Groin problems

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tinadempsey
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2021 11:21 pm

Groin problems

Post by tinadempsey »

One of my students has been coming to me for a few months now and a couple of weeks ago developed a problem with her groin - not in class or even a day or two after. She said it was like a phone was vibrating in her pocket against her groin and sending pains down her leg to her foot. She saw her osteopath who said something she was doing in yoga could be causing the problem but didn’t say what.
It sounds like a nerve issue to me - what do other people think?
Also, I’m not sure what nerve it could be or poses we could be doing that might cause this problem.
Has anyone else come across anything like this?
Bernie
Posts: 1228
Joined: Sat Sep 23, 2006 2:25 am
Location: Vancouver

Re: Groin problems

Post by Bernie »

Hello Tina

I am not a doctor and I have not personally examined your student so I can only speculate as to what is happening with her, but like you I suspect some sort of nervous interaction. However, I don’t believe this is due to a particular nerve being damaged, but rather a sensitivity of her muscle spindles. If you recall, we discuss these briefly in the 50-hour course and I describe them as follows in Your Body, Your Yoga:
  • Muscle Spindles and Golgi Tendon Organs

    Our nervous system is also constantly watching the state of stress in our muscles and tendons. If the muscle becomes stretched too much, or too quickly, receptors within the belly of the muscle, called muscle spindles, will send a signal to the spinal cord (technically called the horns of the spinal cord) or the brain stem (technically called alpha motor neurons). From there, a responding signal is sent to the muscle, causing it to contract so as to protect the muscle from being torn. Signals may also be sent to the antagonist muscles, ordering them to relax. This is a reflex action. (A reflex is an autonomic reaction of the body that is often not mediated by the brain. Sending a signal all the way up to the brain and waiting for the response may take too long and risks damage occurring while the body awaits the brain’s signal; it is quicker to send the signal only to the spinal cord or brain stem and have the reaction come from there.)

    Muscles normally have some degree of tonus: this is a state of slight activation of some of the muscle fibers. The whole muscle is never totally relaxed, except in special circumstances, such as under general anesthesia. The muscle tone is reported on by the muscle spindles. One of the sources of the tension that stops us, and which we experience in yoga, is the tone of the muscle: if the muscle is slightly activated, it will resist being stretched. If we can reduce that tone, we can get more stretch. If the tone is increased, by too much muscle spindle activation, we will have trouble stretching. Pathologies can arise in individuals whose muscle tonus is too high (hypertonia) or too low (hypotonia). Some people experience chronic rigidity or spasticity, which can limit their range of motion, because their muscle tone is too high or is unevenly turned on and off.
So, my suspicion is that she may have weakened or damaged her adductor muscles to the degree that her muscle spindles are activating causing the muscle to turn on inappropriately, causing the spasms. If this is correct, then I would advise that she back off stretching this area for a while, and when she resumes stretching here, she does so by only playing her first edge. Suggest that she only goes to where she feels a mild stretch but no further. She can also work to strengthen the adductors which may help, but again, gently to start.

I hope this helps.
Cheers
Bernie
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