Gym R(x): Self Sufficiency or How to Deal with Things Like Tendonitis & Other Minor Chronic Inflammatory Ailments.

Pain ain’t nothin’ but weakness leavin’ the body.

Widely used U.S. Marine Corps Recruitment Propaganda

Yeah,well, at least in times of war, most of those newly minted recruits don’t last long.

But what about the rest of us? The ones that don’t plan ever to quit? Certainly just not let themselves fade away. What about us, the ones in it for the long haul? Whether we’ve put our shoulders against the doors of life and shoved…or just sat on our asses and observed? We, who usually end up with aches and pains that stick around long after the party’s over? We, who seem to rack up these nasty niglements that suck up our time and energy and are so exceedingly hard to shake?

What about us? The ones who don’t want to think of themselves as sheep, but as lions?

What are we supposed to do?

Tendonitis, joint pain and other chronic inflammatory conditions are commonly experienced as the dark side of intense fitness training. Most athletes will just shrug their injured rotator cuffs and tend to chalk it all up as the wages of sin or the cost of doing battle.

These painful episodes often cause even the most motivated and hard working athlete to cry and scream in pain when no one’s looking, to take more time off training than they are ready for.

Issues like these can not only become exceedingly painful, but many athletes will grow concerned with, or fearful of, the question of potential longer term damage or chronic disability. Scary stuff for individuals who live through their physicality.

A trip to a medical professional may or may not work as a ”one off”. Most of us can’t afford the time and expense of constant and unending trips down to see our good ol’ GP or Physio with little or no result. Or worse yet, only to receive condescending, unhelpful advice to ”knock the gym on the head for a while”, ”quit lifting those heavy weights”, or some equally simple minded, churlish pearls of wisdom for our pains.

Are we likely to take their expensive advice which will result in probably getting fat and out of shape? No Thanks! It’s too damn hard to get back in shape. Did I really just pay £80 for that bit of depressing news? Next time I’ll be sure to spend my money more wisely…say like flushing it down the toilet.

So, what to do? What to do? Should you just throw your hands up, say I quit and console yourself to banishment over an unending river of pints down at your local? A hasbeen, boorishly declaiming to anyone within earshot the sad story of how fit you used to be? Christ, I think that I’d rather swallow my own tongue or gouge out an eye.

Ok, let’s get back to reality.

My best, my most reasonable advice in the first instance here is: keep healthy and don’t get injured. Do whatever it takes to not put yourself in a desperate situation. Be disciplined, be cautious, don’t get cocky, don’t show off or let yourself get too complacent.

Injury is like a big, terrible, stealthy, dangerously ugly cat lurking in the shadows and ready to pounce…on anybody…don’t foolishly rely on your up-to-now string of luck, or anything else that you can’t control.

A possible way forward and the one that I almost obsessively dish out to any client who has an injury and will listen to me, any customer who comes in to see me desperately seeking insight into issues of pain & injury, has been to try to convey the necessity to build up some body-knowledge and self-sufficiency. To take the problem into his or her own hands and take responsibility to try to find a workable solution, however daunting this must seem at first blush.

My advice is to take a proactive approach, aggressive in its goal and intention. It is advice to fully investigate various physical, mental and nutritional healing techniques available to anyone who is intent on surviving bad luck and/or the onslaught of years and to figure out what works and what is essentially just snake oil. And you need to be really clear with this mindset, because if you are not careful, snake oil might be what you’re offered, at a price you can’t afford.

In my experience, it is often necessary to combine and mix or ‘shotgun‘ one, two or more of the following techniques to solve problems that might otherwise put you out of action, not only temporarily, but for good.


  • Cryotherapy (icing);
  • Thermal or heat application;
  • compression (using a neoprene sleeve or other binding methods);
  • Application of medicated ointments and liniments
  • Application of DMSO (controversial in some jurisdictions);
  • Acupressure and or dry needling;
  • Cupping;
  • Moxibustion;
  • Self Massage;
  • Soaking in a hot tub using bath salts and/or essential oils;
  • EMS (electrical muscle stimulation);
  • Infrared and or ultrasound applications;
  • Mindfulness, meditation and focus techniques;
  • Self-Hypnosis
  • Pressure balls and rollers
  • various stretching techniques


  • Omega Fish Oils (and no, COD Liver, although cheap, is not what I am referring to);
  • Chondroitin Sulphate, Glucosamine, MSM preparations;
  • Capsicum (amazing how much pain a properly prepared, extra hot mexican dish or eye-wateringly spicy curry can kill! );
  • Various exotic spices, condiments, roots, herbs and oils like turmeric, ginger, garlic, saffron, cbd oils, etc.;
  • Reduction of pro-inflammatory foods and substances such as processed meats, alcohol, trans fats, HFCS and table sugar.

The above is only the short list, by no means does it pretend to be exhaustive.

This short post offers noone a panacea. Neither is it designed to substitute as professional medical advice or masquerade as a satisfactory answer to all issues arising from the multiplicity of causes that may manifest involving injury and chronic conditions.

But you have to start somewhere. And if you’re unlucky and the professional help that you require is not forthcoming…you need to make your own luck.

You need help yourself.

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