Is chronic pain reducing your quality of life?
The story is all too common:
Chronic lower back/knee/shoulder pain keeps you from doing all things you want to do. From going on hikes. From standing for long periods of time.
Maybe you get into a workout routine and get on a roll … but you end up getting injured a month or two into it and have to stop. Or slow down so much that your progress is significantly affected.
And, naturally, you do everything you can for pain reduction … but here’s the thing: Everything you’ve learned about pain and injury is probably all wrong.
The ‘classic’ way to treat an injury is to treat the actual site – in other words, if you have knee pain, you take anti-inflamatories, ice the area up, etc. You treat the actual site of the pain or injury.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t address the cause of the pain and/or injury or where it’s coming from.
Let’s look at a common knee problem, Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, as an example. PFPS is often seen in runners, basketball players, young athletes, and females, especially those who have an increased angle of genu valgus or ‘knock knee’. The most common cause of this condition, according to WikiPedia, is “either abnormal forces (e.g. increased pull of the lateral quadricep retinaculum with acute or chronic lateral PF subluxation/dislocation) or prolonged repetitive compressive or shearing forces (running or jumping) on the PF joint.”
In plain English, this means that this condition frequently stems from muscular imbalances in the hips, legs and feet. It can also be caused by ‘prolonged repetitive forces’ – and many times happens when runners ramp up their milage too fast, for example.
So – what folks typically do is ice their knees, take anti-inflammatories, etc. – but they don’t look at the root cause of the problem. In the case of the PFPS example, it’s commonly exisiting muscle imbalnces or a poorly designed/lack of a training plan.
Moral of the story is this: If you’re experiencing pain of some kind, by all means, treat the site of the injury and get some relief. But make sure to also take a look at the bigger picture – and don’t forget that everything is connected. Muscle imbalances around the site of the injury – and even in other parts of your body – could very likely be causing your issues. Fix muscle imbalances, fix your bad posture, strengthen your core, use perfect form in your training and you’ll be surprised and amazed at what you can do!
Forest Vance, Sacramento Personal Trainer and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
P.S. Doctor of Chiropractic Sandy Bell (also my friend, colleague, and personal chiropractor) and I are putting together a workshop in the very near future that’ll teach you all about this specific topic. The main focus of the workshop will be specific solutions and strategies to help you move better, reduce pain, and restore lost physical function. If you’re interested, drop me a note by clicking here and I’ll make sure to reserve you a spot. More details on the workshop are coming very soon so stay tuned!