We’ve all struggled with muscle and joint pain.
Whether you’re a sedentary adult, high-level athlete, or just a weekend warrior, our bodies are reeling from years of running, walking, sitting, and even sleeping using incorrect form.
Knee pain is one of the most frequent drains on quality of life, leaving a slew of ‘what ifs?’ in its wake.
If you’re tired of your knees sounding like a cereal commercial, take a look at this:
Most knee problems don’t require surgery, a drastic measure which often does more harm than good.
In fact, most of the discomfort felt in the knee isn’t a problem with our knee at all. We have inefficient movement patterns that relay excessive forces to joints that weren’t meant to handle them, creating weak, inflexible muscles and compromised musculature.
It’s no wonder so many people suffer from nagging pain and degenerative conditions.
The problem with many rehab programs is they employ localized rehabilitation for localized pain, focusing squarely on the problem area.
Makes sense, right?
Unfortunately, what appears logical on the surface is not always correct. The body is the most complex system known to man. A pain in one location might be the result of a dysfunction further up the chain.That’s why rehabilitation programs that target joint pain by working out muscles around that joint may be ineffective. Earnest, but doomed from the beginning. Ditto for support aids (prescription drugs, knee braces etc.) that serve to mask the pain instead of finding a long-term solution.
If you’re digging in the wrong place, it doesn’t matter how hard you work—satisfaction will elude you. Enough well-intended effort in the wrong direction might even create a host of new problems.
The noises your knee makes when you bend are indicators that you aren’t using the joint the way it was designed to be used. Think of your joints like cars on a highway: Joints are intended for use over very specific ranges of motion; when you stay in your lane, everything goes smoothly.
Problems arise when you swerve into another lane, drive in the wrong direction, or exhibit reckless behavior.
Your knee is meant to move in a vertical line, tracking over your second toe.
Knees rebel when they are pushed too far in the wrong direction or subjected to forces they can’t handle. Crackles and other sounds are signs that you need to pay closer to attention to your plane of movement when using your knees; they’re not unlike warning lights on your dashboard.
You don’t need to be a fitness buff to benefit from proper movement and workout form. You exercise just a few hours a week; Daily life is one prolonged workout. All day, every day we’re bending, shifting, moving, and lifting; ample opportunity to contort and distend your joints and muscles. Every second you subject your body to unnecessary wear and tear is an invitation for Tendinitis and other ailments. The sooner you re-program your body, the better.
It doesn’t matter how hard you work if your efforts are misplaced. If you don’t fix the underlying issues, it’s only a matter of time before trouble catches up with you.
Many knee and leg rehabilitation programs aren’t much different.
And who can forget back pain? Millions of people around the world have suffered through it and I’m no stranger to it myself.
These two books do as good a job at diagnosing–and fixing– the problems as I’ve ever seen:
8 Steps To A Pain-Free Back by Esther Gokhale
An Athlete’s Guide To Chronic Knee Pain by Anthony Mychal
(Note: I haven’t been compensated in any way for recommending these products. These programs are excellent and deserve recognition.)
Mychal has appeared on JTTG before and I’ll continue to recommend his work to anyone looking for answers. It’s an eye-opener for knee alignment issues and the resulting impact on knee pain.
I’ve recommended 8 Steps To A Pain-Free Back before as well, and I’ll do it again. Gokhale breaks down the underlying causes of your aches and pains and provides easy-to-follow instructions for a lasting fix. You’ll learn how to sit, sleep, walk, and stand the way nature intended us to.
Without the right foundation, even the best of future efforts may be for naught.
Read 8 Steps first and then Chronic Knee Pain. The information in the former will help you get the most out of the latter.
These guides require active participation. Don’t just read the information—get up and try the exercises as you read them. Absorb the lessons and experiment with your old movements using the guiding principles. Repetition is the key to learning good habits and eradicating bad ones.
I used to think I’d be relegated to a life of limited mobility and chronic pain in the future as a result of the plyometric work and sports activity I participate in today. After completing the work in both resources, I haven’t heard those distressing sounds from my knees while exercising and I’m moving—and living—relatively pain-free..
Both books were money well spent.
Consult your doctor before beginning any fitness program.