Aches and pains – something you just have to live with….or not?

As a personal fitness trainer, I constantly see people in the gym that are obviously pushing through pain, wearing braces or tape wrapped around knees, ankles, and wrists. I often overhear people talking about how the pain is just a normal consequence of a lifetime of sports and the good old aging process and that there is nothing that can be done about it. This makes me crazy! 

There is so much that can be done, and if you are in the gym already, why not work towards correcting the problem?!?!?!

But where to start? If you haven’t studied physiology and/or human movement science, you probably don’t have any idea and that’s incredibly frustrating, I’m sure!

In some cases, that fancy tape has been applied by a physiotherapist or other health professional to provide support during activity and the person sporting the tape is also actively involved in a rehab or corrective exercise program. This is the best case scenario but sadly, not the norm. 

Just because you have worked or played hard for years, does not necessarily mean that you have to suffer through aches and pains. The human body is an amazing machine. The intricacies of how the muscles, joints and connective tissues all work together to keep us upright and moving are mindboggling.

It is true that there are some health conditions such as arthritis, that cause irreversible damage to the joints, that are typical to the aging process in a large percentage of people. However, even the symptoms and discomfort associated with those health conditions can be drastically reduced if the body is in balance.

I like to compare the human movement system to the fly (rain cover) on a tent. It sits atop the tent and has many tensioning ropes that come off of the edges, each being pulled down to anchor it to pegs in the ground. Let’s compare this to the knee cap (patella). The knee cap sits on top of the junction of the knee joint where the bones of the upper and lower leg meet. As you can see in the image below, there are many muscles that act or on the knee cap, each attaching from different angles with various lines of pull. 

If any one of those muscles is too tight or weak, it can cause the knee cap to move outside of its normal path which can lead to joint damage, inflammation, swelling, altered movement patterns, and discomfort.

The knee is just one example of the complexity of joint function and the importance of muscular balance in restoring or maintaining proper joint mechanics and movement efficiency. 

The discomfort that accompanies joint or muscular dysfunction isn’t something that you just have to live with! 

***If you are experiencing pain, the first step should always be to make an appointment with a medical doctor, physiotherapist, or other health professional to be assessed and diagnosed. ***

As a corrective exercise specialist, I am trained and certified to administer movement assessments that will help to identify muscle imbalances as well as design customized exercise programs that will help to restore balance and get your body moving with optimal efficiency. I can also design programming based on the recommendations of your doc or therapist that provided the diagnosis. 

****Please do not go out and buy the fancy tapes and braces and follow some YouTube video that claims to know how to alleviate your pain with their taping techniques!****

This should be left to a professional, and furthermore, without actually working to correct the muscular imbalances and improper movement patterns, those braces and tape are simply a bandaid! I am sure that you don’t want to have to keep taping or bracing every time you want to move your body! 

**One final note; it is never too early or too late to address movement problems. I have worked with clients ranging in age from 8-80. **

Who can benefit from corrective exercise training?

In my opinion – EVERYONE! I have yet to meet anyone that has perfect posture and movement efficiency!

Below is a list of examples of things that can be improved or eliminated completely when a well designed corrective exercise program is followed consistently under the supervision of someone that has specialized in this area:

  • Children and adolescents – especially those that are actively involved in sports. More and more kids are overtraining these days in the pursuit of excellence and as a result, the rate of sports related injuries in kids is steadily on the rise.
        • Corrective exercise or “pre-hab” can be used to prevent some of the most common injuries by addressing the elements of fundamental movement that are not covered in the specific training for their sport.
        • Corrective exercise or “re-hab” can be used following a sports related injury to help to strengthen problem areas and decrease the chance of re-injury.
  • Chronic pain – According to results from the 2007/2008 Canadian community health survey, about 1 in 10 Canadians live with Chronic pain, pain lasting more than 3 weeks. And an estimated 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and many go on to experience chronic back pain lasting more than 3 weeks.

Some causes of chronic pain where the pain can be reduced or eliminated completely with corrective exercise include but are not limited to:

        • Injury – sports, motor vehicle accidents, sprains, strains, fractures etc.
        • Joint pain typical to the “wearing out” or degeneration of joints in the aging process
        • Muscular and/or joint pain due to poor posture and/or chronic imbalances in the kinetic chain caused by inactivity, habitual movement habits and patterns, and sleeping postures
        • Sciatica
        • Plantar fasciitis
        • Back pain and chronic back pain caused by poor lifting form, poor posture, inactivity, or habitual habits – for example – long periods of sitting at a desk, repetitive movements required at work
        • Joint pain caused by chronic disease such as Osteo and Rheumatoid arthritis (* see note below)
        • Muscular pain due to chronic diseases such as Muscular Dystrophy and Fibromyalgia (*see note below)

* Note – Corrective Exercise can not cure disease, however, when a well designed, customized corrective exercise program is performed consistently under the supervision of a qualified professional, the symptoms and discomfort associated with the disease can be reduced to increase quality of life.

Corrective exercise for the aging population

Corrective exercise can also benefit the aging population! Improving balance, agility, stability, strength, and flexibility can help folks in the aging population to maintain or even regain their independence. Following a well designed, custom exercise program under the supervision of a qualified professional will reduce the risk of falls, and improve quality of life by allowing them to enjoy their retirement without having chronic pain! 

If you would like more information about corrective exercise and how it might help you to improve your athletic performance, ease of movement, and/or quality of life, please don’t hesitate to drop me a Line . It is my passion and brings me such joy when I can prove to someone that they are not destined for a life of pain and movement limitations. 

One thought on “Aches and pains – something you just have to live with….or not?

  • Thank you so much for your blog. I’ve been following your tips, you’ve improved my understanding of fitness goals immensely! Such Motivated words I got into this article while Keep it up.


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