The 3 Most Common Sources of Chronic Pain (And How to Fix Them) Modernhealthmonk.com
Almost all of us have chronic pain in our lives at somepoint, but many of us have aches and pains or chronicinjuries that never go away.… This is for you !For those of you that keep getting repetitive injuries insports, this will help immensely. (Tennis elbow, kneepain, shoulder issues when benching, lower back painwhen running, etc.)
My own history of pain: • Back Pain • Repetitive Tennis Elbow • Neck pain so bad I was an insomniac for two years • Constant knee pain during sports (5+ years) • Shoulder rotator cuff pain • … I had a LOT of issuesWhich led me to study all of this stuff in detail
Muscle imbalances are extremely common in modern peoplebecause • A. We’re sedentary (muscles get little use) • B. We’re inactive (certain areas tend to tighten up over time)The result?Certain muscles get tight.Others get weak.= improper loading on yourjoints and back= chronic pain
The three most common imbalances Pronation Distortion Syndrome Lower Crossed Syndrome Upper Crossed Syndrome
Pronation Distortion Syndrome What’s going on: • Knees are internally rotated • Feet are pronated • Imbalanced loading Injuries you usually get: • Plantar fasciitis • Shin splints • Patellar tendonitis • Lower back pain
Lower Crossed Syndrome What’s going on: • Pelvis is tilted forward • Exaggerated lower back arch Injuries you usually get: • Repeated hamstring pulls • Anterior knee pain • Lower back pain
Upper Crossed Syndrome What’s going on: • Head is poking out forward • Rounded (hunched) shoulders • Typical computer “caveman” posture Injuries you usually get: • Headaches / Stiff neck • Biceps tendonitis • Rotator cuff issues (shoulder pain) • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome • Tennis Elbow • Burning between shoulder blades • Shoulder issues
The worst culprits? #1 Inactivity #2 Sitting Why? Sitting = tightening and shortening of some muscles, poor postural habits Inactivity = muscles weaken = Perfect environment for muscular imbalances
So how do we fix them? Short term: Fix muscular tension & trigger points by deep tissue massage like Myofascial release and trigger point therapy Long term: A. Strengthen the weakened muscles B. Stretch the shortened muscles C. Re-establish natural body alignment and biomechanics (how it all lines up)… You can’t simply massage this stuff away for good. The long-term strategy is absolutely crucial
Pronation Distortion Syndrome Part 1: What’s Actually Causing You PainWhat’s going on:Knees are caving inwardsAnkles are collapsing inwardsWeight is not loading on the kneesand ankles properly= Knee pain, ankle pain, foot dysfunctions, shin splints (if you’re arunner)
Pronation Distortion Syndrome Part 2: ExampleI was getting repeated knee pain only in my left knee from runningand doing leg workouts.Checked all my joints – origin?Ankle!I had major Pronation Distortion going on, my left ankle was cavingin, and my knee was taking the weight instead of equally loading itinto my foot.Once I consciously made sure to equally load the weight on myfoot, I stopped experiencing knee pain.
Pronation Distortion Syndrome Part 3: How to Fix ItSome muscles are over-tight, while some are atrophied andweakened. So the solution is two-fold:A. Stretch the shortened (over-tight) muscles: Gastrocnemius/soleus Adductors IT Band Hip flexors)B. Strengthen weakened muscles: Gluteus Maximus Gluteus Medius
Pronation Distortion Syndrome Part 4: How to Fix It – Exercises For The Tight Muscle GroupsStretches for the overly-tight muscle groups:
Pronation Distortion Syndrome Part 5: How to Fix It – Exercises For The Weakened Muscle GroupsStrengthen muscles that have grown weak (your butt): (See the blog for the full workouts)
Pronation Distortion Syndrome Part 6: How to Fix It – Re-TrainingBe aware of your alignment when you exercise:When running, make sure your entire foot loads the weightevenly.When doing exercises involving squatting, pay attention.Your knees should not be caving in, keep them pushed out.Your feet should not be caving in, mentally think of keeping theballs of your feet and heel on the ground equally – at all times.
Lower Crossed Syndrome Part 1: What’s Actually Causing You PainSo what’s going on here?Due to tightening of the hip flexorcomplex, the lower back is pulled intoan overly-arched, tightened position.= Back pain!
Lower Crossed Syndrome Part 2: ExampleFor years, every time I would run or do squat workouts (includinglunges), I had lower back pain after.The constant lower back pain eventually turned into some deep painthat required myofascial release and trigger point therapy to fixshort term.However, the pain kept happening.I later realized that my tight hip flexors were causing my back toover arch in deep squat type movements – and once I regularlystretched out the hip muscles, I stopped getting the pain.
Lower Crossed Syndrome Part 3: How to Fix ItSome muscles are over-tight, while some are atrophied andweakened. So the solution is two-fold:A. Stretch the shortened (over-tight) muscles: Gastrocnemius/soleus Adductors IT Band Hip flexors)B. Strengthen weakened muscles: Gluteus Maximus Gluteus Medius Abdominal muscles & transverse abdominis
Lower Crossed SyndromePart 4: Mobility Exercises for Tight Muscle Groups
Lower Crossed SyndromePart 5: Exercises to Strengthen Weakened Muscles
Lower Crossed Syndrome Part 6: How to Fix It – Re-TrainingBe aware of your alignment when you exercise:When doing exercises, make sure to clench your core and keepthe abdominals tight.People with lower crossed syndrome tend to have weakerabdominals since they’re stretched out.During any squatting movements, clench the stomach tight.Many people complain of lower back pain from deep squats, or even“overhead” exercises.Focus on clenching the core tight and not over-arching the back.
Upper Crossed Syndrome Part 1: What’s Actually Causing You PainSo what’s going on here?The shoulders are hunched forwardand the neck is protruding forward.This causes all kinds of issues, fromyour neck and shoulder, all the waydown to your wrist.= Neck pain, shoulder issues andinjuries, burning between shoulderblades, potential overuse injuries inthe elbows
Upper Crossed Syndrome Part 2: ExampleI sit at a computer for 10 hours a day for work.For years I’ve had repeated elbow tendinitis, shoulderinjuries, burning between my shoulder blades, and terrible neckpain.I’ve also had carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist – the sameside of the body that I’ve had elbow and shoulder issues.When I closely evaluated what was going on, I realized I had seriousupper crossed syndrome – and that my left shoulder was morehunched over than my right.After I focused on a daily shoulder flexibility regime, my painimproved dramatically.
Upper Crossed Syndrome Part 3: How to Fix ItSome muscles are over-tight, while some are atrophied andweakened. So the solution is two-fold:A. Stretch the shortened (over-tight) muscles: Muscles in the upper back and neck Trapezius Sternocleidomastoid Chest muscles, like pectoralisB. Re-align the weakened muscles (I personally haven’tfound strengthen exercises useful at all here, so I have afew other exercises instead) Re-align the neck Re-align the shoulders, so that the shoulder blades are back
Upper Crossed SyndromePart 4: Mobility Exercises for Tight Muscle Groups
Upper Crossed SyndromePart 5: Alignment Exercises for Neck/Thoracic Back
Upper Crossed Syndrome Part 6: How to Fix It – Re-TrainingBe aware of your neck and shoulder posture when sitting.The shoulders should always be rolled back – get in the habit ofpulling your shoulder blades together throughout the day.Spending too much time hunched over a computer will usuallycause the shoulders to hunch forward.The neck should not be jutting forward at all.If you’re unsure what the “natural” posture of the neck is, do the“static back” exercise, and it will reset the neck – which can serve asa reminder for the rest of the day.
The Perils of Sedentary LifeSedentary life often causes two things:A. Weakening and atrophying of musclesB. Tightening of certain muscle groups from lack of movement (e.g. muscles around hips) ….Result?Chronic tensionImproper biomechanics when exercisingGets body parts “stuck” in the wrong spot == > PAIN
Physical activity for 21st century humans: Some kind of strength work (like weight training) Some kind of flexibility work Some kind of mobility work (particularly around joints causing you problems) As little sitting as is humanly possible Postural awareness
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