Sunday, September 27, 2015

Everyone Needs a Coach at Some Point

I first heard of the name Will Chung on a podcast from Blue Collar Podcast.   It was a very interesting talk about movement, training and seemingly figuring out injuries that others had failed to do.  He had quite an interesting background through martial arts, sport and training.  Over the next few weeks I started to notice his name in the background of other Facebook friends that he was helping and training.  He's been called the "shadow of the fitness industry" because he knows so many people in fitness and health and has helped quite a few "big names."

It was almost like when you are interested in a certain car and almost magically you start to see that car on the road.  Not that it wasn't there before, but now your conscious is aware of it.  That's the experience I had.

Frustrated with my lack of improvement in an old elbow injury, I figured I would reach out to him.  A friend said he had helped greatly with his own elbow injury.  We talked for a bit through Facebook and after thinking about it for about a month, (I'm a bit slow in things) I decided to schedule a Skype consult.  Never had done this type of thing.   Honestly I've never hired a coach.  Coaching is so undervalued in any profession.

I can remember reading this article a few years ago and realizing the importance a coach can make.  Personal Best:  Top Performers and Athletes have Coaches, Should You?  I've watched patients make great strides when they get on a program.

You have to come with a bit of humble pie.  An open cup as the saying goes.  Perhaps, it took me a few years from the article till now for me to empty my cup enough and just say, my knowledge up this point doesn't have the answer.  I need to seek a coach.

I'm glad I finally made it to that point.  Through the first few sessions I'm starting to feel improvements.  It's not magic.  It's work on my part.  Every day and night.  I work the drills.  The magic is in the subtle vectors that have eluded me.  This is where the "Chung Fu" comes into play. Yea, I've done this stretch, this exercise before.  Oh wait, a slight change in foot position, a slight twist of the shoulder, and it becomes what is exactly needed and completely new and unique to me.

As a chiropractor, manipulating a joint isn't about power or force.  It's slight angles and vectors and velocity.  The same with exercise.

Some concepts I've really embraced through this training/coaching.  When you get done with an exercise you should feel like a better human being.  If you get done doing an exercise and feel worse. Something is wrong.  Several of my patients are already getting some of the benefits from some Chung Fu drills.

Will has a pretty crazy ability to hone in on muscle imbalance and really exploit it.  It's been a great learning process so far and I'm really excited I took the leap and hired a coach.  This is for anyone sitting on the fence to hire a coach or go that seminar because you think you can figure it out yourself.      Keep learning, stay a student, find the gaps in your program that only outside help can see.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Push the Fear Away

If you have never been in serious pain, it is impossible to fully relate to someone that has.  You can "understand" they are in pain, but you can't have empathy.

One of the blessings in life I've realized is that I have been physically hurt.  Through most of my injuries I have come out on the other side with learning lessons, better training philosophy, deeper appreciation for health and overall being a better clinician.

It drives you to read about and understand the mechanism of injury.  Because, at the root of almost everything, people, even myself are always asking "Why me?"

People want to know why they got hurt.  Why is this painful?  How do I get out of this pain?  How do I keep it from ever coming back?

Somewhere along the line, there can take root some serious fear.  The body has an amazing ability to heal itself.  The cast isn't healing the broken bone, the cast just keeps you from doing stupid stuff so the body can heal the fracture.

What doesn't' heal well at times though is the psychological impact of the injury.  The fear of being hurt again.  The fear of the pain that you remember being in.  The fear of the helplessness that you felt while hurt.

This at times is the bigger hurdle.  The battle with fear.  I can remember laying on a floor for days in back pain.  Every time I deadlift it is in the back of my mind.  Every rep I do, I'm beating back that fear.  There can't be avoidance.

I see the repercussions of avoidance everyday.  If this hurts, quit doing it.  If it hurts in this range of motion, maybe go with a slightly smaller range of motion.  Avoidance only feeds the fear.  Your allowing it to grow.  Because of the avoidance other health related issues arise.

After attending a FRR seminar awhile back,   I realized I had associated spinal moment with back pain.  I never broke neutral and held extension.  Good for my back health with lifting, poor for my spinal health in general life.  I had lost the ability to flex and articulate my upper lumbar and lower thoracic vertebrae. I had become so concerned with not having neutrality, that I had lost mobility.  This is an example of fear avoidance leading to health problems unrelated to your original pain/problem.

I've never had such a stark reminder of the power of fear with lower back pain then today.  A patient that was afraid to jump slightly over a small cord.  You may need a 1" vertical to get over it.  This is a patient that had not had actual pain in over 2 years.  They remember the pain and have trained themselves to associate sudden movements with pain.  When I challenged them to jump over, they told me they didn't think they could remember how to.  They told me they were to weak.  This is learning to work through that fear.  Baby steps.  We will work on the psychological as we work through the physical.  It's in a way convincing them to trust their body again.  Trust must be earned.  Today a one inch jump.  Next week a 10 yard jog?  It's taking physical steps to push back the fear.

Sometimes we forget that full healing doesn't necessarily come with just physical healing.  There is a psychological healing that must also take place.   Every time I deadlift I push mine back, every time they jump, they will be pushing theirs back.  Find your way of pushing back your fear and PUSH!