We do a lot from our phones, I bet most of you guys are reading this blog from your phone right now. Society requires a great deal of repetitive thumb use, especially from texting, swiping, and scrolling. Pair that with barbell and every other countless thing we demand from our hands, the thumbs can take a beating.
Being attached to our smart phones in this way can amplify certain inflammatory responses such as tendinitis. Your tendons are what attach the bone and muscle, when we have overuse (mhm-mhm, phone in hand activities) the inflammation sets in...welcome, tendonitis. Don't think this will only show up in the thumb itself, everything connected always. These repetitive hand motions can lead to the pain in the wrist and forearms. Small task can become super daunting and forgetting about using hook grip in a barbell piece. Tendonitis causes wrist pain, aching, numbness, and loss of strength. However, this pain can sometimes be confused with the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome, especially when paired with swelling.
If you are having thumb, hand, or forearm pain, what can you do?
1. Put your phone down, or just be mindful of your time you spend scrolling away.
2. Book a session. This work isn't for pleasure, but your thumbs will be forever grateful.
If you really want to check where your mobility and stability deficiencies are, grab a dumbbell, lock it out overhead, and squat. For most folks, this will throw up all kind of red flags. The single arm dumbbell overhead squat (SA DB OH) is a great assesment tool to diagnose where you are as an athlete, which will in the long run help us to become better at moving. Why is this movement such a kick in the ass? In order to achieve proper position at end range of motion you must have optimal:
- Thoracic Spine Mobility, rotation/extension
- Shoulder overhead mobility and stability,flexion and external roation
-Squat mobility and stability, flexion, external and internal roation, and ankle dorsiflexion
The bottom position for most people an EXTREMELY demanding position to get into. The mobility and stability requirements are massive. If we can’t obtain optimal bottom position then we sure as hell aren't going to be stable. I would look into your squat first before we challenge the mechanics even more. Don't be ashamed to strip this down and build it back up, trust me, I was there. Once you free up new ROM, you need to use it in a controlled manner aka add weight slowly without intensity, then put it back into function (performing the actual movement).
Depending on where your challenges are, there are plenty of things you can be doing to help improve this movement:
-bottom up press
-thoracic, shoulder, and hip mobility
-counter balance squats
Getting regular bodywork and massage can help maintain range of motion and flexibility in the pursuit of better movement. In the long run, this will help mitigate injuries and keep you moving pain free. I always suggest once a month for routine maintenance.
Remember, sweat the small stuff. Devil is all in those details.
It has been a long time coming, but gyms are starting to open back up and the glitz of falling back into your gym/fitness routine is in the works. However, before you cannon ball into your routine, or even something new, consider the importance of bodywork and massge therapy when it comes to your recovery. If you want to stay active, avoid injuries and improve your performance, let me give you some reasons why I think massage and bodywork is so critical for the long haul.
Massage and Bodywork therapy has an endless list of benefits, but when looking at performance, three of my top being:
1. Reducing the risk of soft-tissue injury: bodywork and massage can help prevent soft tissue injuries by way of relaxing tense muscles, reducing adhesions and scar tissue, and lengthening fascia.
2. Help maintaining flexibility and range of motion: by increasing temperature of soft tissue through bodywork, this helps increase tissue elasticity, reducing swelling and inflammation around the muscles and joints. With increased range of motion, this in turn helps to prevent injury and increase relaxation.
3. Reducing recovery time after exercise: Addressing your soft tissue after exercise can help ease inflammation, improve blood flow, and reduces muscle tightness. Now, I know it isn't ideal to have a massage after each time you workout, this is why stretching and cool downs are so critical for longevity and injury prevention.
I believe to my bones, that if people focused more on moving well and getting into a self care routine, there would be far less injuries and much more longevity of life and in the sport. You may have to strip your ego a little and re-educate your movement, but trust me, it will pay off.