Isn’t it interesting how we incorrectly and inappropriately phrase things, leading us to believe...
Understanding Poochy Belly: What to Do
Pain is the body’s way of communicating to us that something is unbalanced. Yet, the places we often experience pain are not necessarily at the location of the movement limitation.
Let’s consider the body and muscles as an elaborate system. When one area of the body is stuck short and tight, it is plausible that this area of tightness can tug, pull, or restrict movement, which inhibits proper functioning in other parts of the body.
Somatics explains that muscles become habituated tight and short in response to repetitive strain, injury, and stress. Muscles essentially fail to function properly - which means they stop fully contracting and stop fully releasing. This is known as Sensory Motor Amnesia - loss of the brain’s voluntary control over the muscles.
It’s at this point that an understanding of Reciprocal Inhibition plays a significant role in understanding pain and limited function. Reciprocal Inhibition is a crucial principle Resolve Pain Guru teaches.
Reciprocal Inhibition states that when an agonist muscle contracts, the opposing muscle, the antagonist needs to release. This can be seen in the bicep-tricep relationship, the quad-hamstring relationship, and most importantly, the relationship between the flexors (front body) muscles - to the extensor (back body) muscles.
Going back to muscles getting stuck short due to Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA), the relationship between muscles, called Reciprocal Inhibition, faces interruption. Essentially, neither the agonist nor the antagonist muscles contract or release fully, preventing optimal function.
What is essential to understand is that in movement, everything is about relationships. We cannot only focus on the back muscles that are in pain. Rather, we must look at how the stomach muscles function in relation to the back line and get them working well so that the back muscles can lengthen and release when the belly muscles shorten. The goal is to improve the efficiency of all the muscles involved to improve the functional relationships across the whole body.
Here’s a typical example: Abdominal weakness can frequently result from back muscles that are so habituated tight, short, and “offline” that they inhibit the ability of the stomach muscles to contract. This shows itself as a pooched belly, also known as weak abs. In fact, what is actually happening is that the Reciprocal Relationship between the back muscles and the abdominals is dysfunctional.
This is why regular somatics or somayoga practice is essential to reboot our muscles. This keeps them “online” and functioning for all of our favorite activities such as pilates, yoga, golfing, skiing, biking, running, and life.
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About the Author: Carrie and Nicole are certified IAYT SomaYoga Therapists and Somatics Educators who have specialized in working with clients in pain for well over 10 years. Their mission is to teach you revolutionary techniques to tap into your body’s innate intelligence and its ability to heal.
You could also call them “pain geeks” because they are extremely passionate and inquisitive about all things related to what causes people pain. To understand the true mind-body connection and to reset the nervous system in powerful and simple ways.
They specialize in skillfully combining the tools of Somatics, SomaYoga, Anatomy, Functional Movement Training, Mind Study, and Yogic Philosophy to bring about more joy and freedom in the lives of those they work with. They teach to professionals and individuals by sharing their Method.