Monday, January 5, 2015

Pain in the .... You fill in the blank !!!

Raise your hand if you have every experienced any of the following :

-Neck pain
-shoulder pain
-elbow pain
-wrist pain
-upper back pain or lower back pain
-hip pain
-knee pain
-ankle pain

Ok well now that we ALL have our hands raised, its safe to say that we all experience some type of discomfort in our bodies at some point in our lives. Pain as it relates to exercise is sent to our brain by nerves from our muscles.YOUR JOINTS DO NOT HAVE NERVES IN THEM. They are articular cartilage which makes the surface of the joints slide on each other to allow joints to move smoothly thus it has no ability to send signals to your brain.

The pain you feel in your joints is not due to the joint itself or the health of the joint. It is due to the tissues that support the muscle or are supposed to be supporting the joint. In movement, force is put into these supporting tissues. With that force the tissues are able to dictate what movement is needed to be performed. Think of muscles as your body’s shock absorbers. If they are not working properly, you will experience some "painful" movements and not as smooth glide in the tissues and muscles.

Now to fix the issues that we have which how your body absorbs the pressure of movement depends on a few basic factors that you can learn to practice and adapt into your lifestyle for better performance in and out of the gym.

-Position
Position by definition is defined as what angles are moving or holding our limbs ?? This means that when I put my limb at a different angle than you do, I am going to use muscles differently than you will, even though we have the same bones and the same muscles.s humans, anatomically we are all generally the same. However, the musculoskeletal system is designed to work most efficiently in one position for absorbing or creating force in any movement. This is why emphasis on correct lifting with consistent and proper form is so crucial. Form should look the same every time, and should be based on an understand bio-mechanics of the body.

Here's the problem, position doesn't start at the gym. No it starts in your life, your work, and how you stand. Our brains are constantly learning from the information being sent from our muscles. They are learning what length and tension muscles should be held at to support us and allow us to do what we need to do, and also learning where it should deposit scar tissue as a protective means, keeping force away from tissues and neurologically blocking communication with areas of muscle.

So for example, if your constantly hunching over a desk at a computer for 9 or more hours, then going home to sit on the couch for the night time, chances are your posture/position is suffering. Your chest is rolled forward and your back is hunched which causes an imbalance in the length of the muscles. This will now lead to issues in the gym with overhead squat, handstand pushup, pullup, pushup, press, or any upper body exercise. The foundation of your positioning due to hours of bad posture is now being compromised by your efforts in the gym.

So this happens!!!

Your brain believes that shoulders rolled forward, neck forward, chest shortened and upper back over-stretched is the normal position it should maintain. No that your body feels misinformed your muscles become overly fatigued in areas or simply cannot keep up with the demands of our workout. The result: PAIN and RESTRICTED MOVEMENT.

The same goes for your pelvis and the angle at which you stand.
As a general rule, the more right angles and straight lines we can keep when standing/sitting/moving/lifting. There are two positions to practice to yield the best results of better posture:

1.) Neutral Pelvis Position
2.)Elevated Sternum Position

KEYS TO KEEPING A NEUTRAL PELVIS:

-Stand with your feet hip width apart, feet parallel with each other and equal pressure between balls of feet and heels as well as between insides and outsides of feet.
-Keep a very slight bend in your knees.
-Use your hamstrings to tilt your pelvis so that your pubic bone is in line vertically with your sternum. (note, this should not involve much forward or backward motion of the hips, mostly tilting.)
-This should make you feel as if you are standing very tall and upright.
-The same concepts can be kept when sitting or lying down.

KEYS TO KEEPING AN ELEVATED STERNUM:

-Engage your lats (latissimus dorsi) to lengthen your pecs (pectoralis major) and your traps (trapezius).
-This muscular action should not move the spine, it should move the scapula.
-An elevated sternum position does NOT involve arching the back.
-If you stand with your back against a wall, pulling your shoulder blades back and down to flatten them to the wall will accomplish elevating the sternum.

I hope by reading this you understand how important it is to be aware of your body positioning. Always keep a tight core when sitting or standing. Pull your shoulders back and slightly stick your chest out. Practice keeping neutral pelvis positions when standing. And as always in the gym practice good form for ALL exercises!!!

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