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Foundation Training: My Journey From Pain To Performance – OptimalPerformanceandHealth.com

By Dr. Aaron Burk

Some people may know my story and some may not. It’s been a long time in the making and I finally feel good about telling it. This post provides a look at all of the hurdles that I encountered in my quest to get rid of pain. My hope is that my story can give someone else that may be in a similar situation some relief in knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Foundation Training was the single most important discovery that I made during my journey and it is something that I believe can help many people who face similar pain.
My journey started when I was 16 years old. At the time I was playing soccer six days a week and lifting weights five days a week. My body’s health and physical performance was my top priority. Although I worked very hard at training my body to perform at the highest level, I began experiencing a flurry of various injuries that were unexplainable to me. First there were numerous ankle sprains that were followed by some traumatic knee injuries. After one knee surgery and extensive rehab, the back problems began, all before I had reached age 20. I tried every kind of doctor and treatment available to me at the time with no relief, sometimes making it worse. It was starting to feel like I lived at the physical therapist’s office. I began being consumed with dejected thoughts, wondering what was wrong with my body and why no one could figure out how to get it better. Not being able to find a solution baffled me and fueled a quest into the health field to try and heal myself of these pains.
This journey first led me to pursue an undergrad degree in Pre-Physical Therapy so I could learn to help others and fix my own injuries.  After earning my undergrad degree I hit some bumps in the road and I decided to become a personal trainer. In reflection, it was a great career move because it exposed me to the minds of Gray Cook, Gary Gray, Thomas Meyers, Charlie Weingroff, and other pioneers in the field of movement science. I was constantly applying the knowledge I gained from them. My back pain started to become slightly better, but the pain never dissolved.This forced me to search out alternative forms of treatment such as yogatai chichiropractic caremassage therapy, and acupuncture.  These all brought  temporary relief not experienced before, but none were long lasting.  This is when I decided that in order to live my life pain free I would need to take drastic measures and learn what a chiropractor knows to finally abolish this back pain demon.

I started the next leg of my journey by enrolling in chiropractic school in 2009.  The joy that I had felt when I started school was somewhat dulled by the fact that getting adjusted never brought the relief that I had so hopefully dreamed of.  Not giving up though, I dug deeper and began developing my own hypotheses on how to treat back pain. I became conflicted when they weren’t in the chiropractic world in the typical sense, but more in the realm of functional exercisetai chi, yoga, rolfing and DNS. For those who have never heard of rolfing or DNS, rolfing is a forceful massage and movement technique that organizes the whole body in respect to gravity and DNS  is a rehabilitation technique that focuses on neurodevelopmental aspects of motor control that are learned during the first years of life in order to assess and restore movement dysfunctions.

While in my last year of school, after studying Thomas Meyers – “Anatomy Trains” book incessantly, I attempted to do some very simple movements. These movements were dictated solely by attempting to engage and integrate the myofascial lines of the body highlighted by Meyers. I focused on movements that I believed would provide a strong posture and proper activation of the glutes and core musculature. That’s when the unimaginable happened… the pain finally disappeared! NO MORE PAIN!! I could feel the myofascial lines within my body engage in a harmonious symphony. For the first time in my life since first experiencing back pain, I was able to vanquish my own back pain. There was a feeling that I can only describe as one of connectedness and accord within my body. This was truly ecstasy. Not only was my pain gone, but my back actually felt strong!

I didn’t know exactly what particular movements created this change or were responsible for it, but I finally was able to heal myself! I now knew the answer to my back pain and others back pain lied in active movements. But each attempt to replicate this movement nirvana was met with frustration more times than not. My back pain slowly started to revert back to its old ways when I wasn’t able to consistently reproduce the same helpful movements.

I began questioning my own future as a chiropractor. Adjustments help a lot of people and I support their use in treatment if a person needs it, but the only thing I experienced that provided lasting relief were forms of exercise.  Did I waste my money on this education and would I have been better off helping people being a personal trainer? How was I supposed to help other people if I couldn’t successfully treat myself?

That was until I stumbled upon Foundation Training by listening to a TED talk that Dr. Eric Goodman did with Dr. Joseph Mercola. I began listening to the TED talk being very skeptical at first because I felt like I had been through it all. But that skepticism slowly turned to optimism when Dr. Goodman discussed the science behind Foundation Training. Everything he mentioned made absolute sense when considering our body’s developmental kinesiology, anatomy, evolution and modern lifestyle habits. This optimism quickly turned to sheer bliss once I tried “The Founder” out for myself! It evoked the exact same ecstasy that I had experience before, yet too often unable to replicate. Dr. Goodman’s precise verbiage created a perfect recipe for movement that I was able to follow step-by-step, recreating the stabilization and connectedness I pined for since first discovering that strong, pain-free feeling over a year and a half ago.

So after a journey of over 12 years, I finally found the answer. What I had been searching for throughout chiropractic school, what I wish I knew before school, what would have possibly prevented my flurry of injuries years’ prior, and what has given me hope for a successful career as a chiropractor. It was Foundation Training.

I’ve experienced the following changes since first trying Foundation Training:

    • A strengthened posture & core musculature.
    • Muscles have engaged that I did not know existed (or didn’t have a body awareness of).
    • Muscle imbalances that were causing movement dysfunctions have been corrected.
    • I’ve become flexible for the first time ever!
    • My body’s physical performance has reached a level that I had once accepted as unattainable with continued practice of Foundation Training on a daily basis.
    • Most importantly it has allowed me to live pain-free for over a year now! Which I still find hard to believe to this day.

Foundation Training has given me the power to no longer feel like I have to live at the mercy of my body. It has shown me that we all have the potential to heal ourselves, we just need a little help learning how to take control of our bodies again!

Source: Optimal Performance and Health