1-Day Fundamentals class in which you learn the 23 foundational SMR muscles and muscle regions and how to approach self-care to get your fastest results; or choose the 2-Day intensive clinic in which you learn all 70 Alexander Method of SMR™ regions, how they interrelate and which areas to start with as well as which areas to address the most frequently to not only get your fastest results, but your longest lasting, too.
This class will be in Roswell, New Mexico and it is only open to the first 20 students to sign up.
Register before November 15th and save $100 off the 2-day class ($50 off the 1-Day class).
Self-myofascial release has existed as long as people and animals have rubbed their bodies against something to scratch an itch or relax a muscle. Jeff & Carolyn Alexander began exploring the tools and concepts available to recover following intense workouts or competitive events around 2001. What they found was a collection of techniques loosely linked together around using a foam roller, tennis ball, golf ball, and frozen water bottle with little or no real guidance other than to “roll around to find the sore spots.”
Over the course of 5-6 years Jeff and Carolyn searched for classes, tools, and experimented with themselves and their clients until they had the beginnings of a logical, step-by-step program that anyone could pick up and use to help take care of their own muscles. This system has evolved over the last 6 years to become an approved educational course for trainers to maintain their professional credential as well as a starting point for many coaches to use when teaching their clients about their own anatomy and how to manage the normal aches and pains that come from daily life as well as pushing one’s body to it’s physical limits.
The Alexander Method of SMR is a system of self-care that you can see (and feel) immediate results from when dealing with a muscular dysfunction. You do not need to learn complex anatomical terms or physiological systems to understand how to do the techniques, as the system is a simplified step-by-step approach to understanding how you can move better by practicing certain specific techniques each day. We start with the most important muscles and groups of muscles that lock up your hips, knees, and shoulders when they don’t work right. Once you begin to understand how these three key areas can be addressed (and how helpful it can be when you work on them regularly) we help you address the other key areas to improve or maintain your quality of movements so you can enjoy your day and your activities.
Here is Jeff at the beginning of a SMR Clinic in Southern California describing why the Alexander Method was developed: