Let's just jump right in...
MAJOR HOLE #1
LOOKING NO FURTHER THAN PAIN
Pain is a great indicator. It signals that things are not quite as they should and deserve some attention. It’s part of the healing process that’s necessary to get us back on our feet.
Though, pain is not always the source of the problem.
Treating the specific location of the injury is important in triggering healing but what is often overlooked is how that injury may have had the perfect set up. What might be the biomechanical or postural issues that were present before the injury that may have compromised the body?
Think of it this way:
If you carve a tiny notch in a wooden stick and then apply force to break it, where will it break? In the area of weakness right?
The body will also have it’s version of tiny notches that make it weaker. Perhaps even an old injury can become that notch and further perpetuate the inevitable doom!
Unless you start looking at the areas of tension, the postural imbalances and the areas of weakness as your path to true recovery.
Taking a full body approach by looking at posture and overall movement is a huge key to understanding how the injury or pain is affecting the whole body.
An injury may seem completely chaotic with pain, inflammation and bruising sometimes involved, but, in fact, it’s an organized reaction to the trauma. Though some of that organization may require the body to “borrow” mobility or stability from another part of the body in the interim. A sore knee may force the person to walk on their toes, limiting ankle and hip mobility during healing. If the goal is simply to treat the knee and ignore the ankle and hip, there may be subsequent faulty patterns that haven’t been addressed and start affecting the person’s way of moving (biomechanics).
Thus, use pain as the indicator but approach the body with a broader view and nip those compensations in the bud before they cause further domino effects. This goes for therapists but as you start to look at your mobility with a broader view, you may start to understand the bigger connection.
MAJOR HOLE #2
BELIEVING THEY HOLD ALL THE ANSWERS
Being a firm believer in your competencies and techniques is a must when treating patients; it conveys confidence and produces results. I definitely prefer seeing a therapist that is sure of themselves and clearly knows what they’re talking about.
Another important quality is their ability to know where their expertise reaches its limit and knowing when a referral to another therapist is needed.
Often using complementary modalities can really catapult recovery IF the therapists that are recommended are also competent and confident.
I’ve seen clients who have come to me with completely wrong diagnosis on their issues after going to their family doctor or even the hospital. How are they to even know not to trust that diagnosis? It’s coming from seemingly competent and confident sources; sources that have, in time, established themselves as THE authority. If only they had recommended someone with more expertise in musculoskeletal issue...if only! Just take that in consideration the next time you are trying to figure out your issue; you may want several expert opinions.
I think this major hole can easily be circumvented by looking around until you find a therapist you trust and to ask for their recommendations. Competent therapists surround themselves with just-as-competent colleagues.
MAJOR HOLE #3
OMITTING A GAUGE FOR PROGRESS
Feeling good after a session is great but it helps when there’s a measure of progress. I admittingly do not focus on this when someone comes in for a relaxation massage but I also acknowledge that their gauge IS “feeling good”, “feeling more relaxed”.
That being said, when I am working on a particular issue, be it lack of range of motion, an injury or pain, I will aim to recreate the movement(s) that is difficult or painful. We try this movement at the beginning of the session and at the end. When I can, I like to work with people who come in dressed in gym clothing so I can get them on and off the table throughout the session to test and retest.
Not only is this great for the therapist to know how to adjust, it’s great for the patient to feel the difference and develop their body awareness. If you have read my last post with Primal Mobility we talk about how body awareness is often lacking in athletes. It’s one of those things that if you develop the art of paying attention, you can be a more active participant in your health, recovery and progress because you’re really attuned to what is going on in your body.
The next time you go in for treatment, use your own test-retest to see how you feel before and after the treatment.
10 ACTIONABLE tips to stay one step ahead of your injuries by nipping them in the bud and avoiding them all together.