Joint Pain – How to Solve It
Almost all chronic joint pain or overuse injuries are caused by tightness and restrictions in the muscles above and below the joint in question.
In other words, it’s not about PAIN SITE… it’s about PAIN SOURCE!!
Knee pain is often caused by restrictions in the tissue of your calves and front/inner/outer thighs.
Back pain is often caused by restrictions in your glutes and hamstrings.
Shoulder pain is often caused by restrictions in your thoracic spine (T-Spine), chest, and lats.
Tissue quality describes the general health of your muscles and the interconnected web of fascia that surrounds them all.
Over time we develop scar tissue, adhesions, knots, and trigger points due to high-intensity training, overuse, and/or extended periods of sitting.
The best way to address this is to self-massage sore, tight, and restricted muscle groups of the body to regenerate tissue both pre and post-workout to promote injury reduction and allow for a smoother, more productive workout.
In addition, self-massage before stretching allows for a better, more complete stretch by smoothing out the knots so always precede flexibility work with soft tissue work for best results.
I have found the following 5 self-massage exercises to be of the highest priority for the general population:
1.) Quad/Rectus Femoris: Tightness in the middle of the front thigh is a primary cause of anterior knee pain, often referred to as jumper’s knee, or general patella-femoral issues like chondromalacia patella. For a person with a history of knee pain, NEVER skip massaging this area before a workout.
2.) Mid Glute/Piriformis: Restriction in the outer hip often causes tightness in the lower back and in extreme situations leads to sciatica, that burning or tingling sensation one feels from the back all the way down to the leg. Since we sit on our butt all days at work, it’s critical to release the glutes before an intensive workout.
3.) ITB/Vastus Lateralis: Restriction and over-development of the outer thigh causes an unwanted lateral tracking of the patella that leads to lateral knee pain, often referred to as runner’s knee, and wearing of the knee cartilage. People will experience the most pain with this area of the body then any other upon introduction to foam rolling.
4.) Pec Minor: The pec minor (small chest muscle just inside the shoulder) is like the hip flexor of the upper body and when it gets tight/overactive it leads to excessive internal rotation of the humerus which leads to shoulder impingement syndrome or shoulder biceps tendinosis.
5.) T-Spine: When the upper/mid back is restricted, it leads to poor posture and a host of issues including shoulder and back pain. Plus, being in a hunched position at a desk all day makes this exercise an absolute must to best counteract kyphosis (excessive rounding) of the upper back.
Below is an outline of our 30 secs work :10secs rest tissue quality circuit in our UNBREAKABLE BODY sessions in Cheltenham Glos.
Soft Tissue Release/Massage Exercise Circuit
30:10 Tissue Quality
1 Pec Minor (L)
2 Pec Minor (R)
3 Quad/Rectus Femoris (L)
4 Quad/Rectus Femoris (R)
5 Mid Glute/Piriformis (L)
6 Mid Glute/Piriformis (R)
7 VMO/Adductors/Femoral Triangle (L)
8 VMO/Adductors/Femoral Triangle (R)
9 ITB/Vastus Lateralis (L)
10 ITB/Vastus Lateralis (R)
14 Upper/Mid/Lower Back/T-Spine
15 Lats/Rear Shoulder/Triceps (L)
16 Lats/Rear Shoulder/Triceps (R)
One on One sessions are available if you want to learn how to tackle your tissue quality, mobility and flexibility
I’m a big fan of a relative pain scale when it comes to self-massage, for example:
– Using a relative pain/restriction scale of 1-10,
“1” being no pain/restriction and “10” being the worst pain/restriction in the world.
Please check the appropriate box for each self-massage exercise below whenever you feel pain/restriction that is greater than a 5 out of 10
– Your fitness homework is to religiously perform all self-massage exercises that were a 5 or greater on the pain/restriction scale both pre-workout and several times post-workout every day
– For best results and injury prevention, perform this entire 30-10 tissue quality circuit at least once per week using a foam roller, tennis ball, softball, and/or massage stick (rolling pin) where best applicable
Massage is one of those counter-intuitive things whereby you are actually actively searching for pain.
In fact, it’s the only time to ever do so when it comes to proper training.
The best analogy I can give you is this:
If it hurts that much when you put pressure on your muscles, just imagine how bad your joints must feel!!