Body Mapping – a New Way of Understanding PAIN

prefer to listen to this article? episode 36 on SportDocDC – wherever you podcast

In a couple of my recent articles I had used the term “threats” to describe how the brain reacts to certain injuries in the body.

 We talked about how extremities like the ankle and hands tend to swell yet the spinal area does more of a splinting lockdown. Two different areas of the body into different reactions.

A lot of this information is coming from some really Cutting Edge Sports practitioners that are in the research world. Much of this information comes from experts that work on pain. The way I had first heard about this was one of these pain specialists talking about how they work on soldiers coming back from the Middle East that have lost limbs. The soldiers will complain about phantom pain.  “Doc, why does my hand hurt so bad? I don’t have a hand anymore.” 

 This led to some really interesting research on why and how we feel pain. Hopefully a lot of what I’m going to go over with you today will at the root of it make a lot of sense. The first time I heard the information I thought there’s no way that that can work. But it is a great way to describe the body. As I started experimenting on some of this with my clients, it was immediately obvious that these new ideas not only worked for a large number of clients but worked almost like a miracle for some.

Over the last couple years this idea has grown. It’s a case of the science catching up with the techniques.   We knew it worked but weren’t sure why.

The boots on the ground practitioners taking the research to their clinics and patients and then sharing the results thereby driving more and better research.   

This kind of thing is happening in all fields. Healthcare, Fitness and diet just happens to be my realm so I love pushing the envelope of new ideas.

 Today I’m going to talk about the idea of “body mapping.”

 Body mapping by itself really doesn’t take much of a stretch for it to make sense. It’s just that the explanation has never been done before. We ALL do it.  We just weren’t seeing it because the WHY had never been asked.

Many of you know if you look at any of my articles on the sister site, BeAwesome365  -I love word swaps.

 Just by changing one or two words you can drastically change the way your brain sees a certain situation. By changing this perspective a lot of times you can change results. Body mapping is this. I’m going to give you a different way to visualize how your body works. 

This idea has a few different terms but I’m going to stick with the wording BODY MAPPING  because it seems to really work with my clients.  This and that’s the way the top dogs are describing it in their lectures.   You guys get what the pros get!

 I’m going to take it one step further though.  I’m going to analogize the whole idea by using the GPS map on your phone.

So hang with me here for a few minutes as I teach grad level neurology in a simple context you can use.

When you whip out your Google Maps and you tell your phone to take you to a certain location immediately all the streets and corners and shortcuts pop up and start to build your starting image.  The GPS will even tell you which directions are slower traveling, spots where more cars are backed up or there happen to be more red lights. This will then allow you to make the decision you want to. 

If you decide to turn at a different Corner than the GPS sent you,  you just do it – the  app adapts and reroutes you.

 So let’s think of the body like this.

In this analogy – 

The location that you’re trying to get to and from are body parts.   As if you stepped on a stone walkway barefoot and the brain immediately senses this. The locations are your foot and your brain.  The signal needs to get to the brain from the foot and back again to set your gait for the next step.

 The roads are your nerve pathway. They run in a certain direction and have all kinds of connections.  There are things in the way that they need to go around, over and through like your bones and muscles.  There are millions of different routes that have potential to get you to the same place.

 So if the locations are the body parts and the roads are your nerve highway and road system,  your fascial chain and skin are basically your map.

 There are  millions upon Millions of receptors in your skin. This is how your brain keeps track of where you are in space and how you’re moving. 

Think of your foot. We always tend to think of the foot as the part of the body that makes us move through our world. But at the heart of it, the primary function of the foot is the ultimate sensor. Every step you take your foot is relaying information to your brain. Not just where you are, but if that stone pathway has sand, snow,  gravel or Pokey sticks lying on it. 

The foot, particularly the skin and fascia chain surrounding the foot,  tells you how much pressure you are putting on the rest of your body.    It senses if you’re going out for a stroll to your mailbox versus Landing after having dunked on James in front of his mom and Big Blue..

Understand that some places in your body have more nerves that focus on these type of Sensations. Nerves for pain, pressure, temperature. Then there are nerves that are deep inside your joints that tell you if you are upside down or if your shoulders are in a position that isn’t safe. There are nerves that keep your heart running without you having to think about it and tell your intestines how much nutrients to absorb and how much to pass on.    Some are highways and some are county roads.

I can go on and on with these kind of explanations but you get it. Neurologists and scientists in these fields spend their entire careers and lifetimes just on certain aspects of one of these. It goes DEEP!

 But let’s make this easy. 

 Your skin and sensors are the map. The nerves are the roads. And the GPS on your phone…, what you are looking at right now?   the actual screen…That’s the brain. Not the location brain, but the overall information processor.   

That’s taking in all that  information at the same time.   It senses everything!

Following me?  

 Let’s say you asked your GPS to get you to your favorite sports based chiropractor. But once the GPS map calculated the route you noticed there was a giant black circular area in the middle of the map.

Basically what’s happening is the GPS isn’t getting the proper information.   It could be that a meteor had landed there and destroyed the entire area. Maybe there’s some sort of federal lockdown and the government and their techy superstar hackers  have issued a blackout for that area. Or maybe there’s an emergency and the GPS has some sort of mechanism that keeps other people and vehicles from travelling there.

At the end of the day, your screen doesn’t care why- it just knows that there’s a big black area on the map. More than likely you will reroute yourself if the computer doesn’t do it on its own. I mean who wants to drive into a great big black area that they don’t know about?

 This is kind of what happens when you have an injury to an area on your body. 

 Let’s say you were wrestling with your friends and you injure your shoulder. Initially, All the brain knows is that something isn’t right. And initially it doesn’t even know if the injury is severe. All it knows is it something is wrong. And the Brain wants to protect the body –  the body is like, super important to the brain. 

Also the brain doesn’t entirely trust YOU.  Yeah, you’ve made some pretty poor decisions about your body in the past, it’s not ready for full trust yet. 

So what it does is kind of black out the area.    The Brain doesn’t have enough information to know what went wrong it just knows there was something painful or it moved wrong and that something’s not right. It feels a THREAT!    (“Threat” is a relatively new term in the sports med world but is very descriptive and accurate.)   see the article  “Different Responses” 

It’s going to take more information before it decides to go into emergency mode or if it just decides to let everything go back to normal.

We’ve all rolled our ankles playing basketball? 

 It’s the end of the world.  You can’t walk.  You scream like the Sorority Girl in a horror movie. The Game Stops.  The other players scatter and the coach or athletic trainer runs out onto the court to see what’s wrong. More than likely you have to be carried out with some of the bigger players carrying you away to the locker room. You see this every other night in the NBA.

2 minutes later, everything feels good again and you come back on the court. Kind of makes you feel goofy that you acted like such a sissy…I mean you feel just fine now.

 That was your brain having a couple minutes to get more information and then deciding based on that information that everything was okay and you can continue on as normal.

 In our GPS analogy. That is the black hole it was there for a minute and then “click” right  back right to normal.

But what happens when the brain doesn’t receive the information?

This is what happens with the soldiers that have lost their limbs. They still have arm pain even though they don’t have an arm. They had something so traumatic and instantaneous that the brain didn’t know what the heck happened.

 Now after some time, if the brain does not receive more information or receives poor and conflicting information it basically keeps the area blacked out. Some of us in the healthcare industry call it “smudged.”  

 If I was looking at a paper map the term “smudged” makes a lot of sense but in our analogy we’re looking at a GPS, so I used a black hole – you could also use a pixelated or diffuse or transparent idea – but either way the idea is the signal isn’t getting through strong and so the brain keeps the area disconnected.

In order to restore the pepper map –   which is where the “body mapping” term comes from,  the brain needs more information.

This is the case of the sprained ankle that doesn’t recover very well. The one that is still sore 5 days later and indeed never really seems to get all the way recovered. Maybe even 6 months later you still have some phantom pain and your foot just doesn’t respond the way it is supposed to. I mean you can walk now and you can go for a little jog but you wouldn’t even want to think about jumping rope. And that’s 6 months later. And when the doctor asks you, “Where does it hurt?” You can’t really even find the area. Basically you just kind of rub your whole foot and ankle and say “ahhhhh  somewhere around here.”

 Well in that case, it’s poor mapping. The GPS isn’t receiving any more information so it just gives the information to the brain that “it’s not sure what’s going on.” 

Now here’s an important point…In most cases the brain doesn’t want to risk you going back to full activity so it just fills that area in the brain map with the best way it knows how to protect the body.  With pain.     Diffused, annoying, broad pain.

The body mapping idea is simply that: 

 -A black spot on the map is filled with pain sensation because the brain isn’t sure what’s going on and that’s how it protects.

Like I see in my clinic  – this pain theory doesn’t work for all issues –  Body Mapping theory isn’t injury based, it’s diffuse pain based.   It’s a different pain than a more severe or “true injury” 

One of the clues that we know this is happening is that with a true injury – like a fall on an outstretched hand – (called a FOOSH injury) the body reacts differently..   When you have an acute moderate to severe injury-  you describe your injury to your doctor kind of like this, “doc it hurts when I raise my arm like this, and it hurts right here.”

 You can describe the injury to your doctor by pushing directly to one area and then moving your body in the mechanism that causes pain.   Like pointing to one specific spot on your shoulder and saying, “it hurts when I do this.” 

 In a body mapping error,  that’s not the case. When I ask you where you hurt,  you rub your entire shoulders, neck, upper back and arm and say,” ahhh somewhere around here”      The area you described  has dozens of muscles, multiple joints, multiple bones. 

It’s not even similar to the way you describe the acute injury.  

The entire area hurts. The entire area of the map has been blacked out.

By understanding the body this way, we can start to affect how to get you out of pain better.

As doctors and therapists we all learn the body the American way.  Often called Western Medical Model.   First you learn all the bones, then the muscles, Then the nerves. Then you learn how each nerve goes to each muscle and innervates or stimulates that specific area.   In the last decade the fascia has been big news in our industries, yeah for something new!  

 And although I agree that is a great way to learn and is the standard for the last three to four hundred years. I think at times, with certain issues,  this is why we fail. We have been taught that the shoulder has 6 rotator cuff muscles, the PEC, the upper back muscles, three different bones. Six different major nerves etc.  

 We, as practitioners, learn that when you throw a ball there is a firing sequence. First the muscles on the back side of the shoulder and upper back have to fire. That is how you load the ball back.   Next in sequence the external rotation muscles fire to allow your arm to go even further back .  This is where the ball starts to turn backwards. So there are additional muscle and joint activities happening in the elbow and wrist. Then as we start to throw the ball the anterior side muscle start.  Muscle spindle cells and Golgi Tendon Apparatus allow a smooth transition from firing sequence to shut down sequence without even having to think about it!    The firing sequence dictates that the pec will start to increase velocity, followed by the muscles of the anterior delt and so on and so on.

 This is what makes being a Kinesiology major so much fun. You can talk such a huge game. When you understand this stuff, you are the smartest guy in the class and you can impress all of your friends. It makes you sound smarter and  what’s even better is so many of these words are huge important sounding Latin derivatives. I feel like a genius and I talk like a genius. Maybe I am…?

 Basic anatomy and physiology I think is a fantastic way to examine and diagnose as well as treat sports injuries. But it has its drawbacks because often the pain has been there for a while and is the body mapping version.

 You see your brain doesn’t see your body in motion as anatomy and firing sequences. That happens automatically. Your brain sees your shoulder as a shoulder, your knee as your knee, and your foot as your foot. It doesn’t think to throw a ball by utilizing the firing sequence I discussed above.

It just thinks “throw the ball” and it does it.   You’ve been ingraining that for years and the brain has a whole area set aside to just throw it.

That’s why this  “body mapping” analogy and visualization helps with a lot of different injuries especially, long-term diffuse annoying injuries.

 The brain only recognizes it hurts when you throw or that something isn’t safe yet. 

It senses and relays a threat.  It’s just a different version of pain.   

 So here’s the good news.

 If we can just step back a second and try a different version of treatment, ie use the body mapping version we get more efficient with our doctoring.

Because it is often simple.   The way to fix the issue, decrease the pain and increase the range of motion is simply to give the  brain more and better information. When you can show the brain that it is okay to go into a certain range of motion, that it is okay to stand on your ankle and jump again… That there is no threat. The brain gets good information again.    The black hole on your GPS starts to come back again. Sometimes it comes back slowly and blurry, as I talked about before, smudged. But given enough information and doing it the right way and the picture comes back. The brain remaps the body.

 When there IS NO MORE black hole, and the brain has a good picture of what’s happening. And the information coming from its map is solid, it’s business as usual. Joints start to move better, muscles work the way they’re supposed to and you go on with your happy day.

 When you treat the same injuries with the anatomy and physiology model oftentimes it just doesn’t seem to get anywhere. There’s no direct injury so it’s very hard to come up with a direct treatment.

 The idea is just to give the brain better information.

 What’s so unique about this system however isn’t the explanation or even the understanding.  It’s the hack that we can use. When we think about the skin as our biggest sensory organ – the information system- the MAP…we can then use it to give the brain better signals.

 The skin and the hair follicles around the skin have anywhere from 30 to a hundred times more nerve endings, specifically the type of nerves that tell us about pressure, temperature and oh yeah PAIN.  Why do you think paper cuts hurt like they do?  Tiny injury/Large pain signal…Because there are so many nerve endings there.   

What else is important to know.  Is that pain signals travel quite slowly as compared to the nerves for Movement and Tactile sensation, like scratchy feelings or decompression.

 I once heard it in a seminar that pain signals travel about 2 miles per hour, which is very quick from your ankle to your head. 

However…Tactile sensation like scratch, drag and rubbing and decompression sensation like a cup or Rocktape,  as well as movement travel about 70 miles per hour and bombard the brain with new information.  Faster and and more Amplified than their slow moving pain signal counterparts.

 Basically they, in a fashion, block the pain signals from getting to your brain.

Remember when I said that a lot of this becomes common sense when you see the body with this idea of body mapping?

 So let’s take it to a real life example – we’ll use someone that has never heard of body mapping in their life.

 Picture my eight-year-old boy as he’s running through the house and he bangs his hand on a solid wooden chair.

 His initial reaction, even before he starts to cry,  is to rub his skin around the area very lightly and start to move his fingers and hand.

 We’ve all done this. It’s automatic. The tactile sensation of rubbing as well as immediate movement will decrease the pain faster than doing nothing.

This is how a bunch of guys much smarter than me decided that we could probably use that information to create better treatments for our patients that were having issues involving body mapping.

 To see some videos of this in action check out a few of the ones I put on YouTube as I think seeing a visual is pretty powerful.  Basically we are using the skin to give the brain better information. This has been going on for a few years so it’s not as brand new as it might sound.  .

Treatment involves simply getting in there and just starting to stimulate an area.  We can use a rubber drag tool, a scratchy tool, Rocktape and movement    That is what we did a few years ago. Now we Innovate and test and retest.   We take the skin different directions with different pressures, different tools, twisting, decompression, all trying to modulate cutaneous nerves to connect and communicate with the body and brain faster and more efficiently.

 Sometimes the results are mind-blowing. As a practitioner nothing makes me feel better than helping somebody that has had pain for months Or to get them  feeling better for the first time.

 It’s why I got into the profession.

BODY MAPPING  –  is a new style of seeing the body, a new way of working with the anatomy. And definitely something different than what was being done even a few years ago. It doesn’t work for everything. There’s no way for me to guarantee it or to deliver every time. It depends more on how the brain is seeing the body. 

It’s simply another trick for our practitioner tool box.   

 It’s a way to use existing Tools in a new fashion.

 I think it explains why a lot of the things that we are doing in our clinics via trial and error are working despite us not being able to explain it.

It’s the science catching up to what was working already only we weren’t sure why.

Body mapping is better wording. Is better vocabulary. It is a word Swap and is a super powerful tool that has made working in my clinic more enjoyable.

 I think the idea of looking at this and explaining this via GPS is a very powerful analogy to simplify it.

There you go.  Enjoy it, play with it – and impress the guy in the next cubicle with your newfound knowledge! 

Different Reactions (need different treatments)

Podcast Available wherever you get yours! #35 on SportsDocDC

As practitioners continue to search for modern ways to look at how the body responds to injury , we also start to look into better terminology and ways to describe new approaches to clients.   

This boots on the ground doctoring involves real life experimentation into what works and what fizzles.  It drives research to new ways of treating and continues to push our industry and others to the cutting edge.   

Generally speaking – I want you to get what the pros and olympians get.   Why wait for 20 years for new treatments to trickle down?   Everything in the modern era has quicker turnover and I don’t think your health care should be any different.

As you all know,  I think the explanation is almost more valuable than the treatment.    If you don’t know how or why something works you tend to make poor decisions.

 Poor and wrong decisions despite your best attempt.

 In an effort to briefly explain a key reason we often make mistakes in self diagnosis and self treatment I want to take an entirely different industry and use it as an example and analogy for what I feel is one of the biggest mistakes in healthcare.

I’m not that doctor that tells you, “Don’t google your symptoms, it’s too scary.”  

 In fact I’m nearly polar opposite, “It’s Your body, you need to be responsible for what happens to your own body. I definitely want you looking this stuff up and coming up with your own ideas. No doctor will EVER know what it feels like to be you-  the way you will.”

So hang along with me for a story involving plumbing that will miraculously explain the inner workings of the human body better than your 101 kines. class.

 At my house we have a water well.   It’s very basic, a hole dug into the ground and a pump that will help pull the water up. There is also a great big blue “water tank”  that is used to help create the pressure.  So when I turn on my hose or sprinkler system the water can get to where it needs to go.

 I spent all last summer tinkering with this simple setup because it wouldn’t work well.

I kept blowing out PVC pipes from the pump to the water well and from the water well to the sprinkler system and I couldn’t seem to get anything to work the right way.   While I’m not handy,  I definitely try- and I love to try things in the vocational realm because I just didn’t grow up with much of this knowledge.

After about the fifth attempt at gluing together my PVC piping. watching the pressure build and an Old Faithful type explosion that would bring neighborhood kids from three houses over, I decided I needed to try something different. The science made sense,  I had everything hooked up the way it originally had been.  Working flawlessly for about 4 years with no problems.   So what’s the problem?

 I then brought out a professional who decided the entire thing was set up wrong and went about charging me $1,000.  He put in a new pump, completely redoing all of the plumbing and pipes and even digging another hole so we had two wells to draw from.

“Ahhh, that’s it, let’s try it now.”… BOOM!   Explosion!    The plumber promptly left  with my money and told me, “I don’t know what’s going wrong. But hey at least you have new stuff. When you finally get it working it should work better.”

 Thanks buddy.

 Analogy number one – 

 This happens to you. 

You have some sort of pain or discomfort or something in your body isn’t working the right way so you start tinkering with it and messing around and doing some things that your PE coach in high school taught you.  Or more likely, something that you caught on YouTube and you play with it for a while. Let’s say 5 attempts just like I did for the piping, but realistically more like 5 months. You probably do it just like I did, fairly half-assed and when it was convenient.

Not surprisingly, It failed.  So you call up your local practitioner, be it a chiropractor, physio, PT or athletic trainer and I also see a lot of people go to their orthopedic surgeons.

Collectively,  we look at the issue, tell you what we think is going on and proceed to work on you. Often times you give us one or two chances and then bail. Also Often times you give us 16 chances and nothing gets better. Either way it was a fail. So just like my plumbing system… what’s going on?

 My well system self help went just like this.

Eventually YouTube took me to a guy talking about how the bladder inside those big blue water tanks will often rupture. Without the bladder you can’t create the right pressure.  You really can’t create any pressure.

 With this new information I had new ideas about how the system worked. So I started looking at my big blue tank.    I noticed immediately that on the top of the blue tank,  there was an air valve like what you would find on your bicycle where you would fill up your inner tubes. Well that makes it really easy to check if there’s any air pressure. So I put my air pressure gauge on there and it showed me that there was about 40 lb of pressure. So I got on my compressor and I filled it up to 60 lb of pressure and tried my system again.

 Explosion. More neighborhood kids. I’m pretty sure one of them had popcorn this time and was really loving the drama. I mean this was the third or fourth week this has been going on.

So I started thinking.   You all know I do a lot of that!

“I’ll bet there is way too much pressure in that tank. In fact if there was too much pressure there wouldn’t even be the ability for water to be stored.  It’s a “water tank” after all.   That makes sense.  Yes, that must be it!   Too much air pressure and too little water, no wonder my sprinkler system only works for about 4 seconds and then it dies out.”

“Once the water pressure Rises and the tank fills up, It should run perfectly.”

Result?   No result.  It did nothing.   

 Finally after another two weeks of no success, but also no more effort (see the similarities with how we treat the body) I went to one of my neighbors who is a very vocational man and has a few years experience over me. He came over with a couple of pipe wrenches and twisted a couple things. He then scratched his  head  and told me he couldn’t figure out what was wrong with the system either.

 Analogy number two – 

 After hoping for a quick fix with your health using one professional, you tend to jump to another one. The other professional may have different wordings and vocabulary and hopefully even new ideas but often, at the end of the day you still have the same issue.  Everyone is missing some key component so your treatment again stalls.

-After a day of thinking  about my well system, my neighbor called me up and said, “Chad I just can’t figure out what is wrong with that system it should be working like a champ. I installed it the first time and it was working very well for about 4 years. We’re missing something.”

 He continued, “Take me through what you have been doing so that I can track it and maybe I can find the mistake.”

You vocational thinking listeners already know what my mistake was because you understand how the well and pump system works. You see I thought I knew how the well and pump system worked. I looked stuff up online and it made a lot of sense. Sound theories, stuff on YouTube that worked…certainly a water tank would hold water.

However,  the people that have a better understanding realize that those big blue water tanks despite saying right on the side that it is a 70 gallon “water tank.” designed in Milwaukee Wisconsin,  actually don’t hold much water at all. They hold pressure. Air pressure. And the air pressure is what pushes the water into the pipes so the pipes can hold water pressure.

 Now this explanation isn’t as good as a master plumber or well worker would describe it.  There’s more science involved.  I can only get into the basics, even after living through the experience.

 The moral of this story is that I had one key flaw.

 Not understanding a water tank and how it worked.  That’s what kept me from fixing my problem.

 Analogy number 3.

 Sometimes we just need the problems stated a different way or described a different way to further our understanding so we can make the best decisions.

 Once we got the pressure right in the tank the system has since worked flawlessly.

 Thanks for hanging with me on my explanations and my three analogies.

“Ohhh, great Chad.  You just took me on a podcast that had absolutely nothing to do with more understanding of the human body and more just a story about your backyard water well. Come on man. How am I supposed to share this one?    No wonder you’ve got like 33 subscribers!”

Wait… here’s how. I want to give you a little bit of information and probably a better understanding or even a little bit different perspective of how I look at the human body and how THAT helps us make better clinical decisions in our office.     Having a little bit different idea will most likely allow you to better diagnose yourself thereby helping you come up with better Solutions.

The idea and title of this article is “Different Reactions.”

 One of the many lectures I give in my office with patients is just this idea of different body parts react to injury, stress or what in the sports world is described as “threats”… differently.

When an area of the body is under “THREAT” the brain immediately takes over to protect the area. Oftentimes it will sinch an area down or splint muscles around it or react with a huge edema and swelling.   A large part of why this happens is the brain is no longer receiving good information from that area. Kind of like the brain’s map of your body gets smudged out. 

When the brain isn’t getting the right information it immediately self protects in order to try to keep your body from sustaining more injury.

 For instance, we have almost all had a sprained ankle at some time. Extremities like the hand and Ankle tend to swell up very quickly. You have all seen ankles that are swollen up like the size of a baseball and are gooey, black and blue and very fluid filled.    Because that’s what happens when an ankle is injured.

 Any of you that have read my other articles, especially the ones about how lower back, upper back issues and a Crick in the neck respond to any “threat” realize that the spine doesn’t swell up like the ankle does. In fact stress along the spine is typically a direct local inflammation but instead of  swelling the body goes into lockdown mode along the spine and contracts the muscles in a splinting/spasm.    Your brain wants to protect your spine and so it locks the muscles down so you can’t move very quickly. You can mentally overcome this and push through it but the body will fight you every time. Like I say in my clinic,  “You just hurt your lower back yesterday –  your body doesn’t want you going bowling today.”

 Now your shoulder reacts differently to threat as well.  Almost any injury in the shoulder will cause the chest muscle, the PEC to contract. When the pec muscle locks down, your shoulder rotates inward and kind of naturally puts your arm into a shoulder sling position. Anyone that has ever had a long-term shoulder injury knows that the shoulder feels best when it is in that shoulder sling position. You don’t see shoulder slings as often as you did in the past because all of us medical grade people now realize THAT was a big part of what was causing  frozen shoulder a month or so after the initial shoulder issue. 

So the way of the shoulder sling has gone by the wayside for the most part. However your body still likes to put the shoulder into a position that causes the least amount of pain so it often will stay locked down.

In fact,  when I see somebody for a shoulder issue in my clinic they will tell me they either don’t remember when the initial pain started or what happened to cause it but the issue has just continued to be achy and tight for weeks.

 Going back to the water well analogy. Almost every day I see someone who comes to me for a shoulder issue that they have already been to three or four other practitioners for.   

 “Nothing helps and I haven’t got better.”

 But at the end of the day, despite what our titles are, a lot of what chiropractors, athletic trainers, physical therapists and physiotherapists see and treat..we do the same thing.

 What this patient needs is not the same treatment from another person but a different look. Because I have a lot of experience with the shoulders I checked the tight pec muscle first. If that thing is locked up there are easy signs that tell me this and I can unlock that Pec prior to doing any shoulder work.  

This is why we have such a good success with shoulder issues in our Clinic. It’s not because we have any radical new approaches that have never been looked at before. It’s because I understand the mechanism and because of that understanding my treatment works in a different order. My stage one is different then their previous practitioner stage 1. And that is what makes a difference.

 To tie it together,  I didn’t understand the full working of the water well system And I went about trying to fix it on faulty information and it didn’t get better.

 Often times  even My Brightest clients don’t understand the full mechanisms of how the body reacts to threats.      I mean even the idea and the term “threats”  it’s just a new way of looking at how the body reacts.

I’ll have a few more articles in the next couple weeks about some of the unique ways that the best sports professionals are looking at how the body reacts.

Anyway, I hope this gives you some enlightenment and new ideas. As always my basic advice for you is:

Go ahead and try to work on your own body. I’m not that doctor that tells you don’t look things up on Google. I want you to know your body. I want you to care and you will always be the best person to decide what is going on in your own body. 

None of us will ever know what it feels like to be you. So experiment. But have some parameters. If you have tried a certain approach for five times and you are not getting better. The answer isn’t that you need to just keep doing more of it.  After the fourth or fifth time of my water well pipes exploding and shooting a geyser to the Moon -I decided I needed a different approach.

 If you are trying a certain approach for work on your own body and it isn’t getting you anywhere after four or five tries, try something else.

 If you’re not sure where to go get professional help or at least try something different.

 It’s an old idea that is credited from Albert Einstein, “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results is insanity.”

This practical insight is how we come up with some of the all time SportsDocDC classic ideas such as:

 stop stretching your lower back when it is tight, 

stop using a hot tub when you are inflamed, 

stop looking up rotator cuff exercises with a stretchy Red Band every time your shoulder hurts.

And more!

Instead, constantly strive for new information.  New Ideas, New Wording that makes sense for you.

That’s It!

I hope you love the way I present stuff on this website and stay here because I tend to have a pretty good knack for making things easy to understand.  I’m not above asking for help. Please, Like it and Share this article if you think of someone else that would like it.  Leave me a comment.  

If you like this and it makes sense you’re going to love the article and YouTube video that I’m putting together on “body mapping.”  It’s coming soon.

 There’s some really cool new stuff coming down the pipe I play with in our Clinic. 

That’s right, our Clinic runs more like a lab and we run experiments and we throw out the garbage that doesn’t work and use the stuff that continues to push us to get better. Exactly what you should expect and demand on SportsDocDC!

Are your Doctors, Therapists and Trainers Failing You?

episode #12 at SportsDocDC wherever you podcast!

This is actually a very common complaint that we hear in our Clinic.

In fact, I hear this nearly on a day-to-day basis.

The client, perhaps this is you, has tried seemingly every treatment option and protocol available and still feels terrible.

It could be diet plans that have failed, workout systems that just haven’t cut  the fat, or perhaps low back pain that just seems to come up three to four times a year despite all types of interventions.  

I’ve seen this with seemingly healthy people, but most often patients with a  health history that consists of a binder where, ”please list all medications you are taking” is a handout sheet that has been copied because there are way too many to remember.

Rather than me ranting on in a never ending Looping debate about problems with the healthcare industry, with incompetence, with lack of drive and willpower, or with the evil empire that is the food industry or the us versus them attitude – let me take a different perspective. I want to give you an outsider’s look.


Aside from healthy living and lifestyle, I spend a lot of time researching and diving into personal safety. Everything from classes on survival to how to shoot a gun better to how to teach my own kids personal safety at their schools- it’s just a topic I really enjoy.

No matter what opinions are being taught, and believe me there are as many opinions in the safety/tactical/security world, as there are in the medical/health/fitness world, there is one overlying rule that every single instructor states prior to any learning.

“Personal security is MY own responsibility.”

When asked what led Andy Murphy of the popular “THE SECURE DAD” podcast into a life of thinking, writing and discussing personal security, he answered it like that.

He says, “After Columbine it became evident, even for me as a high school kid that Personal security is MY own responsibility.”

He has parlayed this lifestyle into a fantastic website, top podcast, social media and amazon top-seller.  Andy’s actually given me a lot of perspective about a lot of topics not related to his intended objective.

So for him and me and other like-minded people, It doesn’t matter if this entails you having “ situational awareness” while walking through the parking lot at Walmart, being a certain length behind the car in front of you at a stoplight, to having flashlights in Prime positions around your house should you encounter The Boogeyman.

The fact that personal security is your own responsibility empowers YOU to act on your behalf.   

Of course we still have policemen, firefighters, military super ninjas, video cameras and weapons as well as routinely get our brakes checked in our car and put new batteries in our fire alarms. Even with an arsenal of people and ideas and technology to help us, when security becomes an issue it happens too fast to rely on someone or something else to help us.  It’s up to you!

Maybe the first and most powerful tip in the security world is to avoid the things that get us into a dangerous situation in the first place.

Become aware.  

So how does that relate to your health?

Because Healthcare has to be like this. Exactly like this. You and only you are responsible for your body and your health.

You can use outside sources such as your doctors, chiropractors, personal trainers, dietitians, celebrity weight loss sources… the list goes on and on.

You can use these pros for ideas and opinions, for help.   They have the triple T –  great tips, tricks and tools. 

But until you decide it is time to fix your body nothing is going to happen.

If what I take 45 minutes to fix in my clinic, you take the next 10 hours undoing, its a net loss and an eventual breakdown and fail.

Your doctors aren’t failing you. Your trainers aren’t failing you. You are failing yourself.

It may not be your fault, you may have been led down the wrong path to begin with. You may have a huge emotional component tied up into your health that needs to be dealt with first. 

There is a list as long as the internet and a never ending self-help category on Amazon into the “why.”   The why is what you control.  And that is the fix.  That’s the turning point.

What I’m telling you is that you need to make your health your responsibility. There is no magic diet, magic pill,  workout program, or secret Voodoo Chiropractic Shaman adjustment that is going to radically change your path.   

Use the experts in the health field for their opinions and their ideas. They have shortcuts and the triple T. But ultimately, the realization that your body and your health are your responsibility will be the most important step you ever take towards feeling GREAT again.