Habits & Health episode 77 with Rick Olderman, a sports and orthopedic physical therapist with more than 25 years experience specialising in helping people with chronic pain experience a pain-free life. He wants to show you how to live completely pain-free without the need for medication.
Don’t forget, there is a transcript of every episode (scroll down the page).
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77 – Rick Olderman
[00:00:00] Tony Winyard: Habits Health episode 77.
[00:00:14] Tony Winyard: Habits and health my guest today Rick Olderman How you doing Rick?
[00:00:18] Rick Olderman: I’m great. Tony, thank you.
[00:00:20] Tony Winyard: and where are you Rick?
[00:00:22] Rick Olderman: I’m in Denver, Colorado.
[00:00:24] Tony Winyard: And is that where you’re from?
[00:00:25] Rick Olderman: I grew up in Ohio and we don’t have mountains out in Ohio I discovered them out here in Colorado and haven’t left since.
[00:00:32] Tony Winyard: There’s quite a few mountains in Colorado isn’t
[00:00:34] Rick Olderman: Yeah. Yeah. There’s a few.
[00:00:36] Tony Winyard: So are you a ski
[00:00:38] Rick Olderman: No I snowboard a little bit, but as I’ve gotten older because I’ve never been very good at snowboarding I’ve become more scared of it. So now I’m more into fishing, hiking, things like that instead of, falling.
[00:00:50] Tony Winyard: right and before we started recording we got into a conversation about order The same places that we’ve lived in and it seemed to be around the same sort of time So I know you’ve done a great deal of traveling You were in Asia and Africa many other places and that was when you were quite young it sounds like?
[00:01:06] Rick Olderman: Yeah. So that was before my PT or physical therapy career choice. And maybe like you, I was wandering, trying to figure out what am I gonna do with my life? And I thought for sure these answers are gonna come when I’m traveling, but they didn’t.
[00:01:23] Tony Winyard: I’m guessing you learn a lot from the traveling
[00:01:26] Rick Olderman: Oh, yes. I learned a lot about myself and the traveling helped foster an intuitive sense in me because traveling on my own I really got in touch with what I was feeling, what I was thinking. If something wasn’t quite right on my radar, I became very good at reading people. Even though I couldn’t understand the language, I could understand them.
And so those skills I’ve brought to physical therapy as well, which has have helped me quite a bit.
[00:01:59] Tony Winyard: So you mentioned physical therapy so you went back to the us And is that when you decided physical therapy and if so what was the reason
[00:02:07] Rick Olderman: Yeah. Yeah, I moved back to the us still, no clue as to what I was gonna do with my life. But I moved out to Colorado. I developed a friend and she mentioned physical therapy that her father was going through physical therapy. And I was just like, oh, what’s that? Because growing up on a farm in Ohio, We don’t hear of these kinds of things.
when you get hurt, you just suck it up and wait a little while. So anyway, I explored that and at the same time I happened to have also injured my back And one of the therapists that I was volunteering at the clinic I had the volunteer at this clinic to get into PT school. He treated my back and it went away, but it came back.
I realized that, if I was really gonna fix this thing, I’d have to go to PT school to see what the insider secrets were. Turns out there are no insider secrets or they weren’t taught to me anyway. And this is the general message I have about people’s expectation of their medical providers is that in, in our education, we’re taught to identify tissues that are painful. And treat those tissues, but we’re not the focus isn’t really on why those tissues are painful, that was really missing. And that ended up being the reason why I was not successful as a PT, initially graduated from PT school, simple things like sprains and strains and post-surgery were easy, but anyone who came in with back pain, sciatic, pain, neck pain, headaches, any chronic kind of issue.
I had really no idea because to solve those, you have to understand why they’re happening. And so that’s what my journey these last 25 years has been about. Understanding is pulling different areas of research together and understanding the whys behind all of this.
[00:03:48] Tony Winyard: want to dive in more into what you just said but one of the things that came to my mind as you were speaking is one area that I get confused with And my assumption is that many of the public have the same confusion It’s what’s the difference between a PT chiropractor osteopath and so on
[00:04:08] Rick Olderman: Yeah an osteopath is a medically medical school trained doctor who has a MD degree, but they focus on more typically manipulations and things like that. Like a chiropractor focuses they are not medically school trained. They have their own professional school that they go to.
And their focus is I believe their foundation of their understanding is that everything emanates from the spine and that manipulating the spine, corrects all things, not only in the spine outwardly too. Physical therapy is now trending more towards chiropractic work where manipulations are becoming more and more important.
And in what we do with treating people, but we chiropractors don’t for instance, don’t work in hospitals, or pediatrics or things like that typically, whereas physical therapists, because we’re. Trained in the medical system. We can, we work in hospitals, pediatric clinics, neurological issues with strokes and brain injuries and things like that.
We, we have a big umbrella of services that we can provide other than just orthopedic issues.
[00:05:19] Tony Winyard: Right
[00:05:19] Rick Olderman: But I believe that the direction that physical therapy has been going these past 20 or so years is the wrong direction because we’re becoming more and more specific to components of the. Manipulations.
Oh, you’ve got a rotated vertebra, oh, let’s solve that rotated vertebra. And while that’s nice to solve a rotation or an alignment issue, it’s not addressing the why’s behind those rotation and alignment issues.
And I found I don’t do those types of manipulations and I don’t have to, because I fix the reasons they’re happening and those things melt.
Permanently. So that’s been my approach. That’s different than typical physical therapy or chiropractic or osteopathic, or almost all medical, strictly medical approaches
[00:06:04] Tony Winyard: Yeah Yeah
[00:06:05] Rick Olderman: because I’ve been drilling down deeply into why all of this is happening and solving that.
[00:06:10] Tony Winyard: And how do you find out why it happened is that an easy process?
[00:06:13] Rick Olderman: It is for me now that I understand how everything works together. But basically it, intuitively Tony, you might think if you have a chronic pain issue, it must have something to do with how you’re using your body.
All right. So if we just build off of that basic premise, then you can find the answers.
The problem is that. We tend to give the responsibility to solving our problems to an outside source, like a doctor or PT or a chiropractor massage therapist, whoever, and we say, please fix me. They’re gonna fix you according to their training, but hardly any of that training really is about understanding how you’re using your body is causing whatever they’re finding is wrong.
[00:06:58] Tony Winyard: Because that the pain is a cry for help from the body Isn’t it really
[00:07:02] Rick Olderman: It is a cry for help. And so this is one of the disturbing things is that I’ve been reading more and more articles that describe pain as a disease, chronic pain as a disease. I don’t believe it is a disease. We’re describing it as a disease because we struggle so hard in our Western medical thought to solve it.
So we think, oh, there must be something internal here, a disease process that’s happening because we can’t solve this.
It’s not a disease. The reason we can’t solve it is because we’re not understanding our body, how our bodies work as a system. And so this is built into our training because our training is really all built on research.
Everything must be evidence based. The only way that you can research something is if you isolate one aspect of, and drill down on that and look at that through this tiny microscope kind of thing.
[00:07:53] Tony Winyard: Right
[00:07:53] Rick Olderman: So now we understand that one pixel of the body, but we don’t understand no one’s putting all of this back into a bigger picture of how we work as a system.
[00:08:03] Tony Winyard: right
[00:08:03] Rick Olderman: And so that’s what I’ve been doing is putting these pixels together to create the image of who we are and how we. Which has made all the difference. Chronic pain can be rapidly eliminated whether you’ve had it for 20 days or 20 years, you’re right. It’s a cry that something is wrong with the body and that’s happening now, and if you fix it now, your pain will be gone.
Now it doesn’t take six months or two years to figure that out for that to happen.
[00:08:36] Tony Winyard: So in the way you go about so yeah as you mentioned you try and find out what the root cause is in the first place And then treating that And so when you are treating it is it simply a case of doing things with depending on obviously where the pain is emanating from but do you also look at things like nutrition and stress and sleep and so on as well
[00:08:59] Rick Olderman: Yeah. I do I’m not trained in nutrition, so I’m. That’s outside the scope of my practice. That’s not to say I don’t talk about nutrition to people, but I’m very limited in that scope. And I refer those people to dieticians or so forth, but I’ll give you an example. So most of your listeners, the listening right now probably have back pain.
[00:09:24] Tony Winyard: right
[00:09:25] Rick Olderman: All right. That’s the most common type of injury. And I’ll show you exactly what I’m talking about, how I solve. So we’ll start with one simple test. I’ll ask your listeners to lie down on the ground or on our couch or on their bed. And I want their legs to be straight when they do this. So everyone lie down on your backs now and with your legs straight and let’s stay there for about 10 or 15 seconds.
[00:09:50] Tony Winyard: right
[00:09:51] Rick Olderman: And while you’re there, I want you to notice and the reason I’m doing this, Tony is because most people listening to me will say, oh yeah, that makes sense. But until you feel the reality of what I’m talking about in your own body, you won’t really know the truth of why you’re having pain.
So this test is a real simple way of knowing exactly why you’re having pain and then I’ll show you how to get started eliminating it. So you’ve been lying on your backs with. With your legs straight and you can feel what your low back feels like right now. Now, what I’m gonna ask you to do is bend your knees.
So your feet are flat on the ground and, or you can hug them to your chest. If that feels better either way. So what you’re basically doing is comparing, Hey, do my, does my back feel better when my legs are straight, when I’m lying down or when my knees are bent and I’m lying down 99% of the people listening to you, right?
Who have back pain will say, my back feels better when my knees are bent
[00:10:49] Tony Winyard: Right
[00:10:50] Rick Olderman: simple as that. What is that telling us? It’s telling us what first of all, what’s happening when their knees are bent versus when they’re straight. If you straighten out your legs again, you’re gonna notice that your back seems to want to arch off the floor a little bit more when your legs are straight and when your knees are bent, your back wants to flatten towards the. and that your back feels a lot better like that. So what we’ve just found is that one component of your back pain is that your back is either too arched or there are too many things trying to pull it into an arch and that your back feels better when it’s flatter, or we eliminate those things that are trying to pull it into an arch. So it’s as simple as that. And usually it’s not so much that your back is too arched. It’s usually the forces are trying to pull it into too much of an arch. So how does this work in the real world? If all of your listeners now stand up and listen to your podcast and they’re just standing there, normally they will notice that they tend to lock their knees backwards, or they lock their knees straight when they’re standing. So if you’re standing there, go ahead and lock your knees straight. If you’re not doing that already and feel what happens to your. How does your back feel in this position? Now just soften the knees, just a tad, just unlock them. You don’t have to bend them, but you just have to not lock them, feel what just happened to your back like that.
So if you’re not sure then lock your knees again and you’ll feel that when you lock your knees, your back arches, and when you unlock your knees, your back softens.
[00:12:17] Tony Winyard: Alright
[00:12:17] Rick Olderman: We just found out on the floor that your back feels worse when your back is more arch.
And now we just found out that your normal way of standing is when you lock is to lock your knees
[00:12:26] Tony Winyard: right
[00:12:27] Rick Olderman: probably when you’re walking too.
So if we can eliminate this one little tiny habit that will start to eliminate some of your back pain, probably within two or three days, if you can focus on this, you will notice that a large percentage of your back pain may go away. And so I’ve got lots of patient stories I can tell about just this one thing has made a huge difference in a lot of people with chronic back pain.
So this is how I look at the body. So it’s not enough though, that we soften an ease. We then have to stretch or strengthen the muscles that have become tight or weak because of how you’ve been using your body. And that are contributing to those forces, trying to pull the back into an.
[00:13:11] Tony Winyard: Right
[00:13:12] Rick Olderman: So to answer your question, I solve pain on a, with a one, two punch.
One is fixing the reasons how you’re moving is contributing to this pain in your body and solving those problems, and then fixing the tighter, weak muscles that have occurred because of how you’re moving. That is contributing to that pain.
[00:13:32] Tony Winyard: And so you talked about how we are moving is contributing to that pain I’m guessing there’s a another big contribution to pain nowadays is the way people are using phones and constantly like looking down at the phone how much is that plan in pain
[00:13:47] Rick Olderman: Okay. So that’s now you’re getting into more, instead of low back pain, we’re getting more into neck pain, headaches, shoulder pain. So if your listeners are on their computers right now everyone Google the skeleton. All right. And if you look at the skeleton, you’ll see that at our pelvis, we have these broad flat bones
They’re called the ilium.
And so we all know that the pelvis is the center of function for our lower body. It’s how we balance walk, move all sorts of things and our back. But if you look up the skeleton, you’ll see that the shoulder blades are also broad, flat bone. Very similar to the pelvic bones. And so these types of bones are very unique in the body.
When you see them like this, it means that they are the foundational source of movement. So the shoulder blades are the center of movement for the upper body system and the neck just as the pelvis is for the lower body system. Reason that we have neck pain and headaches or chronic shoulder pain is not because of the neck or the head it’s because of the shoulder blades.
So if they are not working correctly, there are. And now if you all Googled muscles attaching to the shoulder blade, you’ll see that there are some massive muscles that run from the shoulder blade into the neck and the base of the skull. So when the shoulder blades aren’t working well, Then that stress is transmitted to the neck and the head and create neck, chronic neck pain and headaches.
And I would guess any of your listeners who are have chronic neck pain or headaches, or even shoulder pain, likely their practitioners have never even looked at their shoulder blades as the source of the problem. And this is where the problem is. That’s why you have chronic neck pain and. In fact, in my last 20 years, I can’t remember anyone I’ve treated with neck for chronic neck pain and headaches that has not had shoulder blade dysfunction as the source of their pain.
And when we fix it, it fixes their neck pain and headaches. So it would be easy to look to, to assume then that if we looking down at our phone all the time, that the phone is the problem, it’s not, it’s the neck and shoulder, upper body system that you’re bringing to looking at the phone that is the.
[00:16:00] Tony Winyard: And as you were speaking it made me think about Because what I mean I’m big into helping people with breath and I know the posture is hugely important for helping to breathe efficiently So could you speak to that and explain why that is so important
[00:16:17] Rick Olderman: Wow. This is a great question. All right. So posture and especially if a lot of your listeners have gone to yoga or Pilates, Or have a gymnastics background or dance background posture is taught in those disciplines. You should bring your shoulder blades down and back into their opposite back pockets to create a tall posture.
That is absolutely the wrong way to do it because the shoulder blades are not designed to create good posture.
That aesthetic has come in from dance. When we look at a dancer, we see these long beautiful necks and that’s become an aesthetic that we try to emulate in our societies to do that, and I don’t believe that this is a in traditional yoga. I don’t believe that this is a cue that traditional yoga. Involved is to bring the shoulder blades down and back to the opposite back pockets. I think that was brought in recently from this dance phenomena of having a pretty looking neck.
So what we have to do is because bringing your shoulder blades down and back to the opposite back pockets is actually stressing those muscles attaching from the shoulder blades into the neck and head, and it’s actually creating the problem. But if you ask someone to relax their shoulders, they’ll think that they’re slumping now because they’re not pulling them straight back.
All right. First of all you’ve created an abnormal sense of what good posture is because your shoulders are likely too pulled back and anything less than that, your brain is gonna send you warning signals to say, oh, but I’m slouching. It is not, you are not slouching when you are relaxing your shoulders.
You’re just not being Uber rigid in your posture any longer. And if, and this is what I always do with my patients who believe this, I have them turn sideways to a mirror. I say, okay, get into your normal posture. Here you are with your shoulders down and back in the back pocket. Look at yourself in the mirror from the side, and you look at it.
I said, now relax your shoulders. And I asked them to look at themselves again and they can’t tell a difference. why would you create all of this unnecessary contraction in a sensitive area when there’s really no difference between how you look with your shoulders relaxed versus when they’re pinned back to your spine? So really the way that we should be creating posture and this gets into core training. Is that I teach it in a way like this. Here’s how I de train the shoulders and train posture correctly. So if you put and you could do this too, Tony, you could put one hand up on your chest and one hand on your belly button
[00:18:54] Tony Winyard: yep
[00:18:55] Rick Olderman: and so breathe in deeply and you’ll feel that your chest, your ribcage rises.
And when you exhale, you’ll feel that it lowers. Okay. So with your listeners, you can try this at home, too, breathe in and feel your chest rise. Exhale. You’ll feel your ribcage lower. So this time breathe in again and you’ll feel your ribcage rise. But this time when you exhale, don’t let the ribcage fall all the way down.
It can fall 90% of the way down or 95%. But not that last 5%, just keep it up a tad. And what you’ll notice is that your stomach muscles have just engaged to do. So that is your core creating posture. That’s the way your body is designed to be. That’s all actually the core strengthening that you need. Is, you don’t need to do a thousand sit-ups or planks or anything like that.
You just need to hold your posture more correctly using your core. That will train you to have the strength that you need. Now, the second part of this is now you bring your arms down by your sides and you roll your shoulders around to relax them, get them out of that equation, cuz they don’t need to be there.
Most of your listeners will find that when they relax their shoulders, they’ve just lost their core engagement. And that’s because they’ve tied posture, shoulder, a tension to their posture, as opposed to core to their posture. So this would be the way that they can practice decoupling those two things and actually getting the core.
Now you don’t have to have this Uber tight core all the time. Cause if you feel that if you feel your core holding up your rib cage, you’ll feel like it’s really just a subtle contraction. Maybe three or 5% of what was, would be maximally possible. It’s just a, an engagement more than a contraction.
And if, and that’s all that you really need to create good posture, this will also help the low back too. So they could practice this. This alone may decrease a lot of chronic shoulder, neck pain and headaches.
[00:20:54] Tony Winyard: So if someone is doing a daily meditation practice for example what advice would you give someone Maybe They’re obviously trying to be relaxed in the meditation process They’re focusing on their breath many people are put off yoga meditation in the first place because of the way they believe they should sit as opposed to how rather than just enjoying it and not worrying about what tradition says the way you are supposed to sit when you meditate
[00:21:24] Rick Olderman: Are you talking about in terms of posture then?
[00:21:27] Tony Winyard: Yeah Yeah The Lotus and all that people
[00:21:29] Rick Olderman: Yeah. So you can sit in a Lotus position and sit with your core engaged correctly. In fact, it will help you sit in that position. but what you, if you meditate and you’re using your shoulder blades to create good posture, and then you keep trying to relax your shoulders and then find yourself slouching.
This is the conundrum that you’re in. Is that, wait a second, though, if I relax, I lose my posture, but that’s only because you’re using your shoulders to create posture. If you use your core to create posture, you’ll feel like I said, maybe a 3% engagement of your. That’s all that you really need to engage.
You can still breathe deeply while holding up the ribcage, inhaling and exhaling, and that you can practice that too. If you wanna learning how to breathe completely while holding the ribcage in the correct position, instead of using your shoulders to do that.
[00:22:23] Tony Winyard: And
[00:22:23] Rick Olderman: answer your question and.
[00:22:24] Tony Winyard: Yeah I’m just wondering So is it advisable or does it make any difference if someone is sitting in a yeah they’re meditating does it make a difference if they’re leaning against a wall or just sitting
Without leaning against anything
[00:22:37] Rick Olderman: I am not a champion meditator, but my inherent response is no, I don’t think it really matters. I think whatever helps you achieve, whatever it is you’re trying to achieve in meditation is the way that you should be sitting. So if you wanna meditate on learning how to create good posture by using your. Then it would be helpful not to use a wall. And, but if you want to meditate on with other objects in mind, then perhaps taking the whole core and shoulders under the whole equation. So you can think about something else might be the better way to do it.
[00:23:15] Tony Winyard: We started off this conversation talking about how you traveled around the east and China and so on and obviously you’ve been doing what you are the whole physical therapy now a long time Are you very familiar with how they look at these things in say China and how different is that to how we tend to look at this in the west
[00:23:33] Rick Olderman: Oh, yes. In fact, I’m reading I’m considering getting into Chinese.
[00:23:37] Tony Winyard: Right
[00:23:38] Rick Olderman: because that whole so it’s really interesting. I’m reading a fascinating book right now, and it describes our Western medical model as a mechanistic model, where the doctor is a mechanic, it will fix what’s broken.
And the. medicine approaches it as the doctor, as a gardener, it’s trying to cultivate an environment in which things will grow properly and weed. The things that aren’t, that’s a, so that approach is more geared towards creating it’s important about it’s an approach that is geared towards creating good. Whereas in Western medical models, we’re not about creating good health. We’re about fixing bad problems. And this aligns with me. Both align with me cuz I’m Western, medically trained, but I understand how these systems integrate too. And so that’s getting more into a little bit more of that Eastern pH.
[00:24:38] Tony Winyard: right
[00:24:39] Rick Olderman: And now I’ve also I’ve delved into the psychological, emotional trauma aspect of pain as well. And also the nutritional or things that we ingest types of things like mold, allergens and nutrition aspects and how that also contributes to pain. So that brings me more into that Eastern way.
And I’m fine with that. I’ve just never studied it, but I’m intrigued.
[00:25:03] Tony Winyard: And is that something
Would that take you a long time
How’d you plan to go about
[00:25:08] Rick Olderman: That’s a good question. I don’t know so right now I’m just reading books to understand it. And I do believe I’m gonna start taking courses in it though, because I know I have a person who has studied Oriental medicine for 20, 30 years now, and she’s a master and phenomenal. And I think that there are, everything’s a balance, right? I don’t think Oriental, and this, these books also say Oriental medicine. Doesn’t do what Western medicine does. But Western medicine doesn’t do what Oriental medicine does. And I think there’s gonna be a blend somewhere in the middle there
That I’ll just have to figure out myself like everything else I’ve done.
[00:25:53] Tony Winyard: When I was asking you about the user mobile phones and you talked about the neck pain and headaches and so on So if someone is getting a lot of neck pain and headaches what would you suggest what can they do to alleviate that
[00:26:08] Rick Olderman: First of all I would first review your history and see whether you have any old injuries in your shoulders from the past, because undoubtedly, and like I said, I haven’t treated anyone where that was not the case. Undoubtedly. And then review your practitioners who have tried to help. Where their focus has been likely your listeners will start to understand that.
Oh, yeah, no, one’s really looked up my shoulders and I do remember I had this old shoulder issue back in high school or elementary school or playing this sport or that sport or whatever, maybe there is a connection. So just starting to explore the, I, the possibility that your chronic issue could be in an area that no one’s ever looked in before. Will help them move forward with where they need to go.
Unfortunately, I haven’t trained any practitioners in the UK not many here in the us, although than the people who have worked in my clinic actually. But I’m, I’ve created an, a training program for practitioners, whether you’re yoga, Pilates, or whatever, physical therapist, chiropractor doctor, so that they can learn this approach.
But I think. Like what we were talking about with the back. It’s not only important that you solve your Habits that are creating these problems. You also have to solve the tight or weak muscles that have developed because of these Habits that you’ve created that are creating the problems. Changing your posture strategy will go a long way, which is what we’ve been talking about to starting to relax the system. That’s likely engaging the neck and headaches
On top of that. You’ll probably also have to there are other ergonomic changes that we can make, and we can talk about that too, but likely you’ll have to, there are some key exercises that will start to stretch the muscles that are caused that have become tight because of this. And then have, and then strengthen exercises that will strengthen the problem areas too. And I’ve created these downloadable home programs to, for, to take people through all of this to fix those tighter, weak muscles, to fix the Habits that are causing them. And then also in my programs, I also have taping techniques to quickly fix the system to get you out of pain immediately.
And. I have people, and this is how I did in my clinic. I would tape people, get them out the system, get ’em out pain immediately that shows them, proves to them that we’re working on the right system. Cuz they’re almost outta pain instantly. And then we fix the system and then we wean them from the tape as we fix the system.
[00:28:47] Tony Winyard: When you say tape
What do you mean
[00:28:50] Rick Olderman: Yeah. I, so you’ve probably seen those Olympic. Players with all this KT tape stuff on them and things like
[00:28:58] Tony Winyard: Alright
[00:28:59] Rick Olderman: while that tape is useful, I use a different type of tape, but it’s the same thing. We’re still changing how the body’s being used with the tape. So in the let’s go back to the neck pain and headaches issue.
The problem is the shoulder blade. So I’ve developed a taping technique to tape the shoulder blade into a better.
To immediately unload those connections, going to your neck and head to get you out of pain.
[00:29:25] Tony Winyard: No
[00:29:25] Rick Olderman: Does that answer your question? And so for the lower body system, I’ve developed taping techniques to fix, for instance, the locking knees or collapsing feet or things like that are contributing to that systemic breakdown as well.
[00:29:42] Tony Winyard: a
lot of people use gyms
And they’ll go to the gym and they
Won’t work with a personal trainer They’ll just go and do their own thing in the gym And Bit of this on that machine bit of this on that machine and without any kind of plan and can end up
What are the are there typical injuries
From people using gyms
[00:30:02] Rick Olderman: I see typical injuries, whether people have used personal trainers or not in gyms. As personal trainers are trained relatively the same, and they’re not aware of this systems approach. And that’s why I believe, if physical therapists, chiropractors and doctors can benefit from this training, it’s actually the yoga, Pilates and personal trainers and coaches that would benefit even more because that’s who people go to. To try to solve a problem, right? Or that’s who they go to when they think of changing their body in a big way, those are the people they go to first. So if they understood systems thinking, could conceivably get rid of chronic pain, which is my goal. If everyone understood this. So to answer your questions about Jim I’ve observed over the years, that people who are strong.
Believe that strengthening is the thing that they need to solve their pain and people who are flexible, believe that stretching is the thing that they need to solve their pain.
[00:31:02] Tony Winyard: right
[00:31:03] Rick Olderman: And there’s a balance. And and likely, so the way your body works is that your brain, you have trained your brain to identify a normal way of doing. We can demonstrate this. If you just clasp your fingers together like this, as if you’re praying now, Tony look and see which thumb is on top. Is it your left or your right? It’s your right one. Okay. Now uncla thumb and your listeners can do this at home too. Now, reclass them without looking at your hands, but put the opposite thumb on top. It takes a little bit of thought, doesn’t it. And now that you’re holding it here, it doesn’t feel quite right or natural.
And so your brain is, might think, oh, this is wrong. I shouldn’t be doing it like this. I like to do it the other way. But what if that other way was the way that was causing your pain
And this new way was the thing that was gonna solve your pain.
So what has happened is the way that you’ve used your body has become an unconscious habit in your brain. And it thinks that this is the way that it should be. But that’s actually what may be causing your pain. And so we have to change how you’re doing things, which will temporarily feel unnatural to your brain.
And it’s gonna send off warning signals, what we talked about with the posture and the shoulders and all that. Your brain’s gonna say no, this isn’t the way we do it. But your brain doesn’t understand that way is now causing you pain. And once you train it to understand that this new way.
Eliminates pain. Then your brain will develop that as an unconscious habit. Eventually, usually it takes a week or two and then you’ll be out of that trouble. And so I bring that up because when people go to a gym, they’re gonna be using those unconscious Habits that they’ve already created and reinforcing them now with more load and more repetition and more volume.
And so they’re likely. Digging themselves into a deeper grave in that regard
[00:33:11] Tony Winyard: So if you are Doing if there’s one particular exercise that you love for example and if you’re doing that regularly you are probably causing some kind of a problem long term
[00:33:22] Rick Olderman: likely likely. So
[00:33:24] Tony Winyard: unless it’s the whole body
[00:33:26] Rick Olderman: unless you’re using it correctly. Yeah. Cause you can do good exercises a lot and it feeds your body. If you know how to do things correctly, like walking or bending, things like that. Yeah. It just depends on how you’re doing it. Really. You can do great things with high repetition and volume and load as well and feed your body instead of breaking it down.
[00:33:48] Tony Winyard: You mentioned about the people who do strength training think they’re doing it right now People are doing stretching Think they’re doing it right And my understanding is there really has to be a balance between strength stretching or mobility and flexibility There has to be a balance between the three of them as far as I’m aware
[00:34:05] Rick Olderman: I believe you’re right. That balance is different with everybody
[00:34:09] Tony Winyard: Yeah
[00:34:10] Rick Olderman: There are people who are born with loose ligaments who need more strength, and less stretching. And and so forth, but really what it comes down to, in my opinion, Tony, is you have to understand the body that you have,
[00:34:22] Tony Winyard: right
[00:34:23] Rick Olderman: and you have to understand, the vulnerabilities that you have and solve those.
One person may need more strengthening while another needs more flexibility. It, it just really depends on the body that you’re bringing. And that’s why awareness is so important.
[00:34:37] Tony Winyard: How does someone get that awareness
[00:34:40] Rick Olderman: That’s what I’m trying to change. So through my training programs, but also my downloadable home programs, if if you do these exercises and they solve your pain, then that’s telling you, this is how I should be living my life
Because I go into again, the tighter, weak muscles, but also the Habits that are causing those tighter, weak muscle. And so if those Habits solve your pain and they probably will, then this is really how you should be conducting your life. More like whatever that recommendation was.
In, in the case of, and I just wanna bring this up, for instance, if someone has back pain on one side or their back, or they have sciatic pain in one of their legs or SI joint pain in, one side of their hip, this is also.
This is I refer to, they likely have something, what I call a side bending problem. So what happens is one side of the pelvis becomes higher and the same side ribcage becomes lower. And if you can imagine that you can imagine then that the low back on that side, where the pelvis is higher and the ribcage is lower, is becoming squished. All right. And so that then creates unilateral back pain and sciatic pain and a side joint pain because the nerve root’s actually in the. Go out of the spine and now are squished and then they create the sciatic issue or back pain or whatever, but really the, you have to ask yourself, why is that being, why is that pattern happening in me? And so the pattern typically is happening because of some problem in that side of your body
that you have not addressed correctly. So this brings in another area of research that I delved into to understand all of. Is, we are born with these deep rooted reflexes in our body, one of those reflexes is called a withdrawal reflex.
And if you go on YouTube and look up the type in baby withdrawal reflex, you’ll see that when they put a foot down on a table, they immediately retract it where they’re not just retracting it with their leg muscles. They’re retracting it with their waist muscles as well. And so we’ve got these hardwired reflex patterns built into. While we override those reflex patterns with our, as we develop, they’re still hardwired into us. And so if you step on a piece of glass, you’re gonna withdraw from that using the same reflex of pattern. But in a more subtle injury, like you have an old ankle injury or an old knee injury or an old hip injury, your brain will slowly develop that pattern to slowly get off of that.
And you won’t be aware you won’t have that knee jerk reaction. It’ll be a slow cumulative response. So you’ll develop this and then one day you wake up and you’re just like, oh my gosh, what’s this low back pain. Why am I having sciatica on this side? Likely it’s due to an older issue. With that leg. And so it’s easy to solve that pattern, but if you don’t solve their original root issue in that leg, you’ll that pattern will keep returning again and again. And so those of your listeners who are going back to their practitioner again, and again, to say it solved the same problem. This is why you have to go back again.
And again is because you’re not actually getting to the root of the cause.
It’s really interesting. I just had an email from a woman who purchased my back pain program and she says, I’m doing all of it, but it’s not helping. I said tell me a little bit about your back. She says, it’s on my right.
Blah, blah blah. And I said you likely have a, just what I explained to you, you likely have a stipending problem, which is this. And I have all this explained in videos on my program. So you understand exactly what I’m talking about. And I said, you’ve probably got an old injury that you haven’t addressed correctly.
She said, absolutely. I do not have any old injury. I don’t understand why this is happening. And I go to my practitioner and it comes back again. And again, I’ve been dealing with this for years, blah, blah, blah. And I said and so I. I think you’re wrong. I think you’ve got an old injury and this is why it’s happening.
And then she emailed me, she said, oh my God, I completely forgot about this old injury that I have that I’m still dealing with on that side. And for some reason, even though this she’s been wrestling with this injury for years, this original injury, she completely forgot about it. This to me is fascinat.
Because how, even when I direct her attention and say, look, you’ve got something problem on that side, creating this, her brain was not recognizing the connection, even though she had this terrible tear that she’s been dealing with for years on that side, this is fascinating that our brains are not putting this information together like this.
And part of it is because we’ve been going to practitioners who are component think. Saying, oh, your back pain on this side. Oh, you’ve got a spasm QL or you’ve got the discal or you’ve got whatever. Oh, that’s a result of the bigger problem.
[00:39:26] Tony Winyard: Yeah Yeah
[00:39:27] Rick Olderman: that’s how we have to start thinking about these things differently.
Both as practitioners and as patients.
[00:39:33] Tony Winyard: What are your thoughts on pain and foot
[00:39:37] Rick Olderman: My thoughts on those have evolved a. Since I wrote a, so I’ve written six books and they’re all available on Amazon, the fixing new series of books. And there is a foot and ankle pain book there. And in there I talk a lot about footwear, but I bought, I per, I wrote that book prior to me owning my own sports and orthopedic clinic for the last 10 years.
And now that I’ve seen a huge volume of people, I realize that footwear is less important than actually using your body. Correct.
[00:40:08] Tony Winyard: Right
[00:40:08] Rick Olderman: Footwear does get us into trouble. One, if we go back to that back pain example about locking the knees causing arching in the back. Locking the knees also causes a lot of other problems in the legs, too, at the hip at the knee and at the foot.
One of the reasons that we’re locking our knees though, is because of our footwear, because we wear tennis shoes or other shoes with large heels. This allows us to send that foot out in front of us and strike hard on the ground. And when we do that, our knees lock,
Which is then turning off key muscles in our bodies.
If your listeners wanna experiment with this walk around in your tennis shoes what do you call them in, in, in the UK
[00:40:49] Tony Winyard: trainers
[00:40:50] Rick Olderman: trainers? That’s right. Okay. Walk around in your trainer. And then for about 20 steps and then take your trainers off and walk in your bare feet. And you’ll notice that you walk differently in your bare feet than you do in your trainers, especially if you’re walking on a hard surface.
So the trainers have the potential to get you into trouble. If you’re not aware of the pattern that it’s creating in.
[00:41:12] Tony Winyard: I as you said that it made me laugh I was thinking about there’s my local gym There’s a one class called body combat where you are doing these kind of boxing and martial art moves and so on And when I do this class I always prefer to do it in bare feet I just feel comfortable in that way but everyone else does it in shoes An instructor gives me some strange look She actually came up to me the other day and is there something wrong Why are you in bare feet I just prefer to be in bare
[00:41:42] Rick Olderman: Yeah, no, actually
[00:41:43] Tony Winyard: as weird
[00:41:43] Rick Olderman: Not wrong. It’s right. So that you bring up a good point too. I get a lot of questions about, that combat training or the oh gosh, I can’t think of it now. The high intensity training or the CrossFit training, there’s nothing inherently wrong in these training systems. However again, if you’re using the same motions that you’ve trained your body to do that are getting you into trouble to lift the same way, then you’re just deepening the issue. But what I’ve also found is the faster that you move, the more likely you are to draw on those unconscious harmful patterns, because in order to change something like what you did with the hand clasping I saw that you had to do it a little bit slower.
that second way, right? Until you figure out, oh, exactly how I, how do I do this? So to change these Habits, you have to move slower and consciously, but in those training systems that make you move rapidly, it’s impossible to train, to change a system. And it likely, if you do change it during a rapid loaded exercise, you’ll probably cause more harm because your body isn’t trained to do that correctly.
[00:42:52] Tony Winyard: One of questions I always ask all of my guess is about a book that can you think of a book that has moved you for any reason
[00:43:01] Rick Olderman: Yeah. I have three, one from a personal level is autobiography of Yogi written by Paramanhansa Yogananda . I read that back in high school and that just opened my eyes up to a whole new. Way of thinking and spirituality from a professional standpoint one of the researchers that I’ve followed is Dr. Shirley Sahrmann, she’s written two textbooks and I’ve read each of them about three times and marked them up. They have been huge guides for me as a physical therapist to understand biomechanics and how movement impairments cause pain and to correct. And then another good one was Thomas Myers, anatomy, trains. He studies fascia and he introduced me to this idea that we have super highways of fascia that are running through our bodies, connecting our heads to our toes. And that’s what helped me start to look further away from where people were having pain and understanding other areas of the body that might be contributing to that. And then the last one would be Thomas Hannah’s somatics book, which taught me the neurological reflex patterns that are associated with these movement patterns that are causing pain. And incidentally, all three of these researchers, unbeknownst to each other are identifying the same three patterns of issues that are causing almost all, at least low back pain.
So you can’t ignore.
[00:44:27] Tony Winyard: Yeah Yeah there’ll be links to all of those books in the in the show notes and talking about show notes how can people find out more about you And I know you’ve offered us a link to your course and so on
[00:44:37] Rick Olderman: Yeah. If your listeners are interested in looking at my downloadable home programs to solve their pain, they can go to FixingYouMethod.Com and there you’ll see all of my programs. And if you type in FIXINGYOU in the coupon code, all one word you’ll get a 20% discount. And then for those of you who are practitioners who want to learn a systems approach to solving pain, then you can go to https://www.healpatientsfaster.com
and again, that same FIXINGYOU code will get you a 20% discount on my course. That’s the online course. And then I also have some free stuff and other things blog my podcast and so forth. So if they wanted to see like my whole world, they can go to https://rickolderman.com/ and they can find all my courses, blogs and everything, and some patient stories and things like that.
From an upcoming book I’ve got coming.
[00:45:37] Tony Winyard: And so you mentioned about your podcast what is the focus of the podcast?
[00:45:40] Rick Olderman: The podcast is called talk about pain and really it’s me talking about , it’s me introducing all of these ideas that you and I have just been talking about,
About pain. I just don’t feel like that we’re getting it right in medicine. And so this is my small attempt to. Give people another point of view about how things are working.
And I would interview, some professionals and I comment on articles that are reading the paper and things like this. Just stuff like that
[00:46:11] Tony Winyard: Cool Okay
there again I’ll put a link to the podcast in
In show notes as well
[00:46:15] Rick Olderman: oh, okay, great. Thanks. Yeah. Not nearly as successful or followed as yours, Tony. So
[00:46:21] Tony Winyard: so finally Rick is there
[00:46:22] Rick Olderman: um
[00:46:23] Tony Winyard: Is there a quotation that you particularly like
[00:46:24] Rick Olderman: There’s one quote that I like it’s it was by Norman Vaughn who is an elderly Explorer and his quote was dare to fail. And that’s been in my mind because when I first began down this road of trying to unravel, these mysteries and how we’re having. I had the dare to fail in order to succeed.
If I was too afraid of failing it, never would’ve I never would’ve gotten where I’m going right now. And and especially when we have chronic pain, we’re afraid to try something new, cuz we’re afraid of that. It might hurt us. But I just find that if you look at that as an opportunity to. Go deeper as to the cause of your pain.
I think you’ll be rewarded if you dare to fail.
[00:47:15] Tony Winyard: that makes me wonder since you first
Delved into this world however many years ago that was how differently do you think about pain now from when you first
[00:47:26] Rick Olderman: of
[00:47:26] Tony Winyard: Got into this
[00:47:28] Rick Olderman: Yeah. When I first got into this pain was like this unknown black box.
Because, like I said, in school, they taught you how to treat a tissue, but they never talked about why pain was happening. And that mystified me. It’s what is this thing called pain? And we’ve even got now, books that say, talk about how it’s all in your head.
And that’s the case with some people, but a large number of people. That’s not the case for.
And so I think about pain now. Now I get excited. Before I used to dread when a chronic pain person would walk into my clinic. And this is the comment that I heard from all of my therapists too.
It’s just back pain, neck pain shoulder were always their toughest things, but now that they understand how this works, it’s the easiest thing to solve in their practice. And it’s fun. And. That’s how pain that’s the, how the idea of pain has changed in my mind is that it doesn’t scare me anymore.
As a therapist, I know that I can make a huge difference. And so I’m like a kid in a candy store. I can’t wait to get started and change your life. It’s so much fun to watch people’s lives change. So
[00:48:38] Tony Winyard: I think that’s a great place to leave it So I knew changing people’s lives So thank you Rick
It’s been a great conversation so thank you
[00:48:44] Rick Olderman: Thank you, Tony. I have so enjoyed it.
[00:48:47] Tony Winyard: Thank you
Next week is episode 78 with Jeff Chilton. And we’re going to find out about the world of mushrooms. Jeff studied ethno. Mycology at the university of Washington in the late sixties. And in the early seventies began a 10 year career as a large-scale commercial mushroom grower. So it is a lot to talk about in sort of my psyllium and fun guy and mushrooms. And even into the economy we delve into sort of psychedelic and medicinal.
Uh, the white shoes now. So that’s next week, episode 78 with Jeff Chilton. Hope you enjoyed this week’s show if you do know someone who would get some value from it please do share the episode with them and hope you have a great week
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