Ouch! A Simple Guide To Chronic Pain
The most we’ll see someone at our gym is 5 hours each week. Most of the time it’s actually 2 or 3. That means that there’s somewhere between 163 and 166 hours for someone to either work on good movement patterns or bad ones.
Let’s backtrack a little bit. So many people have chronic pain. Shoulders, knees, back. You know those kinds of pains that you just started noticing one day and can’t really remember when they even started.
I’m about to tell you something important about chronic pain. Something crucial that, if you listen, will change the way you look at them and will give you a much better chance at dealing with them successfuly. No hyperbole here but, if you pay attention to this it could change your life.
OK. Are you listening? Well, here it is.
The chronic pain you have, generally has little or nothing to do with where you are feeling the pain.
What does that mean? It means that if you have knee, back or shoulder pain it probably isn’t because you have a problem with your knees, back or shoulders.
Let’s just take your knees as an example. If you have some knee issues, let’s try something real quick. Stand up, close your eyes and march in place for 10 seconds. When you’re done marching keep your feet right where they are. Got it? Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
Great! Now I want you to look at the relationship between your foot and your kneecap. Your kneecap should face straightforward as should your foot. That would mean that your knee and your foot are in alignment and facing the same direction. Another way to look at it would be to draw a line from your kneecap straight down to the floor. The line should intersect your foot right in the middle. Take a look at the picture below. Notice how the left foot and knee are lined up and the right isn’t?
I’m guessing that if you have a knee issue, the alignment on the side that hurts looks more like the right knee.
So if this is the case, is it your knee that’s the issue or the alignment (which is actually caused by either your hip or ankle)? You guessed it! The alignment!
There are many ways to work on these things, but the key to all of them is understanding that dealing with these issues is an everyday thing. You can’t just work on it at the gym and forget about it the other 165 hours a week! There are weeks, months and even years of bad habits that have to be undone. It can happen, but you have to do the work.
Now, these things can get complicated but let me just give you a very quick and very simple guideline on the causes of knee, back and shoulder chronic pain. Obviously it goes without saying that if you’re having a major issue, see someone who can help whatever specific issue you may have.
Knees – As we discussed above it’s all about the alignment. Look at your hips and ankles. One or both are probably tight.
Back – Again, this is about the hips. Do you sit all day? It’s important to note that your hips are supposed to have lots of mobility and your low back isn’t, so if your hips are locked up what has to take up the slack? The low back. That equals pain.
One more thing, when your doc takes x-rays and notices you have bulging discs? In study after study it’s been shown that something like 90% of adults, both with and without back pain, have bulging discs. In other words, it’s unlikely that they’re the source of your problem.
Shoulders – Posture, posture, posture! This is the key. How’s yours? Almost everyone we see with painful shoulders has some sort of postural issue.
Here are the keys:
Stand up tall!
Keep your shoulders down. (This is a HUGE issue when we’re under stress and/or sitting and typing for long periods of time.)
I don’t want to get too complex with anatomy here so I’ll make this quick. Take a look at the picture below and notice that there are lots of small muscles in the shoulder but not a lot of room between them and the clavicle. What that means is that if those muscles get irritated and inflamed they actually rub against the clavicle, which causes pain. What causes inflammation and irritation? You got it! Bad posture!
Well, I hope this helped and you now have a better idea of what is causing some of the chronic pain you may have. Please let me know if you have any other questions or have any thoughts about what we’ve talked about.
Have a great day!