When your computer locks up, what do you do? The CONTROL – ALT – DELETE key combo is probably your go-to plan to put your computer back in business. How cool would it be if you could quickly fix your body when unexpectedly pain locks you up?
I’m here to tell you that you can do just that!
We all get them so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us. Their disguises may vary while their locations tend to be a bit more consistent. Meanwhile, they are rarely welcome and we never quite know when they plan on leaving.
Who are these mystery intruders? They have many name such as aches, stiffness, joint catching, shooting pain, throbbing, spasms, stabbing tendon pain and/or deep-bone pain. Do any of those different forms of pain sound all too familiar?
Onset of Pain
Some of these mild to moderate pains, although not enjoyable by any means, can be justified based on your history. An old injury or surgery can add merit to why a joint is stiff or why a muscle is not as strong as its counterpart on the other side of your body.
But what about the sudden stabbing pain in the front of the shoulder when you reach into the frig to grab the milk or when your kneecap catches as you bend down to pick up your shoes? An injury is almost understandable when it occurs while you lift a heavy weight or run hard up a hill but “…how can I hurt my damn back just sitting at my desk?!” Those are the pains that frustrate us; athletes and non-athletes alike.
Injury vs Pain
If you have a legitimate injury, get it checked out by a sports doctor, physical therapist or certified athletic trainer. These quick fixes I’m about to tell you about don’t pertain to serious injuries. If you’re dealing with a mild to moderate pain, as noted above, you may be able to eliminated it quickly and effectively.
Delving into a deep sports medicine diagnosing injury lesson is well beyond the scope of this article. Keeping it simple: If your pain started without involving an accident of any sort, a significant change in your activity level and/or is not accompanied by swelling/redness and/or an increased warmth in the area of pain, you might be able to promptly improve your symptoms.
If you have any questions or concerns about your symptoms, see your doctor ASAP and get a firm handle on your injury.
Finding Your CONTROL – ALT – DELETE
When my shoulders hurt, somewhat common after many bike crashes, falls and a shoulder surgery, my Go To Fix-It move is: Pushups. 90% of my shoulder throbbing, stabbing and impingement pain will disappear after a quick set of 25 pushups. I’m literally smiling as I type this because I love pushups! They are my shoulder CONTROL – ALT – DELETE solution.
I personally have six (6) of these body pain eliminating routines in my personal toolbox which are awesome quick-fixes for my many orthopedic ailments. They take no more than 5 minutes to complete and they keep me very active, almost pain-free and, as my wife will agree with, much easier to live with.
My question to you: What are your CONTROL – ALT – DELETE’s?
Tips to Finding Your CONTROL – ALT – DELETE’s
Go With What Works – what have you done in the past that helped you with this type of pain with this joint/body part? Start with what has worked in the past and work on modifying your technique to improve it’s effectiveness and prolong its benefits.
Stop Looking for the Why – When in pain, the WHY is far less important than the HOW. Eliminate your pain now and worry about your selfie-in-pain FB picture later.
Bilateral Movements – Your body likes balance. Doing bilateral (both sides of your body) movements like twists, double arm stretches, bike riding, arm circles and crunches are typically the best moves to start with.
Slow Movements & Deep Breaths – Unless you’re a chiropractor, keep all you movements slow and methodical. Slow and deep breathing relaxes your body and allows you to listen to the message your body is sending to you, be them good or bad. Remember, you’re trying to “reset” your body to be balanced and pain-free so allowing for ample time in these new positions is crucial.
Posture, Posture, Posture – Poor posture is a very common source of pain in adults. Viewing front, side and back photos of you standing and sitting will quickly show visual cues to problem areas in your body. Focus on stretching stronger/short muscles and strengthening weaker/longer muscles. Head and neck posture is a common problem in our sit-friendly society.
Examples of Simple Pain Eliminating Solutions
Shoulder Pain – Pushups, door stretches, resisted external rotations, ice massage, thumb-up dumbbell side raises, pool water movements, and seated rows.
Low Back Pain – Crunches, hamstring stretches, laying on hard floor with pillows under knees, hip flexor stretches, bike riding, groin stretches, rolling tennis ball into front/side of hip, Yoga downdog stretches and double arm pull-up bar hangs.
Knee Pain – Roller on front/side of quads, quad stretches, controlled quad strengthening, ice massage, hamstring stretches, massaging and mobilizing kneecap, hip flexor stretches, wall sits, Yoga downdog stretches and bike riding.
Ankle Pain/Heel Pain – Yoga down dog stretches, barefoot walking on soft surfaces, arch & calf massage, ice massage, duck walks on grass on heels only, resisted ankle motion: outward and upward, eliminate shoes with moderate to high heels, picking up marbles/rocks with toes and a heel lift if legs are not equal length.
Key Point to Remember
Your body does not want to be in pain. Your objective for this endeavor is to put your symptomatic body part(s) in a position which is pain-free and strong to allow your body and mind to reprogram all your associated muscles, tendons, joint capsules and fascia to maintain this “happy place” allowing you to move with less resistance and less pain. Period.
I know this concept sounds very different from the all too common; “medicate to reduce pain” philosophy. Personally, my physical therapy motto is simple: Trust your body to know what it needs to do its job!
Being active and healthy is NOT a passive process. There’s no better time than now to get busy eliminating your pain so you can get busy living.