Archive for February, 2012

The Psoas Muscle Causing Back Pain, Knee Pain and Exhaustion
February 29, 2012

I recently attended a webinar to learn more ways to evaluate and work with the structures of the pelvis.  Realigning these helps to reduce back pain, hip pain, knee pain, shoulder pain and digestive disturbances.   The psoas muscle is one of these important structures of the pelvis that was discussed during the webinar. 

Since graduating in 1989 I have known of the importance of working with the pelvic region and am excited to have learned another way to help realign this area.  Along with my physically working on the pelvis it is also important to maintain flexibility by stretching.  The article below explains the actions and mechanisms of the psoas and includes detailed information about stretching through lunges.  I hope you find this article helpful and informative.

 Psoas by: Mishelle Knuteson, MH.

Think of some major muscles in the body, you may come up with muscles such as the bicep, hamstring or quadriceps. These are well known surface muscles. A muscle that is very important to our overall health, and often never heard of, is the psoas muscle (pronounced so-as). The psoas runs through the pelvic bowl, down over the front of the hip joint, and attaches at the top of the femur (thigh bone). It is the only muscle connecting the spine to the leg.

The psoas is critical for balanced alignment, proper joint rotation, and full muscular range of motion. A constricted psoas can often cause low back pain, knee strain or exhaustion. A chronically tightened psoas continually signals to the body that you are in danger because the physical tension triggers the fight or flight response from the nervous system. This constant tension will eventually exhaust the adrenal glands and deplete the immune system.
The psoas is traditionally considered a hip flexor. Hip flexors are muscles that bring the trunk and leg closer together. Also a posture stabilizing muscle, the psoas assists in straightening the lumbar (lower spine). In actions where one side contracts and not the other, the psoas aids in bending to the side.
Since the psoas is a muscle of flexion, exercises that incorporate those kinds of moves are said to strengthen it. A good exercise is the standing lunge.
Lunge By Steps:
1-    Stand with your legs parallel and a straight posture; your tailbone pointing toward the floor, the top of your head reaching for the sky, and your shoulders relaxed.
2-    Bend your right knee and step straight back with your left leg onto the ball of your foot. Go as far as you are comfortable, but don’t let your right knee (front leg) bend past your toes.
3-    Keep your hips even. Think of your hip bones as headlights that have to point forward. Your chest is open, slightly lifted to the sky and your gaze is straight ahead.
4-    Rest your hands on your right knee for stability.
5-    Straighten your back leg, but don’t lock your knee. Let the lift come from the hamstring (back of the leg). Now, if you feel steady, increase the stretch*. But don’t do it by sagging into the left hip (common mistake).

*The way to increase the stretch is to keep your lower ribs and hip bones in the same plane and pull up through the core of the body and abdominal muscles to bring the pelvis up and back, opening the front of the hip joint. Use your abs in a way that feels like you are scooping your tailbone between your legs. This will help protect your lower back.

6-    Hold the stretch about 30 seconds as you breathe deeply. You might think of it as breathing “into the stretch”.
7-    Release the stretch by supporting some weight on your hands and stepping the back foot forward to parallel legs position.
8-    Repeat on the other side.

A healthy functioning psoas guides the transfer of weight from the trunk of the body to the legs.   It provides a diagonal support through the trunk, forming a shelf for the vital organs of the abdominal core. In walking, a healthy psoas assists the joints in moving freely and joins with the diaphragm in massaging the spine as well as the organs, blood vessels, and nerves of the trunk, stimulating the flow of fluids throughout the body.  A healthy psoas contributes to the sensations of feeling grounded and centered in the body which creates a sense of relaxation and calm that can affect your total well-being.
Mishelle Knuteson is certified in Rapid Eye Technology (RET) an emotional release therapy, teaches classes in The Art of Feminine Presence and a Master Herbalist ~ graduate of The School of Natural Healing. Mishelle currently works as an Educative Master Herbalist (MH) for The School of Natural Healing and as Office Manager of Christopher Publications.

In health and happiness,

Dr. Liselotte Schuster (847)509-9067


10 Steps to Prepare for Birth
February 22, 2012

I have been working with pregnant women since 1989 and here are 10 suggestions to help prepare mom and newborn for the best birth possible.

 1.)It has been shown that chiropractic care during pregnancy helps to decrease labor time, keeps women comfortable during pregnancy and keeps baby in the best position for birth.  Therefore, I recommended getting adjusted monthly in the first and second trimester, every two weeks during the third trimester and then weekly during the last few weeks of pregnancy.

 2.)To prepare the body and mind to be strong and flexible for birth, take yoga, guided meditation and or other classes that are specifically geared towards pregnant women. 

 3.)Consider taking birth classes that are outside of the hospital.  These are often more comprehensive and offer more helpful tool for both the new mom and new dad. 

 4.)Along with having one’s husband or partner at the birth consider adding a doula or a trusted friend.  These people add an element of experience; support and advocacy that can help create a more fulfilling birth experience.  Some doulas also come to the home a few days after the baby is born to check up on everything.

 5.)Pain has been associated with something wrong, with injury to the body.  Labor is not injury; a woman’s body is designed to accommodate birth.  What causes the “pain” of labor?  The ligaments of the uterus and the surrounding muscles are stretching and the baby puts pressure on the cervix, low back and birth canal.  Understanding this and then training the mind to describe these feeling of labor as strong sensations can help reduce the fear that is often associated with delivery.  Consider taking Hypnobirthing classes and reading books that are written by Ina May Gaskin. These help prepare the mind and body to open up during birth and delivery. 

 6.)Prepare the body for a smoother labor by doing 100 kegel exercises a day.  These can be done sitting, standing, lying down, any time, anywhere.  To help reduce the likelihood of tearing, massage the perineum and the labia with non-irritating vegetable oil and apply a warm washcloth there as well.  This is great to do at nighttime before sleep. Putting a warm compress there during delivery also helps keep the area as pliable as possible.  GLA, also known as Evening Primrose Oil can also be used to help soften the cervix. 

 7.)Tone the uterus with red raspberry leaf tea.  1 cup daily during pregnancy and a few cups daily in the last month is recommended.  Continue to drink it daily after birth to allow the uterus to get back to normal size in a shorter period of time. 

 8.)If there is any back pain during labor or if there are premature contractions a few weeks before labor there are exercises to help with that.  These can be found in the book “Hands of Love” written by Dr. Carol Phillips.  These hands on postures can be done by one’s husband, doula or chiropractor.  These are very effective in taking pressure off of the spine to help reduce pain, stop premature contractions and to help ease labor.

 9.)If one is carrying a breech baby then this warrants to get adjusted by one’s chiropractor with the “Webster In-Utero Constraint Technique”. This is a specific chiropractic adjustment that is highly effective in balancing the hips.  This helps the baby to be in the best alignment for delivery and often takes between 2 to 6 adjustments for the baby to turn.  Adding acupuncture to this technique also helps those who have breech presentations.

 10.) To help enhance dilation of the cervix during labor, a) stimulate the nipples, b) get intimate with one’s partner, c) walk around, d) massage the jaw, e) use aromatherapy such as the scents of lavender with neroli to create a sense of deep relaxation of the mind and allow the body to open up, g) apply acupressure to the web of the thumb and a few inches above the inner ankle, h) change postures during labor, because certain positions will open the hips up more than others, and sometimes just moving into a different position will get labor back on track, i) get onto ones knees and  elbows, this is another way to change the hips and the baby to be in a better position for labor.

 May these 10 steps help you or someone you know have the most wonderful birth experience for mom and baby!

 Dr. Liselotte Schuster (847)509-9067

Childhood Ear Infections
February 15, 2012

A recent discussion ensued over a friend’s daughter who had been having chronic ear infections. Unfortunately the pediatrician said that if they did not go away he could only offer to put tubes into the ear.  This made my heart sink especially since I have worked successfully for over 20 years to help children who have had ear infections.  I wanted to relay hope that there actually is something else that can be done that most pediatricians are not informed of.

 I began to explain how working gently to align the vertebrae in the neck helps the nerves that affect the muscles of the inner ear to relax; which allows fluid to drain.  I also explained that working gently on the plates of the head could allow the fluid to drain as well.  We talked about the fact that misalignment in the neck and in the plates of the head can occur during birth, as well as rolling over, trying to lift the head, sleeping and lying primarily on the back, falls that occur and more.

 I also explained that along with chiropractic, it is also important to recommend probiotics on a regular basis and to investigate foods such as dairy, gluten, corn and sugar.  The reaction to my information was very well received and I decided that more people should know about these options.  I ask you to feel free to pass this information along about helping ear infections naturally and if you have any questions about this, please contact me.

 In health and happiness,

Dr. Liselotte Schuster