When new physical therapy patients walk in my door, the first thing we do is sit down together and talk about pain. It may sound odd, but right off the bat I need to know what’s hurting. I ask, “What’s bothering you? Do you have any chronic pain that comes and goes?” Over the years, I’ve learned that there are some things that many people are doing wrong, and it’s resulting in pain and reinjury.
Here are four secrets I’ve learned as a PT that just might keep you from walking in my doors and help you move better:
1. Don’t See Your Limitations as Negatives
The tightness, weakness, movement compensations, and poor posture aren’t bad. Think of them as areas of great potential where you can improve. These limitations are your body’s signals to you of what’s often times a bigger issue. Learning to read them and not considering them negatives will help you address the limitations one by one and slowly but surely strengthen your body, and even prevent injuries.
2. Don’t Focus on Only One Body Part
Way back when, physical therapists were taught to only work on one body part at a time—the part that was hurting the most. Patients may have felt better immediately after treatment, but once gravity hit that bum knee or tweaked back, the pain would come right back. That’s because the area of your body that’s in pain is not usually the source of the problem. If your neck hurts, does it stem from your poor posture and tight hips? Are your knee problems caused by weak glutes or even tight calves?
One joint affects the next, so go on a scavenger hunt around your body to uncover where the treatment should be focused. And don’t trust any PT who tells you otherwise!
3. Take a Dynamic Approach to Movement
Taking a holistic approach to physical therapy isn’t the only way you can stay injury-free. Once you’re healthy, stay that way by incorporating your whole body with 3D dynamic movements. If you look at the anatomy of your bones, joints, and muscles, you’ll see that they are built to move in different directions…and even rotate. Simple multi-directional lunges, squats, and reaches can go a long way toward preventing injuries and promoting long-term wellness. And things like muscle tightness can be addressed with dynamic stretches and mobilizations; weaknesses with multi-planar functional strengthening. Dynamic movements will take stress off joints, and keep it off.
4. Get Educated on Real Movement
The vast majority of people who are continually getting re-injured or dealing with chronic pain just need to be educated on what real movement should be. If you learn how to move according your body’s build, you will feel better! Our bodies are marvelous and adapt to our environment as well as the forces that we place on them. If you use daily, 3D dynamic movement that is suited to your body, your muscles and joints will stay healthy.
My mission is to keep you out of my physical therapy office and restore your mobility, flexibility, and strength. Hopefully these four tips have helped! If you feel stiff or experienced lower back pain, check out my new video series ‘Relieve Lower Back Pain in 7 Steps www.MoveMethod.com/7steps.