Pain is frequently caused by trauma, contraction
which all impact the body’s myofacial system. Rolfing restores health and balance by lengthening and reintegrating the body’s connective tissue. In this respect, Rolfing is closer to the principles of yoga than chiropractic and physical therapy. If you have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions, here is a look at how Rolfing can help.
Lower back strain may occur when muscles have been overly stretched or torn. This may be caused by heavy lifting, a sudden fall, repetitive or incorrect technique. Rolfing works to reduce the scar tissue and balance the tensions in the myofascia.
Herniated disks can occur when the discs between vertebrae are worn down and are unable to effectively cushion the vertebrae. A sudden twisting movement or a repeated strain on the lumbar may lead to herniation. Rolfing offers relief by lengthening the surrounding muscles and connector tissue, which relieves the stress on the discs and allows proper function to the area.
Sacroiliac joint sprain may occur with extended bending or lifting, as well as degenerative arthritis. Dancers may not be aware of an injured sacroiliac because of their flexibility and range of motion. Rolfers are able to observe bony imbalances of the pelvis and determine which tissues are causing the misalignment. This allows them to lengthen the chronically shortened structures so that the pelvis can achieve symmetry.
Spondylolithesis occurs when a vertebra slips forward onto the one below it. And may be caused by repeated hyper-extension or a sudden direct force or twist. Pain may be felt in both buttocks and stiffness in the lower back. Dancers with spondylolisthesis typically have significantly curved spines and/or tight hamstrings. Rolfers are able to lengthen the surrounding tissues, creating space and allowing the slipping vertebra to return to its normal position.
Inflamed Trochanteric Bursitis (TB) may be caused by any number of factors, including overuse, imbalance of the lumbar spine, muscular imbalances in the hip or pelvis, a leg length discrepancy, or a lateral snapping hip. Often the leg length disparity is a result of a functional imbalance and not of a structural nature. Rolfing will restore ideal balance of the lumbar spine and pelvis and also reduce chronic tensions that cause TB.
Snapping hip occurs when a muscle or tendon passes over a bony structure. There are two types of snapping hip common among dancers. While usually painless, it can still pose an annoyance. Rolfing will lengthen the shortened structures that cause the snapping. Therefore reducing the irritation and audible effects.
Iliacus tendonitis affects the iliacus muscle at the front of the hip, causing a throbbing pain. It is usually associated with younger dancers who overuse movements that emphasize hip flexion and rotation. Rolfers were early to recognize the importance of the iliacus in relation to pelvic and leg function, and a great deal of attention is paid to lengthen and bring balance to this structure. The result is greater ease of overall movement.
Piriformis syndrome occurs when the piriformis becomes tight and restricted. Because most dancing typically places an emphasis on hip rotation, a tight piriformis can affect the sciatic nerve, resulting in radiating pain from the buttock to the lower extremities. Rolfing will reduce the tension of the piriformis, therefore decreasing the stress that is placed on the sciatic nerve.
Stress fracture of the femoral neck may occur with dancers who train with faulty technique or suffer from muscle imbalance. Pain is usually experienced in the groin, hip girdle, or anterior thigh. Symptoms are prompted by both stretching and passive movement. Rolfing will decrease the myofascial tension that lead to the stress facture, thus allowing the femoral neck to heal itself.
Hallux Valgus and Bunions are often associated with postural and biomechanical faults within other joints. A dancer with bunions will notice increased foot pain at either the ball of the foot or near the big toe. Pain will be greatest while jumping. If caught early, Rolfing can correct this problem before it becomes serious by stretching chronically shortened tissues that are pushing the bones into misalignment. For those who’ve had the issue for a long time, Rolfers can help reduce the pain by allowing the toe to move closer to proper alignment.
Plantar Fascilitis occurs when there is an overuse of the fascia connecting the heel to the base of the toes. It can also be influenced by tightness in the calf, the Achilles tendon, or dancing on a hard surface. Runners and dancers will experience pain when they step out of bed in the morning, or following weight bearing activities. Rolfing will lengthen the irritated tissues, preventing further micro-tears that result in intense pain.
Achilles Tendonitis is usually due to overtraining, lack of flexibility in the calf muscles or dancing on a hard surface. Connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone, the Achilles tendon is the body’s longest tendon and allows jumping. It is susceptible to inflammation because of frequent use. Rolfing will increase the calf muscle’s flexibility, allowing the body to easily deal with the stresses of constant movement.
Lateral ankle sprain is a common dance injury which occurs when the ankle rolls outward and ligaments are torn. A ‘pop’ may be audible when the injury occurs. Dancers will experience pain that is often followed by bruising and swelling. Rolfing will reduce the scar tissue and restore the normal movements of the anklebones, while also rebalancing the arches of the feet.
Shoulder Dislocation is typically caused by falling, or when one’s arm is forcibly moved in an awkward position. The shoulder is one of the body’s most mobile joints and is often a target for injury. Depending on the type of dislocation: subluxation (a partial dislocation), and a full dislocation (wherein the upper arm bone is completely out of the socket). Often after a painful dislocation people can become cautious of movement due to the length of recovery. A Rolfer will work with the myofascial restrictions caused by this protective behavior as well as the scar tissue that is a result of the original injury, thus allowing full function of the shoulder joint.
Shoulder Impingement can be caused by repeated arm movements, particularly overhead motions and continued extension of the arm at high speed. The rotator cuff muscles can become compressed and inflamed. Pain usually increases over time. Rolfing can reduce the shortness and compression in the myofascial structures that cause the irritation and pain.
Rotator cuff tears are often the result of a sudden forceful injury such as falling. They can also occur from repeated stresses placed on the arm. Such injuries are quite painful, especially when trying to raise an arm overhead. Collagen fibers are the main component in scar tissue, which is the result of a tear. Rolfers effectively decrease the thickness and restriction caused by this particular tissue.
Acromioclavicular joint sprain is usually the result of direct force to the top of the shoulder or by falling on to the shoulder, causing ligaments to tear, partially or fully. A bump on the top of the shoulder is a sign of a complete tear. This particular injury results in scar tissue formation. Rolfing technique successfully reestablishes normal movement of the joint that has been affected by the thickening of tissue due to injury.