Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's All Connected (Obviously!)

So, I locked my knees back down and am struggling to get out of pain. I read David Butler's, Explain Pain, which is the dumbed-down version (my take, not his) of his tome, The Sensitive Nervous System. (Every fitness professional should read it--it explains a lot.) Here's the 411: The body experiences pain because it thinks its in danger, which it may or may not be. After it's been cleared of danger, pain may linger as a memory, base on how long the brain perceived that danger and what thoughts, feelings, movements, etc. were associated with that pain. In my case, it's squatting, and really, any knee flexion.

Based on my past experiences, I'm guessing that the pain in my knees is a signal that something's wrong with my hips. I posted a couple posts back that after taping my right knee, my left hip felt like it got a lot more work. Well, since the "R" in R-Phase stands for "Restoration, Re-Education, Rehabilitation" guess who forgot to do his "Restoration" work after his squat sessions? You got it: Yours truly. Now, here's the problem: Left hip gets used in ways it's unaccustomed. There's mechanical change in the right knee. These two "forces" are supposed to work together but they're actually working against each other. As the hip musculature responds to work, it tightens down. The right knee is still forcing the left hip to work, but it can't, cause genius here hasn't done his post-training R-Phase. The force can no longer be absorbed the way it's supposed to be by the left hip which forces the weight back onto the right knee and the cycle repeats itself. The ankles may or may not be moving well--in either case, that leaves the musculature around the knees to take the brunt of the loading. I think we can all see where this is going...

Anyway, my body's been down this road before, and the result was multiple hip connective tissue injuries/damage. So I believe my brain is sending my body signals based on its past experiences. It believes the hips are going to be damaged again. It may be right. Last night I was also demonstrating KB snatches and noticed that my bone rhythms were off--I was bailing out on the ankles and didn't seem to be able to sit into the hips. Later that evening while watching some weightlifting videos, I noticed my shoulders were sore, the right one almost painfully so from the snatches and cleans earlier in the day. This in my mind could only mean one thing: force was not being adequately produced and reduced within that training session. Sure enough, my hips were very, very tight--especially in abduction and extension, especially the left one. Apparently I can compensate at the I-Phase work, but the R-Phase leaves me no room to hide. I had almost no movement in the abduction on the left hip. (I am very fortunate that my wife is also a Z Practitioner, because she spotted this...)

So, what's my immediate plan?
  1. Remember what R-Phase is for: Restoration, Re-Education, Rehabilitation. All of which I need based on what I actively engage in or forgetfully fail to do (15 years of squatting and deadlifting, etc with out proper ROM will take it's toll...)
  2. Hit some bone rhythm work with the KBs to get my patterns back (and then hit some R-Phase...)
  3. Engage in as many movements as possible requiring knee flexion (and hip flexion) that don't cause pain to calm the CNS. Engage in as few as possible movements that create pain with knee flexion and hip flexion.

That's the plan. We'll see how long I can stick with it and what the results will be. Knowing me, I'll be modifying on the fly...

On a positive note, the Icy Hot I used yesterday on the platform seemed to help. I put some on my hips and that was one of my clues that they weren't working correctly--the Icy Hot gave me some feedback that allowed me to use them more and keep the knees [mostly] pain free. My speed is way, way up. If I can just relax my CNS, I should be able to train for strength and get my weights back up.


Blogger Franz Snideman said...

Interesting post Geoff.

What are bone rhythms?

12:18 PM  
Blogger Tim Anderson said...

I was wondering the same thing about bone rhythms. Kettlebell ballistics do have a rhythm to them but i'm not sure what you mean.

1:13 PM  
Blogger Mike T Nelson said...

Interesting update Geoff. Keep us posted on the progress!

I posted on Bone Rhythm work here at

You too can learn it by going to R Phase! Seriously, it is an amazing tool.

Mike N

3:39 PM  
Blogger Mike T Nelson said...

Ooops, that did not work well on the link. Go to my blog and then it is the Final Z Health Level II update a few posts back

Mike N

3:40 PM  
Blogger Franz Snideman said...

Thanks Mike!

7:30 PM  

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