Warning- an anecdotal post to 1) stimulate reflection on musculoskeletal pain and treatment. 2) Encourage experiment with ones own pain 3) Self reflection on resolution of my own knee pain with 1 exercise.
Oh that pesky knee pain. As I attempt to train for a year filled with fitness goals and by far the most long distance races in one year the all too familiar running partner relentlessly tags along, knee pain. Knee pain and I seem to ALWAYS meet up at the 3 mile mark for the past 3 months. Knee pain who skips the warm up and starts on strong on the right knee then soon after left knee, medial and lateral burning/stinging with a feeling of superficial fullness. What I would call a bursitis pain with a feeling of simply too much friction.
Being the therapist I am, and with a curiosity of pain, body, and exercise, I ask this. How do I self treat? RICE? Massage? Topical/oral meds? Heck no. Simple, 1 exercise to resolve a pain that has been slowing me for the previous 3 months regardless of longer warmups, foam rolling, stretching, strengthening, etc. Freaking Butt kicks! Yes, Butt Kicks.
I would start my run with no issues, hit that 3 mile mark and boom bilateral knee pain. To not slow down for the sake of my run I attempted a bout of 10 kick butts in the midst of my run.
My theory in mind…. Perhaps quads are tight, increasing knee friction –> increasing knee pain. To resolve that with a forceful stretch of the quad and a forceful contraction of the hamstring could result in a reciprocal inhibition/ relaxation of the quad reducing friction and subsequently pain.
So it goes like this… knee pain at 3 miles, 10 kick butts… PAIN WAS GONE. Continue running ~1/4 mile, knee pain returns -_- Set 2, 10 kick butts bilaterally then continue moving ~1/4 mile, knee pain returns. Repeat same for set 3.. 10 kick butts ~1/4 mile goes by no pain? 2 more miles no pain? Pain GONE.
Next run, same story. As more runs go by I noticed a delay in onset of pain, a decreased intensity of pain, as well as decreased dosage needed.
It has been about 2 more months of maintenance and I have felt my knee pain 1 time during a 9 mile run, which was resolved with 1 set of kick butts.
Is it my theory or is it the expectation I have that it will help? Doesn’t matter at this point, knee pain is defeated.
Exercise is a need. Just like food, air, water, we can and should add exercise/movement. We must keep moving, through pathology or health. Exercise is our weapon which can be used to tame disease.
When experiencing musculoskeletal pain play with it and learn from it.
Thanks for reading, stay awesome.
– Stephen Henry