Throughout the history of mankind, every injury that has occurred can be traced back to a single culprit:

The amount of load placed on the body exceeded the body’s capacity to handle it.

Back pain, an ACL tear, “tight” traps. It doesn’t matter. Load exceeded capacity.

To illustrate this, I want you to think of your body as an empty cup. The metaphorical water filling the cup is a combination of load and stressors.

Training volume, work stress, diet and sleep, poor joint mobility, saunas and ice baths, etc.

In one way or another, these are all stressors to the body. Stress doesn’t discriminate and they all can play a role in “filling up the cup.”

So let’s say you’ve been training a lot and work stress has been piling up as well. One weekend, you have to travel to a big conference in San Fran (sleeping in hotel, poor food choices, flights, etc.)

When returning to the gym on Monday, you grip and rip a deadlift from the floor and boom, your back locks up. Was it the deadlift’s fault? No. It’s your fault. You filled your cup to the brim and then decided to add a deadlift on top.

It’s like when people take 15 shots of tequila and blame the 16th shot for putting them on their ass. Nooo, let’s not forget the 15 shots prior leading up to 16. RIght?

So what do we do? How do we intervene?

Step 1) We find a way to pour some water out.

This can come in the form of a deload in training, improved sleep, changing movement patterns with exercise, manual therapy and dry needling, mindfulness training and meditation…

There are a million ways for us to calm things down before building back up, but we need a buffer first.

Step 2) Build a bigger cup.

When we’re experiencing chronic pain of some sort, it’s as if our cup is the size of a shot glass. Everything hurts and we can’t handle any stress or load before our capacity is exceeded.

As clinicians, we find ways to slowly build a bigger cup through progressive loading, strength training, neuromuscular re-education, etc. We want that cup to be the size of a frickin 5-gallon bucket, capable of handling anything life throws at it.

But without this 1-2 punch combo, we’ll continue to face the uncertainty of what’s going to hurt and when. Any stressor in life could be the tipping point towards pain and injury.

We’re not fans of that way of thinking.

I hope this gave you some insight as to why you’re feeling the way you are and a better picture of how we view things on our end.

If you have any questions or would like to chat more, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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