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Remedial drills to deal with chronic pain

by Shaun Kober
August 30th 2021

 "Wait until you're my age, you'll understand what I'm talking about."

Everyone has heard this uttered to them by many different people, multiple times over the ye... More

Yo, what's up guys, welcome to this episode of the live transform podcast. I'm your host, Sean Cobra during today's episode, I'm going to be giving some hints tips and tricks around how you can deal with pain. The reason I'm bringing this up is because a number of my mates are currently in quarantine in Australia at the moment. Uh, and one of the facebook groups that I am part of, I reached out and I was like, hey, I need to do a podcast episode, give me some ideas about things that you guys want to cover. You want to hit some stuff about round training at home using minimal equipment etcetera. Uh, and pretty much most of the boys are like, give me some remedial work because you know, we're all ex military, um, former soldiers carrying heavy loads um, you know, over long distances etcetera, etcetera, bodies are beat up joints of fox created a lot of muscular imbalances, dysfunction and things like that. So a lot of guys are dealing with pain. Um, and this is something that I kind of deal with every now and again, I'm pretty good at dealing with it, but it does come up, sometimes I am recording this in Russia.

I'm in Russia for PDR is fight camp at the moment and there was a few days there where I didn't do any training, I spent a lot of time seated in cars, driving on planes, waiting for planes and things like that. So I'm one of those people when I don't train, when I'm not looking after my body, I'm not doing my mobility based work, et cetera. Then things start getting tight, things start getting a little bit locked up, and then that's when the pain starts coming in. So I've actually recorded an episode around training tips for those beyond the age of 30, which I'll have linked in the show notes. Um you can go back and listen to that one as well, but this episode is going to be primarily focused on remedial and rehabilitation, preh ability, ation, that type of stuff so that you can address any little niggles and things like that that come up, particularly as you get older. So, um age is a big part of this and it's something that will dive into in a moment. But before we go into why things or pain is age related or can be age related.

Let's first discuss the difference between acute pain and chronic pain. So acute pain is essentially when you fall, you land on your knee, you're playing basketball, you roll your ankle, um you know, you get punched in the nose or something like that, that's acute pain. So that's something happens right there right then, and that creates damage to either a muscle or connective tissue or something like that. All right, So chronic pain on the other hand is something that happens over long periods of time. So, if we have a little niggle in our knee or something like that, we go when I do certain exercise. When I squat, for example my knee starts hurting a little bit on one side. We don't really pay too much attention to it. We kind of, I'm a guy where ex military we just push through that pain and I know a lot of people are the same. Um and then you know six months later it's like oh now I can't squat, I can't do that back squat or a front squat ever because it hurts my knee.

So I'm gonna change the exercise that I do so on so forth. And then another six months down the track, it's like now my fucking knee hurts all the time. It's just a dull throbbing pain and this continues on as we get older. Now the reason I bring that up is because when we learn to move for the first time our brain expends a lot of energy trying to figure out how to do that thing. So it doesn't have a blueprint yet, it's going to need to create a blueprint. So your brain goes, hey I need to complete this movement. So I need to fire these muscles at this time in this order. And what happens when most people exercises, they don't pay attention to their technique and they just bang through rep after rep after rep. And that might be a three month training program. And if you're not teaching yourself the right mechanics, getting the right muscles firing in the right order at the right time, then what you may be doing is creating a poor movement pattern or a dysfunctional movement pattern and this will be very important when I move on to the next point about dealing with pain.

Okay, But the point that I want to make here is what you practice becomes permanent. So movement is a skill and it needs to be practiced as such so that we don't create these poor movement patterns, we can um get our stabilizers firing first and then I want to get my big muscles firing next to complete the movement. And then I want my synergistic muscles working as well. Let's take the hip for example, I want to get my hip stabilizers working first alright if I'm squatting, I wanna get my stabilizers working, that's going to make sure that all of the little muscles surrounding the joint firing to hold the joint in correct alignment, then we get our glutes, our hamstrings, our quads firing, okay, they're going to be the prime movers and then our synergistic, all of those um smaller muscles through the maybe the lower leg, maybe the lower back, the upper back as well, all of those other muscles that are surrounding those areas that are providing support, providing stability for other joints throughout the body.

So those big prime movers can do their job. So that's an important concept to remember, bear that in mind because we're going to come back to that, first of all pain is your check engine light coming on, right? So if you're experiencing pain through certain movements, that's basically your body saying, hey, something's not quite right here. We need to um fix how we're doing this exercise and this is something that's come up for me over and over and over again, where I'll get clients that have worked with another coach before, or they've been training on their own, they start working with me and they're like, hey, I can't do this exercise because it hurts, blah, blah, blah. All right, cool. Like, was there an injury that led up to that? Was there something that happened that you landed on it or you tore something or was there an acute response acute injury that created this poor movement pattern? Like no, I just started hurting sometime and then over time I just couldn't do it anymore. Okay, that's a chronic issue. That's poor recruitment patterns that have just been reinforced over and over and over again, make a slight adjustment to their technique, Put the joint in a slightly different position.

Okay, pulling at a different angle all of a sudden, now I can do that movement, my muscles are firing, but my joints not hurting. All right. So, um, yeah, again, that pain, particularly if you're moving, if you're doing something, if you're training, you get that pain, that's your check engine light coming on. So you need to stop, make an adjustment to that exercise. Maybe swap out that exercise. Do something else that's going to work the same muscles work the same movement pattern. That's not going to cause that pain. All right. So, let's go back to these poor recruitment patterns and chronic pain. So, what typically happens here time back into our age is when we create a pattern, a movement pattern, and then we reinforce it by doing the same movement over and over and over and over again. And our techniques not on point. We don't have our stabilizers firing. We don't have a prime movers firing. We don't have our synergies firing at the right time in the right order, et cetera. Then we can start putting a lot of strain through the joint.

All right. So, the reason it's important to understand recruitment patterns is because muscles connective bones via tendons. And they pull on those bones to articulate joints. So, if I take the elbow joint, for example, it's a hinge joint. It just moves Through. Run one movement, flexion and extension. Okay, likewise, with the knee, um this is this is gonna be up on YouTube as well for people listening to the audio. So you can see what I'm doing. Okay, So the elbow is flexion extension. All right. It's a hinge joint. Same as the knee. Now, the hips, the shoulders, the ankles, the wrists, the spine, cervical spine, thoracic spine in particular. Um they're multi dimensional joints. They move in multiple directions. So flexion extension abduction abduction. Okay, then we also have rotation. Internal external rotation. So hips and shoulders, primary engines of the body. Uh they move in multiple directions.

We need trained them in multiple directions. Now, it's important to understand they move in multiple directions because then when we start talking about pain, it makes a lot more sense when we say, hey, if there's muscular imbalances again, this is on Youtube. So if you want to watch this on Youtube, go to my Youtube channel performance functional training. Uh it will be one of the latest videos up there. Um so that you can see what I'm actually doing here. So, if I've got pain in my shoulder, for example, you know, what might be happening is maybe my pecs very tight. Okay, my delts are very tight. My traps are very tight. So that's going to pull my shoulder into this rounded forward position. Okay, And that's because everything I do is in front of me and guys in particular are constantly doing bench presses, trying to build the chest, everything's in front of us. So we typically train in front of us, which people train what they see in the mirror now, what happens here, if we think about that three dimensional joint is if these muscles are tight, these muscles are tight. These muscles are tight pecs.

Delts traps. What that does is it rolls my shoulder forward and it puts my Glenna human joint, which is only one joint of four of the shoulder girdle, puts that joint in a poor position. So then when I try and raise my arm up overhead, I start getting this clicking because now the joint is not moving fluid because the muscles are pulling the joint into a poor position of misalignment where now that joint can't articulate correctly. All right. So what I need to do is down regulate my traps, my delts, my pecs. I need to switch them off. Those muscles are tight. Okay, because I'm constantly sending this signal that hey, these muscles need to be short. They need to be tight so that we can conserve energy. Our body is constantly trying to conserve energy. Those muscles are short and tight. The joint now gets pulled into a poor position. Then it affects my ability to articulate that joint. So here's a great drill that we can do to test this theory. Okay, what I want everyone to do is really round their shoulders forward, dr their head forward.

Round the shoulders forward, then try and raise your arms up overhead. Okay, now our mobility is quite limited here. Alright, that's because all of those muscles are pulling the shoulders forward. Now the joint the Glenna humor will joint the ball and socket can't quite move as well. Okay, so what I want everyone to do now is go the other way create thoracic extension, create a big arch in the upper back, chest, nice and proud. Okay, head tall spine aligned and long. Then raise your arms up overhead. All right now we get much more movement through the joint because now the muscles of the back are firing. Okay? Which then puts the Glenna humorous joint in a better position and allows that joint to move freely, which increases range of movement. All right, so that's a very simple concept to get your head around so that you can understand where pain is typically coming from. All right now, if we do have pain in the shoulder, maybe one of these muscles is tight.

So what do I need to do? I need to stretch it. I need to foam roller. I need do some soft tissue work. Okay, so soft tissue work is basically where we use a foam roller. We use a lacrosse ball. Um something like that. Where we get some pressure on. I have a massage gun, which I really love. Um It's basically replaced most of those other tools. Okay, But I'm gonna jam a lacrosse ball into my pecs, find where the tension is. Then I'm going to close my eyes and then I'm just going to breathe, try and relax okay, and sink into that stretch. What I'm doing there is sending a signal to the brain and saying, hey dampen the signal, switch these muscles off a little bit. They don't need to be that tight. Okay, then I do that with the next muscles. Maybe it's my dealt, I do the same thing. Most people when they foam roll, they roll back and forth. Did, did it? Yeah, it's going to give them a little bit of benefit, but it's not gonna be as much as profound as when you hold the ball in that position, then you breathe into it. Because what we're essentially doing is down regulating the sympathetic nervous system. We're saying, hey, we don't need to be this tight. Okay, we're in a safe place.

We can dampen that signal. It's like turning speakers down. All right. I want to turn my speakers down my muscles and my speakers. I want to turn them down. Okay, so I do my pecs. I do my delts. I do my traps up into my neck. Okay, sweet. Now I can move my shoulder much more freely. All right. So, if you think about those principles, you can apply that to all muscles, all joints in the body. Okay, if my knee is hurting, then I can essentially work through above the knee, below the knee. Go and find all those muscles that are tight. They're holding a lot of tension. Maybe find some trigger points or um, like a knot or something like that. Use your foam roller. Use your lacrosse ball, go and search for those tight areas, relax. Breathe into it. Okay. You might do two minutes on each side. And what you might find is that certain muscles are going to be tight in different areas. I know my carbs for example are different. Okay my my right calf the tension is download towards ankle on my left calf.

The tension is up higher towards the back of my knees So um going and finding where that tension is and working with your own body, figuring out where that tension is and how to address it is going to help you alleviate a lot of pain. Now in saying that you it's not gonna foam rolling soft tissue work Is not going to have an impact for 24 hours. All we're doing is dampening that signal. Turn on those speakers down by telling the brain to calm down, dampening the signal of the sympathetic nervous system, switching on the parasympathetic nervous system. Okay now after a couple of hours or so your phone role you'll feel better. You'll go and do your training session. All right sweet. I've just increased my range of movement by turning my muscles down, dampening that signal. Okay now I've got a better range of movement in the joint. Now I can strengthen that range of movement in the joint. Okay so that's that's definitely something that we want to do. We don't just want to increase range of movement in the joint and then not strengthen it because that's where we get injured.

That's where we're weak. Um So if you increase range of movement in the joint you definitely need to strengthen it as well. All right, so that's a great point lengthen what's tight strengthen what is weak when we lengthen what's tight then strengthen what is weak were essentially pulling that joint back into better alignment so then we can now articulate that joint much more efficiently, much more cleanly. All right. I've actually got a number of Youtube videos on addressing lower cross syndrome and up across syndrome, a very common issues in the Western world. We spend a lot of time seated um We spent a lot of time with our shoulders rolled forward ahead, jutting forward. So there's some drills up on my Youtube channel which I'll have linked in the show notes to allow you to address those imbalances. But think about the principles, Okay, It's all about the principles. Go and identify where the pain is. If I wake up with a sore back every morning, it's typically a symptom, it's not the cause the reason my lower back is sore or it's tight is because those muscles are having to work super fucking hard because other muscles are weak somewhere and they're not doing what they're supposed to be doing or other muscles are tight somewhere and they're pulling and then it's pulling the joint into poor alignment and other muscles are having to take over to basically compensate.

So I'll have my simple drills to address lower cross syndrome. And up across syndrome in the show notes, think about the principles. Okay. We want to strengthen what is weak, lengthen what's tight. Okay, that's it for me today, guys, hopefully enjoyed this information. Any five star ratings and reviews are much appreciated. Much love.

Remedial drills to deal with chronic pain
Remedial drills to deal with chronic pain
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