Jump to content

Drygord's Joint Therapy program


Recommended Posts

Hi guys,

So Wobbler mentioned the Palmaris Longis Muscle- an evolutionary remnant used to make the "claw" shape- and mentioned that he feels it grinding when he does certain wrist flexion movements. I commented that I used to get very sharp pains in this area when I was younger during wrist flexion but have reduced it to just a clicking through 10 years of therapeutic joint care. I also had a whole other range of issues stemming from stretched out shoulder ligaments as a kid, which I have managed to reduce from unbearable/infuriating/painful to manageable and sometimes unnoticeable. From loud and painful cracks in my elbow during tricep extensions, to huge clunks and sudden shifting of the humerus during benching,  deep pain and numbness in my rotator cuff from arm wrestling, sharp stabbing pain in my wrists during flexion, complete subluxation of the shoulder joints during overhead pressing, it was all pretty hopeless and depressing to be honest. But I've managed to rehab myself to a relatively functional state involving mostly clicks and cracks. He suggested I share my program with everyone, so here it is.


Fundamentals and philosophy of the program:

1: Old Injuries to the joints such as tears, dislocations, stretched ligaments, genetic deformities, etc. create biomechanical impairment of the bones and tendons and adversely effect their ability to move properly- resulting in clicks, clucks, cracks, pops, pings, numbness, impingement, and sharp pain as these impaired movements are forcibly completed down the chain. These injuries can be healed over time through constant circulation and healthy diet and rest over the course of several years.


2: Tight tendons and muscles exacerbate the issue by pulling the bones further out of alignment in the joints- creating even more injuries over time. Specific tendon stretches alleviate this issue, sometimes as quickly as a few weeks due to the relatively elastic nature of tendons. This is where you hear "miracle recovery" stories of people who make their pain vanish seemingly overnight from simple exercises. To really stretch out the tendons on a deep level and truly free your joints to move unimpeded, however, takes a few years. 


3: The area you experience pain is not necessarily the origin of the joint problem. A pain in the wrist or elbow could simply be the area where a biomechanically impaired movement is forcibly completed down the chain of movement. It could originate in your shoulder, for instance, and merely manifest symptoms further down the chain. 


So now to address the fundamentals-

1: To heal your joints, you need a healthy lifestyle. You need good circulation at regular frequencies, and need to eat a nutritious diet that supports healing and minimizes adverse side effects (inflammation, blood thickening etc). You must do cardio. You need to get good, recuperative sleep. And this process takes years. It takes 7 years for a ligament to complete a cellular life cycle. But better late than never, right? A nice little tip with diet is to eat tendons/ligaments occasionally. It stands to reason that the best source of nutrition to build and repair a certain tissue type is going to be that direct tissue type. It's not as gross as it sounds, actually they can be quite delicious. I get tendon Pho at a local vietnamese soup place. 

2: Stretching the tendons. There are two main stretches I do for my arms. For the first, place your palm on a wall with your arm out to your side, fully extended. This may seem like an ordinary wrist stretch, but here is the magic part: "push" your arm out toward the wall. Since your arm is already extended, the motion will be coming from your torso similar to flexing your lats.  You should feel your arm and wrist tendons stretching. Then while doing this,  move your neck away from the wall in a side move where your head stays aligned vertically, kind of like the dance move that the Roxbury's do from saturday night live. So you will be stretching the tendons from both your neck as well as your palm. This one is a real miracle worker, and if you've ever had really tight biceps and pecs from internal rotation or too much benching you will feel it for sure. Go easy at first. When I first started this stretch I could feel the tendon popping out from my neck like a hard steel cable line being pulled taut. Now it's lengthened sufficiently that It doesn't pop out anymore.

Second, grab a pullup bar with one arm and position yourself as if you've just completed a one arm overhead press. It helps to use a lower bar and lunge down to get the height just right. Once your shoulder girdle is stable and fully supported by your lats and external rotators (as if youre doing a heavy press), move forward into the stretch. You should feel this in the pecs mostly, and biceps as well. This is very similar to "shoulder dislocations" but much better IMO because your external rotators are holding the joint in a "proper" position since you are holding onto a fixed bar for stability. 

These will significantly increase your biceps and pec tendons over time and give you that extra crucial half inch of tendon length needed to function properly.

4: The absolute NECESSITY of doing a proper warmup before working out. You just can't skip this one. A good warmup makes the difference between building up, and breaking down. If you go balls to the wall without warming up you will build up muscle, but wreck your joints in the process and risk injury. If you warmup properly you may not build as much muscle due to the extra energy you spend on the warm up, BUT your joints and tendons will actually get BUILT UP from the process and make you stronger and injury free down the line. So what constitutes a "proper warmup?" Temperature plays a big role- since it lowers the viscosity of your synovial fluid. But it's not the ONLY factor. You can be dripping sweat but still not be warmed up. Here is the big secret to a proper warmup: your system must be absolutely flooded with carbon dioxide, and this can either come from aerobic activity or extended under-breathing. CO2 dilates the tiny little blood vessels including the ones inside your tendons and ligaments. 

So you MUST do some cardio til the point of feeling that intense burning in your lungs from all the CO2, beads of sweat forming on your wrists and ankles, and just dripping sweat in general. What works really well for me is jump roping for 10-15 minutes. It's fun and also works the shoulder girdle, especially reverse jump roping where the rope goes front to back over your head. Try it and you will definitely notice the difference in your joint performance. 


5: Additional tips: 

-Strong, healthy external rotators are always going to help. Face pulls and australian pullups are good ones.

-Dead hangs, really good for the shoulders. Just don't "relax" and strive to learn the neural pathway required to hold your shoulder in its socket in spite of the stretch.

-Stronger forearms/extensors and engaging the grip on a thicker bar while doing normal exercises really helps take stress off the other joints in the chain of movement. 

-Working out tightens everything up and temporarily shortens the functional range of movement in the tendons. Typically working the antagonist muscle group helps balance this- for example biceps and triceps. That way it's pulling in both directions. If you start to tighten up during a workout to the point where joint problems are kicking in, either stretch using the technique above or call it a day. If you see my log yesterday i felt some clunking in my left wrist and called the workout. 

So there you have it, good luck, and stay hopeful because there IS light at the end of the tunnel for those experiencing joint pain. It just takes time to see real change. But most good things in life take time anyway. Good luck!

Edited by Drygord
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

About 15% of people don't have a palmaris longus muscle, I'm one of them. Hopefully that doesn't keep me from lifting the inch. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, Climber028 said:

About 15% of people don't have a palmaris longus muscle, I'm one of them. Hopefully that doesn't keep me from lifting the inch. 

I don't think it would, as normal grip strength and wrist flexion should be unaffected according to some studies. The "clawing" action really only gets in the way of wrist flexion. It adds some stiffness or rigidity to the claw to guess, similar to "trigger finger" from playing too many video games, but doesn't do much else. Like wiggling your ears or something. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Awesome, thanks!

 I can vouch for that wall stretch, I have a hallway in my house that is wide enough I can do both sides at the same time.  Have been doing that for a while already. You can feel tension from your fingertips all the way through to your neck, it is way different than a regular wrist stretch, almost feels like you hit your funny bone, but in the entire forearm.

Edited by wobbler
Typo :(
Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, svr said:

Nice write-up!

Thanks for taking the time.

Np! Glad you liked it.

7 hours ago, wobbler said:

Awesome, thanks!

 I can vouch for that wall stretch, I have a hallway in my house that is wide enough I can do both sides at the same time.  Have been doing that for a while already. You can feel tension from your fingertips all the way through to your neck, it is way different than a regular wrist stretch, almost feels like you hit your funny bone, but in the entire forearm.

Yeah totally "funny bone" feeling! Like electricity buzzing in the tendons! Glad you enjoyed the write up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy policies.