- Personal experience with multiple soft-tissue sports injuries and debilitating pain led me to create this method
- Multiple workshops on soft tissue release (Travel Roller, Yamuna, various myofascial and self-massage presenters)
- Certified Functional Movement System movement expert, FMS 2, with Level 2 Advanced Mentorship
- DNS 1 Weightlifting course
- StrongFirst certifications: SFG1 (kettlebells), continuously since 2013, Level 2 since 2023, and SFL (barbell)
Pain really isn’t fun! But often, we can do a lot to get rid of it ourselves.
Personally, I have experienced periods of severe musculoskeletal pain due to multiple soft-tissue sports injuries.
The best ways I’ve found to reduce my own pain level involve improving the physical mechanics of how I move—which also helps prevent the likelihood of re-injury—as well as stepping up involvement of the parasympathetic, or “rest and relax”, branch of my nervous system to reduce the intensity of pain signals.
Being a systematic person, I’ve distilled this approach into my own method for pain reduction.
The method is appropriate for everyone, from those with bodies that are just plain worn down from time and overuse to hardcore, high-performance athletes. The vast majority of people I’ve worked with have been able to reduce their daily musculoskeletal pain level, on a 1 to 10 scale, by at least 2 points, and many have gained a 4-point reduction.
I’ve found that low back pain is the easiest to fix this way and usually responds very well to this method. Significant progress can also be made with neck, hip and knee pain. Shoulders may respond less easily as they are a very complex joint, so you can probably expect to need continued input from your medical health provider on shoulders as we work concurrently through your pain reduction strategy.
My minimalist mindset means that I’m not a big fan of pain medication usage, and this method may help you reduce or discontinue pain medications if that is a goal.
Pain reduction and enhanced athletic performance are two sides of the same coin when considering movement patterns. By finding the right level of being challenged but successful, your central nervous system can reset the controls so you can integrate a better way to move with less pain. Once the source of pain is eliminated, then it’s possible to increase speed, strength, or endurance — again, for everyday life, and also for athletes who want to further increase their performance capabilities.
Is this approach for you?
Ask yourself these two questions to find out:
- Have you seen a medical professional yet for diagnosis? This is important to rule out or clarify any medically important issues. Pain reduction can work hand in hand with medical treatment, but don’t ignore the fact that pain is always trying to tell you something.
- Second, can you commit to consistency in doing your homework? At first, I suggest committing to 10-20 minutes per day, at least six days per week. This time commitment reduces as your pain does, until eventually the time is only required on an “as needed” basis.
Still on board with the concept of reducing your pain? Then let’s begin: register here. Here is an overview of my approach.
- Quantifying pain level: You need a baseline and a way to monitor your progress (or lack thereof) as you move through the process. Keep a pain diary to record what helps and what doesn’t.
- Identifying and eliminating the negatives: This may require doing a bit of sleuthing on your own, for example, regarding ergonomics at work or mechanics during leisure activities. Eating patterns can also have a powerful impact on pain levels due to the level of inflammation that food can produce in the body.
- Breathing improvement: Breathing changes can help us access the parasympathetic branch of our nervous system to calm down pain signals. The aim is to be able to achieve diaphragmatic breathing with a full 360 degree range, low in the lungs, without the collarbones rising, at a rate of as low as 6 breaths per minute when relaxed.
- The posture connection: How we carry ourselves is a critical factor in most people’s pain levels. It usually takes some re-learning, but for most, the investment pays massive dividends.
- Myofascial release principles: “Myo” means “muscle,” and fascia is our connective tissue. We’ll look in depth at some common myofascial release tools and techniques, and how to make mobility gains “stick” for you.
- The Ground Control system: Developed by Dr. Jeff Almon and based upon the principles of dynamic neuromuscular stability and neuroplasticity, this protocol helps re-program your brain and body by addressing the very foundation of functional movement. It can help you increase recovery speed, reduce movement-based pain, and even improve physical performance.