When we have persistent pain, want to get stronger, want to make a change to our lifestyle, improve our body image, etc. We generally start by looking for the quick solution. As a culture we have become use to scouring the internet looking for a quick fix. We think that there must be some type of pill we can take or machine we can buy. We are so used to instant gratification that we believe everything should be this way. Well I got news for you when trying to make true long-term changes to pain or your overall health there is no quick fix that can replace putting in the hard work and consistency with things like diet, exercise, and sleep.
I have many patients that ask me about different products that they see in infomercials about rubbing on this cream for back pain, using a certain pillow to fix their neck, or getting this machine that they can put there feet on while they are sitting that will help them with their neck pain. My response to these patients is always the same. We can not expect a passive solution to fix your active problem. We need to seek active solutions for our active issues. If I have persistent low-back pain that is preventing me from being able to perform my normal exercise regimen of weight-training and running I should not expect that using some pain relieving gel will magically make it better.
Now I am not trying to say that some of these passive solutions do not have any merit or use at all but we need to see them for what they are and use them as such. Things that I mentioned earlier such as pain relieving topical creams, pills, an expensive vibrating massage chair, insert about a thousand other late night infomercial products here. These are all things that can provide some symptom relief but they are not going to be the solution to your problem. I would even take this one step further and add things like getting a massage, injections, dry needling, and even some surgical procedures to this list. If you are working with someone and they are using these techniques as the sole solution to your issue then it is time for you to find someone else to help you. As I stated earlier I am not saying that some of these things shouldn't be used I believe that there is great value in being able to alter a person’s symptoms, but that should be just the beginning.
To go back to the idea of having back pain that prevents a person from performing a weight training regimen, we could perform some type of massage or give them a cortisone injection to help with their pain and they would be feeling pretty good. Now what do you think that person is going to do? They are going to go back to the gym throw on the same weight that they had been trying to do and are going to perform their squats in the same way that they always have, and likely going to experience the same pain that they always have. Now it may not be right away, but that pain will be back. However, if we can take this same person and we actually look at their movement patterns and assess whether or not they have the mobility and motor control to perform the squat correctly, now we can make a true change and allow the person to have the kind of long-term outcome that they are looking for.
Taking this more active approach of improving movement patterns does not come easy, but without it most people will not see the kind of change that they want. So it is time to understand that the vast majority of the time we are not going to be able to find some quick fix or passive solution to our problems or toward reaching our health/fitness goals. We need to learn to move correctly, build true strength, and be consistent with good lifestyle choices. So, the solution is simple, it is whether or not we are in the correct mindset and are willing to build the habits that is most often the true barriers to our success. Now quit scouring the internet for the easy way out, because most likely there is not one anyway, and get moving toward reaching your Prime!