Using Clinical Somatics exercises to relieve iliotibial band syndrome
Clinical Somatic Education is a method of neuromuscular education developed by Thomas Hanna. Hanna created many self-care exercises that use his technique of pandiculation to release chronic, involuntary muscle tension and retrain the nervous system.
You can learn Clinical Somatics exercises in the online Level One & Two Courses. These two courses together include all 40 exercises that I teach, allowing you to thoroughly address the muscle tension and imbalances throughout your body.
The following exercises from the Level One & Two Courses are the most effective exercises for releasing the tight muscles that cause mechanical back pain.
If you want more guidance on how to improve your posture, please read How to Retrain Your Proprioception and Posture.
LEVEL ONE COURSE
Arch & Flatten: This exercise allows you to release and regain control of the lower back and abdominal muscles, improving the alignment of the pelvis and lower back.
Back Lift: This exercise is practiced lying on the stomach, allowing you to most effectively pandiculate the muscles on the back side of your body, from your shoulders to your lower back and gluteals.
Side Curl: This exercise is important for everyone to do, especially if you have IT band pain more on one side than the other. This exercise releases the obliques and quadratus lumborum, which can hike one hip up, causing functional leg length discrepancy.
One-Sided Arch & Curl and Diagonal Arch & Curl: These exercises release the lower back and abdominal muscles. They focus on one side of your body at a time, allowing you to address imbalances in your muscular patterns.
Iliopsoas Release: This is an important exercise for everyone to do regularly, especially if you have tension or pain in your lower body.
Hip Rotation: This exercise releases the internal and external hip rotators, which are nearly always tight in cases of IT band pain.
Hamstring Release: Tight hamstrings often go along IT band tension and pain, so this is an important exercise to do daily.
LEVEL TWO COURSE
Quadriceps Releases: Many people with IT band syndrome have chronic tension in all of their leg muscles – often from intense athletic training – and it’s important to release tension throughout the legs in order to fully address the problem.
Gluteal Release: This exercise works directly with releasing the glutes, which are tight in IT band syndrome.
Iliotibial Band Release: This exercise pandiculates the IT band, and it can feel intense. While you may have to be patient to get to this exercise in the course, you may have already felt complete relief at this point by having addressed tension in the core of your body and other leg muscles.
Calf Release: Many people with IT band syndrome spend a lot of time on their feet, and likely have tension in their calf muscles.
Standing Hamstring Release: This exercise is an intense hamstring release, and should only be practiced after becoming comfortable with all of the previous exercises for the legs and lower back.