What if your daily activities cause pain? How would you know this?

I suggest to my clients that when they have pain or discomfort, think about the activities they did in the past 24 hours. What brought this to mind was a conversation I had with a client about his wrist pain. As we talked it out, he determined that chopping vegetables in his kitchen led to a temporary wrist discomfort. The point is, once you know the true cause, fixing it becomes easy.

Once he knew what had caused the pain, he could then work on his forearms to solve the wrist pain. How did I determine the forearm was the cause? Re-create what you did and watch your body. Chop some vegetables and watch how your arm moves. Better yet, make a fist, release it, make the fist again. Watch your forearm as it flexes with each fist and then softens. You can see how the forearm muscles allow you to make a fist. Move your hand in different positions and watch how the forearm reacts.

Learn How You Move

Here are some examples to try.

Practice walking in your house barefoot. Do it next to a wall in case you lose your balance. Slowly walk, placing one foot in front of the other and feel what areas of the foot are hitting the floor. Are you hitting on the outside or inside, heel or the ball of your foot, and are you pushing off with your toes? This can tell you a lot about your feet and calves. Like your forearm to your hand, the calf muscles move your feet vertically, laterally, and rotationally. Most balance issues and foot pain begin with tight calves and hard feet.

Now, stand in front of a mirror and move your head, up, down and left to right. Watch the muscles in your neck and shoulders. Ever had a neck pain on the back of your neck right where the shoulder meets the neck? Or awakened and can’t turn your head to one side without pain on the backside of your neck?

Think of the front of your neck as you turn your head. See the muscles that poke out on the front as you turn your head? You have 2 just like them on the backside. If you rotate your head to the left, the front muscle on the right will poke out as it releases as the one on the back left side will contract to pull your head to the left. Now, if the front right muscle goes into a spasm, the left rear will hurt as it is fighting with the front right muscle. That is called a stiff neck or “Kink in my Neck.” The same is true if you look up except, it can be both muscles on the front.

Muscle pain is on the opposite side of the cause

Too many times when we have pain, we think the cause is where the pain is and that is usually not true. Most professionals make the same mistake, so don’t feel bad. You have muscles on each side of a joint or your spine which you to move by the push and pull of the muscles. If I turn my head, one side must contract as the other side releases. The same is true with walking or using my hand.

Be aware of how you move in activities that cause pain

It feels like we just need to replace joints like parts on a car, however, like a car, joints wear out faster when they are out of alignment. Every joint in your body has muscles on all sides which allow us to move in all directions. Many days I am shown x-rays that shows more pressure on one side of a joint versus the other. The typical person’s reaction is the joint failed, not they may be walking badly.

Some of that comes from how healthcare practitioners talk about an injury. Healthcare practitioners are highly trained people. The problem is, they are highly trained people in fixing injuries, not finding causes. When a practitioner looks at a scan and sees something wrong, they immediately know how to fix it. If they see nothing wrong, they can be at a loss. Ask them how to prevent the injury and again, they are at a loss. it has nothing to do with intelligence, it is about training. Sadly, you have been trained to expect the same.

Our hands get used all the time, especially the thumb. Many clients report feeling weak in their grip Some think it is arthritis, while others have been told they have arthritis. This can limit you. While stretching won’t cure arthritis, it can keep your hands as flexible as possible. Doing hand stretches will slow down the effects of arthritis and improve your ability to grip things. Once your hand is more flexible, then you will know if you need to improve strength versus flexibility.

Lack of flexibility can make you feel weak and old. Too many times, I find older clients, who think they are weak, are simply inflexible. Flexibility allows you to use all of your strength. Being stiff requires so much more strength just to do the simpler things in life, like walking. Being stiff will make you feel tired all the time, frustrated with not being able to do what you used to do, and feel old, regardless of your age. Most people can relate and that is why your friends may agree that getting older is hard. The truth is you have the ability to improve your body every day, but you must work at it. No one else can do it for you.

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About The Muscle Repair Shop

Drawing upon his personal experience as a former competitive athlete turned wheelchair, obese and chronic pain sufferer, Muscle Repair Shop Founder Butch Phelps decided to take his health into his own hands when at the age of 36 he was told he might not make it to his 40th birthday.  Applying balanced nutrition advice from his doctor along with a sound exercise program, he went from 315 lbs. to 180 lbs.  Motivated by his experience, he then acquired degrees in advanced therapeutic massage and aging sciences to help people eliminate chronic pain. This included applying his expertise in how people age, including the effects of dementia, anatomy, psychology, and the day-to-day struggles living as an older person to his practice and development of The Muscle Repair Shop’s one-of-a-kind Stretch n’ Release Technique

Available through in-office and virtual coaching treatment sessions, this unique combination of stretching and breath work teaches the brain to release the emotional side of muscle tension and pain allows clients to find lasting relief and healing from stiffness, aches, injuries, and chronic pain. The at-home exercises come with customized instructional videos and virtual or in-office support, allowing clients to enjoy and experience life and sports as they did before limitations slowed or curtailed activities.

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