Guest post by: Kate Galliet
You don’t live in a vacuum.
Pain in an area of your body doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong or malfunctioning in the exact area of pain.
Your body is always adjusting with and compensating for what’s going on in the other areas of your body.
When aches and pains arise, the solution is actually fairly simple: Focus on the correct area that’s causing the issue, add the right corrective action step, mix in a dash a patience for adaptation to occur, and you can see your pain go away.
The tricky part is to focus on the ‘correct area’. Until you start exploring what’s happening in your body and why, it’s natural to think that the place where the pain is, is also the place that’s having the problem.
That’s not always the case.
I’d like to give you three common issues and where you might look (other than right in the area where it hurts) to solve the problem*. These are a portion of what I’ll be teaching in my upcoming workshop in Austin, Texas. If you’d like to learn more and go deeper, join me at the workshop!
*Remember, you may be a unique snowflake who has a completely different cause of your issue. Sometimes, working with a coach or physical therapist might be a better route.
When your plantar fascia – or what feels like your plantar fascia – is acting up:
Pain on the bottom of your foot is, well, a pain. It hampers everything you want to do that requires being on your feet. And can even cause distracting pain when you’re laying in bed, not on your feet.
Keep in mind that pain on the bottom of your foot doesn’t always mean that your plantar fascia is unhappy.
A common solution for plantar fascia pain is to roll your foot on a lacrosse ball. That can help, but mobility of soft tissue without strength to support and maintain the mobility, is useless.
Your plantar fascia may not be the source of all your troubles; there are more than one-hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the foot and ankle! Strengthen your foot muscles so that one piece of fascia isn’t doing the work of many muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
When your knees are acting up:
Knee pain makes it hard to squat and bend well. This obviously impedes your workouts, but it also impedes day-to-day activities, thus closing your ‘window of movement potential’ a bit.
Part of what keeps you stacked from hip, through knee, to ankle, are the hip stabilizing muscles. Weak hip stabilizers can cause the knees to be altered in their stance when your foot hits the ground as you walk or run. If your hip stabilizing muscles are weak, your pelvis will tip as you walk or run, which will cause your knee to dip in.
Begin strengthening your hip complex to create better support for your knees from above. In the video below, I’m demonstrating the lateral band walk. Watch the video for guidance on how to do this drill for maximum effect and avoid a common mistake.
When your upper back and neck are acting up
What most people do to alleviate upper back and neck pain is to place a lacrosse ball on the spot it hurts and dig into their soft tissue with the ball.
But why is your upper back or neck hurting to begin with? Take a look at your shoulder joint mechanics.
Remember that your scapula has to work in harmony with the humeral head, the clavicle, and the ribcage; if the shoulder joint doesn’t move well or sit well when at rest (ex: winging or floating scapula), the soft tissue in the upper body could compensate for the sub-par joint position or mechanics.
Begin to improve your shoulder joint mechanics by trying the three drills I’m showing you in the video below. Doing these as a daily drill if you happen to have an in-home workout setup, or as a warm-up to your workout once you get to the gym can be very helpful in improving your shoulder function, and in turn, your upper body soft tissue quality.
Start to think more globally about how your body is linked together and functioning. When an issue arises in one area, it can create symptoms in another area. It would be a shame to waste time trying to ‘fix’ a problem in the painful area when the solution is elsewhere.
If you’d like to dig deeper and make your body solid, strong, and durable for the long-haul, join me in Austin for my Unbreakable Body Workshop, sponsored by Paleo f(x) and IDLife.