I don’t post about this much, but I am very active in the rehabilitation and corrective exercise field. I spend several days a week mostly helping individuals overcome chronic neck pain, back pain, and headaches. Currently, my practice is mobile and I see clients in the Lafayette, Baton Rouge, and Mandeville areas.
One thing that continuously shows up in my clients with these issues (and others) is that they all want to rush to start “exercising.” And by “exercising” they are usually thinking of the typical stuff that goes on in a commercial gym, programs seen in a magazine, or some of the nonsensical circus acts that pass for exercise programs seen on television. Most of this stems from a desire to lose weight (in many cases) which is born out of the consciousness that beating one’s self nearly to death with “exercise” is the only way to lose said weight.
Another potential reason for the rush to exercise is that many of my clients have already been “through the ringer” with traditional approaches to eliminating their pain – massage therapy, physical therapy, chiropractic work, acupuncture, and on and on. When all of those modalities fail to produce the desired result (elimination of pain), the individual is left feeling that “exercise” may be the only way to solve the problem.
Here’s the thing…
People could benefit from applying one of Stephen Covey’s habits of being highly effective…putting first things first.
If you have what I call a “mechanical threat” you need to get that taken care of FIRST. If you currently are experiencing pain, it is to your benefit to find someone (such as yours truly) who can help you identify why you are experiencing pain, and then guide you through the steps you need to take to eliminate your pain. Here’s a really quick tip – where you are hurting is very rarely where your actual problem is! In other words, your low back pain may not actually be coming from your low back – it may be coming from your foot, your neck, or maybe even your jaw and cranium.
Once you are pain free, then you need someone (again, such as yours truly) to design and properly periodize an exercise program based on your needs analysis and goals. Trying to exercise through pain is a lot like trying to help by pissing on a forest fire. It may seem like a good idea, but it won’t help much, and the fire (your pain) will continue to rage out of control despite your best efforts.
I often hear people say, “I just want to get back to where I was before I had all this pain.” My response is always the same…”No you don’t!” If you get back to where you were before you were experiencing pain, you set yourself up to be back in the same position you are in currently – experiencing and dealing with pain. You must strive to correct things to the point where you surpass where you were prior to pain so that when you take your body back into that same environment, injury potential is slim to nil and you can continue to do all of the things you love to do pain-free.
Some of you might be saying, “Easy for you to say, you’ve never been injured or in pain.” Not true. I have had several injuries in my life that have required extensive rehabilitation prior to returning to training the way I want to. I am actually currently dealing with that. I have a right shoulder issue involving a 17 year old injury (Type II separation of my right AC joint) in addition to a partial rotator cuff tear. This has required that I change quite a bit in my own training program(s). As I have done before, I will do what is necessary to overcome the injury and return to the type of training I love to do. But when I do so, I will be more structurally sound and there will be no issue of concern.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing pain and having a difficult time overcoming that pain, feel free to contact me or be sure to find someone to properly assess your musculoskeletal system for somatic dysfunction as well as your movement mechanics.