Total Movement Freedom…
by Craig Faeth, PT, ATC, CSCS, FAFS(FMR), 3D MAPS, FGS
If someone asked you if you wanted to be able to move in every way a human can move, would you say ‘no’? Of course you wouldn’t. We all want to be as capable with our bodies as is humanly possible. We want to be healthy, we want to be fit, we want to enjoy physical activities with our families, we want to age well enjoying every aspect of our well earned retirement.
What stands in the way of that? Well, a lot of things do, but I know one thing that will for sure stand in the way. And it is something you can take action on right now. It is finding and fixing the parts of your body that don’t move well and work dysfunctionally.
What? You don’t have any limitations or dysfunction in how you move? Because…you don’t have any pain or soreness anywhere? I addressed this common misconception in my last blog post Convinced minor aches are normal? Think Again, but I will give you the short version here. You can’t trust your body. I am not saying you can’t trust “yourself,” but your body will lie to you.
In the clinic, ‘compensation’ is like a four letter word I try to eradicate all day. Compensation is the gremlin that hi-jacks your biomechanics and reprograms them to function at a level less then optimal, but one that “you” won’t be aware of.
Why would it do this? Because that is its job. Let me back up just a little.
The primary part of your brain that keeps you from falling on your face every time you take a step, or bathing yourself in coffee every time you pick up the cup, or dropping every package you are loading on your truck for delivery that day is the motor system. This is a complex system with multiple parts, but for now let’s just understand all of the parts communicate very effectively to provide you coordination and capability for your daily tasks.
The inputs it uses to manage your complex system are many, but few are more important than weakness, pain, stiffness, soreness, and even discomfort. Why? They all present a threat to your body if you continue with the task. Of course, you do continue with the task because you want to overcome, or your boss demands it, or your kids need it (I guess that makes them your boss at times).
So what does your motor system do?
Well it doesn’t want to alert you too much that there is or may be a problem because it knows you are focused hard on your task. So it will seek to reprogram how you complete the task at the level of your muscles, connective tissue, and joints. Miraculously it can do this without you really knowing it.
The end result…you complete the task with minimal or no difficulty, and you move on. The positive feedback from the conscious mind to the motor system is confirmation that the reprograming worked, and is now the preferred pathway for completing that task, or others like it. A compensation is born!
Why should you care about this?
In the clinic I see clients everyday suffering some effects from degeneration of their bodies that impacts their ability to perform the jobs that are required of them and enjoy the things they used to, and desperately want to again.
Time and time again I discover in their best efforts to take care of themselves, they were unwittingly hurting themselves. How? They did not know how their bodies had developed compensations over time. Everything they tried to do to improve themselves physically gave the motor system more encouragement to make their compensations the super highway to “get stuff done!”
Over time, and sometimes sooner, the wear and tear of the joints and the abnormal tension of the soft tissues creates such compressive forces in the body, the tissue begins to fail. Eventually, you cannot overcome your growing physical challenges and aches and pains.
Can you restore your functional movement?
Abso-dang-lutely!!! But you need to know how your body has begun to compensate in order to do things that are regenerative instead of degenerative.
You need to be able to either assess yourself, or be assessed, by a functional movement specialist who understands all of the intricate ways your body works. Not only the understanding of how your body works optimally, but more importantly how it begins to work dysfunctionally and the long term physical impact this can have on your life.
It is all connected
Have you ever heard the term “It’s all connected” in reference to your body. Probably. But has anyone really defined just exactly how “it is all connected” in your specific body?
That is what you need, and getting it is easier than you might think. It does not require an appointment with your doctor, followed by a referral to a specialist, most often a physical therapist. Guided in the right way, you can assess yourself, for far less money, and get an excellent idea of the “bog rocks” of dysfunction you need to tackle first in your body.
Armed with that information, you can turn most anything you do, or have to do, into a therapeutic event, not just something you have to survive. You can change and protect your environment so you are restoring optimal functional movement and all of the freedom that brings your body to do whatever you want to do.
You can start doing that right now! If you want to learn more about what your compensations are, how your body is affected by your compensations, and what you can start to do about them, read my ebook Move Better, Feel Better, Live Better: Your Secret Code to Effortless Movement, Enhanced Performance, and Aging With Ease. Get it at www.movebetterbook.com