How to Reduce Tendon Pain and Improve Strength

Is pain all in the brain?

Is pain all in the brain? Dr Ebonie Rio from Monash University's tendon research group explained how some simple brain training exercises could stop recurring tendon pain.

Posted by ABC News Breakfast on Thursday, January 28, 2016


It’s really encouraging that this research has come out of the Monash University in Australia bringing attention to the brain in regards to rehabilitation into the mainstream. What they are effectively describing is a concept called Spatial Summation. This is something that has been around in Functional Neurological circles for a couple of decades.

It’s essentially describing a process by which you utilise two or more pathways in the brain that are complimentary to each other to gain an increased facilitation of a particular outcome such as improved strength, decreased pain or improvement in balance.

They have described loaded isometric work whilst the athlete put’s their focused attention, which fires the prefrontal cortex quite strongly, onto the sound of a metronome which in turn fires the temporal lobes which creates a much higher activation of the brain while the person in contracting and it gets this great analgesic effect because your increasing brain activation globally and improving, via cortico-spinal tracts, facilitation to the muscles at work.

Anyone that has done our Neuro-Skeletal Course or Cerebellum Certification will be very familiar with the concept of spatial summation already, but what about using it to increase tendon strength as part of training?

What we’re going to do is show you two movements

1. An isometric position with flexor dominance and we’ll show you a particular visiomotor drill to use during the exercise that will do exactly the same thing as the research has shown from Monash University

2. A position that has more of an extensor dominance and a visiomotor drill for that one as well.

7 Comments on "How to Reduce Tendon Pain and Improve Strength"

  1. Scott Alvarez | February 19, 2016 at 4:31 pm |

    This looks great! I suffered a torn L bicep tendon X3 as a Firefighter. Have had ten surgeries including radial nerve decompression X2,and cervical nerve stimulator implant/explant due to life threatening infection. This looks very promising! I’ve spent 10 years trying to gain strength back, RSD has been hampering efforts.

  2. Great stuff as always!
    I’m looking forward to adding these to some of the
    fitness-based Broga Yoga positions in the next class.
    Can’t tell you how excited I am watching for the update for the course in Chicago this summer!!!
    Thanks again

    • Really interesting – if one side is significantly weaker than the other would it work to close one eye and flicker the weaker side to put more emphasis where needed?

  3. Wow -great stuff. ,really interesting concept would like to learn more ? ..

  4. Can you apply this to recurring SI joint pain?

  5. Jo Mercer, LMT | April 18, 2016 at 8:28 pm |

    Is there an optimum frequency at which to set the metronome?

  6. Adam Ridgewell | April 19, 2016 at 12:25 pm |

    How about the eye movements for a side plank (side stabilisers isometric)? Horizontal or vertical? Can we utilize sup/inf oblique ocular muscles?

Comments are closed.