What is causing your pain?

There are usually multiple factors that lead to pain: 

• how much you move

• the way you move

• how you manage stress

• what kind of shoes you wear
• your history of injuries

Each of these things play a role in how you feel.

What is causing your pain?

This is a question I attempt to answer many times each week.  My most common answer is:

duration x repetition = pain

When movement hurts, it can usually be traced back either to a repetitive movement pattern or a repetitive lack of movement pattern — how much time you either repeat a single movement or maintain a specific position.  Both repetitive movement and lack of movement create stresses within the fascial system.

Fascia is a three-dimensional continuous web of connective tissue that wraps around your body from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head. Fascia surrounds your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and organs. Fascia is the organ system that gives your body shape and plays a fundamental role in your posture.

The way you move each day determines the shape and well-being of your fascia and the structure it supports, your body. If, for instance, you sit for long hours each week (duration and repetition), the fascia in your hips, shoulders, and neck will begin to form adhesions at the folds of your fascia in these positions.  These adhesions impinge upon your body’s “working parts;” bind the head, shoulders, and pelvis into a forward position; create trigger points; and restrict range of motion.

Over time and repetition, these adhesions become semi-permanent obstructions that change your body’s shape. The change in shape shifts the balance of the body, placing stress and strain throughout.  This leads to the tightness, discomfort, and pain that many people feel in their back, knees, neck, or shoulders.

Given enough time and repetition, it may lead to more serious structural injuries, i.e., tears of the soft tissue in the shoulder, herniation of vertebrae, or wearing down of the cartilage in the knees and hips.

Below is a short list of tools that you can utilize to help remove adhesions, restore joint mobility, improve circulation, and reduce chronic injury and pain.

1. Deep tissue massage therapy is one of the most effective methods of breaking down painful adhesions in the body. Deep tissue therapies such as myofascial release and trigger point therapy can remove painful trigger points, restore functional range of motion, speed the healing process, and reduce chronic pain.  Recommended weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly deep tissue therapy session.

2. Foam roller therapy is a fantastic tool for breaking down restrictive fascia, improving flexibility and functional range of motion, aiding the recovery and healing process, and reducing chronic pain.  A foam roller is, in my opinion, the best investment for your fitness and health.

3. Corrective exercise is vital to regain and maintain full movement patterns. The body is designed to move with great ranges of motion with agility, stability, speed, and power. It is important to use your body in the way it was designed to move.

 

Jesse James Retherford is a certified personal trainer and licensed massage therapist.  For over 12 years, Jesse has been passionate about helping his clients reach their fitness and health goals.

Jesse specializes in chronic pain and injury management, movement assessment, corrective exercise, and advanced sports conditioning.

Jesse offers personalized programs designed to improve performance and efficiency, reduce chances of injury, and allow you to move pain free so you can re-engage fully with your life.

Reposting is permitted as long as it is posted in its entirety, including links, and author’s bio.

 

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Deep Tissue Massage Therapy

Are you suffering from chronic pain in your back, neck, shoulders, or knees?  Deep tissue massage therapy can help.  Deep tissue massage utilizes a variety of techniques designed to alleviate symptoms of chronic pain, increase functional range of motion, and improve posture.

The goal of deep tissue massage therapy is to break down adhesions in the fascial tissueAdhesions are fibrous bands of scar tissue that bind together normally separate tissues.  Adhesions restrict the flow of blood, oxygen and waste products; limit joint range of motion; and are the primary cause of most soft-tissue pain and discomfort.  It is common for adhesions to form between fascial tissue and to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, or organs that it surrounds.

Adhesions are commonly caused by inflammation or injury due to an accident such as a fall or car crash; poor bio-mechanical movement patterns such as walking, running, or other highly repetitive activities; scar tissue from an old injury or surgery; lack of movement from sitting for long hours each day; or even the day to day stresses of life.

As adhesions are broken down, you will experience an increase in joint range of motion; reduction in the symptoms of pain and discomfort; and an improvement in the ability to maintain a healthy pain free posture.

Deep tissue massage can benefit anyone who is suffering from chronic pain, tight muscles, restricted range of motion, or stress.

Feel better with deep tissue massage therapy with Jesse James Retherford.

Jesse James Retherford is a certified personal trainer and licensed massage therapist.  For over 12 years, Jesse has been passionate about helping his clients reach their fitness and health goals.

Jesse specializes in chronic pain and injury management, movement assessment, corrective exercise, and advanced sports conditioning.

Jesse offers personalized programs designed to improve performance and efficiency, reduce chances of injury, and allow you to move pain free so you can re-engage fully with your life.

Reposting is permitted as long as it is posted in its entirety, including links, and author’s bio.

 
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Getting in Touch With Your Pain

Pain is not a bad thing.  It is not a good thing either. Pain is a form of communication our bodies have with us to tell us something is going on.  Sometimes it is from pushing ourselves to the extreme, the burn in our lungs and legs with a hard run or the two-day soreness from an intense strength training workout.  At other times, pain is telling us something is wrong.  The problem we encounter is not pain – it is our cultural disconnection from it.  We cushion ourselves from pain every day: with our shoes, in our beds, with our chairs, and with pharmaceutical pain relievers.  The moment pain enters our bodies we are searching for immediate ways to not feel it anymore.  This cultural disconnection has removed us from our greatest line of defense against experiencing unneeded pain over the length of our lives… the ability to listen and learn to what pain is telling us.

Pain may be a sign of underlying issues.

I have experienced a great deal of physical pain in my life.  The work I do today is founded from learning to manage the pain I felt in my life.  In the beginning, I would ignore pain, continue to push myself harder and overcome it.  This direction only led to more pain.  As I grew older and more experienced in my practice I learned a simple lesson: I could not run away from my pain.  The more I tried to ignore it, the larger it grew until I was absolutely forced to deal with it head on.  The longer I let the pain fester, the greater the injury I found beneath it and the longer it took to heal and recover from that injury.  I learned that pain is a signal of an underlying issue.  Pain does not happen without reason; there is always a root cause.  Find and fix the root cause of pain and the pain will be gone.  Fix the injury beneath and there is no reason for pain to exist.  Let the problem fester and the injury grows and the recovery becomes more challenging.  The sooner one focuses on their pain, the sooner they are on the fast path to recovery and living pain free.

Most pain comes from postural dysfunction.  It is the movements in our lives, or lack of movement, that causes pain.  Our bodies were designed to move with great ranges of motion; with power, strength, and endurance.  As a culture we do not use our bodies design purpose.  We lay or sit motionless for most of our lives.  We sit for long hours each day: in school, college, work, in our cars, on our couches and then in our beds.  This lack of movement wreaks havoc on our posture.  Over time our posture molds to the movement patterns, or lack thereof, we utilize the most.  By not utilizing the functional design of our bodies we create injury within our posture.  Over time this postural injury creates pain to let us know that something is wrong.  Or bodies use pain to signal that something needs to change in our lives or the problem will get worse.

The tools to treat most pain are inexpensive and readily available.

With a foam roller, softball (or other massage tools), full body flexibility program, and an exercise program that incorporates functional movement patterns, the chronic pains associated with postural dysfunction can be managed very effectively.

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Jesse James Retherford is a certified personal trainer and licensed massage therapist.  For over 12 years, Jesse has been passionate about helping his clients reach their fitness and health goals.

Jesse specializes in chronic pain and injury management, movement assessment, corrective exercise, and advanced sports conditioning.

Jesse offers personalized programs designed to improve performance and efficiency, reduce chances of injury, and allow you to move pain free so you can re-engage fully with your life.

Reposting is permitted as long as it is posted in its entirety, including links, and author’s bio.

Fascia and its relationship with pain

What is Fascia?

Fascia is a continuous web of connective tissue that exists throughout your body. Your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, and organs are connected through this web, binding these structures together and creating a three-dimensional matrix that connects you from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. It consists of several layers: a superficial fascia, a deep fascia, and a subserous fascia. For the purpose of this discussion, I will talk about deep fascia.

Deep fasciae are tough, dense connective tissues surrounding individual muscle fibers, muscle bundles, and groups of muscles. Fascia shares many of the same properties as muscle, allowing it to contract, relax, and hold tension, just like muscle tissue. Fascial tissues are full of nerves — including sensory receptors to detect pain — and also play an important role in movement derived from muscles, tendons, and joints (proprioception).

Imagine plastic wrap. Your muscles are wrapped tightly in multiple directions by these fasciae. The interconnected nature of fasciae means tightness in one area of your body can be directly connected to painful areas in a completely different area.

What is fascial pain?

Healthy fasciae are relaxed, pliable, elastic and flexible. When you are healthy, your fasciae can absorb the forces that are created when you move.

With trauma or repetitive use injury, adhesions and scar tissue form in the fasciae. When you experience trauma — from a fall or accident or through repetitive strain — the surrounding areas become tight and restricted, affecting range of motion and stability throughout the body. Points of restriction in the fasciae place pressure on nerves, bones, muscles, and adjacent fasciae, causing chronic pain.

Fascial pain is probably the most common cause of musculoskeletal pain (Imamura et al 1997 as cited by Starlanyl and Copeland 1996, Starlanyl 2003, and Javaid 2010). If you are experiencing acute or chronic pain, fascial dysfunction may be the underlying cause of your symptoms.

Deep Tissue Fascial Massage

Deep tissue fascial massage therapy is a form of soft tissue therapy used to treat pain and restore range of motion. This is accomplished using traction, stretching or direct pressure; relaxing contracted muscles; increasing circulation; increasing venous and lymphatic drainage; and stimulating the stretch reflex of muscles and overlying fasciae.

The end result is fasciae that are softened and stretched, with the release of painful knots.

References

Imamura, S.T., T.Y. Lin, M.J. Yriyrits, S.S. Fischer, R.J. Azze, L. A. Rosgano and R. Mahar. 1997. The importance of myofascial pain syndrome in reflex sympathetic dystrophy.” Physical Medicine and Rehabitation Clinics of North America. 8:207-211.

Javaid, Ahmad. Myofascial pain: Understanding the Injury Process. 2010. http://ahmadjavaid.com/myofascial%20pain.htm

Starlanyi, Devin J., and Mary Ellen Copeland, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Survival Manual. 2001. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain Syndrome: A Survival Manual. http://www.friendswithfibro.org/mps.html

Starlanyi, Devin. 2003. Fibromyalgia and Chronic Myofascial Pain: Keys to Diagnosis and Treatment. http://homepages.sover.net/~devstar/physinfo.htm

Ward, Patrick. 2010. Notes on Fascia. http://optimumsportsperformance.com/blog/?p=133
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