October 1st, 2010
by Mike T Nelson · Filed Under: athletic performance · corrective exercise · neurology
Where You Hurt is Not What Hurts: Pain, Performance, and Corrective Exercise
My buddy Brian is back with another article for you.
Brian’s article is below and here is my intro/thoughts on it.
I still get many questions on Z-Health and Brian decided to answer them in an article for all of you below.
Nobody will ever agree 100% with someone else. If I agree with someone on most things, I constantly ask myself if I am just agreeing with them to make them (or myself) happy or would I reach the same conclusions?
Truth be told, I currently I actually do very little “classical” Z-Health per say. I do help people with movement issues during one off sessions (most only see me about 1-2 a month, if that for movement issues). My main goal is to help them transform their body and do things that they never thought they could do again – lift weights with their kids (and do better than them), play tennis, kiteboard (oh ya!!), ski/snowboard, run marathons, etc. Many times this includes getting them to move better (and thus reduce pain).
I find having people test their movements (ala Grip and Rip) is normally enough to accomplish this. If their shoulder hurts when they press, having them not press and do what tests the best will “fix” their shoulder normally in a few weeks to months. Many times there are specific exercises that can be done to allow them to press in a much shorter period of time too.
The common Z-Health approach is to start with small movements (joint mobility). I like to have people start with large (gross motor) movements and then only get as fine (individual joint mobility) as needed.
I do agree that most times where they have pain is NOT the source for chronic issues and surgery for these issues rarely is a long term fix. The body has an amazing ability to heal itself and each person has the responsibility to take their health, movement and performance into their own hands (and get help if
Z-Health does a good job of targeting the nervous system and while that is very important, we must also look at tissue restrictions. Adding load to exercises causes the body to change tissue (break it down and rebuild it). Doing exercises with load that test well will address BOTH the nervous system (contract the muscles in a specific pattern aka coordination) and the tissue (muscle, connective tissue, bone). I feel that BOTH need to be address for optimal performance and better movement. Performance and function are related. As I have pointed out before, if everything you do makes you better, that it is all corrective!
See these posts for more info
No matter what I believe, the end RESULT is the MOST important thing. Clients pay professionals like myself and Brian for results, period. I value this over methodologies any day. Results matter.
That is my take (since this is my blog, hehehe) and here is Brian’s take.
Where You Hurt Is NOT What Hurts
By Brian Copeland
The title may sound like a strange way of putting this issue of pain but it rings true none-the-less.??In this article we will learn why the site of pain is rarely the cause of pain and also why conventional methods for dealing with pain fall short and what to do instead.
Why The Site of Pain is Rarely the Cause of Pain
Countless people undergo dangerous surgery every year to fix a knee, hip, shoulder, etc. that has unexplainable pain. What most doctors won’t tell you is that surgery rarely ever gets rid of the pain and basically never fixes the cause of the pain.
Imagine you keep a thick fat wallet in your right back pocket and every time you sit down it forces your hip to rotate up on the right and down on the left which causes the joints in your lower back to jam together on the right side. For short periods this is no big deal but done for long enough this can cause some wear and tear on the joints in your lumbar spine.
Now you go to your doctor with pain, quite possibly in the lower back, if you see a general practice doctor (who are not trained to deal with musculo-skeletal pain by the way) you leave with a prescription for pain killers and muscle relaxers. Well you may feel better for a while since you are getting high all of the time but we haven’t really fixed the problem have we?
You go back to your doc and are referred to a specialist, perhaps an Orthopedic Surgeon. An X-ray is taken and they see some unnatural lateral curvature of your lumbar spine, or they take an MRI and see that the cartilage is getting worn on the right side.
OH NO! You better get surgery!
Well hold on a moment there sports fans… what I want you to ask your doctor is what caused the spine to curve or the cartilage to get worn on one side more than the other…
They will not have the answer, if they tell you they do they are lying or fooling themselves. But a smart doctor will ask you questions about your lifestyle and perhaps even notice the wallet in your back hip pocket and ask you how long you have been wearing it that way. A wise doc would then tell you to put that wallet in a different pocket, wait a couple of months and see if things get better.
But that is very rare to get this sort of advice. Typically surgery is scheduled (that’s what pays the mortgage after all) and now you are about to undergo a forever life-altering modification that you can’t take back… are you sure you are ready for this? Have you exhausted every other possibility?
Why Movement Dysfunction In One Area Causes Pain In Another Area
I offer another explanation for the low back pain… Something that you are doing in your daily life is causing it. It is incredibly rare for pain to exist for no reason, there are some neurological disorders but aside from that most pain is self-caused. Not self-caused in the sense of intentionally smashing your thumb with a hammer, although if you did that then you already know why your thumb hurts… but you have a wallet in your hip pocket, or you wear crappy shoes which change your walking pattern and place excessive stress on your knees or you eat crappy food and don’t exercise and wonder why you are stiff, weak and in pain… Not that hard to figure out really, treat your car like crap and it will run like crap, do you think your body is any different?
Even for those that treat their body pretty well the wallet in the back pocket syndrome will still come-a-calling sooner or later. Bad movement patterns will cause certain joints to get excessive wear and tear while other joints are on vacation.
You can now see how surgery will not fix low back pain that is caused by a simple wallet. If our surgery-bound individual with the wallet gets his surgery, does his rehab work and now goes back to his daily routine and the wallet goes right back in this right back pocket guess what? You are correct, he will once again be jamming some joints together as his right hip elevates from the wallet yet again. But maybe this time his lower 3 vertebrae are fused together so they don’t move… but the joints above or below do.
Now this person gets pain in their mid back or in their sacroiliac joints (below the spine around the belt level… I know many of you have pain here).
I heard Physical Therapist Gray Cook once give the example of two employees at work. Employee A is off taking excessive smoke brakes and being lazy while employee B is pulling double the work trying to get both of their work loads done. Who do you think will complain to the boss first, employee A or B?
That’s right, employee A won’t complain, they have the sweet life, employee B will complain. When you feel pain this is exactly how you should be thinking. Why does my knee hurt? Who isn’t doing their job? Foot joints? Hip joints? Time for you to be a good manager, because the last time I checked you were in charge of your own body, not the surgeon, not your doctor and sure as heck not me.
“He who treats the site of pain is lost.” – Professor Karel Lewit, M.D., DSc
How to Become a Good Manager of Your Body
So first off we need agreement that if you feel pain in your knee (back, shoulder, etc.) then that pain is the symptom and not the cause in itself. I will make an exception to this rule. If you look at your knee and see a knife stuck in it then I think we can safely assume that the knife is the source of the pain and you should probably have someone who specializes in knife removal take a look at it… perhaps 9-1-1?
We also need to agree that the body can and does heal itself. Bone and soft tissue remodel over time (Wolff’s Law and Davis’s Law), cartilage can regrow if you remove the bad movement pattern that keeps wearing it away in the first place.
Next you contact a professional who can teach you to be a better manager of your body, I recommend a certified Z-Health Performance Specialist as there are very few other movement-based rehabilitation systems out there and I’ve never seen one that works better than Z-Health… if there was something that worked better than Z-Health then I promise I would be doing that instead. Find a Trainer here.
Your Z-Health Specialist should take an in-depth history of your injuries, exercise habits, and perform some movement tests/screens on you. They will also also take note of bad movement patterns you have and teach you how to begin fixing them with some simple movement patterns that you can do on your own at home. You should see some instant changes in terms of strength, flexibility and a decrease in pain during your first session. While it is not uncommon for the pain to completely go away in a single session, I would rather set you up with the expectation that you should expect to feel a 20% decrease in pain and then as you perform the homework drills given to you that over the next several weeks the pain will continue to diminish gradually until it finally goes away.
Personally, prior to Z-Health I had low back issues where if I moved into certain positions I would be in intense pain and fall down on my knees instantly. I also had several tennis elbow at the same time. I had been getting treated with Chiropractic and massage for years, been doing “core strengthening” drills, stretching, foam rolling, trigger point release, ultrasound, electro-stim therapy, you name it… But in a single session with a Z-Health Specialist my low back pain was gone and my tennis elbow decreased by about 90%! Now understand, I had had back pain for around 8 years! Tennis elbow for about 2 years! I couldn’t believe it!!!! How could these slow controlled movements fix me when all of the intense hard-core stuff I had been doing for years only provide temporary, if that, relief? Needless to say, this got me interested in Z-Health and I enrolled in the Z-Health education program and began my training.
Whether you seek out a qualified Z-Health Specialist or not you should begin a daily regimen of quality movement as part of your overall fitness program. The best place to start is with the R-Phase DVD and manual which is the Level 1 consumer product for beginners to start with.
The R-Phase contains dynamic joint mobility movements for every joint in your body from your fingers to your toes and everything in-between. Doing these joint movements with precision can help to retrain bad movement patterns, remodel scar tissue, mobilize jammed joints (anti-wallet movements), restore pain-free range of motion and improve strength, balance and athleticism as well.
The movements on the R-Phase are subtle and precise; they contain the smoothness of Tai Chi, the body control of Yoga, the coordination of dance and the laser-like precision of Chiropractic. Done on a regular basis will change your life and how your body performs for the better.
Z-Health believes so strongly in their R-Phase product that they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and they have never had to use it.
You are the manager of your body and you own your pain. If you feel pain then you need to do something different. You most likely will need to seek out someone educated in helping you learn to manage your body, Z-Health is the best I’ve ever found and believe you me, I have seen darn near everything under the sun before Z-Health got rid of my low back pain. —Brian Copeland
Brian Copeland, Z-Health Level 4, RKC, PFS, is an Aurora, CO Exercise Therapy Specialist, strength & conditioning coach, kettlebell fitness instructor and combatives instructor. Brian works with law enforcement, military, regular Joes and Janes and even the blind. Check out his website HERE!
Thanks again Brian for the article and allowing me to voice my opinion also.
What do you think? Let me know on this one by placing a comment below. Comments make me all warm and fuzzy. Who do you think is right? Which approach has worked better for you and your clients (if you are a trainer). Post away!!
Mike T Nelson
Sign up to my RSS feed and any time I update a post, you will know about it instantly!