The premise that your body can heal itself naturally without medication, manipulation or surgery usually sounds too good today's westernized, medically specialized society.
In general, aside from traumatic injury or genetic abnormalities, corrective exercise with a certified professional who can partner and educate you is very successful. It is designed to help eliminate chronic musculoskeletal and joint pain WITHOUT the use of medication, manipulation or surgery. It works because our approach is not symptom focused. You are after all MORE than just a symptom or collection of parts.
Corrective exercise specialists (CES) are trained to address clients from a physiological, and psycho-social-emotional perspective. Once chronic pain sets in, it's affected not just your daily life activities, but everything else as well.
Making the decision to try a corrective exercise program and evaluating if it's right for you can be daunting. Especially more so if you've tried it everything from NSAIDS, painkillers, physical therapy, cortisone injections, chiropractic and perhaps even surgery.
Invariably, almost every single day I get a call or message asking me a question that goes something like this:
" Hi Deb -I'm interested in learning more about what you do for a living and how you can fix my (insert symptom/pain/problem issue here). How do I know if corrective exercise will work for me?"
Does this sound like you?
Pain Is Simply A Signal
As a professional who specializes in the area, I want you to know that I completely understand. It's hard not to be skeptical of a training program that offers you chronic muscle and joint pain relief WITHOUT the medical bells and whistles. It's even harder to trust that it will work for you if you've been chasing your symptoms for months or years without any lasting success. Why would you trust it. I get it and want you to know that it's totally normal and okay that you feel this way.
Pain is simply a signal. It's the only way you're body can truly talk to you and get your full attention. Chronic muscle and joint pain is your body's way of communicating with you that your body is out of balance AND that what you're currently doing to care for it ISN'T WORKING.
If you've been doing the same chronic pain relief dance over and over, and you're chasing after symptoms because they keep returning, STOP the insanity. Something needs to change.
In my experience, if you've been symptom chasing without real success, you've been focusing all your attention on the pain. This is exactly what makes corrective exercise programming completely different from everything you've been doing up until now.
The first step is to evaluating if corrective exercise programming is right for you is to understand that the pain your are experiencing has more to do with your body position ( your posture) than the symptom (your pain). [Check out my FREE Posture Assessment Guide. It will provide you with easy to do, in your home posture assessment tests so you can see how your position (posture) is connected to your symptom (pain).]
If you are to successfully overcome chronic muscle and joint pain then you have to work toward training your posture to work towards it's anatomical design, function and positioning. Think of it like this. If you are doing everything you can to ignore a symptom, or make it go away, but you do nothing to correct the cause of the problem, it's like hammering on a bent nail and expecting it to go in straight. You might get the nail in, but you've spent a lot of time and energy placing something in a gap that just isn't lined up right.
As a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Foundation Training Certified Instructor, my job is to help my clients to first understand that "you can't fix what you can't feel", and "you can't change what you're unaware of". So often, clients who are in chronic muscle and joint pain have no idea how out of balance their posture and body mechanics are.
There is a learning component involved. In order for your body to heal, you have to first start with a better understanding where your body is currently relative to where it should be anatomically and functionally. The first step then is doing a static and dynamic postural assessment.
From there we work on mitigating the pain by finding positions the body can perform exercise in that does not increase the pain symptom. Once identified then we work to improve posture and movement function through creating a series of corrective exercise programs that are designed to re-introduce proper stimulus, demand and action to the muscles and joints. This happens over the course of a few weeks. Along the way the exercises create changes in the body such as:
- neutralize the pelvis by reducing rotation, elevation and tilt
- restore function and balance in the load bearing joints, pelvis and spine
- restore muscle-length tension and balance in the muscles throughout the body
As pain is reduced, the individual is then better able to increase strength, endurance and mobility which then can translate into activities of daily living and athletic performance. Sounds good right?
Well, it sounds good. However, you have to now ask yourself if you are willing to take charge and assume responsibility for your healing.
Is Corrective Exercise Right For You?
Corrective Exercise CAN and DOES eliminate chronic muscle and joint pain. BUT.........(yes, there is a but) here's the challenge and the biggest difference of all.
I'm not going to lie or mislead you in anyway.
It takes time, patience and dedication. It involves work (you'll have corrective exercises to do on a daily basis for a period of time), a willingness to change your habits, AND, depending on how advanced your situation is at the time you begin the therapy, time to unravel it all.
Remember it took a long time for your body to get into its current state. It should be reasonable that it will take some time to unravel and re-train it all. Corrective exercise is profoundly effective, but it is also a process, not a quick fix.
My job is to:
- LISTEN to YOU (I believe you know more about your body than any specialist in the world)
- ASSESS your posture relative to it's anatomical function
- EVALUATE your function and gait and identify muscle and joint imbalances/compensations
- EDUCATE you with this knowledge
- DESIGN a progressive series of exercises and teach it to you
- COACH you through the hard days and when you get stuck in your progression
- EMPOWER YOU to act on this information and take the necessary actions and positive changes in your daily habits to address and correct the root cause of your pain
I Won't Fix You. YOU WILL FIX YOU.
I'll help you decipher your chronic muscle and joint pain from a WHOLE YOU (physiological, psycho-social-emotional perspective), and find the CORRECT positions, stimulation and demand for your body so that it can heal.
I will help you establish SMART goals, and empower you to be successful. Then the healing comes down to you.
Corrective exercise programming is successful only when YOU take responsibility for helping your body heal. You do the work. And when you put your body back towards it's proper design and function, it can and does heal.
If all this sounds like a different way to solving an old problem, and gets you excited just a little, then give it a shot. Corrective Exercise is right for you!
I'm happy to help you anyway I can and meet you exactly where you are at. I truly hope that with this information in hand you have a renewed sense of hope. Questions? Please reach out. I'd love to hear from you.
Stock Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Head Photo Credit: Melissa Thome Photography
Author: Deb Preachuk is the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN. A CF-L1 Trainer, Certified Foundation Training & STOTT Pilates Instructor, Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, Deb has over 25 years experience in the health and wellness field. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn, or subscribe to her YouTube, Pinterest or Instagram pages.