How To Treat Your Own Joint Pain (Without Visiting An Expensive Doctor or Therapist).

Podcast, Recovery

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

I’ll admit it: I’m a complete nerd when it comes to using a dizzying array of bodywork tools, massage and deep tissue manipulation, mobility methods and more.

I wake up every morning and “hit” my body with everything from a Rumble Roller to mobility bands to vibrating massage devices and more. It’s like some kind of medieval torture experiment.

So I was pretty excited when I got a chance to read a brand new book about how to create a “map” of your own connective tissue and then erase pain and / or increase mobility in specific areas of your body using that map. The name of the book is “The MELT Method: A Breakthrough Self-Treatment System to Eliminate Chronic Pain, Erase the Signs of Aging, and Feel Fantastic in Just 10 Minutes a Day!“.

In The MELT Method, manual therapist and exercise physiologist Sue Hitzmann describes a self-treatment system to combat chronic pain and erase the effects of aging and active living, in as little as ten minutes a day, all using techniques that can be done in your own home and taking advantage of the body’s natural restorative properties.

Sue has personally trained more than 1,300 professionals worldwide and is a leading presenter for national organizations such as IDEA, ECA, and PMA, and a CEU provider for ACE, AFAA, NASM, PMA, and NCBTMB. She has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, The Rachael Ray Show, and Live! with Regis and Kelly, and the internationally translated MELT Method book has been featured in magazines such as SELF, More, and Prevention.

I’ve been trying the methods in her book on areas like my low back, my hands, my feet and my elbows and they work with surprising efficacy, so I had to get her on the show!

During this episode, you’ll discover…

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-Sue’s fascinating story of how she began digging into fascia and connective tissue and its role in pain and movement…

-What Sue discovered while dissecting cadavers and learning the truth about fascia that isn’t taught in exercise science classes…

-The concept of “fascial dehydration”, and why it is much more than just a matter of drinking more water…

-What most foam rolling and deep tissue work neglects…

-Why you shouldn’t necessarily use the hardest foam roller you can find…

-How to “glide”, “shear” and “rinse” specific areas of your body…

-Why doing a “rest and assess” prior to doing the MELT method can enhance results…

-And much more…

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Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Sue or I about the MELT method or anything else we discuss in this episode? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!


Also published on Medium.

18 thoughts on “How To Treat Your Own Joint Pain (Without Visiting An Expensive Doctor or Therapist).

  1. Todd says:

    She comes across as very type-A and it might have been a better approach for her to have more of a conversation with you rather than what seemed more like a series of well rehearsed sound bytes. That said I may try MELT as I found the content resonated with my own experience of body work in many ways.

  2. Brock in HK says:

    I just did a couple days of light MELT experimenting. A couple rocking resets on the foam roller and some hand and foot rolling work.

    Early signs of progress already! I started my work day at my standing desk with a foot session, and was able to extend the time I last before needing to sit by a significant amount. My knees, which usually get mildly cranky from a lot of standing, felt much more solid. I’m going to keep it up for a few more days and if it keeps making improvements, I think it will be part of the regular routine.

  3. I really enjoyed this episode! I actually have a melt roller and balls and took some classes with a certified Melt Instructor, but I needed a refresher and was inspired by the detailed information Sue gave on this podcast. Interestingly, I heard a powerful lecture on the “Keys to Health” by Dr. Miguel Lanzagorta, M.D., at the Sanoviv Medical Institute, while attending a Nutritional Advisory Education Retreat. The first key he describes is the digestive system, the second is the “bridge from the arteries to the cells”- the Connective Tissue! The third, Dr. Lanzagorta decribes as the “master key”- the Nervous System. As you both spoke about on the show, the connective tissue is not talked about much by most health & fitness experts. I’m excited to hydrate my connective tissue and reap the benefits! I greatly appreciate all the amazing content you put our Ben. It’s mind boggling to me how you accomplish so much and continue to share your knowledge and resources with the world. You are leaving a significant positive impact and changing millions of lives for the better! I’ve been wanting to email the show for a few reasons, what is the best email address to use? Thank you!

  4. Halat Sophie says:

    This was a superinteresting episode. I was almost late to my PT-client just because I wanted to hear it all in one sitting! It’s great to see how much you care about this subject, Sue! :)

  5. Jenny says:

    I have been dealing with inflamed facet joints in the L4/L5 low back area. I have tried a ton of ways to heal this issue. I have been considering trying a Rolfer a functional medicine doctor recommended to me. Would you recommend trying the MELT method or a Rolfer or other? Thank you.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      See the response above to Chett.

  6. Chett Binning says:

    Hey Guys, great show. Interested In hearing feedback from either or both of you on this….

    Can this method be useful for treating nerve impingement symptoms resulting from L4-L5 disc herniation?

    As a competitive college hockey player, I was forced to sit out this season due the associated symptoms- muscle weakness in my calf/anterior tib, foot, and toes. I do not experience any pain and even my lower back tightness is minimal.

    I’ve tried many concepts; acupuncture, neural flossing with bands, Mckenzie Protocol, Foundation training, and rarely sit or put myself in a disc compromising position. However, I have had minimal success for reducing these muscle weakness symptoms.

    As a 24 year old senior entering my last year of eligibility I’m desperate for solutions and I’m now considering a microdisectomy- anything to get the sensation, strength, and functioning back in my lower right leg.

    Thanks for the info!

    1. Hands-on intervention by a manual therapist (such as a Rolfer) can be helpful. MELT will help the results last longer, and often allow the practitioner to go deeper. Here is a MELT Method sequence for treating the low back region. Equipment and learning materials can be purchased through MELTMethod.com:

      This self-treatment plan is for people who have chronic low back pain from trauma or issues related to (but not limited to) herniations, bulging or slipped disks, spinal fusions, discectomies, laminectomies, pinched nerves, vertebral fractures, or back spasms.

      For the best results, MELT at least three times a week, choosing from the maps listed. Remember, it’s best to MELT at the end of your day, up to an hour before bedtime. In the third week, you'll introduce the Lower Body Length Sequence, which calls for you to lift your hips onto the roller. If you find this challenging, you can either use the MELT Half Soft Roller (which is half as high) or place folded towels under your head and upper back to decrease the distance.
      This is the same self-treatment plan used in the recent MELT research study. People with non-specific low back pain achieved significant changes in the low back tissue, reducing pain and stiffness, and increasing flexibility.

      Week 1
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Rebalance Sequence

      Week 2
      Map 1
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Upper Body Compression Sequence
      Lower Body Compression Sequence

      Map 2
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Upper Body Compression Sequence
      Lower Body Compression Sequence
      Rebalance Sequence

      Week 3
      Map 1
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Lower Body Length Sequence
      Low Back Release Sequence

      Map 2
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Upper Body Compression Sequence
      Rebalance Sequence
      Lower Body Length Sequence
      Low Back Release Sequence

      Map 3
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Lower Body Compression Sequence
      Lower Body Length and Release Sequence

      Week 4
      Map 1
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Rebalance Sequence
      Lower Body Length and Low Back Release Sequence

      Map 2
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Rebalance Sequence
      Upper Body Compression Sequence
      Lower Body Length and Low Back Release Sequence

      Map 3
      Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Upper Body Compression Sequence
      Rebalance Sequence
      Maintenance Maps

      Map 1
      Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Upper Body Compression Sequence
      Lower Body Length and Low Back Release Sequence

      Map 2
      Mini Soft Ball Hand or Mini Soft Ball Foot Treatment
      Lower Body Compression Sequence
      Lower Body Length and Low Back Release Sequence

      Add the Rebalance Sequence 1–2 times per week with a maintenance map after the foot treatment or on its own. Continue to follow either map from weeks 3 to 4 once a week.

  7. Anthony Amalfitano says:

    Great episode guys, always enjoy learning from you guys. As I was listening though I could not help but feel as though this concept of fluidity within the connective tissues was discovered 100 or so years ago by A..J. Still, the founding father of Osteopathy. Sounded very similar…

  8. Ben Kessel says:

    I’ve always been a skeptic of this, Ben. I took a MELT class 10 years ago and never latched on (I too have a similar background in exercise science as you both). Starrett’s model and system of mobility work makes so much more sense to me and just seems to be more direct. I have such a high respect for you and your recommendations and would like to know where MELT falls into place with you when comparing it to standard PT foam rolling or Starrett’s mobility tools. As always thank you so much for your time and work

    1. Here's the deal, I personally do a matchup of both Kelly's technique now that I have found MELT, the MELT method. What I mean by that is that I will still smash an area pretty hard with a hard foam roller, barbell, etc., but then, I will also rehydrate that area using the MELT method.

      1. Felicity says:

        Definitely AT Stil. William G Sutherland, Barn’s, John Upledger and many more…

  9. Teddy says:

    Thanks again for more great info!

    So tired of people (cross fitters) telling me that their pain is a result of not having a lacrosse ball jammed in their shoulder …. Please!

    Hope I can use this course as a CEU for my Chiropractic License??

  10. Sven says:

    Hi Ben, thanks for the podcast, was really interesting!

    Would you, apart from this procedure, still recommend other things for flexibility? What is your recommendation for maintaining or improving overall flexibility?

    Thanks so much,

    Sven

    1. The ENTIRE mobility chapter in my book at http://www.beyondtrainingbook.com!

  11. roberto says:

    Thank you so much for this episode Ben, they’re always good but this one I feel is especially for me! Halfway through this episode I noticed the things she’s describing sound very similar to the things I’ve been doing intuitively for the last couple of years (due to my history of overtraining & repetitive movement patterns, i started noticing physical problems a while back, I’ve seen many specialists but none seems to understand what’s going on, so i’ve been doing these things on my own just cos it makes me feel better). That was already so so exciting for me, but when she said she could feel these things flowing in her body, my jaws dropped, for real. That’s exactly what I’ve been feeling, and everyone I went to see think I’m weird. For me, I don’t necessary feel pain, but I feel like all these low are stuck/tangled up, and I feel like I can’t move properly (although I can “move”, I feel stuck inside). I just looked up the international practitioner list and no one is near where I live (Thailand).

    For Sue:

    I just ordered the book, but do you have any other advises? I really want to see some manual worker in person, at least once, cos I’m feeling miserable doing this completely on my own. THANKS!

    1. Read the ENTIRE mobility chapter in my book at http://www.beyondtrainingbook.com! And we'll get this question over to Sue too…

    2. Candy says:

      Go to http://www.meltmethod.com and locate an instructor near you…the method is a self care technique, but is best if learned from a trained instructor who helps you create your own personal maintenance map.

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