Coach Chesty compares getting out of pain to searching for an ants nest.
You’ll take this more seriously when there are a couple of hundred ants crawling over everything. When I’m designing a mobility training program, I’m looking to help someone gain access to ranges of motion that are holding them back. The process is made a lot smoother when joints and surrounding tissues are not in pain. If we don’t address the root of the issue, we’re going to deal with more of this down the road.
I walked downstairs this morning to find my entire concrete floor covered with ants. They had also taken over one of the potted plants, deep to the roots. I had gone to bed thinking the issue had been dealt with. I had clearly not found where they were getting in, and that they had consumed the soil of one of our plants. The techniques used were merely a bandaid to the problem, at best. Here come the ants.
When you have joint pain, there is often a slew of techniques you can use to settle things down. These range from over the counter anti-inflammatories, heat rubs, and manual therapy. We can also include exercises into this mix, movement as therapy. We often have an issue that sticks around consistently, you know, that nagging knee or those tight hip flexors. You can settle them down with this and that, but it can stick around or get even worse. Then we are left to pick up the pieces when it all falls apart. Why didn’t those techniques work?
I tracked the ants to their source. Seems like they had been living in the potted plants belonging to our neighbours. They would crawl in through some of the concrete gaps and make there way inside. Then they secretly built a fort inside one of our plants (fort makes it sound cooler, it was clearly more of an insect nest, so so many). It wasn’t until I had found out their true hideout, that I was able to effectively deal with this.
Joint pain can come with many different variables. It can also spread beyond the one area and cascade through the body. That nagging knee and those tight hip flexors may come from the fact that your knee and hip don’t function very well. Your hip should be able to rotate both externally and internally and articulate through flexion, extension, abduction, and adduction. If you are limited in any of those ranges, the joint will be limited in its function. If that one joint doesn’t function too well, it will request more from the joints above and below. And if those are limited as well, we’re going to find ourselves with a lot of overloaded tissues. Here comes the pain.
This is why we primarily target joint function in mobility training. Restoring the root function of the joint we directly affect the tissues surrounding that joint. When we ensure that the joint functions better independently, it will be able to work better together with other joints. Pain often resolves when things begin to work like they’re supposed to. Pain is often hard to come by when things work even better then they have to.
Making your stuff work like it’s supposed to, or at least better than it does, can eliminate pain at the source.