Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums Shoulder Where do you start when the entire system is the problem?

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    • #70349
      Avatar[email protected]

      I’ve visited a chiro who specializes in ART and got some great news in that my shoulder problem is muscular in nature, not neurological 🙂 As it turns out, every muscle that is in any way connected to my left shoulder – and the muscles attached to THOSE, as well as the fascia, is crazy insane tight. No wonder my mobility efforts have only made minor progress – but they have certainly made more progress than anything else. (all related to too many mountain bike crashes). This is all on one side, the other appears fine.

      Obviously I am following up with the ART, and he thinks that only 3-4 treatments will be required. Of course I need to continue my mobility work- but where to start when the entire system is the problem? This sounds almost like a philosophical question 🙂 I wasn’t going to post this here but thought there might be others faced with this for whom the discussion would be helpful.
    • #72444

      Good question!  

      I think this was briefly addressed in a former episode but don’t ask me which one.
      What I got out of it:  
      If you have one major problem area/goat, start there.
      Otherwise always use the spine first principle.  I like to think of it as starting from the belly button and working your way out to the extremities.  If you can’t stabilize your core/spine in a good position, nothing else will be in the correct position, either.  
    • #72447
      AvatarMelissa Nooney

      I think Jeanette is right, start at the centre and work your way out. But I also remember reading this somewhere – Maybe in his book where he talks about what to target first? I don’t have the book with me but I will look through it and try to find what I’m thinking of unless someone else finds it.

    • #72448
      Avatar[email protected]

      Now that you mention it, I do seem to remember that topic in a fairly recent episode – starting with the spine. My problem is not knowing where to go next but perhaps that is the wrong question. There probably isn’t a “right” direction to go since everything is tight, but perhaps starting with the spine (which I work on daily), then to the supporting staff such as the sub-scap/serratus/etc, and then go outwards. I will look at the book as well to see if I can find the text you remember.

    • #72461
      AvatarMartin Repcek

      This might be the video you are referring to, can’t remember for sure and I don’t have time to watch it again. http://www.mobilitywod.com/daily/tuesday-july-16th-2013/

      I don’t completely agree with starting with the spine. What if your spine is the way it is because your feet, hips, or pelvis are out of whack? It would be like fixing the crooked walls in your house while ignoring the crumbling foundation. If you have a leg length discrepancy (whether it be anatomical or functional) chances are good your back will pay the price eventually. 
      I asked my physical therapist basically the same question, where do you start when you have so many things wrong that all seem to re-inforce each other. His response was the big toe. I was seeing him for ankle, knee, and hip problems so his answer might have been different if the problems were higher up.
    • #72472
      AvatarMelissa Nooney

      The spine is the foundation isnt it? You cant stabilize properly if the T-Spine is stiff and if you cant create stabilize properly your shoulder/hips will develop issues which would cause a downstream effect wouldn’t it? My understanding is that no matter what you do to your ankle, it’ll still have issues if the hips are wacked – but if your hips are good it’ll atleast put less pressure downstream to the ankle allowing better positioning, which may not be the issue but why try to mobilize the ankle if its unable to get into a good position anyways. I’m not saying your PT is wrong, that’s just what my take on K-Star’s work is – which my interpretation could be way off. 

    • #72474
      AvatarTyler Lindon

      3-4 treatments?  That sounds like good news to me.

      I echo Jeanette’s recommendation.

      Speaking only from -my- experience, the spine is the goto place to resolve dysfunction.  If the spine is in a good position, work out from there.  I’ve made more progress in 2 weeks with a chiropractor(3 adjustments/week), than in 4 months of smashing, flossing, and otherwise groping myself.

      Ever try to roll an IT Band that wont relax because you can’t get your spine and thus hip into a good position?  I’ve had a PT take the head of a hammer to it with little to show afterwards.  
    • #72478
      AvatarMartin Repcek

      Arron, my PT’s response wasn’t in the same context as what Kelly is talking about so it isn’t a matter of who’s right or who’s wrong. In any case, my PT was half-joking when he said it, but I did have a big toe dysfunction too. 🙂 My point was that where you start might not have anything to do with where you think the problem is.

      The spine isn’t in contact with the ground. It can’t possibly be a foundation for anything… except your head… shoulders if you want to be generous.
      I think it depends on which plane you’re working in. I’m a perfect example of why it doesn’t always make sense to start with the spine. A year ago if you took a picture of me standing from the front or back I would look more like the letter C than the letter I. The dysfunction in my ankle and hip caused my pelvis to shift to one side while I stand. To compensate, my spine bent the other way to maintain center of gravity between my feet so I don’t fall over. I have the X-ray that shows my spine bending immediately off the sacrum, with another bend in the thoracic area and another in the neck. I’m pretty sure I have a functional leg length discrepancy. Although, between 2 doctors and 2 physical therapists, one doc and PT said there is no difference and another doc and PT said there is about a 1/4 inch difference. 
      Without a doubt my ankle caused my hip dysfunction. Lack of ankle rocker during the gait cycle preventing normal hip extension. I have mostly fixed my hip problems but ankle problems persist. I think I am finally on track to getting that resolved – extreme tightness with tibialis posterior seems to be the main culprit. I just tonight found an article that supports my hypothesis. 
      Just another anecdote, last year when I had shin splints so bad (inflamed tibialis posterior) that I could not walk without a severe limp it was my lower back that paid the price. It wasn’t lower back pain that caused shin splints. I fixed my biomechanics to the point where I don’t get shin splints any more. 
    • #72500
      AvatarErin Ritter
      Short story and long story follows. Hope it helps!
      In a nutshell, I think it’s best to take an “Error Message” systems approach and pretty much pick the area of my body that sends me a warning signal and start working on it until it feels better or the error message goes away. Then move on to the next area while maintaining the areas I’ve made progress in. Below is the long story of why I think this approach is reliable and practical method for increasing mobility and range of motion.
      Mobility Progression

      My entire stability system was jacked up at every level. I’m slightly more than a month in on my initial mobility work. As much as I love mobilitywod.com, I think Kelly’s book  (“Becoming a Supple Leopard”)  does a better job of making it easy to fix any and all mobility issues extremely quickly and effective. 

      After reading the first few chapters of the book, then quickly going through the entire book to understand what is in there on a basic level,I took the approach to open the book to the mobility  section that goes over addressing the area of the body that felt the most tight, painful, or inflamed. 

      Thoratic Spine
      The initial week I mainly worked on the tissue around thoratic spine. I had a massive amount of pain, tightness and inflammation in that area. About 30 days, I still work on this area for about 10-15 minutes each day with foam roller and two lacrosse balls taped together as Kelly demonstrates in his videos.
      Hip Flexors
      About a week later, after my spine started to feel better and I could turn my head with a full range of motion without major pain or restriction Hip flexors, stance, and creating stability, power, and torque through extending and opening my hips as much as possible with my feet straight while keeping my glutes activated and my stomach tight. . I did it while walking, sitting, and standing, jumping, exercising, and working. I had a horrible duck stance, and had a lot of navicular drop with each step/movement.

      After a couple weeks of continued thoratic spine work, and countless hours and days of conscience work on my help flexors, I started to notice much better alignment and positioning with regard to my hip, spine, and head alignment. 
      At this point, I started to feel pretty good but there was an obvious shifting of tension moving to my shoulder sockets. At this time I was working on learning how to properly do handstand push ups and I felt like I was close to seriously tweaking my shoulder and there was tons of stiffness. With my spine, neck, and hips feeling pretty good, I moved to the shoulders. Specifically getting my shoulders to stay back in the sockets as opposed to rounded which Kelly refers to as “Douchebag Shoulder Syndrome”. 

      So once again I open Kelly’s “Becoming a Supple Leopard” book of black magic and go through the shoulder mobility exercises on one shoulder for about 15 minutes then looked in the mirror to compare the position of my two shoulders against one another. One was all the way back in the socket properly and I could hold the position for the rest of the night until morning. I proceed to work on my other shoulder and like magic, I now feel loose, stable, and balanced from my toes, through my hips, spine, shoulders, and neck.


      As I worked through the category one exercises in the book, I started to feel a little knee pain due to changes in my movement and lack of stability under light load or high rep body weight exercises. I worked in some of the knee mobility stuff and of course, the knee pain has ceased.

      After about a month in, this has been my main areas of focus. As new things come up, I find myself constantly referring to the book. Every time, the book has rectified the major pain or problem I was having. I work on each of these areas for a short time each day. I’m now feeling some minor knee pain and popping from all of the changes my body is making. 
      I’ve started to do some category 1 movements under light load and feel pretty good. Even if you’re a member, you need to pick up the book because it’s completely changed the way I approach strength and conditioning. 
    • #72503
      Avatar[email protected]

      The book IS awesome 🙂

      My first two ART sessions were little short of amazing – though about as far from pleasant as possible. Apparently my shoulder complex and lat on that side is full of adhesions… Those are being addressed and this morning I was able to actually do a light overhead press (kettlebell thrusters) properly and with NO pain! That was also the first time, ever, that the light kettlebell actually felt LIGHT in the overhead position 🙂
      Does my left arm match my right one? No, but it is much better. Kstar has provided so many great tools through the website and book, and with the adhesions addressed I think that my coach’s efforts, and my own, will be far more effective as I strive for increased mobility and strength.
    • #72676
      Avatar[email protected]

      There may be more going on with the shoulder than previously believed – that has permanent consequences (no OH lifting) We will see tomorrow…it would be interesting to know if anyone knows of any success in building strength in an arm where the humerus doesn’t quite line up with the shoulder properly.

    • #72693
      Avatar[email protected]

      As it turns out I’ve mechanical restrictions to shoulder/arm movement due to large calcium deposits…who knew? Working with an Osteopath on this…I’ve been told to continue all of my mobility work to help the process. 

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