As a coach for many years, I’ve seen several members and clients deal with aches and pains that have truly hindered their abilities and quality of life. Most people chalk it up to, “That’s just what happens when you get older; things start falling apart.” I first want to tell you that there’s hope, and that you shouldn’t just “fall apart.” Pain is a signal. It’s a way that your body communicates with you that something is wrong, and it needs attention.
So What Causes Pain?
There can be many, many different reasons that you’re experiencing some aches and pains. I’m just going to cover the ones that I have seen and dealt with the most, as I don’t want to step outside my realm of expertise.
- Permanent Injury
Think of the kinds of injuries that do not heal. Rotator cuff tears, meniscus tears, and permanent damages that cannot heal back to normal regardless of surgeries, therapies, and exercise. Besides the obvious issue of the injury, most of the time the body is still experiencing pain because when a major injury has occurred, the body had to find new, unnatural ways to move and complete tasks. The problem here is that the body is now developing improper ways of moving that can create muscular issues that will produce more pain over time.
- Minor Injury
Rolled ankles and twisted knees, pulled hamstrings and tweaked backs: these are all injuries that are not permanently damaged. Though they can linger for a very long time in some instances, these injuries should heal. Much like the permanent injury, these can cause the body to move in new ways that only make the problem last longer or become recurrent. Think of someone that sprained an ankle, then after some time of walking with a limp, developed a hip or a back problem.
- Neurological Dysfunction – Or simply put, the wrong muscles are doing the job
Sometimes through life we lose our ability to use the correct muscles while doing movement or exercises. Certain muscles are known as “Prime Movers.” They are the big muscles that are intended to do the majority of work for a given movement or exercise. Over time, for many people, these muscles lose the ability to do their fair share of the work. When this happens, other muscles must pick up the slack. Sometimes, however, those prime movers still work but not in the correct order. An easy-to-understand example would be the hip extension in running. This is when the leg that extends behind the body to propel the body forward. In this specific movement, there should be three muscles working in a specific order. The order would be Glute, Hamstring, and finally the lower back of the opposite side. But for some reason, often unknown, this order can get scrambled and now the prime mover has gone from the glute to the lower back. This will lead to pain in an area that seems unexplainable because there was no actual injury. This dysfunction of the neurological system is the one that I have seen most commonly with general health and fitness enthusiasts.
If you are experiencing pain, specifically joint pain, odds are you have an inflammation problem. If the previous three reasons for pain have been ruled out, then there’s a very good chance that the issue is simply that there is chronic inflammation within the body that is causing undue stress and pressure on your connective tissues surrounding your joints. This inflammation can cause pain, stiffness, a loss of range of motion, and even a loss of strength and control. The good thing about this is that it’s relatively easy to remedy. The bad thing is that if left unchecked, it can lead to bigger problems down the road.
How Do I Treat These Problems?
The first thing anyone should do is go through a thorough assessment, and if deemed necessary, see a doctor. If there is an actual injury that needs fixed, then an orthopedic doctor is going to need to be one of the first people you see. Once you’ve gotten passed that, or you’re sure that you don’t have a permanent injury, then talking to a well educated coach is a the next step. Now, regardless of which of the four problems listed above you might be suffering from, Inflammation is going to be an issue. So…
- Decrease Inflammation – By following our NERDS platform, one can drastically decrease chronic inflammation and begin to see some improvements through food choices. Not necessarily a cure, though some have eliminated pain by doing so. Without decreasing inflammation your pain may never go away.
- Avoid pain receptors – “If it hurts, don’t do it.” This is very true, at least until the pain has gone away. If bending over hurts your back, then you should avoid bending over until you are confident that the pain has completely gone away. Most of the time it’s not a general movement, but the way the movement is done, that causes pain. So moving properly and staying away from the pain triggers will be vital for the first few months typically.
- Reset the nervous system – Great coaches know how to get the body to function properly. If you find that your muscles are working in the wrong order, or maybe the prime movers aren’t working well at all, then you need to do certain things to reestablish those proper “firing patterns.” Things that we use at Reclaim to impact the nervous system as part of our warm ups and training, such as head/neck resets for example, and even some baby crawling, are the only way to get those muscles firing in the proper sequences again. Combining these resets with the proper mobility techniques and you’ll begin to see some lasting change. For more information on what these things look like, research “Original Strength” and “Reflexive Performance Reset.”
- Strengthen new paths – Making an impact on the nervous system is essential, but if you don’t try to strengthen those “new” neurological pathways with some sort of strength training then you’ve really only done part of the work. A complete program would have strength training programmed to better the imbalances that most people are suffering from.
At Reclaim, we incorporate all four healing strategies listed above to provide a well-balanced approach to remedying people’s aches and pains.
Our programming includes mobility exercises so that our members can gain better control through better flexibility, as well as the neurological resets we use to help change our muscle patterns. Through our unique training style and the education we provide on nourishment, members see can see profound improvements in their range of motion, strength, and pain reduction. For the many that have major lower back pain, we’ve worked with some local medical professionals to develop a program solely dedicated to healing lower back issues.
For more information on how our different programs might be able to help you achieve a happier, pain-free life then simply reach out through our website or phone.