Helping Clients Release Muscle Aches and Pains

Helping Clients Release Muscle Aches and Pains

We just had a couple thousand gals participate in the Girlfriends Half Marathon to benefit the Susan G. Komen for a Cure and the Kearney Breast Center.  So we’ve had a number of ladies feeling a little stiff, myself included!   I am sure many of you have clients that are participating in races this fall and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to share some of my favorite techniques I use with clients (and for myself) when muscle aches and pains set in.


The best way to treat extreme muscle soreness is to prevent it in the first place.  Your clients will experience the greatest amount of stiffness when they are doing something new and/or at a higher intensity than they are used to….many times from exercises they are doing with you!  So it is always a good idea to help your clients ease into any new activities and make sure they train with and without you and progress correctly. This should minimize the amount of soreness they experience.

Cold treatment, elevation and anti-inflammatories:

stretch wall hamstringsWe experience stiffness due to the body’s inflammation response.  If your clients have done a little too much, their bodies will send blood flow and nutrients to the affected area to help heal the tissues.   The problem is typically the body overcompensates and people get too much fluid in the area causing pressure and pain.  So advise clients to decrease the inflammation response to help with the amount of associated pain.  Ice or cold treatment will constrict the blood vessels slowing down blood flow to the area and therefore decreasing the inflammation response.  Some athletes will sit in an ice bath or cold river, or hose down their affected muscles with cold water or just use ice packs.  Elevating the affected areas (i.e. your legs) will also decrease the blood flow and the inflammation response.  While others will use ibuprofen or a topical anti-inflammatory like Traumeel or Arnica.

Move that Body:

When clients are stiff, the last thing they want to do is move.  But if they sit around, they actually get stiffer.  So it’s better to get them moving to help flush some of those fluids out of the tissues.  But just suggest something easy like a gentle walk or bike ride and that should do the trick.


Ask clients to think about booking an appointment with a therapist that can do some reflexology, acupressure or cupping techniques to help release some of the tissues.

Foam Rolling:

A perfect way to help release tight areas for runners and athletes of all kinds!  Hopefully you have some foam rollers for your clients to use at your facility.

Try These General Guidelines for Foam Rolling with Clients:

  1. When rolling over a tight area….stop rolling and rest on that area for 20-30 seconds (resting will help reduce the muscular tension and pain).  Hold to the point of tolerance.  This may feel uncomfortable – like a really deep massage – but there should be no sharp pain.
  2. Roll over the entire area for about 1-2 minutes each side and avoid bouncing.
  3. Do not hold breath.
  4. Maintain proper posture and contract abdominals to help stabilize low back while rolling.
  5. Repeat stretches one to three times each side.
  6. These techniques can be done 1-2 times daily.

Here are my favorite Myofascial Release Techniques:

IT Band:

Lie on the right side supported by the right elbow and maintain head in neutral and ears aligned with shoulders.  Place roller under right thigh and place left leg over and in front of the right leg.  Roll just below hip joint down to the lateral thigh to the knee.

stretch foam roller hips


Sit on full roller and cross right ankle over left knee.  Roll on the right hip area while pulling the right knee towards the opposite shoulder to increase the stretch.  To massage the glutes, sit on the roller with feet and hands in front of roller.  Push roller backwards with buttocks.



Yours in health, fitness and business,

Sherri McMillan

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