How To Combat the Aches and Pains of Another Holiday Season

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

Given that it’s a month that ends in ‘tober,’ today may be a bit too early for a Christmas post.  But seeing as how I literally wait till the last-minute every year to do any shopping, I think I’m going to get started early this year.  Well.  Mentally, at the very least.

Yes, like it or not, another holiday season has us in its sights and I’m here to get you ready.  Yeah.  I’m gonna get you ready for the holiday season by giving you fitness advice.  Just go with it.  It’ll be fun.  I promise.

And oh by the way, I’ve seen those crazy holiday shoppers on youtube.  You can’t tell me it doesn’t get physical out there.  It’s like trying to run the football with one of the Big Bang Theory guys as your lead blocker.  Ok, ok.  Sorry, I know you guys aren’t that bad.

Except maybe for those of you that celebrate Thanksgiving like its 4th of July in Coney Island, that is.

While it’s not full contact cage fighting, holiday shopping is one of those random activities that we can injure ourselves doing.  Sad, but true.  To be honest, most of us walk around at a greater risk to injury than we think.  It all has to do with not having proper musculoskeletal balance within our bodies.  More on that in a second.

First off, if you’re already in pain, your nervous system is telling your body to move differently whether you know it or not.  So yes, you should be slightly alarmed when you’re moving through pain.  The sequence in which your muscles fire to produce movement will be altered in order to accommodate your body’s reaction to pain.

You’ll still be able to walk and function for the most part.  But the original computer program in your head that made you ‘walk,’ was altered.  So think of it more like walking around with less than optimal programming.  You wouldn’t necessarily feel a difference either because the altered patterns are now what your brain tells you is ‘normal.’

That’s also why we see some pain occur after a previous injury has healed.  You know, the one you had a few years ago that wasn’t too bad and just let linger for a while, but eventually went away.

Well the pain usually doesn’t go away for good, it just shows up in a different place.

Sometimes the pain will move to the next part of the chain (ankle to calf) or somewhere seemingly remote (ankle to opposite shoulder).  While it is completely impossible to know 100% of the time what causes the pain, it is very possible to narrow the culprits down to a few factors.  This is of course given that there are no structural abnormalities or freak accidents involved.

One of the biggest causes of pain (other than stupidity) in the human body is, imbalance.

So, not only can pain or injury can cause imbalance; it can be caused by imbalance as well.  For some people, it starts with posture.  A good number of people exhibit what is sometimes called, forward head posture.  This means that your head and subsequently, your neck, is tilted forward, causing your body to shift forward ever so slightly.

Now your body is pretty amazing, so it doesn’t just let you completely fall over because your head sits too far forward by an inch or so.  Instead, your body turns on other muscles that aren’t meant to support your head in a standing position.  This keeps your body ‘balanced’, but it also displaces other parts of the chain because some muscles aren’t being used properly.

The result?  Each muscle group will pass the extra responsibility down the chain until something breaks down.  This can lead to things such as joint pain and damage, muscle tightness, strains or tears, or even hold you back from advancing in certain movements.  These are the types of injuries that seem to ‘come out of nowhere’ and often don’t have any warning signs as far as pain goes.

When looking at these types of injuries, you can trace a good bulk of them back to imbalances in either the hips or the shoulder complex.

Today we’ll look into what goes on with most dysfunctional hips and how we can start to make sure we start balancing them out.

One of the most common situations that results in lower back pain is something called lower crossed syndrome.  This is usually the result of having tight or overactive hip flexors that pull the front of your hips down.  At the same time, tight or overactive lower back muscles pull the back of your hips up.

This leads to tight muscles in the lower back and perceived tightness in the hamstrings.  It’s possible that most cases of tight hamstrings are caused by hip dysfunction and imbalance.

…So.  You’re saying I’m probably walking around right now like a ticking time bomb and my body is about to implode on itself?  Phenomenal.  And I’m supposed to stop this from happening… how?

I’ll refer you to this article CLICK HERE.

You should notice that I’ve already sent you to this article a few posts ago.  No, I’m not being lazy,thank you very much.

This is the beauty of having a training mindset based around quality movement patterns.  Each of the exercises described in Tony’s Perfect Warm up is designed to maximize your ability to move properly through your entire body.

“Dude.  I thought you said we were talking about hip dysfunction today?  This warm up has non-hip movements too.  What gives?”

If this was your immediate reaction after re-reading the article, you would be absolutely correct on both points.  Let me explain.

When you are performing ANY movement whether it’s a squat or whatever this stupid fucking shit is*, ALL muscles in your body have a function.  To keep it very simple, they’re either responsible for stabilizing or mobilizing your body at any given time.  The different combinations of stability and mobility in all the muscles in your body create all the movement your body is capable of.

For instance, I talked about push ups in this post CLICK HERE.  While performing a push up, basically all the muscles below your shoulder blades are responsible for stabilizing your body against gravity.  The muscles between your shoulder blades and around your shoulders, arms and chest are responsible for moving your body.

So in the warm up, doing a movement to help you move better through your shoulder blades will help you learn to use your hips more efficiently.  If you have great control of your shoulder blades, the muscles around your spine are able to stabilize your spine properly instead of being used to assist the movement of your shoulder blades.  This frees up the muscles around your hips to perform properly instead of trying to stabilize your spine because the muscles on your spine are trying to help move your shoulder blades.

See how that works?  Everything is literally connected.  This is why learning how to move and stabilize correctly are vital parts of anyone’s training program.

So remember this holiday season before you head off once more into the fray, get some quality and balanced movement into your training.  This will ensure that you make it through another tough holiday season and that you keep Fantasy Holiday Shopper team owners everywhere happy.



*This is a great example of not recognizing how mobilizers and stabilizers work.  The ball is now requiring muscles that act as movers to also be stabilizers and the last I checked, squatting with your feet not flat on the ground changes your movement patterns too.  Now, to be fair, if this is the goal of the trainer READ: TO FUCK THIS KID UP, then they’re doing a great job.


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