In Move More… Ache Less (Part 1), we make the case that more movement, rather than less, can often be your prescription for pain. We encouraged you to get a Functional Movement Screen, do regular soft tissue work, and exercise intelligently. We would now like to dive deeper into the soft tissue and exercise protocols that address deficiencies/limitations and potentially resolve pain.
There are multiple protocols that you can safely implement on your own to reduce pain.
Protocol number 1: Foam Rolling. You have probably heard of foam rollers but might not know how to use them. Foam rollers are long, cylindrical tools that are used for self-massage to help soothe tight muscles/fascia, speed up muscle recovery, and improve mobility.
Using the roller can be easy! Simply choose a sore or tight area of your muscle and then either hold pressure on that area or slowly roll over it. While some discomfort is to be expected, it should not be painful.
Protocol number 2: Stretching. Muscle tightness can feed dysfunction and lead to pain. Consistent stretching can break the cycle! Key areas to stretch are your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, and pecs. Remember while stretching, the objective is not to push the stretch too far. You should be able to keep your body relaxed and maintain perfect posture throughout. If you try to push a stretch too far or stretch with poor posture, you are probably feeding the very dysfunction you are trying to undo.
Protocol number 3: Patterning. Foam rolling and stretching is often not enough to change dysfunctional movement patterns. Poor squat mechanics, improper hip hinging, and excessive spinal flexion are a few common movement patterns that can contribute to pain. Be sure to implement patterning exercises such as squat correctives, hip hinging, and rowing to reinforce proper posture and change range of motion.
Watch this video to see these concepts in action.
Ryan Burke is a Partner and Director of Business Development at One on One. Contact him at Ryan@oneononefit.com