A lot of people come to be because of aches and pains. Pain in the shoulders, pain in the hips, pain in their knees…all sorts of pain.
Pain is a tricky topic. The truth is, pain is confusing to even experts because not all pain is the same. And though we think we’re experiencing pain in a place in our body, most of the time, pain is the result of how our brain is interpreting a variety of factors, including stress, how connected we feel to other people, our mood, our diets, how much we move, etc.
If you want to know more about pain, this post written by Jenni Rawlings is a great place to start.
But for today, I want to talk about one strategy we can use for addressing pain. That strategy is the Rule of Threes.
To explain what the rule of threes is, I’m going to give you and example.
Recently, I started feeling some pain in my knee. It wasn’t a big deal, but every time I would bend my knees to walk up or down stairs or just bend down to get something, I would feel a weird, painful sensation, as if a tendon was grinding over a bone in an uncomfortable way.
The pain was new and not chronic and there didn’t seem to be anything diagnosable-y wrong yet.
But instead of ignoring the problem or chalking it up to age, I decide to see if I could fix it. Here’s what I did. I explored the mobility and strength I had in my knee, my ankle AND my hips.
I looked at all the actions that all three of these areas could possibly do, and then I assessed where I was weak and lacked mobility and worked on it for a few weeks. And BOOM, my knee pain disappeared!
This method isn’t going to work every time. But the key to this particular story is that I didn’t just address my knee. Because my knee has to compensate for any weakness/lack of mobility in my ankle or hips, I looked at the two areas directly adjacent to my knee as well in order to fix the problem.
When I work with folks with low back pain, I often see the same story – a lack of mobility in the upper back and/or hips. It’s not that fixing these areas will guarantee that their low back pain will go away, but the more work the upper back and hips can do for their body, the less work the lower back has to do. Which might give their lower back a fighting chance when it comes to resolving the pain.
To sum up, I’m not a doctor and pain isn’t an exact science. But if you’re looking for a tool to help with a pain that you’re experiencing, the rule of threes might just do the trick.