If you’re reading this blog post and you are 100% pain free, you can stop reading it right now.
Ok, we lost maybe 1% of people that actually came to this blog post. For the rest of you, here we go!
The question is this. Why are so many people in pain everyday when the resting state of the human body is supposed to be pain free?
Over the past decade, I’ve had the opportunity to work with people as a personal trainer, strength coach, and a physical therapist. One thing in common with all of these people was that every one of them had daily pain. Now, that seems obvious that someone coming to see me as a physical therapist has pain, but what about as a personal trainer or coach? As a trainer I was shocked to see the first thing we needed to do was work on getting back into some pain-free movement.
Solving chronic pain for people long term comes down to two things: Do they have enough range of motion or mobility to perform a task, and do they have enough control over that movement to be able to do it correctly?
It’s a simple answer, yet very complex at the same time.
To make matters worse we are becoming increasingly more sedentary, weaker, and life is over all just becoming easier. Think about it. You don’t even need to drive somewhere to pick up food anymore. You can literally just use Uber Eats to get a pint of ice cream from Jeni’s Ice Cream and some Pad Thai from your favorite Thai restaurant at the same time. Don’t want to go get groceries? No worries, Amazon has you covered and will deliver pretty much whatever groceries you want to your house.
So what does all this cool convenience mean to us? Less and less non-exercise based movement. Unless you have a manual labor job, you use your body far less than it’s designed to be used.
You hear people say all the time about their grandparents that “they don’t make people like they used to.” Those were some hearty Depression Era people. Well, physiologically and genetically we haven’t changed in the last 100 years. What has changed? My grandfather grew up on a farm and stopped going to school in 4th grade to help take care of that farm full time. He then spent 30 years in the Navy and did other manual jobs like a mechanic for the rest of his career after that. He lived what some would consider a hard life, but he was also lucky because he had to use his body day in and day out. He didn’t have to get to the gym and try to engineer work, he literally just worked.
Today we use things like Assault Bikes, Concept 2 Rowers, and True Form Treadmills to build a “bigger engine.” As great as it is to get cardiovascularly fit, it should just be a piece of the equation. A large portion of what we do should be non-exercise based movement. As my good friend Kelly Starrett says, “Train less and move more.”
Here’s some examples of ways to improve your movement during the day.
Standing desk- Even though you aren’t technically moving, it gives you options. You can change your stance, you can stand on one leg, you can move around easier. It’s a hell of a lot better than just sitting all day long.
Walk more- Take a couple short breaks per day and walk around. If you have business calls to make, do them walking. If you eat your lunch fast, you can get a 20-30 minute walk in during your lunch hour. Walk to work if it’s close enough. Walk to the park instead of driving the half mile it takes to get there. Walk your dog, he needs it. Just walk more. We’re the best walkers in the world.
Commute to work- If you live in a city where you can walk or ride your bike to work, that’s huge. Get some of your movement in with something you have to do anyway: be at work! Some big companies like MailChimp here in Atlanta are even incentivizing their employees to ride their bike to work. I think this is a genius idea.
Sit on the ground- Sitting on the ground is kind of uncomfortable. Because of that we have to change positions more frequently and the pressure of the ground in our muscles/fascia can be a really good thing. Get off the couch and watch Game of Thrones on the ground instead.
Hang- Find a tree limb, pull-up bar, or back of a stair case and try to hang for 2-5 minutes per day. We have some amazing shoulders and we rarely do anything overhead anymore. Hanging is a great way to get some movement in your shoulders and build some grip strength at the same time. It’s literally as easy as just grabbing something and holding on until you have to let go.
Try to engineer some more non-exercise based movement into your day and your body will feel so much better. The resting state of the human body should be pain free. If you’re in pain everyday that’s not normal. You should see someone to help alleviate pain and get a game plan together of how to keep yourself healthy long term. If you’re in the Atlanta or Decatur area, we would love to help you with this. If you’re not, seek out the help of a qualified medical professional.
The body demands movement. Either you give it what it wants or it’s going to break down on you. Try and move an extra hour a day for the next week. It may be the most important change you could make to your long-term health.
This is a common question that we are asked at Athletes’ Potential. When delving into this seemingly deep conversation with patients, it becomes quickly evident that many people do not actually understand their benefits or insurance plans. It also becomes quickly evident to the patient that the current healthcare system is not an efficient one.
The short answer to that question is… there isn’t one. In fact, when folks ask if we “take” insurance, what they are usually meaning is, "Can I pay my copay to see you?” Sure, we “take” insurance in the sense that once the deductible is reached, the visit will be covered by a varying percentage. But copays are for in-network providers. What people don’t often realize is that there is still a deductible to be met, out of pocket.
The ideal insurance plan for young, healthy individuals is one that includes an HSA or FSA. Deductibles will be higher but assuming you have low healthcare costs, you will be banking money each year.
An HSA is a health savings account. It is a savings account for money that can only be used for healthcare. Many times, a business will match the amount of money you add to your HSA each month or some percentage of it. The benefit? This money can grow throughout your career into a large sum that is not taxed. So sure, use it as a store of money for healthcare but it is likely there will be some residual.
An FSA is a flexible savings account. Similar to an HSA in that it is a pot of money for healthcare. The biggest difference is that your company will put a lump of money in it at the beginning of the year and whatever is not used in that year goes away.
Other plans- HMO, PPO, etc are also common. It is usual with these that there is a network of providers that have a special rate and are often lower costs per visit—as long as the healthcare provider that you seek out is in the network.
A deductible is the amount of money that must be paid out of pocket before insurance will cover a percentage. Some insurance plans have one deductible and some have separate in-network and out-of-network deductibles.
Example: Sally’s plan has a $2000 in-network deductible and a $4500 out-of-network deductible. She pulls her hamstring and needs PT. If she chooses an in-network provider she will pay out of pocket until she reaches $2000 then her costs are covered 100%. If she chooses an out-of-network provider she is responsible for $4500 before her costs are covered 80%.
For a mild hamstring strain, the national average for visits is 10. At the usual PT clinic, they likely want you to come in 2-3x/week for 5 weeks. This cost per session could be anywhere from $50-300 depending on what the PT does with you and how long you are there. On top of that, your PT may be treating between 2 and 5 people at a time!
Technically this company “takes your insurance” but the payment still comes from your pocket. Until you reach $2000—which likely will not be met with the treatment for the hamstring.
Transparency: At Athletes’ Potential, transparency is important to us. Unfortunately, the healthcare system makes that muddy because of the complexity of plans that leads people to think all healthcare visits are a $20 copay.
The reality is, insurance is meant to be used as a failsafe for emergencies. Just like with the car—bad accident, the insurance helps. But if you need an oil change, that’s on you! Deductibles are so high and benefits are less because healthcare is being over-used. So rather than going to the cheapest place for the cheapest oil (that you will have to change more frequently), why not use the quality shop with the quality oil?
Why should you choose us over your in-network providers?
Our visit average per plan of care is half of the national average. In the long run, you will save money.
One-on-one sessions with a Doctor of Physical Therapy who understands your lifestyle and goals. We have experience with weightlifting, running, CrossFit, sports, yoga, gymnastics, etc.
Better outcomes than your usual PT clinic.
Care from a provider who thinks outside of the box, encourages input from the patient and helps establish long term performance goals.
Complete transparency with costs and plan of care.
Dr. Danny and Dr. Jackie's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.