Pain: Sticks and Stones

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2020

“Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, but Words Will?...”

The next time you get under a heavy barbell, give yourself the following cues:

  1. Don’t round your back, or your discs will explode.
  2. Keep your knees from going over your toes, otherwise your kneecaps will slingshot forward and take out someone’s eye
  3. If you feel anything sketchy, just push through it.

How confident did you feel just now? Are you ready to smash a new PR? Words are neurological events and what we hear is transformed by the brain into emotional, conceptual, and potentially even danger signals (3). Words are very powerful tools, and have the ability to bring healing or cause harm depending on what words are used, and how they are delivered.

As a coach, using the “right” words in the gym or on the field can activate both the pain-busting opioid networks (7). and the feel-good dopamine-driven reward systems in the brain, producing motivation, effort, and empowerment. Using...

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Pain: Why Won't It Go Away?

Uncategorized Aug 29, 2020

As we learned in Power Athlete Episode - 251 with Adriaan Louw, working with athletes in pain is a tricky business, but one that has fast become an integral component of today’s training environment.  

As strength and conditioning coaches, physical therapists, or sport coaches,we will encounter men and women who are managing some sort of pain, and the effectiveness of this management factors into the successes and failures of our programs. Therefore, in order to help these individuals, we need to truly grasp the concept of pain and understand how it affects our athletes on both a physical and mental playing field. Is all pain the same?  What happens when pain persists? Such questions quickly lead us down a rabbit hole, attempting to seek complex answers from medical providers who may not have the slightest clue about the athletes we work with.

The aim of this article is to answer those questions, explain the difference between acute and chronic pain, and provide...

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Pain: This Shit is Complicated

Uncategorized Jul 08, 2020

Did you know that the US healthcare system spends approximately two billion dollars a year on the management of pain due to sport-related injuriesalone? Beyond just the physical discomfort, this pain creates a huge financial burden for athletes when it comes to things like rehabilitation costs and loss of salary.

  • 50.9% of all NHL players missed at least one game within a season of play, and injuries represent a total salary cost of approximately $218 million yearly (3).
  • Knee injuries alone cost the NBA $358 million dollars last year (9).
  • The NFL spends around $35 million dollars annually in salaries to players who cannot play due to pain or injury (9).
  • Medical costs for sports injuries and pain-related ER visits exceed $935 million each year (6,7).
  • Training and sport related pain accounted for 20% of all ER visits for children ages 6-19 (6).
  • The US spends $50 billion on the treatment of back pain each year. (NIH 2,4).

These statistics are staggering, but the fallout from pain can...

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