Here you will learn how to experience muscle or joint pain relief. Getting relief can be a very tiring journey from time to time. Especially when you realize that it is you that has to take changes and that doctors or physiotherapists cannot walk the walk for you.
But keep your head up. It is all about the willingness to take your time, to take action, to learn, and to work with perseverance. If by now I already scared you, don´t be! You can do it!
On this site I will teach you how and why techniques of…
• muscle relaxation
• range of motion exercises/joint mobility training
• strength training
I want to emphasize that the techniques I present here are highly effective if your muscle and/or joint pain is due to muscular hypertension and not due to structural damages of the passive system – e.g. ligaments, bones, cartilage etc. – as a result of years of overuse of your body. The presented techniques cannot heal degenerated structures.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that if you are suffering from let´s say arthrosis you will find them useless. Pretty often abatement can be achieved by the re-establishment of normal muscle tension and a physiological range of motion of your joints, which you will achieve with those techniques.
Ok, I think it is time to get started.
As joint and muscle pain very often pops up into our lifes by the development of tight muscle tissue, one of the very first things to do, is applying self massage that tackles tight muscle tissue and trigger points. Both are known to initiate muscle and joint pain and almost everyone with pain in their joints or muscles has trigger points. Consequently it is worth checking for them and to massage the affected muscles.
Tight muscles and trigger points are initiators of pain but rarely the primary source of evil. They are the consequence of overuse of your body and bad movement patterns. Of course that means you have to tackle those factors somehow, too. And you will, namely with muscle relaxation exercises, joint mobility training and stretching.
Those three types of exercises boil down to one thing: They create an awareness on how you are moving, lead to normal muscle tension and thus fight the very primary cause of most muscle and joint pain. They just have different angles of attack and thus slightly different areas of focus.
Applied together, they are an extremely powerful tool to support self massage and to eventually stay pain free. This is also the time where strength training comes into play. But for now, one step at a time.
Muscle relaxation exercises mainly work by helping you to detect and release unnecessary muscle tension. Additionally they will help you to move in a more effortless and healthy way. Thus it is an extremely important step in the direction of experiencing muscle and joint pain relief.
Range of motion exercises belong to joint mobility training. They support the relaxation training as you will gain a physiological range of motion, which in turn will allow you to move your joints more freely without creating unnecessary tension.
Although range of motion exercises to a certain degree normalize muscle tension, it is good to do them after some relaxation training. This way, movements will flow easier as there will be less restriction in your joints.
Stretching is in some way the passive part of joint mobility training and I recommend to read the just placed link to get known to why and how stretching works and what to watch out for.
The main goal here is to get back to a natural range of motion in the treated joint which is very important for its health.
Strength training also plays a role in muscle and joint pain relief but should not be your highest priority in the beginning. It plays more a preventional role. Still, if done correctly, it is one of the healthiest things you can do for your muscles and joints, but the time has to be right.
If your muscles are strong, they are more resistant. That means they can handle more stress and are not that prone to develop trigger and tender points.
In general, relief comes pretty fast while cure often takes considerably longer. But what means pretty fast and what is considerably longer?
Most of the times relief comes within the first couple massage sessions, while cure often takes up to months. The reason for this is that, depending on how long you have been in pain and/or physically inactive – e.g. because of your pain –, your body needs time to get back to normal functioning.
Furthermore, after the initiators of pain – excessive muscle tension, trigger points, muscle tears, etc. – have been eliminated, often you have to recondition your brain and teach it that activities that gave you pain for the last months or so are no longer painful.
This is because of the „pain memory“ our brain possesses, which remembers certain actions being painful. It associates certain movements with pain and might give it to you when performing them, even if its initiators have been already eliminated.
This all makes it impossible to give you a precise answer in terms of how long it takes to eliminate your pain. What remains though, is a for most people unsatisfying saying:
- It takes as long as it takes -
While I can relate to the disappointment or even anger that some might feel when hearing this, I have to say that is absolutely true. Accepting the current presence of one's own condition is necessary in order to keep a cool head. Everything else – denial, forcing progress, trying to train away the pain, numbing it with medication, etc. – is detrimental for relief and/or cure.
Accept where you are right now as you cannot change it anyway. What you can change though, is where you are in some days, weeks, months or years. Lots of people are just not willing to take persistent action over a longer period of time and „spend“ it working on their bodies.
But keep in mind that you actually cannot spend time. Time spends itself and passes away anyway, no matter what you are doing. So do not think of spending, but about using it to you favor and doing bodywork while it passes.
Imagine there was fixed time or a fixed number of body-work sessions you have to perform to relief your pain and eventually cure your condition. Let's assume it would take 1 month of four 30 minute sessions per week to experience drastic improvements and another 5 months of the same amount of work to get back to your most beloved activities at your former performance level.
While these numbers are just an example, they are often absolutely realistic – sometimes they are higher, sometimes lower –. It's up to you which path to choose, the one of action and self-responsibility or the one of inactivity and ignorance.
The reason why lots of people fail in getting rid of their pain, is that they give up too soon, not understanding that relief or cure isn't a linear process. As I said, first relief comes pretty fast but there will be also plateaus – weeks, sometimes months – and setbacks that want to be surmounted. During those times it is easy and common to give up, thinking that what one does is not working anyway as no obvious results are experienced. But your body doesn't work like this. Perseverance is needed to break the plateau and make the wanted leap in relief. Still, only persistent action will bring you there.
Staying pain free is a lifetime task, for everyone. Also for the ones that are currently not in pain. Without proper self care, sooner or later everyone will become a member of the muscle and joint pain club. Your body is an ever-changing system that needs to be looked after properly. It's your home. So better keep it working.
For prevention, you can use all the massage, relaxation, range of motion and stretching exercises that I present here on Painotopia. I can assure that they will serve you good. All you have to do, is applying them frequently, keeping up a positive attitude and walking your walk.
By now, if you read and understood what I have written here and in my little articles, you have done a brilliant job. First of all, you read and digested a lot. You proved to yourself that you are willing to take in lots of information and to take responsibility of your own. Very well done. You can be proud of yourself. Few take those efforts. You are on the right path on your journey to muscle and joint pain relief. And keep one thing in mind.
If you try and fail, do not be sad or upset. You are already way ahead of those who do not try!
- Freely interpreted from Tony Robbins -