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How I Quickly Recovered from an Injury ... and So Can You

hamstring pain pain relief sciatica

I have to be 100% honest with you.  I do some crazy stuff - hanging upside down from my knee; doing tango in heels for 3 hours; or carrying a 45-pound dog home because he refuses to stop lunging at the neighbor's poodle  - that aren't necessarily healthy for me.

Many of our daily activities can leave us ~ 

  • with muscular imbalances from reptitive motions
  • overly tense in certain areas
  • nursing old injuries that never 100% heal

Yes, exercise is great, and we need that.  Plus, the mental challenge, relationships we make, and fun that sports provide are important.  But the fact is that most sports, at some level, aren't healthy.  

Even non-sport movements, like carrying a heavy bag, doing a lot of driving, or manual-labor jobs, can leave us in some type of pain or chronic tension.  

I have an old hamstring injury from martial arts.  A while back my heel started hurting.  The hamstring is connected to the heel, it turns out. 

I knew this, and felt it before, but it got bad. Really bad. I was in tears. I went through natural childbirth twice. If we say that’s a 10/10, then my heel was at least a 7 or 8.

The pain is gone now, and as always, I came away from this challenge with some insights when you’re dealing with an injury.  

1. Do something to moderate the inflammation.

Inflammation is, to an extent, normal.  It's a sign that your body is healing.  But something to take the edge off is helpful for peace of mind. 

Some people like ibuprofen, I did acupuncture and moxa. Within one treatment, I went from not being able to put any weight on that foot, a 8/10 intensity, to a 5/10 intensity and walking on my toes.

Other options that work include turmericCBD, and fish oil.  Try some things and see what helps.  It's just food and plants - nothing to be afraid of.  

I would stay away from using ice, though.  Ice causes contraction, and contraction of your blood vessels (Qi circulation) leads to long-term, chronic pain.  

2. Work through the pain to the best of your ability.

At first, you won’t be able to do the therapeutic exercises perfectly.  Just go within the range you're currently able to do.  It's a re-building process.  Be patient with yourself.   

Start with low expectations, and you won’t be disappointed and quit before you’re done. It’s not about how the stretches look, but how they feel.  Uncomfortable is OK.  Excruciating pain is not.  If you can't breathe in a move, don't go as hard.  

If you’re getting a massage, and you can only take very light pressure, then that’s all you do. If you’re working on mobility and you can only move 1/4″, then that’s all you do TODAY.

Tomorrow will be different.

There’s a fine line between not doing anything, doing it the best that you can, and doing it so hard you hurt yourself worse. Pay attention to the details and the posture, and the rest will follow in time.

3. Figure out where the primal posture went wrong.

I had no idea I was doing this until I focused on figuring it out. What I was doing was walking incorrectly.  Once I was able to put pressure on my heel again, I had to retrain my walking posture. 

It’s one thing to understand something intellectually, and another to practice it and have it ingrained in your muscle memory. Even when you think you have something down solid, if an issue comes up, it’s always good to review the basics.

4. Prepare to prevent the next injury.

Once you’ve injured an area, it’s more vulnerable to future injury.  To prevent this, we need to strengthen the connective tissues and muscles around the hurt area, and improve functional range of motion and flexibility.  This is something we cover in my free webinar and online posture course (coming soon).  

The styles of dance that I enjoy I never want to give up.  However, for me to continue to enjoy them, I have to do regular MOBILITY WORK.  

Mobility work includes active stretching, proprioceptive balancing, nerve flossing, fascia release, and strengthening.  These things keep my joints lubricated and my muscles in balance (not too tense, not too weak) so I can keep enjoying the movements I like to do for fun.  

Below is an example of a 20-minute routine I used to recover from my hamstring injury and heel pain. 

Keep in mind:  if you have no background in posture science or mobility work, be careful attempting these exercises on your own, as doing them incorrectly can lead to more pain.  


I started with a little upper body warm up.  Some shoulder mobility with a staff.  You can use a broom handle or strap too.  Remember:  Keep your rib anchor.  Lift your shoulders up and out from your body, but the back doesn’t sway.  If you need to, move your hands out wider. 

Keeping your hands anchored down, hold an invisible lemon under your chin and do some neck mobility stretches.  Ear to chin; “smell the armpit;” side to side; and rotations.  

Hip mobility circles.  Keep your knees lifted and straight – but not locked out.  You should feel gripping on the ground from your feet.  If you hip hinge forward, keep your back straight.  


Lunges.  Make sure your hips are facing forward at all times.  Lower and lift back leg.  Keep your head level the same.  Use yoga blocks if you need to.  Keep scissoring your legs in toward each other.  

Hamstring stretch.  I used a PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation – activating muscles before stretching them) technique here where I push my heel into the floor for 3-5 seconds, then I can sink more forward.  Repeat 3-5 times.  Hold 30 – 60 seconds each side.  

Keeping your hips facing forward, take your hands to the side of the straight leg.  You’re definitely going to feel this in your sciatic nerve.  I used a yoga block for stability.  Keep your back straight and don’t forget about your hip alignment.  And breathe.   

Pigeon pose.  I used a block under the bent leg hip so I can stay straight.  Whether or not you need to depends on your flexibility.  Make sure your back leg is right behind you, not going to the side.  Pull your legs towards each other for 3-5 counts, then sink further out.  Hold 30 – 60 seconds each side. 

Options – stay up or lean forward.  That part doesn’t matter; the leg position matters.  Front leg is at a 90-degree angle.  Back leg is straight back.  

Spinal twist.  Think as if you had a level on each side of your ribs, shoulder, and hips.  Don’t start tilting.  One hand goes on the opposite knee, the other hand behind you.  The movement comes from the spinal muscles, not from forcing the twist.  


Keep your knee at the same height.  Raise and lower your flexed foot and then pointed foot 10x.  Hold the last one for 10 breaths.  This one alone is GOLD for sciatic pain.  


Frogs – I had to use kneepads here.  Knees go straight out from your hips, and your upper legs are at 90-degree angle from the bottom of your leg.  Slide your knees out if you can.  Go onto your hands or elbows; either one is fine.  If this hurts your knees, don’t do it.  Use a PNF here – squeeze your knees into each other for 3-5 breaths, then exhale and release.  30-60 seconds total.  

Lay on your stomach, feet pushing in to each other.  Keeping that push, lift your knees up 10x.  Hold the last one 10 breaths.  

Squat stretch.  If you can, put your hands on your ankles, keeping your hips level with your shoulders.  

Sit down, legs out.  Flex your toes and you see how your heels can pop off the ground?  Now keep that heel up and point your toes on one side.  On the flexed side, pull your heel in toward your body, then slide it back out.  Reverse.  10x.  


Foam rolling – glutes, IT bands, hamstrings, quads.  Just a quick word on foam rolling – stick to one small section at a time.  Split your hamstrings up into lower and upper parts.  Go slow and if it hurts, use your body to push yourself away from the roller.  

Whew!  That's it.  

This type of routine is what I teach in my upcoming Posture workshop and online course.    

My posture course is a 9-week signature program where we break down in detail all those movements, with modifications for current restricted mobiliity, plus other toold and technique4s so you can get to the root of what's causing your pains.  

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