Dr, Steven Capo

Biohacking the Three Dimensions of Pain to Keep You Injury Free  

“When stress is perceived by the  brain, whether it is physical, emotional, or psychological, it can lead to injury and illness.”

Dr. Steven  Capobianco

Medical Director at Rocktape 

Dr Capobianco, the Medical Director of Rocktape and co-author of the book Power Taping: Taping movements not muscles, is a national and international renown speaker and holds a B.A. and M.A. in Kinesiology and Exercise Science and a doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine.  Steven is also certified as a Sports Chiropractor, Rehabilitation Specialist, and Active Release and Graston soft tissue practitioner. He is the owner of Project Move, a sports specific rehabilitation and sports performance institute, located in Denver Colorado where he focuses on integrative therapies for sports, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and enhanced human performance.

According to statistics, 65.8 million people suffer painful musculoskeletal injuries at an estimated cost of  176.1 billion dollars each year. Within these injuries, 2.8 million of them are sports-related injuries that required medical treatment and effect the athlete to the degree at which they are left unable to participate in sport due to pain and loss of function.

Biohacking Global had the tremendous honor and opportunity to kinterview Dr. Steven Capobianco, medical director at Rocktape, on the best and most significant biohacks for overcoming pain and  keeping injury free. During the interview, Steve explained that his approach begins with a multifactorial analysis of pain management in order to truly pin-point where the pain originated. He explained that “based on research, clinical trials and years of experience, we now know that the three primary sources of pain include: physical, psychological and social factors that produce pain.  

During this interview, Dr. Capo revealed  he and his team help their patients and client’s relieve and prevent painful injuries by performing strategic evaluation sessions.  These evaluations include using a unique “Biohacking Model” to identify any physical, psychological or social deficits that may be the driving the source of pain or reducing performance. . 

He explained that “all pain manifest itself within brain” and “is influenced from physical, emotional and cognitive” factors that are dependent on the state of biological tissues; your psychological mindset, and the emotional support that you receive from your social networks, such as family and friends. He summed it up by saying: “pain and injury can be caused from not just physical deficits, but psychological and social deficits that influence how we perceive pain and ultimately determine how we overcome it. The success of treatment, recovery, and prevention depend on addressing the pain in each one of these three dimensions.”




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Biohacking Secrets for Staying Injury pain and Free.

In the world of rehabilitation and high performance one size certainly does not fit all. To stay ahead to stay ahead of the pain game it’s important to be proactive and strategically use Biohacking techniques  to manage physical, psychological and social let downs that can magnify physical pain affect optimal performance . The following are bio hacks secrets that that help you manage pain and help you reach peak performance   



Secret #1

Choose Your Healthcare Team Wisely

Whether you are looking to recover from injury or just reach optimal performance , choosing the correct  team of high quality healthcare providers and performance gurus makes all the difference. Start by choosing boardly at first, but then narrow the field to hire the individuals with the skill sets that fit your individual needs. Proceed wisely and prudently as this can safe your a great deal of time, frustration and may literally save your life.

At the minimum you need a general medical doctor, highly  manually based physical therapist or holistically based chiropractor or a high level bodyworker(massage therapist) with advanced skill or some hybrid of all three,  that poses align with the goals that you are looking to reach. . If you compete, you will also need a sports specific coach or performance trainer that understands the specific mechanics and demands  of your sport to gain a competitive edge and help you stay injury free.

These are worthy investments that will pay lasting dividends in keeping you safe,and having fun at the sports and activities that you love. Beside this, it will allow you to identify, fix and prevent any small injuries that crop up  before they develop into bigger ones. When choosing your team don’t necessarily go by initials behind their names or strictly by degrees that they hold, although this can give you a general idea sometimes, instead consider studying the skill sets that they possess and  how many years they have been practicing

When choosing your team members, remember one size should not fit all. Looks can certainly be misleading. Choose your team by researching them and studying the number of years that they have been practicing, the degrees that they have earned, and additional post-graduate training they have completed.  Extra certifications and a philosophy of treatment and coaching that is compatible with yours is definitely a plus. Look for practitioners, that have received solid traditional training based on science, but also are not afraid to think outside the box to tweak the right combination of Biohacks taylor made for you. You want to work with people that think multi-dimensionally (physically, psychologically and emotionally) about treatment and training and that have demonstrated that they are lifelong learners. These individuals often have experience and skill in several different areas and have demonstrated themselves as leaders in their field by writing books and providing seminars on topics related tthat would be beneficial to you. .


Secrets #2

Be proactive and Get Tested Frequently

The key to injury prevention and pain management depends upon being proactive. Think of your body like you would your car. After so many miles and hours of operations you have to take your car in for a 10 point inspection and oil change or it is likely to breakdown. Your body is no different. Receiving regular self-testing and treatment or regularly  testing and treatment by qualified practitioner, trainer or coach to identify soft tissue dysfunctions and flaws in technical forms serves as an analogues formula for avoiding pain and injury.

Remember, fatigue from training hard can  generate changes in how your muscles fire and can drive soft tissue restrictions (limitations in the fascia) limiting  performance and causing pain. Using tools such as foam rollers and self-mobilization tools such as Rockballs, Rockstraps, Rock Floss and  Rock and Rollers restores ranges of motion and improved tissue pliability without reducing strength. In fact, research has proven it. I. a recent study performed at the University of Colorado, Investigators ( Capobianco et al) compared passive stretching  with the use of hard yoga balls for improving ankle dorsiflexion ranges and muscle force output. The results of the study demonstrated that the use of self mobilization tools such as yoga balls improve the ability to tolerate stretch and ankle range of motion and improved strength maximum voluntary muscle contraction. This finding was congruent with previous research that found a greater improvements in range of motion when athletes combined the use of foam rolling with stretching (9.1%) when compared to just stretching alone (6.2%) (Škarabot et al., 2015) 

Secrets #3

Honor Thy Nervous System

Honor thy nervous by understanding the how and what it needs to work optimally. The central nervous system(brain and peripheral nervous system) serves as the motherboard for controlling all bodily functions and movement. Essentially working as information gathering machine, this system is feed by tens of thousands micro -sensors embedded within fascia tissue networks that interpret and process incoming sensory information so that it can prioritize and execute muscle firing patterns based on movement threat.

When you are training intensely  and become fatigued your nervous begins to fire your muscles differently to compensate for muscles that are too tired to fire optimally. The result ends your brain substituting  with the wrong muscle firing pattern in order to make up for one that is too tired to activate. . As a result, you end up causing muscle restriction and tissue breakdown that limits strength and range of motion and leads to inflammation and pain.

To optimize performance and stay injury free pay close attention to the use of screens that help detect when your nervous system is not working optimally.  This can help you to use decide which biohacks may be best to optimize your health and performance. These can range from functional screening tests, positional muscle testing, and neuro-sensory tests that detect proprioceptive deficits that expose weak links within your movement chains.  Once discovered, these problems can be easily biohacked by applying kinesiology taping, utilizing blood flow restriction devices, and implementing positional isometrics in the positions that tests weak helping to reconnect the brain to the muscle circuits that have become deactivated. .



Secrets #1

Use self Talk to Control Your Thoughts

Napoleon Hill once said “Whatever you think you become”  No truer words have ever been spoken. This is particularly important when recovering from injury or trying to perform at your best and there is plenty of research to back it up. Sports psychologists have long since recognized strong links between thoughts and high performance and have recommended self-talk techniques to counteract negative head chatter, instill motivation and ensure proper form.   

In a 2011 study 2) ( Hatzigeorgiadis et al.) looked at different types of self-talk for performance enhancement, researchers discovered that different types of self-talk actually work better in different situations. For example, sports skills using  “instructional self-talk” words like “stay low” or “follow through” are more effective for sports skills that require greater fine motor control or technical form while using “motivational self-talk” like “finish strong” or “you can do it” are better for getting motivated and building and maintaining strength and endurance.


Secrets #2

Vary Your Routine Training

It has been said that if you wanted to get injured do one of two things: do nothing or do the same thing every time. Adding variety to your rehabilitation program or fitness workout can empower you to prevent physical injury and overcome burnout, helping you keep motivated to reach your goals. Depending upon what sport you participate in and the training facilities available, this could mean adding a variety of different training variables such as distance, position, direction,height, speed, load, and apparatus. to name a few. Remember, your brain likes a little variety so mixing things up a little can help you keep things fresh psychologically.  


Secrets #3

Chase Carrots

As one of my mentors, Todd Durkin, lead trainer for Under Armour, says “chasing carrots (a specific goal) can help keep you motivated” Obtaining a specific fitness personal record of accolade or even just having a target event to participate in can sharpen your focus  so that you can achieve what you want. So chase carrot. it will help keep things interesting and help propel you to reaching your goals.



Secrets #1

Train with a Partner

Training with a close friend or respected colleague can provided a well needed psycho-social lift that helps keep you consistent, purposeful, and having fun. Train with people you love and you will love to train. This  could be a friend, spouse, your child or just a like mind colleague that shared some common health and fitness goals. Look for someone you enjoy being around that pushes you to be more consistent and get more out of your workout.


Secrets #2

Join a Gym

Joining a  well run gym with a philosophy of building community and comradery can can not only keep you psychologically motivated but also provide an avenue to meet interesting like mind people that share your common passion. Look for gyms that offer interesting group classes such as spinning, cardio- boxing and yoga that are in align with your goals and that are affiliated with different sports or social clubs that allow you to meet other people.


Secrets #3

Belong to a Club

Joining a club organization with like minded  people that are share a common love for a particular sport or activity can provide a great  avenue to combine socializing with your fitness goals. Clubs and organizations provide the needed structure to meet  new people that help push you to be get in events that that you might not necessarily participate in. This can help you focus your goals so that you get better at training and reaching them. Remember, leveraging the social aspects of fitness can not only you help in optimize your health and  become more fit, it can also help build meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime.