Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Soleus: Calf, Sacro-Illiac and Migraine Pain

I've always checked for bilateral soleus tightness when I see some low back pain in runners/desk workers.  Active,  then lots of sitting lifestyle.  When the soleus muscles get tight, they tend to put your center of gravity more on your toes which fires the back extensors more.

I was reading through some Travell and Simmons Trigger point book the other day and came across the trigger point referral pattern for the soleus. To my surprise, I saw that it actually referred pain to the TMJ.

I did some more reading on the soleus and found a few massage therapy articles where the soleus is known as the "second heart."  It's considered the bottom of the cardiovascular system, pumping blood from the lower extremities to the heart.

The soleus now becomes part of the vascular system.  When they are tight, along with the adductors, can put compression on the adductor hiatus and effect the neurovascular structures that run through that.

They relate tight soleus muscles to migraines.  Many people suffer from migraine pain.  In my experience, it's hit or miss with what I call typical chiropractic adjustments.  I find since I've been doing nerve entrapment release that my success has gone up, but not a ton.  I still feel like it's 50/50.  If working the soleus muscle provides one or two more success cases, that is some very, very valuable information.

So, if you or someone you are treating presents with TMJ or Migraine headaches, it is worth just a quick palpation of the soleus muscle.  It's a requirement for low back and SI joint pain.


reverend dick said...

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Anonymous said...

THis is fascinating. Been plagued with recurrent SI problems for some time. I've found both hamstring stretching and psoas stretches from floota.com help. I'll experiment with this as well, thank you. Do you have more items in this blog on SI problems and treatments? thanks....Sifter

Anonymous said...

ONe more thing. YOu may have given me the answer as to why Hindu Squats, which I love, gave me an SI problem. Weight shifts to toes, and accompanying tightness kicks in. Thank you.

Rob said...

what would you expect of a runner (natural running technique) who switched to a standing desk? I did not have any soleus pain while I was still sitting at my desk all day but I switched to a standing desk a few months ago and, although I really like standing and feel more alert and engaged all day, I have fatigued and pulled (my non-professional assessment) both of my soleus muscles. I have tried several kinds of fatigue mats, different work shoes. I would really like to keep standing at work but I suspect I may have to choose between running and my standing desk. Thanks!!

Jason Ross said...

Rob, try bringing in a small 6" block to alternate feet on as you stand. So one leg on the block one leg on the floor. Alternate throughout the day.

You're psoas muscle may be working harder to stabilize and you're trying to "push off" with your calf muscles a bit harder.

Also do a kneeling hip flexor stretch throughout the day and before and after you run.

See if this helps and let me know. If it doesn't we can dive a little deeper into it.

Rob said...

Thanks for the suggestion. The standing desk I have actually has sort of a fot bar which is coincidentally about 6 inches off the floor. The question I have is where would that block be ideally? The bar is a foot forward of my floor foot - does that make sense? Would the block be where my other foot would be normally so that my feet would be in their normal postions just one raised? I have now been sitting for about a week and have not run since Dec 30th but my right soleus is still very sore first thing in the morning and immediately if I take a running like step. I think I may need to see a doctor at this point but I am not sure if that would be a foot doctor or a sports ortho. Any suggestion on that?

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Anonymous said...

my soleus muscle and around if feels very sore, and it is been sore for a for like weeks.. and I am a runner... PLEASE HELP!!!