Injury Prevention

Don't Skip Your Warm-Up Routine

How do you feel about warming up prior to exercise? Most people see it as a waste of time. You will see people stretch there legs out before a run or stretch out there chest before they do a chest press. But rarely do you see people go through a full warm up routine before they start there weight training routine for the day.

How important is warming up before a workout?

Warming up and stretching correctly are fundamental, yet often overlooked parts of any training program. While these components to training are very basic, many people tend to skip over a proper warm-up, stretch and cool down program and wonder why they do not feel ready to work out. I call these aspects of training the forgotten elements of training. They are techniques that you never see much of in gyms.

Warming up has many benefits. The main benefit to warming up is injury prevention because the blood will be pumping to an area, lowering the chance of a muscle pull or joint injury. Warming up also has positive effects because afterward strength and focus should be peaked. Warming up has many physical and mental benefits.

A younger lifter rarely thinks about joint health when getting started with lifting. A large percentage of lifters are forced to stop performing certain exercises, work around pain, or quit training altogether because they never paid attention to joint health from the beginning. If they had stopped and focused on taking care of there body before they began a workout they could have trained pain free for life and gotten much more results.

Joints require mobility, stability, and motor control. In other words, joints need flexible muscles and soft tissue to surround them. Joints stay healthier when you have a strong and stabilizing musculature to prevent wasted movement. Joints require coordination to move properly. Joints also need balanced levels of strength in the surrounding musculature in order to track properly.

Joint health is highly correlated with good habits in terms of warming up and good form while lifting. Performing some sort of a dynamic warm-up before you start lifting can pay of big time. Things such as foam rolling, mobility drills, and activation drills can get your joints and muscles ready to perform to there highest capability. Once you are done with that you should conduct a more specific warm-up consisting of several progressively heavier sets prior to your first compound lift of the day. Use a full range of motion when you lift weights, and make sure you use sound form. These things are vital for you to have healthier joints 5, 10 and 15 plus years from now.

An injury is the last thing any person that has a weight training routine wants. You can miss a meal here and there if you absolutely must and still reach your goals over time. You can skip the last 5 minutes of your cardio session if you need to be somewhere and your body won't hate you. But if you skip your warm-up and end up with a muscle pull, you're not gaining optimally for the next month or even longer in some cases.

Warming up is injury preventative in many ways. It increases flexibility and blood flow which limits the chance of a muscle pull and joint pain. A proper warm-up also gets the you in a groove for a good lifting session.

Don't skip out on this very basic principal. Your body will thank you later.

Big Backside = Long Life

Can we all agree that we get weaker as we get older? I'm pretty sure common sense would say your muscles don't hang around if you aren't using them.

In the science world strength declines at a very fast rate after the age of 40. So for example, a man 55 years young, even if he was an Olympic gold medal winner in weightlifting at 24, will typically lose 30-33% of the strength levels he had three decades before.

Your backside. Your rump. Your bum. Your derriere. Your backside.

When you neglect to save the largest muscle of the body we create some major issues.

The biggest reason why the glutes shut down is due to inactivity. A muscle will quit working properly if you fail to consistently activate it. It will also stop working suitably if you fail to regularly activate it to its capacity.

If your glutes are not strong, your entire lower body alignment may fall out of balance. Have you ever seen anyone walking bent over? Or how about anyone that sits in a chair and their lower back is screaming in pain?  Weak glutes can lead to issues such as ACL injuries, Achilles tendinitis, shin splints, runner’s knee and IT band pain.

If the glutes are not strong enough to do their job then something has to do it for them. Other muscles will take over that work load. Which is not a good thing. The hamstrings, low back, quadriceps and calves may become over active and that can increase your risk of injury.

Strong glutes support the back. When your glutes aren’t activating as they should, your psoas muscle, a hip flexor muscle that runs from the spine to the legs, takes over. An overstressed psoas causes back pain and compression in the lower lumbar vertebrae of the spine.

Not all back pain is a result of weak glutes, but it can be a contributing factor.

I love the hip thrust exercise. It can be scaled to any fitness level and can activate glutes through a full range of motion.

One thing I like about them is that there’s a fast learning curve so clients tend to pick them up fast. They can be a little awkward at first but I’ve found some ways to improve the experience that I hope you’ll find helpful.

Pause each rep for a second at the top to help ensure that you're coming all the way up and achieving full extension. Pausing will also ensure that you’re using glutes to do the work instead of the lower back.

Position your feet in such a way that when you're at the top of the movement your shins are perpendicular to the floor.

Sometimes you will push through your toes which don't activate glutes to their full capacity. Instead your quads take too much of the load. To ensure that you are targeting glutes you should try to lift your toes off the ground. Or try to pick your toes up within your shoes.

Here's a video of a perfectly performed hip thrust.

Why Should You Go Buy New Shoes

With the invention of smarter, fancier, and innovative pedometers walking more steps everyday has taken off. It is not uncommon for someone to look on their wrist to see how many steps they've taken throughout the day. Walking is one of the safest and easiest ways to add movement and increase your non-exercise activity throughout the day. 

If you are going to walk 10,000 steps in a day you should ensure that you are walking well and have the correct shoes on your feet. 

Walking with lower back pain, bunions and calluses on your feet is not a symptom of hard work. Those are symptoms of poor walking technique, and tissue restrictions. 

One of the amazing things about the body is that it can adapt and you have the power to bring it back to great form. 

Today I want to address an overlooked topic which is the type of shoes you invest in. The sneakers you select can make a huge difference in how you perform your fitness and leisure activity. Besides sitting incorrectly, your biggest enemy to good walking is the wrong shoes. Your feet are a marvelous feat of engineering. But they aren't designed for all the high heels, artificial support and never ending inches of foam cushioning. 

Well, what shoes are bad?

Enemy #1
High Heels
High heels limit the range of motion at the ankle. Take a moment and think about standing on your toes all day. That causes your heel cords and calves to be in a shortened position (flexed). When you start to miss out on ankle range of motion your body will compensate by turning your feet out. Walking in high heels also pushes your center of mass forward which puts unwanted stress on your spine. My tip would be to reserve them for special occasions only if you can. 

Enemy #2
Dress Shoes
Yes they are shiny and look amazing with a nice pair of slacks. You look distinguished and dapper. Like high heels, this type of shoe has firm heel caps and stiff leather which kills ankle mobility. Stiff shoes ruin your sense of your foot position and movement. They destroy your walking mechanics by making you feel comfortable with striking the ground with only the heel of your foot. 

Enemy #3
Cushioned Athletic Shoes
These shoes are popular. At some point the shoe world got a hold of us and led us to believe that we should feel like we are walking on air. That soft cushion gives you a false sense of reality because they can absorb the shock generated by poor mechanics. But cushy shoes only exaggerate all the negative adaptations that come along with walking poorly. I'll put it like this. What if you walked around with padded gloves on your hands all day? It would effect how you picked things up off the ground and it might even lead to some carelessness because you had this tool that was protecting you. 

Enemy #4
Flip Flops
When you wear flip flops you have to clench your big toes to keep the shoes on your feet. How can that not change the way you walk? I love that flip flops are flat but you are not reaping the benefits by clenching your feet in order to take a step. Common injuries are achilles problems, plantar fasciitis, and overly stiff ankles

Shoes should provide grip and protection from sharp objects. They shouldn't change the way our biomechanics operate.  

When I rehab poor walking mechanics the first thing I recommend is being barefoot as often as possible. It improves your balance, posture and gives you better self awareness. Don't be the creepy person in the grocery store with no shoes on. But you can def start by not wearing shoes around the house. 

I get that shoes are about style. But there are companies out there that understand people are getting a grasp on this health kick. More zero drop shoes are coming to market now. Cross Fit Nano, New Balance Minimus, Merrell Trail Glove and the Nike MetCon are some of my favorites. 

I'm sure you have a job that might permit you to wear a dress shoe. But is it possible to change out of them at your work station? Wearing high heels, dress shoes, or flip flops a few hours a week won't hurt you. But if you are wearing them day in and day out then we have some work to do to restore your good foot mechanics. 

Why Has Human Movement Has Gone Downhill?

For nearly 200,000 years, Homo sapiens spent the majority of their time on the move. If they wanted something to eat, they had to hunt for it or dig it up out the ground. If they wanted to travel, they had to get there by foot. 

That sort of movement sounds exhausting to us now. 


In a study done in 2014 at Arizona State University it was reported that Americans today spend an average of 13 hours a day sitting.

When we sit for long periods the muscles in our lower body literally turn off and become inactive. We stop utilizing critical muscles and connective tissue that stabilize the trunk and the spine. All sorts of problems result from this compromised body function. Things like carpel tunnel, neck and back issues and pelvic floor dysfunction. 

The Centers of Disease Control reports that we are spending 75 cents of every health care dollar on chronic conditions linked to sedentary behavior, like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. According to the National Institutes of Health, back pain affects 8 of 10 people in their lifetime, and it is the leading cause of disability world wide. In the United States we spend almost 1 billion treating back pain and 20 billion in employer cost treating carpel tunnel annually. 

Your body has a canny way of adapting to poor positions. If you sit and allow your back to round forward or arch backward your tissues and joints will sort of cast around that posture. This will make it increasingly difficult for you to get into better positions later. 

Often times I hear people saying exercise is the cure. Unfortunately, they are wrong. 

Let's walk through this together. If you take 10,000 steps a day (the usual recommendation all the fitness tracking active people use) which is 70,000 thousand steps in a week. In 10 years that is 36 million steps. Imagine for a moment that every one of those steps were taken with poor mechanics. Let's say you took every one of those steps walking like a duck, or your arch collapses. The body can handle a great deal of stress but eventually the system breaks down. 

You can't outwork bad habits.

How do we fix this? Physical therapist and best selling author Dr. Kelly Starrett is someone whom I look up to and he laid out some neat bullet points in his most recent book, "Deskbound." He has been studying this phenomenon for over 20 years and here are some of the great points he made in his book. 

1. Reduce optional sitting in your life.
Switch to a standing desk if you can. Even if you work in a cubicle equipped with a built in desk you can throw a couple boxes on top of the desk. If this is not an option then try ways to stand rather than sit during leisure time. Instead of watching tv on the couch, watch it on the floor and stretch while you catch up on your favorite shows.

2. For every 30 minutes that you are desk bound, move for at least 2 minutes. 
Even if it is just a stroll around the office. Moving will help. 

3. Prioritize position and mechanics whenever you can.
You were not a great driver the first time you got behind the wheel. It took practice. We have to look at proper position as good nutrition for the body.

4. Perform 10-15 minutes of daily maintenance on your body. 
Like brushing your teeth, self maintenance will be more effective if you commit to a daily practice. Your muscles didn't get tight overnight. It took years of moving incorrectly and ignoring your tissue restrictions that leave you feeling like a complete mess. 

You may need to relearn how to stand, how to sit and walk properly again. There is a positive upside to this work you are going to put in. Imagine being pain free and being able to move again like when you were a child. What will your life look like with no pain?

We must stand up to a sitting world. 

How To Mentally Deal With Injuries

At some point in our life we all face some kind of injury. Though I don’t know the statistics on injuries sustained at work or during exercise, I’m going to figure that a substantial portion of people sustain a serious injury at some point in their careers. When I was a personal trainer in corporate clubs I regularly worked with people of all sorts helping them recover and return to their exercise regimen or work better than ever. Finally, having recovered from a serious injury during my own career as a torn ACL, I learned first hand how difficult recovering from a serious injury is.

Accept that getting hurt sucks and you will feel bad at times, especially early in your recovery when you’re more disabled than working toward recovery. You will not be able to do the normal things to which you are accustomed. You will be in pain. You’ll feel frustrated, angry, and depressed. You’ll want to curl up in a ball and withdraw from life. These reactions are normal and, to some degree, healthy, as you have to allow yourself to grieve for your loss.

At the same time, if you allow yourself to stay in that funk for too long, you will surely slow your recovery. So, after a short time, get over your “pity party” and get your mind on your recovery; keep focused on the present and the future. I remember being so torn about my injury but my trainer told me, "It's not about how you get hurt, it's how you come back from being hurt." The day after my surgery I showed up for therapy and had no idea what to expect. The problem is that rehab hurts (a lot!), is boring, tiring, monotonous, in other words, it gets old fast. That’s why so many people that have injuries end up either shortening or skipping rehab sessions, or not putting in their best effort. The result: slowed or incomplete recovery.

I have seen injuries save a lot of people as well. It seems weird right? Think of it this way. Getting injured can teach you to be tough, endure hardship, and really find your motivation for goals. Injuries can also enable you to focus on areas of your body that have been weaknesses, but you simply haven’t had time to work on them. Your low back injury may cause you to focus on strengthening your core, and stretching your hamstrings. Your knee injury might slow you down so you work on your quad strength and ankle/calf flexibility. The goal is for you to return to your job or exercise program physically better than you were before.

Mental imagery can also play a major role in your mental recovery from an injury as well. Imagery is not just something that goes on in your head. In fact, it connects your mind and your body and, amazingly, activates muscles in the same way as when you are actually performing exercise or physical labor on your job. Research has shown that you can improve your skills without actual training by engaging in regular mental imagery.

The bottom line is when you get seriously injured, it is a real bummer. But what is an even bigger problem is not returning fully or as quickly as possible to your exercise program or job. For you to return to better than before, you need to do everything possible to facilitate your recovery. That means following your physical rehab program to the letter. But you also need to develop a habit of conjuring up healthy thoughts to foster a full recovery as well. This will allow your body and your mind to be fully recovered and prepared for your job and exercise program.

Tips for helping your shoulder problems

One of the issues being a modern human is that you end up living in the front of your shoulder capsule. If you spend any amount of time driving or working at a computer, chances are good that your shoulders have been resting in the fronts of the capsules to such an extent that your posterior shoulder capsules are extremely tight. This causes two problems. It makes it difficult to pull your shoulders to the backs of the sockets (achieve correct posture), and causes you to lose the capacity to generate effective rotation in your shoulders (achieve a full range of motion). This video just shows some simple mobilization techniques that help loosen bad tissue in your lats, traps, triceps and pecs so you can get back into those basic shapes that the shoulder makes pain free. [embed][/embed]

Are You Too Old To Exercise?

Your mind may actually be your biggest hurdle to staying fit and athletic well into your 80s and 90s, especially if you buy into the myth that you've got to spend your afternoons siting in a rocking chair once you reach 75. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not everyone has to become  a world class athlete to stay in shape. Exercise can be a part of your life no matter what your age, and, in fact, becomes only increasingly important as you get older. There's an overwhelming amount of evidence confirming that physical exercise is a key player in disease reduction, optimal mental, emotional and physical health, and longevity. After reviewing a few papers published between 2006 and 2010, researchers found that exercise reduces the risk of about two dozen health conditions, ranging from cancer and heart disease to type 2 diabetes, stroke, dementia and depression. Exercise also slows down the rate of aging itself, providing perhaps the closest example of a real life fountain of youth as we will ever find.

Ideally, you will have made exercise a regular part of your life long before you reach your "golden" years. But if you haven't, there's no better time to start than the present. Research has shown that regular exercise, even initiated late in life, offers profound health benefits. For instance:

  1. Even a small amount of exercise may protect the elderly from long-term memory loss and even help reverse some of the effects of aging.
  2. Women between the ages of 75 and 85, all of whom had reduced bone mass or full-blown osteoporosis, were able to lower their fall risk with strength training and agility activities.
  3. Moderate exercise among those aged 55-75 may cut the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which increases heart disease and diabetes risk.
  4. Among those who started exercising at age 50 and continued for 10 years, the rate of premature death declined dramatically, similar to giving up smoking and mirroring the level as seen among people who had been working out their entire lives.
  5. Exercise significantly improved muscle endurance and physical capacity among heart failure patients with an average age of 76.

Further, the older you get, the faster your muscles atrophy if you're not regularly engaging in appropriate exercise, so the key to avoiding sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) is to challenge your muscles with appropriately intense exercise. Age-related muscle loss affects about 10-20 percent of those over 60, with higher rates as age advances, but you can prevent this from occurring if you exercise.

Exercise is a key to remaining steady on your feet as you get older, which is of incredible importance because not only are falls responsible for most fractures and traumatic brain injuries among the elderly, but those who fall can also develop an intense fear of falling again, which leads them to limit their activities and in turn increases their risk of falling even more.

So while it may seem like exercises to improve balance and strength are optional as you get older, they should really be viewed as a necessity like eating and sleeping. Exercise can literally become a life saver. As you get older your muscle and bone mass decreases and the senses that guide your balance, vision, touch, and proprioception may all start to deteriorate. This can make you unsteady on your feet. By taking the time to do balance, strength and other exercises on a regular basis you can keep your sense of balance strong, and even restore what's already been lost. In a study published 3 years ago, eight weeks of balance training reduced slips and improved the likelihood of recovery from slips among the elderly. Separate research, noted that altered balance is the greatest collaborator towards falls in the elderly. They found balance training is effective in improving functional and static balance, mobility and falling frequency in elderly women with osteoporosis.

So finally you can put the, "I'm too old." -- statement to rest please. Now you lead by example for your own family and show them that it is never to late to begin exercising.

References. Ambrose, L. (2004). Reistance and agility training reduce fall risk in women aged 75 to 85 with low bone mass: A 6 month randomized controlled trial. Pub Med, 5(52), 655-657. Retrieved from

Why sitting all day is detrimental to your health

You probably don’t need an expert to tell you that sitting around too much could lead to a sore back or a spare tire. It is widely believed, though, that if you watch your diet and do aerobic exercise at least a few times a week, you can effectively offset your sedentary time. However, research has clearly shown that we cannot counter a pack a day smoking habit simply by jogging. In short, exercise is not a perfect antidote for sitting. Sitting itself probably isn’t any worse than other types of daytime physical inactivity, like lying on the couch watching your favorite sitcom. But for most of us, when we’re awake and not moving, we’re sitting. Most of us have heard that sitting is unhealthy. But many of us also have discounted the warnings, since we spend our lunch hours conscientiously visiting the gym. We consider ourselves sufficiently active. But then we drive back to the office, settle at our desks and sit for the rest of the day. We are, in a phrase adopted by physiologists, ‘‘active couch potatoes.’’ The first law of thermodynamics is the thermodynamic expression of the principle of the conservation of energy and states that when energy is added to a system, it is either stored or used to perform work. Applying this physical law to living entities, such as animals, provides us with the conclusion that when total energy intake is greater than energy expenditure, excess energy will be stored as body fat. The physiological states of overweight and obese are a consequence of cumulative excesses in caloric intake.

Since the 1970s, whereas the average height of American men and women has increased, the average weight has increased 25 pounds. It is tempting to attribute the increase in average weight to changes in population demographics, i.e., “middle age spread,” from aging baby boomers. However, no category of individuals has escaped without weight gain, as reflected in the trend of mean weight for both men and women. Similar trends can be seen in data from children and adolescents. Thus, it is not simply that more people are overweight or obese; the entire population is gaining weight.

So where does sitting for most of the day come into place with all this research? If you spend too much of your time in a chair, your glute muscles will actually forget how to fire. Sort of like gluteal amnesia. Your glutes are your largest muscle group. So if they aren’t functioning properly, you won’t be able to perform basic shapes and probably won’t be able to squat or deadlift as much weight. This will result in you not being able to burn as much fat. Bottom line is, muscles burn calories and your glutes are a powerful furnace for fat burning capabilities.

Weak glutes as well as tight hip flexors cause your pelvis to tilt forward. This puts stress on your lumbar spine, resulting in lower-back pain. It also pushes your belly out, which gives you a protruding gut even if you don't have an ounce of fat. "The changes to your muscles and posture from sitting are so small that you won't notice them at first. But as you reach your 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond, they'll gradually become a lot harder to fix."

The chair you're sitting in now is likely contributing to the problem. The spine wasn't meant to stay for long periods in a seated position. Generally speaking, the slight S shape of the spine serves us well. If you think about a heavy weight on a C or S, which is going to collapse more easily? When you sit, the lower lumbar curve collapses, turning the spine's natural S-shape into a C, hampering the abdominal and back musculature that support the body. The body is left to slouch, and the lateral and oblique muscles grow weak and unable to support it. This causes problems with other parts of the body. When you're standing, you're bearing weight through the hips, knees, and ankles. When you're sitting, you're bearing all that weight through the pelvis and spine, and it puts the highest pressure on your back discs.

So what's a desk jockey to do? Think in terms of two spectrums of activity. One represents the activities you do that are considered regular exercise. But another denotes the amount of time you spend sitting versus the time you spend on your feet. Every day, make the small choices that will help move you in the right direction on that sitting-versus-standing spectrum. Stand while you're talking on the phone. It all adds up, and it all matters.

Of course, there's a problem with all of this: It kills all our lame excuses for not exercising (no time for the gym, the gym is too far away, a rerun of The Office you haven't seen). Now we have to redefine "workout" to include every waking moment of our days. But there's a big payoff: more of those days to enjoy in the future. So get up off your chair and start non-exercising.


References Levine, J., Schleusner, S., & Jensen, M. (2000). Energy Expenditure of Nonexercise Activity. American Society for Clinical Nutrition, 72(6), 1451-1454. Retrieved from Charts from the American Time Use Survey. (2015, October 26). Retrieved from Owen, N., Bauman, A., & Brown, W. (2009). Too Much Sitting: A Novel and Important Predictor of Chronic Disease Risk? British Journal of Sports Medicine, (43), 81-83. doi:10



Why I don't believe RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) works

For most of my career as a health and fitness professional, the acronym “RICE” was thrown around by my professors, therapist, and physicians as a method of controlling inflammation and preventing injury. This post explores what I believe to be one of the biggest issues in the health and fitness industry. Lifelong learning is what I am about and with that, I am eager to change my approach if the science supports it. And if that means proving myself wrong at times, then I am okay with that. Icing areas of the body that have too much inflammation has been the norm for a long time. Growing up as an athlete, we were always told to go to the trainer’s room to ice down a sprained ankle or other minor injury. Soon after that we are popping over the counter fixes to speed up the healing process. Fast forward and now we have new ideas on inflammation and how our bodies naturally heal. Why are we using ice? The goal is to reduce inflammation right? But inflammation is the latter portion of a multi-step process. So are we saying that we are better at regulating the inflammatory response than the body is naturally? This is where science meets logic and I began to question these methodologies as I looked into more recent research on the inflammation process and its role in the healing process. Let’s talk about the inflammation response so we can gather a little background.

The role of inflammation in the process of healing has been misunderstood for many years. Recent neurological and immunological research has shed light on its importance in the human healing process. A clear shift in science is taking inflammation away from being the enemy of health and a condition to be suppressed and/or eliminated, to one in which its importance and role is allowed to proceed. The inflammatory response is a natural defense mechanism that is triggered whenever body tissues are damaged in any way. Most of the body defense elements are located in the blood and inflammation is the means by which body defense cells and defense chemicals leave the blood and enter the tissue around the injured or infected site. Inflammation occurs in response to physical trauma, intense heat and irritating chemicals, as well as to infection by viruses and bacteria. The inflammatory response:

(1) prevents the spread of damaging agents to nearby tissues (2) disposes of cell debris and pathogens and (3) sets the stage for the repair process.

The inflammatory process begins with chemical “alarms” - a series of inflammatory chemicals that are released in the extracellular fluid. Consequently, exudates - fluid containing proteins such as clotting factors and antibodies - seeps from the bloodstream into the tissue spaces. This exudate is the cause of the local edema or swelling that in turn, presses on adjacent nerve endings, contributing to a sensation of pain. Pain also results from the release of bacterial toxins, lack of nutrition to the cells in the area. If the swollen and painful area is a joint, normal movement may be inhibited temporarily in order for proper healing and repair to occur. Although at first, edema may seem to be detrimental to the body, but when you look at the science it clearly isn’t. The entry of protein-rich fluids into the tissue spaces (1) helps to dilute harmful substances, which may be present (2) brings in large quantities of oxygen and nutrients necessary for the repair process, and (3) allows the entry of clotting proteins which form a gel-like fibrin mesh in the tissue space that effectively isolates the injured area and prevents the spread of bacteria and other harmful agents into the adjacent tissues. It also forms a scaffolding for permanent repair.

So what should we do? We have to first understand that ice does not get rid of inflammation. It can bring core temperature down so we feel less pain but it also impedes the process of healing the affected tissue. We need to allow the lymphatic system do its job and restore our tissues to normal function. The lymphatic system serves several functions but the most important in this case is that it controls fluid balance by draining and cleansing the fluids that leave the circulatory system to deliver nutrients and gases to the tissues. In the circulatory system, our blood passes through the arteries, arterioles, and then the capillaries. The capillary walls allow the fluid portion of the blood to exit the capillaries into the surrounding tissues. Once the fluid leaves the capillaries, it is called interstitial fluid. About 90% of this fluid will diffuse back into the capillaries because of the difference in concentrations of the fluid. However, about 10% of the fluid will enter the open-ended lymph vessels. These vessels eventually deliver the lymph to locations where it can be cleansed of debris and checked for the presence of pathogenic organisms. How the lymph gets there is pretty amazing. There is no heart for this system of vessels to pump the lymph around. So, the lymph moves throughout your body by moving your skeletal muscles. The contraction of skeletal muscles squeezes the nearby lymph vessels, “pumping” the lymph through these vessels which helps us get rid of inflammation naturally.

Based on this recent research and approaching inflammation as a natural part of the healing process, here are some things that are actually effective in helping the body respond naturally:

1) Compression: Wrap the injured area in a light ace bandage. Doing this will help with stability of the area and also increase the body's ability to filter good oxygenated blood to the area. 2) Heat: Sitting in a hot tub or using a mild or low heat heating pad will also assist in filtering good oxygenated blood to the area. 3) Using Skeletal Muscles to your benefit: If the area is able to work under little to mild restriction of range of motion, try performing some very light exercise. Utilizing our ability to squeeze skeletal muscles at or around the injured area can also help the body deal with the inflammation naturally. 4) Electrical Muscle Stimulator: The use of these devices has increased dramatically in the last 15 years. They are now sold almost everywhere and can be beneficial in helping the body use skeletal muscles to help the lymphatic system do its amazing job.

References Wassung, K. (n.d.). The Role of Inflammation in the Healing Process. Retrieved from