Are my calves making my back hurt?

Are you on your feet a lot? The more you are on your feet does it seem like your back pain gets more aggravated. Well, your calves are likely not the cause of your back pain; however, they could be aggravating it.

Seemingly, everyone has tight calves. You may be wondering what that has to do with back pain. Well, a lot actually. Let me explain. When your calves are tight it pushes your balancing point, also called your center of gravity, backward some.

When you balance point is pushed toward the backside of your body, it causes your hips to flex and that causes your back muscles to work harder. You do not want your back muscles to work harder, right? Especially when they are hurting like crazy. You want them to relax because the spasms and stiffness is ridiculously uncomfortable.

Your walking is also affected by tight calves. As you walk the foot that is bearing your weight has to flex, which stretches out your calf muscles. If the calves are tight, then you cannot take a full stride. This causes various muscles around your pelvis and spine to work harder to compensate. Once again, you do not need these muscles to be working harder when they are already giving you pain.

If your calves are tight how do you fix it? There are two muscles in the calf – the gastroc and the soleus. Both of them need to be stretched; however, the approach to stretching each of them is similar, but different.

The gastroc is stretched with the knee straight and the soleus is stretched with the knee bent. There are several approaches to stretching these muscles; however, I prefer to use stairs because the effect of the body weight on the stretch seems to make it more effective. Here is an image for the gastroc muscle for stretching:

gastrocnemius-stretch-stairsMake certain you hold the stretch for a minimum of 30 sec because it takes approximately 15 sec for a muscle to give into a stretch; therefore, that gives you a solid 15 sec of stretch. Do 3 repetitions of each stretch. Keep in mind that the elastic component in muscles is very similar to that of a rubber band. The longer you hold the muscle stretched out, the more likely it is going to maintain that new position.

Do not bounce on this to get more stretch! You will only tear individual muscle fibers and that will cause scar tissue to form as it heals. Scar tissue is much less elastic than muscle tissue so that will lead to less flexibility in the future.

Many individuals like to do both calves at the same time; however, I prefer to do one at a time. Yes, it does take more time; however, all of your body weight is going through one leg primarily as you are stretching so you will get more of a stretch. If you are doing both at the same time only half of your body weight is pushing through each of your legs, so it may not be as effective since you have less weight pushing through each muscle.

The soleus muscle can also be stretched on a step; however, the trick is to keep the knee bent during the stretch. Here is an image:

soleus stretch This stretch can be more difficult to do with the knee bent; however, do it a few times and it will get easier. You should notice that the stretch with the soleus is felt closer to the heel cord, whereas the gastroc is typically felt in the upper muscle belly. As with the Gastroc stretch hold the stretch for 30 sec and do 3 in a row.


In some instances, stretching of the calves never seem to make the loosen up. In these cases, extra help may be required to improve in flexibility. Techniques to release the soft tissues such as myofascial release and Active Release Techniques (ART) can do wonders in these cases.

As an added bonus, Active Release can release a specific spot at the top of the calf called the tendinous arch of the soleus. The tibial nerve can get entrapped here which can cause tension in the entire nerve complex of the leg which can aggravate any instances of sciatica and will also negatively affect balance. I personally have had issues with a nerve entrapment here, and it feels like the ankle and foot just cannot adjust to uneven surfaces and I was constantly losing my balance. I can only imagine how these frequent losses of balance would feel with back pain… OUCH!

Active Release is a highly specialized approach to releasing overuse injuries. You can find a provider local to you at If you are local to me in Wadsworth Ohio then I can help you out since I have been doing ART since 2001.

I am available for a free phone consult if you are uncertain what to do for your pain. I will help you figure out what to do first to get the best results. Click here to schedule a consultation with me. I would love to be a part of your success story in relieving your back and leg pain. 


Lisa Marie Keller

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Oh! My Aching Shoulder… My Achey Back

The shoulder is an entirely separate joint and unrelated to anything going on in the low back right? Well, I personally do not believe that. As a physical therapist treating body aches and pains for for almost 20 years I have found there to be a significant relationship between shoulder pain and back pain. The shoulder may seem far removed from the low back but give me a few minutes to explain the relationship.

quadratus lumborumWhen you are having problems with your back there is a muscle that attaches from the ribcage pelvis to the ribcage and goes right over the kidney areas called the quadratus lumborum. It typically gets very tight with low back pain and it pulls on the ribcage. This can affect the shoulder because all of the muscles that control the shoulder attach on the ribcage.

Tightness in the quadratus lumborum can contribute to issues in the shoulder; however, there is an even more significant muscle attachment that will definitely affect shoulder latissumus dorsimotion and pain. There is muscle that spans a large portion of the back and it works to stabilize the shoulder joint. This muscle is called the latissimus dorsi and it’s base attachment is down at the sacroiliac joint.

When the sacroiliac joint is not synchronizing properly it affects the muscles that attach in that area one of which is the latissimus dorsi. It will cause this muscle to misfire and since it is the latissimus that stabilizes the shoulder it allows the shoulder joint to pinch the rotator cuff muscles causing pain. Many times a strained rotator cuff has a root cause coming from a misfiring latissimus which is caused from dysfunction at the sacroiliac joint.

So what exactly is the sacroiliac joint? The sacroiliac joint is a joint in your pelvis and Sacroiliac_Jointthere is some movement that occurs at this joint which helps with the coordination of all the muscles that attach to the pelvis. The sacroiliac joint consists of 3 bones – an ilium on each side and the sacrum in the middle.

This joint is a root cause of most low back pain. If you want to know more about the sacroiliac joint and how you can get it to coordinate properly so that the muscles that attach in the area can also work properly then check out my book Free My Back. In this book I discuss 7 steps to resolving chronic back pain and one of those steps includes a technique to retrain the sacroiliac joint to move properly. Click here for access to the downloadable E-Book version for free (for a limited time).



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Find the Support You Need

You have tried everything for your back pain… Ibuprofen, heat, ice, rest, stretching and still it lingers on. You are thinking you are going to have to see someone to see what can be done. You could go see your doctor but all he is going to do is prescribe painkillers and or muscle relaxers, which may be helpful, but will it solve the problem? Who do you go see? What could be helpful?
You have heard of all these different techniques such as Craniosacral Therapy, Myofascial Release, Reiki, Rolfing and what is the difference with all these approaches. They all claim to help with pain but will they help YOUR pain? How do you know what will help you without having to try each and every one of them?

massageFirst off you need to know your body. Are you able to handle a rougher and more aggressive touch or are you sensitive and require a light touch? Rolfing is one of the most aggressive approaches and Reiki is one of the most light touches, and in fact Reiki can be done hands off. If you are really sensitive to touch then Reiki may be the right one for you to try first. Many times Reiki is given combined with other approaches and in those situations it tends to enhance them and many times facilitates improved results.

Another thing to factor in is whether your pain is involving a large area or a small area. Different approaches may be more suitable for a larger or smaller area. I will go into a bit of detail regarding an approach that is designed to address a very specific area of pain and that technique is called Active Release Techniques (ART).

ART has different protocols for each muscle in the body, each joint and even different nerves. The practitioner pinpoints an area with his or her thumb and using active movement strips out scar tissue on that structure (muscle, tendon, nerve, joint etc). It requires a firm and at times deep touch and can be painful but the results are fast as long as the correct structure is identified that is causing the pain.

Flat_frontThese are a few of the things to consider when looking to find someone to help you with your pain. If you want to learn more tips on how to choose the best provider to help you with your pain then check out my book Free My Back. I am offering the E-Book version for free! Click here to get a copy for yourself and learn how you can resolve your chronic back pain now.




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Hamstrings Cause Back Pain?

Did you know that your hamstring muscle could be contributing to your back pain? With it being so commonplace to sit for long periods of time tight hamstrings can be a common occurrence. If you are not aware of the tightness, then it can wreak havoc with your back pain.

hamstringYour powerful hamstring muscle is made up of three different muscles – the semimembranosus, semitendinosus and the biceps femurs. The top portion of these muscles attach onto your pelvis and the ligaments that cover the sacroiliac joint. If these muscles are tight then tension distributes into the sacroiliac joint; which can cause low back pain.

When you are sitting with straight posture and you go to straighten out your knee are you able to straighten it out all the way? Can you feel it pulling in your back? If you cannot straighten your knee completely and you feel it pulling in your back then your hamstring is contributing to your back pain. Tightness in one area only distributes tightness to another area and I know you do not want more tightness in your back if it hurts like crazy already.

hamstring stretchThere are many ways to stretch this muscle but right now I am going to give you the simplest way. Sit nice and straight with support on your back if you can. Straighten out your knee just like you had done to check if it was tight to begin with. Take a strap or a towel and place it beneath your foot and pull to straighten your knee a bit more. Hold this position for 30 seconds. It takes 15 seconds for a muscle to give in to a stretch so that allows adequate time for the muscle to accommodate to the stretched position for the full 30 seconds.  Do 3 repetitions on each side for best results.

Sacroiliac_JointIf you are doing this stretch and not noticing any improvement in your back pain or the flexibility of your hamstring, it is likely that the problem is stemming from your sacroiliac joint. If the sacroiliac joint is not tracking properly, then it will affect the muscles that are attached to the pelvis. The hamstring muscles happens to attach to the pelvis. Remember earlier I had mentioned that the hamstring muscle attaches to the ligament covering the sacroiliac joint? If that sacroiliac joint is dysfunctional it will affect that ligament and that will affect the hamstrings – it is like a domino effect.

If the problem is stemming from your sacroiliac joint then no worries. My book Free My Back details how the sacroiliac joint contributes to back pain and what can be done to solve this dysfunction.  I have found there to be 7 steps for resolution of chronic back pain and one of them is retraining the sacroiliac joint to move properly. I outline how to do this step by step in chapter 4. Today is your lucky day because I am offering the E-Book version for free for a limited time. Click here to get access to a free downloadable E-Book of Free My Back. Check it out now and resolve your chronic back pain today!



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Muscle Spasms? Magnesium Take Me Away!

Have you heard about how effective magnesium is in resolving muscle spasms? If you are suffering from back pain and you do not know about magnesium then it will be life saver for you! It has helped nearly every person I have suggested it to, and a few have even cancelled appointments with me because their pain was completely resolved (or enough to be tolerable).

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and it also helps calm down the nervous system along with a slew of other benefits. There is a lot of physiology around what Magnesium does, but I will not bore you with the nitty gritty details.

The most important thing you need to do is that it affects the muscles directly allowing them to relax. Calcium, which is great for the bones, does the opposite and tightens the muscles up. If you are on calcium supplementation then most definitely you would benefit from magnesium. It really does wonders for back pain and spasms. In fact it helps for any area of the body that is in pain and spasms including the neck, legs and arms.

My favorite brand of magnesium is Cardiovascular research and if you  click here you can order it directly from Amazon and discover how effective it is for yourself. Please let me know what kind of results you experience with its use. I love to hear about success stories!

IMG_0600I have found some instances where the Magnesium is not effective and it is almost always related to an adhesion to a nerve. This puts a lot of pressure on the nerve and it negatively affects how the nerve communications with the muscles.

The most common spot I have found nerve adhesions at the calf. It is right where the tibial nerve, which is a branch of the sciatic nerve, goes through the top of the calf muscle. When there are adhesions here it can contribute to those pesky calf cramps that plague you in the middle of the night. It can also make it difficult to balance since your ankle has difficulty adjusting  uneven surfaces when you are walking.

No worries though… there is good news for this condition. Active Release Techniques (ART) is a top notch technique and it is ideal for resolving adhesions in muscles and there is specialized training just for nerve adhesions. There are some other techniques that are moderately effective; however, ART is fast and as long as the practitioner is trained and certified they experience a high success rate in just a few sessions.

To find a provider local to you, click here for an easy zip code search. If you happen to be local to Wadsworth, Ohio then reach out to me. I have been doing ART since 2001 and I would love to be a part of your success story in getting rid of your pain


Is this information helpful for you? If so then you will love my book Free My Back and I am currently offering it free in E-Book format. Click here to get access to the the digital download of Free My Back.




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Misunderstood Back Pain

Are you wondering what the root cause of your back pain truly is? Despite all the diagnoses of spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease and herniation along with many more… the root of the problem may be coming from your pelvis. Read this article to understand more.



Lisa Marie Keller

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Personal Transformation

Personal transformation and growing to your full potential can be hard work that is easier when you are supported. Evolution Fest has some amazingly supportive speakers and followers. Check out Evolution Fest here!!! If you are interested in participating in Evolution Fest; however, the cost is inhibiting you then can use discount code EFLMK.

Lisa Marie Keller

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Personal Transformation with Evolution Fest

If you are interested in personal growth then you know it is a constant process of improvement. It is also a process each and every one of us could also use help and support with.  I have come across many amazing healers and helpers throughout my journey and several of them are going to be presenting at a 3 day event in the Los Angeles area called Evolution Fest. There are leading experts in the fields of mental, emotional, physical, financial and essential core health who can help to guide you through your own personal and powerful transformation.  I invite you to check it out to see if is a good fit for your path of healing and transformation and if it is then see what you can do to make it happen. Check out the tickets by clicking here.

HUGS to you in your transformative healing process!!!

Lisa Marie Keller

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East vs West

There is always going to be a right wing vs left wing, right vs wrong and unfortunately in healthcare it is Eastern Medicine vs Western Medicine. This is truly a shame because there are benefits to both forms of medicine. If I break a leg and need emergency surgery there is no other place I would rather be than in the US with Western Medicine. However, when dealing with chronic health conditions I prefer Eastern Medicine. east west

I think a balance between the two is ideal and there should not really be one vs the other. Jeffrey Allen explains perfectly the strengths and weaknesses of the Eastern and Western Medicine. His article was published on the Mindvalley blog and if you are wanting to understand more on how each form of medicine could benefit you then click here to check it out.

Best Regards in Love and Light!

Lisa Marie Keller

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It is all about perspective…

When you are standing in front of an obstacle… such as getting past your pain, it may seem daunting. However, once you are past that challenge in life you can then see it from a different perspective. Take this staircase for example. circular staircase

When you are at the bottom of the staircase it really seems like a long way up and may even seem to be a bit daunting. However, once you get to the top and look down you see this image. You can then see the beauty in the staircase and maybe then appreciate the trudging climb up the stairs to get to the top just for that different perspective.

What beauty do you think you will see in your challenges and your pain once you overcome them?

It is always nice to change you perspective.


Lisa Marie Keller

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