Event: Age 50 Plus Training for the Life You Want to Live

October 30th, 2017


Saturday, November 11th at 10:30 am Brainstorm Fitness opens its doors for the workshop: The Importance of Training for the Life You Want to Live: the tools, the why & how.

Learn about the state of the art equipment at Brainstorm Fitness that helps individuals like you move better during their sessions and in everyday life. Hear about the specific physical benefits of moving certain ways and be able to ask questions of fitness professionals that understand the scientific reasoning behind them.

Understand how these different ways of exercising translate to improving the way you enjoy your life and how exercise makes you stronger and more efficient when going about your everyday activities that you have to do.

This will be an interactive workshop where you will be able to grasp more than the “exercise is good for you” idea but instead, understand why moving better is so important to maintaining your health and well being.

The speakers will be Anthony Carey and Damien A. Joyner

Anthony holds a Master’s degree in biomechanics and athletic training and is the inventor of the Core-Tex™. Anthony is recognized internationally as a leading expert in biomechanics, corrective exercise, functional anatomy, and motor control.

Damien is a Functional Aging Specialist that works with individuals 40 years and up so they can continue to do what they like and want to do in life easier and with less discomfort.

November Client of the Month

November 8th, 2016

We love to see our clients transition from corrective exercise to full fitness activities without limitations or hesitations. We are so happy to have Eric Brittain as part of the Function First family!

Thank you for your dedication to your health, your consistency with your efforts and the amazing attitude you bring to every class. You uplift all those around you!

The Department Store Approach to Pain

November 6th, 2016

Written By
Kevin Murray, M.A. (pending)
Movement Masterminds – CEO
Function First – Director of Education
2012 CSEP CPT of the Year

THE SIZING APPEAL

The Small, Medium, Large concept to clothing that all department stores embody seems like a straightforward, pragmatic approach to sizing. If the article of clothing fits, you’re golden; If not, you’re either going up a size, or down. But what about those that fall between the cracks? Or above, or below those labels?

s-m-l

I constantly run into this predicament. Sometimes a small is too tight. Other times a medium drapes off my shoulders, which was a good look for me in the 90’s with skateboard in hand – not so cool anymore. I often wish there was a size “smedium”, right in between at that “sweet spot.”

Perhaps you can relate… maybe your frame deserves a “marge”, right in between medium and large.

ATTENTION ALL “SHOPPERS”:
DUALISTIC THINKING IS OUT-OF-DATE & NO LONGER IN STOCK!

Am I really posting up an article about clothing? As much as I dig fashion, the department store approach is actually a metaphor for the movement industry in many respects, and its modus operandi to complex pain problems.

For example, you may be familiar with conceptualized strategies such as:

• Tight hips = stretch em’
• Weak glutes = strengthen em’
• Noticeable swelling = ice that sh#t
• IT Band irritation = foam roll those puppies

A dualistic, department store approach emphasizes that although all individual’s move differently and come from different backgrounds and cultures, there are essentially only 3-types of people – small, medium and large. Chronic pain on the other hand is complex, embodying dynamic dimensions that encompass myriad variables expanding beyond the optics of biomechanical and connective tissue principles alone. A diverse approach to sizing is needed.

GEORGE ENGEL’s BPS APPROACH:
TAILORED FOR ALL SHAPES AND SIZES – SINCE 1977

Progressing beyond (but not excluding) biomechanics and connective tissue, a 3-dimensional approach to working with clients’ in pain include a vast variety of biopsychosocial ingredients and considerations:

• Systems theories
• Empathetic listening
• Uncovering client’s’ values and beliefs systems
• Establishing client trust
• Providing educational dividends around the context of pain
• Explaining the protective purpose that pain serves

are all in play when considering the Neuromatrix and its influence on how we collaborate with, and coach our clients’ in pain.

canstockphoto23418414

SUIT YOU, SIR

Working with the chronic pain demographic is much like being a tailor. Each individual comes in with unique dimensions and constraints; different outcomes and desires. A tailor is seeking to understand where specific attention needs to be placed. A tailor asks questions like:

Why doesn’t their clothing fit?
Have they ever been to a tailor before? If so, what was their experience?
How will we know when a successful amendment has taken effect?
What is their specific outcome?

A tailor considers multiple dimensions into his/her analysis and thought process, outside the shackles of unidimensional constraints. Instead, diversification is personified, driven by the uniqueness of each individual and their articles of clothing.

Individuals’ in pain each have their own unique articles of clothing (yes, we’re still talking metaphorically here) that need specific attention and consideration. If you can meet your clients’ unique needs, much like a tailor does, than you’ll have accomplished something truly special in your clients’ eyes.

Amidst the waves of uncertainty that accompany working with individuals’ experiencing chronic pain and relinquishing a dualistic/department store thought-process, above all remember you’re interacting with another individual – and not a mechanistic instrument. Be kind, be empathetic, and as often as possible seek to understand rather than judge.

“The quality of the therapeutic relationship appears to be more predictive of success than any theoretical approach of the helper.” John Nuttall

David Snodgrass Client of the Month

October 13th, 2016

I started with function First in April of 2012. My wife was already attending and encouraged me to give the program a chance. My experience with ‘gyms’ had been less than productive, so my first response wasn’t exactly positive, but I decided to give it a chance. As it ends up, this was a totally different experience for me. Instead of a dry, boring routine, I was immediately part of an enthusiastic and friendly group of people. I was totally pleased with the guidance and direction of the instructors. The routines were creative and always changing. Nothing boring about it!

Being age 64, I was beginning to feel less energetic with less mobility and more discomfort. I knew I needed to add some exercise to my daily routine. But, not the typical lift some weights and run a while on the treadmill. The Function First instructors solved that problem with what seems to be an endless supply of varying exercises. I also soon discovered the ability of the staff to be able to modify the group routines to fit my personal needs.

Private Sessions were invaluable in starting me in the correct direction for better physical health. Issues my physician was trying to mask were alleviated with the appropriate exercise problems. I’ve found the instructors to be incredibly knowledgeable, concerned, and capable.

Function First has allowed me to continue with an active lifestyle of hiking, back packing water-skiing and boating.

Dave Snodgrass

Happy David

Happy David

Working out with Function First

August 11th, 2016

null59191463 - businesswoman running on a treadmill. business concept
Once you take the time to think about it, it is easy to make the connection to how better health and fitness increases productivity and happiness at work. According to Chron.com stress impacts everything in your life, including memory and processing new information towards analytical situations. These stressors not only impact concentration, but can also result in costly mistakes in any career field. Furthermore, energy around an office is contagious and employees with low energy and high stress will negatively impact the office atmosphere as a whole.

In addition, when we don’t feel well we are more likely to call in sick, thus getting further behind on our work and, in turn, creating more stress. It is a vicious cycle. Encouraging employees to work out with specific goals of increased functionality and mobility will help them to alleviate stress and increase focus and productivity at work.

This is just one example of how working out with Function First changed a life.

Before I found Function First, I was working out on a regular basis. However, I wasn’t seeing the results I was expecting. I still struggled with movements like squats and deadlifts. Lifting and running were painful so even when I attempted a solid workout, I often felt discouraged or unmotivated. I felt upset and annoyed with myself. I began to believe that working out was always going to be painful and started to wonder why I even bothered. Instead of the sense of happiness and stress relief that I wanted to get from working out, I was feeling more and more stress and fatigue after each session.

This frustration and stress combined with the pressures I was already experiencing at work. I was losing ground and I knew something had to change; not just for my own self-image, but also for my ability to grow my company and support my employees.

Enter Function First

After my first session I saw improvement and was already feeling like working out was something I wanted to do again. I was quickly shown how important it was to have specific, mindful goals during each workout. I gained an understanding that when a movement was painful, there was a reason and a solution. Staying focused on the proper movements quickly increased my mobility.

Soon the pain I had felt while running, lifting, and squatting began to disappear. I began to believe in myself again and began to believe that I was capable of working out in meaningful and productive ways. I was finally seeing the results I was after.

This energy carried over into my professional life as owner of SD Equity Partners. I was surprised to find that I was not only feeling less pain when working out, but was also feeling great throughout my day. The stress relief that workouts once provided me had returned. Currently, I find that I am better able to focus on my work to become a positive influence on those around me. I am able to find joy in my tasks and pride in my own creativity. This energy has also seemed to increase the enjoyment of the people that I work with. My positivity is contagious.

Looking back on my progress I cannot believe how much time I spent agonizing and putting myself through stressful workouts. The problem was that I was not working out with a clear goal in mind. My efforts were unfocused and the pain I felt just increased my stress and lessened my abilities to focus during my work day.

Thanks to the unique guidance of Function First I am not only stronger and feeling less pain, I am now more focused and productive in the office and growing my business more than ever before.

Written by:

Evan Harris
SD Equity Partners – Founder and Owner
Evan Harris

Power Plate Training at Function First

June 29th, 2016

Function First owner Anthony Carey shares a few quick highlights on the Power Plate and why you will want to incorporate into your training. Whole Body Vibration (WBV) is a heavily researched topic with many scientifically based benefits. We are fortunate to have the “Cadillac” of vibration plates at Function First. The Power Plate Pro 7 is the most advanced system on the market.

Call 619.285.9218 or schedule HERE for your personal training appointment and use the Power Plate to maximize your results!

You can learn more about the Power Plate and the research studies on WBV at www.powerplate.com

Compartmentalizing Chronic Pain

May 26th, 2016

When an individual’s identity and belief about who they are is based around their capacity to be active and athletic, we can predict his or her fears. So what happens when chronic pain no longer permits an active lifestyle?

What happens next is an internal dialog of perception and meaning begin to take root… and how well one can direct their own thoughts, beliefs, emotions and assumptions becomes significant.

Compartmentalization is an unconscious psychological defense mechanism used to avoid cognitive dissonance.
.
Businessman with lots of choices

The question then becomes “what is Cognitive Dissonance ?”and how does chronic pain fit into the equation?

Cognitive Dissonance “is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.”

For example, no matter how much an individual may believe… if they’re heading east looking for a sunset, that idea and belief will inevitably run up against irrefutable evidence. This naturally will manifest an internal conflict.

In the context of chronic pain, wanting to go to the mountains for an afternoon of skiing with friends & family may be high on an individuals values list. But a belief that skiing will lead to further knee damage or an increase in pain will surely create a conflict. These psychological inconsistencies (dissonance) and the inherent uncertainty they bring can become difficult to manage – overwhelming for many.

Conflicting beliefs and values evenutally feed into an individuals psyche’, establishing negative neuro-associations based around the context of pain that can contribute to the overall pain experience.

What’s more, physical and emotional pain can negatively influence an individuals’ thoughts, feelings and beliefs regarding movement and exercise, inhibiting one’s capacity to remain consistent with how they define themselves – known as their identity.
Connected puzzle pieces with words CONFLICT and RESOLUTION

Our role as movement professionals and coaches is NOT to change an individuals identity or belief structure, but rather create an environment to EXPAND their capacity to understand what pain is and what purpose it serves.

Arming each client with insight and knowledge into the latest in pain science can help them consciously direct their own thoughts, emotions, assumptions and beliefs regarding chronic pain, which can establish constructive psychological associations and increase their ability to effectively compartmentalize chronic pain.

Written by:

Kevin Murray
Movement Masterminds – CEO
Function First – Director of Education

Neck pain from your eyes?

April 27th, 2016

Chronic pain is complex, resulting from many inputs processed through the nervous system and the brain. As humans, we rely heavily on our vision to assess and navigate our environment and maintain balance.

Visual references are also one type of input the brain relies on to determine a potential threat to the organism. For example, have you ever found a bruise on your body that did not hurt until you noticed it there?

For those suffering from chronic neck pain, vision provides a great deal of feedback about cervical range of motion along with the mechano-receptors in the joints and soft tissue. The endpoint a person sees when turning his or her head and experiencing pain combines with a cluster of other information occurring at the same time to form the neuro-representation of the pain experience in the brain, or what Melzack (2001) calls a “neuro-signature.”

Harvie et al. (2015) investigated the role of visual feedback on neck pain. The researchers used a virtual-reality apparatus to alter the visual proprioceptive feedback that subjects received during cervical rotation. Subjects were seated with their torsos fixed to avoid contributing motion from the thoracic spine during cervical rotation. Twenty-four subjects with chronic neck pain were assessed for the onset of pain during cervical rotation to the left and right. They were asked to stop when they felt pain and to rate it on a scale of 0-10 at the point in the rotation where pain occurred. Each subject was then fitted with a virtual-reality headset that provided six different visual scenes for six trials. The image below is taken directly from the study by Harvie et al. (2015) and shows an illustration of the set up.

bogus vision article

Researchers manipulated the virtual-reality scenes so that the visual cues did not match the actual cervical-rotation distance that subjects achieved on all trials. The virtual rotation provided by the headsets was either:

• 20% more than the actual rotation
• the same as the actual rotation
• 20% less than the actual rotation

This bogus visual feedback of plus or minus 20% made the subjects perceive that they were rotating their cervical spines 20% more or less than they actually were.

The results showed that when rotation was understated (subjects perceived their rotation was less than it actually was), pain-free range of motion increased by 6%. When rotation was overstated (subjects perceived their rotation was more than it actually was), pain-free range of motion decreased by 7%.

This study provides additional evidence to support the findings that pain is not generated solely from tissue damage. The bio-pyscho-social model acknowledges multiple inputs contributing to the pain experience.

Vision is one of many contributing inputs that the brain processes when assessing a threat to the body and therefore produces pain. The association of a specific neck range of motion identified visually, coupled with information from the motor system and proprioceptive system, creates a confirmed reference for past pain experiences. In other words, we’ve always had pain with this set of circumstances (neuro signature of matched proprioception, motor function, vision, vestibular), so we are supposed to have now. Hello pain.

It is plausible that visual input can also influence pain in other areas. For example, if a client has lower-back pain, forward flexion of the spine will bring her eyes closer to the floor, possibly presenting a painful or pain-free experience, depending on the client.

When designing a corrective program for clients where you believe the visual field is a factor, you could vary the visual field to minimize the visual association related to painful movements. Or you could keep the head still and create the motion you want from the bottom up-creating relative movement of the cervical spine in relation to the thoracic spine.

Interested in learning more about how we, at Function First and the Pain-Free Movement Specialists work with the chronic pain population? Enrollment is available only until April 29th here.

Melzack, R. 2001. Pain and the neuromatrix in the brain. Journal of Dental Education 65(12), 1378-82.

Harvie, D.S., et al. 2015. Bogus visual feedback alters onset of movement-evoked pain in people with neck pain. Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/0956797614563339.

Dynamic Systems and the Function First Approach

April 21st, 2016

It was truly an honor to be one of the invited speakers to the Meeting of the Minds held in London last summer. The Meeting of the Minds follows a TED format where each speaker has about 20 minutes to give a quick hitting, condensed presentation.

The following is a snippet from my talk on Dynamic Systems Theory. The chaotic nature of the human organism is something that we all have to begin to appreciate regardless of the type of clientele you work with. It’s time we stop trying to isolate individual cause and effect for our assessments and consider the broader picture.

The video clip of the starlings does not appear clearly in the video of my presentation, but you can see many beautiful examples on YouTube.

When your client says, “But my MRI says”, then you say……

April 15th, 2016

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most sensitive diagnostics currently available. It has frequently been the “last word” on pain, surgery and recommended limitations on activity. But should your client really never lunge or squat again because their doctor took an MRI and it showed some pathological condition?

Consider this review I did of a couple of studies on the matter. You may change the conversation you have with your clients once finished reading this.

Guermazi et. al. (2012) used magnetic resonance imaging to look at knees where radiographic imaging (x-rays) showed no osteoarthritic (OA) changes. OA is generally diagnosed through examination and x-ray. X-rays can identify bony changes to the joint but they cannot identify soft tissue pathologies. The purpose was to use the more sensitive MRI to detect structural lesions associated with OA and their relationship to age, sex and obesity.
MRI
710 subjects age 50 or older participated in the study (mean age 62.3 years). Out of the 710 subjects, 206 (29%) had painful knees.

Overall, 610 (89%) of the subjects showed some abnormality of the knee. Three most common findings of abnormalities in the knee were osteophytes, cartilage damage and bone marrow lesions. These abnormalities increased with age.

The study concluded that 91% of those who did have pain in their knee also had abnormal MRI’s, leaving 9% of those with painful knees having normal MRI’s. And 88% of those with no pain in their knees showed abnormalities in the MRI. The authors also noted that those with the highest amount of abnormalities in their MRI were those identified with mild pain and not those with moderate or severe pain (emphasis mine).

Another study in European Spine Journal (Kato et al. 2012) looked at MRI’s of the cervical spine of 1211 asymptomatic patients. The subjects were both men and women equally distributed between the ages of 20 years to 70 years. All of the subjects had both an MRI and neurological exam by a spinal surgeon.

Findings from the MRI of spinal cord compression, spinal cord signal changes and disc compression were noted. Increased signals on an MRI are associated with an abnormal state of the tissue such as scarring of inflammation.

For a disc bulge to be considered pathological it had to measure more than 1 millimeter from the vertebral body.
cervical spine degeneration
Of the 1211 asymptomatic subjects studied, 64 (5.3%) had spinal cord compression. High intensity signal changes were seen in 28 (2.3%) and disc bulging was seen in 1061 (87.6%) of subjects. Prevalence of these findings was significantly higher in people over 40 years of age.

If we consider the findings of both these studies, it is now clear that degenerative changes to the body are a normal part of aging and do not directly correlate with pain. Clients may experience stress or fear when learning of abnormalities in any joint or soft tissue following imaging studies done on them. Even if they are not in pain but have experienced pain in the past, the knowledge of degenerative changes are often communicated by medical professionals and perceived by individuals as the sole source of their pain. These studies clearly demonstrate that an individual can have many abnormal finding in the neck and knees and have no pain.

Clients who believe that the degenerative changes on their imaging will lead to pain may potentially act with self-limiting and guarded movements as well as an expectation of pain. This has the potential to decrease their functional capacity, increase anxiety about certain exercises or activities and view surgery as a necessary step to resolution.

Although I’ve suggested that your conversation should change with your clients, when you understand what these studies (and others) are telling us, we must remember that your client’s paradigm may not easily change. Their beliefs may be entrenched in an outdated pain/imaging relationship, especially if their doctor leads them to believe that the MRI finding is the final word.

They need proof. And ultimately that proof is movement confidence.

Guermazi, Ali August 2012. Prevalence of abnormalities in knees detected by MRI in adults without knee osteoarthritis: population based observational study (Framingham Osteoarthritis Study). BMJ, 345:e5339 doi: 10.1136/bmj.e5339).

Kato, Fumihiko et al. February 2012. Normal morphology, age-related changes and abnormal findings of the cervical spine. Part II: magnetic resonance imaging of over 1,200 asymptomatic subjects. Eur Spine J, DOI 10.1007/s00586-012-2176-4.