Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Addressing Knee pain using Swatantra Yoga

Pain to Muscle Map
Knee pain is a common issue especially among runners, climbers, and cyclists. Most knee pain arises from a large group of muscles called the quadriceps which cover the front and sides of the thigh.

Overworking these muscles causes shortening and formation of trigger points along the length of the muscle. It causes the thinner tendons of the quadriceps muscles that insert into the Tibia bone to pull at the point of the connection. This gives the sensation of pain in the lower part of the knee.

Often tightening of this muscle cause excessive curvature in the lower back and forward movement of the neck causing lower back pain or even neck pain ( explaining the entire mechanics is beyond the scope of this article).
Below is a diagram of the pain pattern that arises when these muscles are strained, and part of it get blocks/ trigger points.




Knee Joint- 3D
Trp Map- Side
Trp Map- Frontal

What can I do?
If you can identify your pain pattern in the pain map, then select the muscle from the Trp maps and find its location on yourself. Search with light hand along the strained muscle for areas of hardness. These can be identified by hard small ball/knot like formation along the muscle length. Indicative location of such points is shown on the muscle maps.
Step 1: Keep massage ball on vastus lateralis Trp points

Step 2: Roll over and bring moderate pressure onto the Trp



working the septum between vastus lateralis and rectus femoris

Working on Vastus Medialis Trps
Working the Trps of Rectuc Femoris
On locating such knots use a ball or your elbow to press into it. As you increase pressure, exhale out and press into the point where you can feel the most pain. 

Once located regulate the pressure such that it is not unbearable. Keep steady pressure rather than pumping it. While holding the position, breathe normally close your eyes and feel the sensation running down towards you feet. You might most probably feel it running down till your knee. If there are not too many blockages in your calf, then you might even feel it running down to your ankle.
Hold the position for half a minute until the pain subsides. Inhale slowly as you release.
Check if the ball/knot has softened or reduced in size. If not then repeat one more time for thirty seconds.

Now stretch the muscle by sitting in Vajraasana or the backward flip combined. Easy version can be done with the heels up or with a pillow between your calves and hamstrings
Vajrasana- with pillow
Vajrasana- with heels up
Vajrasana -Normal




Vajrasana- Hard
Do it every alternate day and test the area for a reduction in hard knots and overall suppleness along the muscle length. You can also test your ROM   (range of motion) by evolving from heel up Vajrasana to classical Vajrasana to back flip Vajrasana over a few days. If you overdo the pressure on these points, you might feel soreness for a day or two hence it important that you put only as much pressure as you can bear on a trigger point.


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