Don’t blame your bad discs – help them!

Don’t blame your bad discs – help them!

Articles, Lifting, Neck Back, Recovery, Spine, Tactical
Don’t blame your bad discs - help them!  This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association If you've had a healthcare provider say your back pain is because of bulging or degenerated spinal discs, you'd expect them to tell you how to fix said discs, right? Unfortunately, I bet many people in this situation have been told this is nothing that can be done. Disc replacement is a thing, but it's nowhere near perfect yet for the lower back. So most doctors offer one type of solution: pain management. They provide pain drugs, injections, and sometimes even anti-depressants. Relief, yes, but not repair. While there is no doubt that pain relief is important so that you can go about your life, it isn't…
Read More
What the Cup! Cupping Therapy for Sports and Tactical Injuries

What the Cup! Cupping Therapy for Sports and Tactical Injuries

Articles, Lower Body, Neck Back, Recovery, Running, Spine, Tactical, Upper Body
What the Cup! Cupping Therapy for Sports and Tactical Injuries  This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association "The octopus got me again!" Cupping therapy, also known as vacuum therapy, is a negative pressure treatment applied over the skin to treat physical pain and injuries. Cupping increases blood flow, releases old blood and scar tissue deposits, and decompresses underlying structures (up to 4 inches under the surface!) A transient pattern of purple circle marks over the treated area is a signature side effect in stressed or injured tissues where old debris has been "drawn up." Recipients appear to have been attacked by a particularly vigorous sea creature. Skin response 15 minutes after a cupping treatment in a person with neck injuries, frequent dehydration…
Read More
How to deadlift after back pain or injury (without hurting yourself, again)

How to deadlift after back pain or injury (without hurting yourself, again)

Articles, Lifting, Neck Back, Spine, Tactical
How to deadlift after back pain or injury (without hurting yourself, again) This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association You might have been here before: A sharp pinch, a stabbing pain, an audible "POP"… you've thrown your back out! While getting hurt can squash your entire workout routine, back pain can be incredibly disruptive to even the most thoughtfully crafted program.  Regaining a restful night's sleep is usually a top priority in the immediate aftermath of a back injury. But sooner or later, you know that you'll need to make an agreement with your spine to trust loading again. And when that loading involves the deadlift, even the most experienced weightlifter may dread the conversation between brain and body.  Luckily, a simple…
Read More
Keeping Teams Up and Running – A Leader’s Guide to Effective Injury Prevention

Keeping Teams Up and Running – A Leader’s Guide to Effective Injury Prevention

Articles, Lifting, Recovery, Tactical
Keeping Teams Up and Running - A Leader's Guide to Effective Injury Prevention This article was originally published in The Raider Patch: Magazine of the U.S. Marine Raider Association "It's not the years, honey. It's the mileage." - Indiana Jones  Relatively young men and women in the military seem to sustain more injuries than their non-service peers. Ask a Marine which knee hurts, and they're likely to tell you "the worse one" rather than label right or left! There's no doubt that physical injuries like overuse take a toll on the body. But they also disrupt a leader's operational planning when a team member is sidelined due to a seemingly benign injury.  Leaders, take note: overuse injuries can be reduced on a meaningful scale. Many are entirely preventable. All will require your awareness…
Read More
Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Hate Stretching? Stop “Shoulding” On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today

Articles, Lifting, Lower Body, Recovery, Running, Tactical, Upper Body
Hate Stretching? Stop "Shoulding" On Yourself and Start One of These Programs Today "I should stretch more," says at least one of my clients every week. While that statement may or may not be accurate, those choice words reveal a level of personal resistance that certainly doesn't help the cause.  Perhaps you "should" stretch. Stretching helps you move better in life and in your workouts. And a regular stretching routine can reduce that "old man" feeling when you get out of bed (by a lot). But suppose you're not naturally flexible, or you have nagging aches and pains. In that case, stiff muscles and joints are likely to protest your random stretching efforts.   In the same way that you might only eat veggies when trying to cut weight, stretching just…
Read More
Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts

Articles, Lifting, Spine, Tactical, Upper Body
Missing mobility that can help boost your pull-up workouts Upper back, or thoracic, mobility is a key maintenance issue for the overhead athlete. The thoracic spine plays a vital role in keeping the shoulders out of pain and working correctly. A loss of mobility here can cause painful compression of the rotator cuff muscles or make your lat muscles have to work overtime for pull-ups. And if repping pull-ups isn’t your thing, consider the unattractive humpback you’re likely to develop if you neglect mobility work here! Assess While plenty of videos online show ways to increase thoracic mobility, it’s important that you first determine if you have a deficit. That way, you can monitor your progress and choose effective exercises. To measure your thoracic mobility, use the Seated Rotation Test.…
Read More
Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Can you rebuild knee cartilage?

Articles, Lifting, Lower Body, Running, Tactical
Can you rebuild knee cartilage? I worked with a Marine coming off a long deployment with poor gym access. An avid lifter with all things barbell, he mentioned that he had started to develop dull, achy pain behind both kneecaps upon return to regular gym workouts. He also reported that his knee joints felt “swollen” the day after a heavy lifting session.  “I had X-rays, and they said I had some arthritis, that my knees had lost some cartilage. Can we do anything about that? I miss lifting like I used to,” he said.  What does cartilage do? Knee cartilage is a network of tightly packed cells and water molecules that form a thick, dense cushion over the ends of bones. Strong cartilage is firm, smooth, and slick, like the…
Read More
Are my shoes (or boots) causing blisters?

Are my shoes (or boots) causing blisters?

Ankle-Foot, Articles, Running, Tactical
Question: Are my shoes (or boots) causing blisters? A common cause of blisters is shoes or boots that are too tight or too loose. One of our clients is a "seasonal" runner who routinely starts training for his annual running/physical fitness test about two months out. This year, he began noticing blisters on his pinky toes.  Though he ramped up his miles abruptly (going from 0 to 15 miles per week…in 2 weeks),  he denied experiencing foot blisters since way back in boot camp. He had, however, bought a new pair of shoes for his upcoming physical fitness test. Answer: Check the shoe’s liner 1. Remove the liner insert from the shoe and stand on it. The size and shape of the liner should match your foot all the way around.…
Read More
How to treat your own back pain (and when you shouldn’t)

How to treat your own back pain (and when you shouldn’t)

Articles, Spine
How to treat your own back pain (and when you shouldn’t) "Here's what you should do about low back pain…" Tell someone you've thrown your back out again, and this is the typical advice you'll get. Friends and family mean well, but without knowing the cause of your pain, there's not much that anyone can tell you confidently that will apply to your situation.  Unfortunately, finding someone who knows how to help you often takes effort. You should do it, but we know life gets in the way. If the pain isn't that bad or doesn't show up very often, you might put it off. But this would be a mistake because the next time back pain shows up, you might not have the time or energy needed to give…
Read More
Why your shins hurt during formation runs and what you can do to keep going: A first aid guide

Why your shins hurt during formation runs and what you can do to keep going: A first aid guide

Articles, Lower Body, Running
Why your shins hurt during formation runs and what you can do to keep going: A first aid guide "Pain is weakness leaving the body" - said no one with shin splints, ever! Ever suffered from shin pain with running? It might be shin splints. While not usually caused by weakness, the pain of shin splints can bring even the best runners to their knees.  Shin splints are the common name for medial tibial stress syndrome. In this condition, the shin muscles and bone are overloaded by running and other impact sports. Most shin splints are caused by "too much, too soon." A rapid increase in running distance or volume without a proper conditioning base is usually to blame.  However, when you have to run in a group, shin splints…
Read More