There’s that saying “No Pain No Gain“, it’s old school, hard core and pretty stupid. If you know anything about how the Neurological system works in the presence of pain strength drastically drops. All you have to do is lift a weight see how it feels ; then lift the weight again after someone pinches you HARD! It’s going to feel a lot heavier, suddenly YOU got weaker. Pain is your bodies way of telling you something is wrong. That’s not the only way your body tells you something is wrong that’s just the BIG ONE that most people understand. Most of us are so busy going through our days we forget to listen to our bodies.
Simple things like when was the last time I exhaled fully?
Your nervous system is stuck in fight mode.
When was the last time you used a bathroom after a meal? Didn’t use the bathroom in a day or two to make a deposit?
Your nervous system is stuck in fight mode and you’re not processing your food through your body. Even rich tasty, grass fed organic food is no use when your body doesn’t break it down.
This is the stuff I find fascinating because they all lead into how do you escape pain. I get contacted by new clients all the time who have a long list of health complaints and it’s followed by “lose 20 pounds and feel better“.
If we got rid of those health complaints you would definitely feel better, maybe it helps to be more specific of what feel better is, because I’m sure most of us can think of ten ways to feel better from energy to emotions. In this blog post I’m going to break down the three things you must know about pain. Chances are if you’ve seen some kind of health professional you’ve had one of these looked at but if you didn’t find relief from their treatment you probably needed all three.
Before I launch into this I want to express, that I have had the great pleasure to learn from Physical Therapists, Massage Therapists, Chiropractors, Osteopathic Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors and Acupuncturists along my journey and what I want to help you understand is that if you are in pain and it’s not a simple no brainer fix you need something from each of these practitioners or a practitioner who can do all of them well. Along the way the most helpful thing for me has been to ask successful practitioners ( I consider you successful when people fly around the world to get treatment from you, you have been practicing for over 30 years and hospitals ask you to speak because you get better results than them) what their top three take aways are and what they would tell brand new students who come out of school to do.
1. Muscles are Just Muscles Are NOT Just Your Problem
I remember the first day I showed up at Active Release Therapy (ART) Training. A lot of bustling Chiropractors and one Physical therapist. The Chiro’s were nice to me and I liked them, it was a bit daunting to try to memorize every muscle on the spine and treat it using the exact techniques outlined the dictionary size course manual in three days. But what I found remarkable was how every Chiro basically said, we use ART to get better results with our adjustments. “It was the missing piece to my practice out of school”. If you don’t know what an adjustment is it’s usually a bony mobilization, not all need to be high speed but many do use ” high velocity”. What was amazing to me was the “symptoms” chart they presented. Someone says they hurt here you take the chart and treat there and related protocols. That was it!
The lead doctor told me how she had been treating some of the same people for more than six months. When they got in extreme pain they would say I just want to get ART. It was interesting for me to see that the symptoms returned and kept needing treatment, typical when you treat by symptoms.
ART’s advanced courses and basic courses also work around nerves, I guess it took some Chiros to realize there is more to the body than bones, more than muscles and they work with nerves, but I guess what it took me an equally long time to realize was that there was a lot more than even those to getting someone out of pain. Direct Techniques like ART and regular ” Deep Tissue” massage are usually muscle targeted and work the area and surrounding areas.
The truth is that isn’t enough. What I learned from some of the top therapists is that when you treat a muscle you’re actually not treating muscle! In the muscle area are veins, nerves, arteries, organs and thick fascial ties. When those have problems they can manifest completely around the body as bizarre pain, I wouldn’t believe it myself if I didn’t work on someones shoulder to get rid of leg pain. The truth is “musceoskeletal therapists” shouldn’t be worried about the muscles, the muscles is what we are taught to understand as therapists but the muscle is just a messenger of another system.
Once I realized that, I stopped thinking of muscles and started thinking of EVERYTHING. You need a practitioner who can see more than just muscles, nerves and joints.
2. Alignment Is Still Important
Taking courses like Postural Restoration Institute, movement based courses like Functional Movement Screen and standard joint movement tests helped me understand something. Everyone is messed up.
The truth is you can being messed up evenly better than you can being messed up only on one side. The way the body has to compensate when things aren’t even is going to create not only more flexion but rotation, compensating extension, strain and torsion. When you’re dealing with pain an important question to ask yourself is the pain only on one side or both. From there you can check alignment and determine if it’s something that needs to be fixed.
I think the biggest despair most trainers get from talking to me is they can’t process and figure all this stuff out and the truth is you don’t have to, you can get people healthy enough to exercise easily, now getting them as amazing feeling as they could be….that takes a very skilled practitioner BUT if you use a movement based system, weed out the asymmetries you’re good to go with one exception…
The cranium. The single biggest thing I’ve seen that most people are missing is something many Osteopath Doctors look for and it’s Cranial Balancing. When the head isn’t symmetrical you get everything from optic nerve compression to limitations down the chain. If you know the “righting reflex” (an osteopathic law) that the illium bones will mirror the temporal bones, so if you see a head out of alignment chances are the hips are out too and that’s going to drive into the spine. I have met few people who work on craniums like this but I can tell you having a skilled professional do this work on you will make you smarter and see better. Sounds crazy but when you have nerve compression in your head you’re basically running off of lower power than you could be. Reset your head and hips with proper alignment and that will fix a lot of the in betweens.
I’m not saying that’s all you need to align but correct the pelvis and the head and you will do most of the work for your body.
3. Understand Fluid Balance
If you have ever broken a bone ( I have) you understand some of the pain you get is from the sheer swelling of fluid). In fact swelling in an area is one of the easiest way to predict if something is going wrong. Last week I went to Kirkland and looked at someone who had insane fluid swelling in his lower body and wondered why his legs were always going numb. This is more common than you would think
I’ve seen clients who smashed a toe and didn’t heal because they had too much swelling of the lower limb coming from a dysfunctional venus system in their low back.
No one ever talks about this!
Your body wants to heal, it doesn’t like to be in pain but BARRIERS stop it from healing. The first thing they teach you in massage school is therapists don’t heal anyone we just remove the barriers that stop them from healing. Even with the most advanced techniques in the world we expect your body to react to them and that’s how we get results. Fluid imbalance is a huge barrier to healing and getting out of pain. It’s not the only barrier but the “energy” flow and fluid balance is something I think acupuncture does better than the Western System.
In this post I’ve tried to give you the big pieces that you can use to understand what’s going on. No specific modalities or techniques because treating your body is not like jump starting a car where you watch a video on youtube and try it. You really don’t want to be trying to figure out how to correct someone’s Sphenoid bone, treat a venus system without understanding system phenomenon or glide a nerve without the proper training. I wrote this post so you can understand that to get out of pain you have to think about more than just muscles and bones and you can make an educated decision in how you decide to pursue avenues to rid yourself of pain.
You have to consider what is stopping the healing process. Use this guide when finding a therapist to help your pain vanish once and for all.
If this article helped you as I always say, ” sharing is caring and “liking” is exciting!“
As always for questions email firstname.lastname@example.org.- BeFit Isaac