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Pain: A True MindBody Experience 

Pain: A True MindBody Experience 

June 2014 

Pointers for Healthy Sports Nutrition 

Are you exercising more than an hour at a time? Read up: 

Carry carbs: Consume 200-300 calories per hour of exercise (an energy bar is 200-300 calories and a gel pack is about 100 calories). But, even better … 

Eat real food: There’s nothing wrong with PB & J or a banana. Don’t 

eat stuff you can’t pronounce says 

Michael Pollen, author of Food Rules. 

Avoid Binge Drinking: Drink when you are thirsty. We used to think that continual drinking was better to avoid dehydration. The 

I winced before I even sat down. Car seats had become my enemy. Within minutes of sitting, my right hamstring tightened, then cramped. The tightness that started at the top of my hamstring soon traveled down the back of my thigh, then crept to the outside of my calf. Those seizing muscles in my right leg felt like they were hardwired to my jaw, which, as though on cue, tensed involuntarily. 

I had hurt my back lifting a 

patient 10 months before; 

and now, the pattern was 

completely predictable. 

Every time I sat in a 

bucket seat, I hurt. I had 

squirmed, flexed, and 

stretched across miles of highway to no avail. I had used lumbar rolls and seat cushions. No luck. What I did not know in 1982 was that my pain was no longer coming from my sciatic nerve and a bulging disc. Those pain signals that had fired together were now wired together. The pain had become a very well-traveled path in the neural circuitry of my brain. 

Chronic back pain and radicular pain are severely disabling disorders affecting millions of people financially, physically, and emotionally. Physical therapists have been manipulating, stretching and strengthening people with chronic pain for years – with variable success. But, there’s an area we’ve neglected. Until recently, we have not considered the brain and how it influences how well we recover from a painful experience.

latest research shows that thirst is a reliable marker for your fluid needs. If you aren’t thirsty, you probably don’t need more to drink. 

Timing Meals and Snacks: I remember thinking I had to train for the Bolder Boulder at least an hour on either side of meals. The latest research says it’s fine to eat a banana right before you run, and having a meal an hour before is also fine. It’s unlikely your blood sugar will drop enough to make you weak. Even if it drops, it usually levels out with 15 minutes of exercise. 

Chocolate Milk: It’s official. Studies 

confirm that chocolate milk provides the ideal ratio of carbs and protein to recharge you after exercise. Compared with 

athletes who drank a sugary sports drink or water, athletes who drank chocolate milk after exercise gained more muscle, lost more fat, developed more endurance and enjoyed their drinks more. 


Once you hurt, your 

system is on guard 

for anything new that 

might increase pain. 

It makes sense, 

right? It’s how our 

ancestors survived – 

once injured, they 

had to be even more 

cautious because 

they were easy prey. They were in survival mode. Thus, their nervous systems became more alert to any potential danger. And in the brain, this shows up as more brain activity in response to painful stimuli – i.e., more pain. [Seifert, 2009] Not only that, chronic pain becomes imprecise and can change locations and come and go unpredictably, often without provocation. Longstanding pain seems to develop a mind of its own. [Butler, 2013] Check out this video onWhy Things Hurt. [Lorimer Moseley, 2011] 

I know it sounds grim, and it gets even more complicated. Most of these changes are happening behind the scenes, in the parts of the brain that make your heart beat faster, your palms sweat, and your breathing become quick and shallow. We don’t consciously make a muscle spasm, so 

how the heck do we voluntarily relax muscles and, just as importantly, how do we reset our nervous systems to accurately reflect what’s really happening? 

No Regrets 

We’ve had the anti-gravity treadmill for less than a month, but have seen so many small miracles right before our eyes. A woman with Achilles tendinosis just ran a 6-minute mile for an hour at 85% body weight without a lick of pain. After weeks of pain while running, that felt like a miracle. George, a gentleman with Parkinson’s disease, was more relaxed walking than he had been in months, and it carried over after he got off the machine. That felt like a miracle. Doing step-downs off an eight-inch step while in the Alter G didn’t hurt Eve’s knee one bit. Retraining with no pain – another small miracle.

Allyson Friday, PT, DPT, OCS is an 

invited speaker for the International Extreme Sports Conference, held in Colorado on June 13th and 14th. Allyson, a life-long swimmer and coach, has developed a 

reputation for her 

expertise treating 

shoulder injuries. She will be talking about shoulder injuries in extreme swimmers. We are extremely 

excited for Allyson! 

Join Our List


You too can feel lighter than air! 

Yes, they seem like small changes to us, but when you have missed your workout for months, felt tense with every step, or dreaded walking down the stairs in your own house, these moments indeed feel amazing. And, it’s not just about these moments in the machine. It’s seeing and feeling a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s the prospect of retraining your muscles and your nervous system to recover more quickly that allows you to imagine the possibilities. 

We want to get the word out. We want more people to get back to doing what they love faster and with greater success. For a limited period, we are offering time in the Alter G at an incredible price. You can check it out free one time for 10 minutes. Email to schedule.


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