Up + Downstream (or, your knees are your ankles and hips)

Here’s a good rule of thumb to resolve chronic pain, especially if what you’ve been doing isn’t working: mobilize one segment above and below the area of pain.

An example of this would be resolving knee pain by working on your hips (and muscles of the thigh leading up to) and ankles (and muscles of the shin leading down to). I apply this strategy quite a bit in my clinic, often yielding pretty immediate results.

The nitty gritty: when I say “mobilizing” and “working on” these can, of course, mean a lot of different things. You have an array of options! Start anywhere. Try 10 minutes a day doing some stretch/strengthen/awaken activities in the upstream and downstream segments, and 10 more minutes doing self massage and manual opening on the same areas.

So, pop quiz, ready? You have low back pain that’s not responding to whatever you’re trying now. You would work to open and awaken your …

Exactly. Hips and thoracic spine/diaphragmatic ring. (Vocab is not important; just think of the stuff right above your low back.)

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