Breaking out of Movement Myths

The barrier sitting in front of non-serving habits and movement patterns is real. Every routine movement sequence we engage in with our body has been formed over many years, and many times, sometimes since our very primitive days as a child.

Most of the time this serves us well. It is what allows us to walk, to learn and retain new skills and to progress from a task being difficult to becoming easier and more accessible. This doesn’t work however when we are continuing to employ movement patterns or belief patterns that are no longer serving us or that are inaccurate. 

Research at one point indicated that the best way to help recover an injured part of the body – bone, joint, tendon or muscle – was simply to rest it and stop using it. Science surrounding injury recovery, healing and pain management however is a fast growing field, and research no longer indicates that the best thing to do with a tendon that is hurt is to get crutches and eliminate weight bearing. In fact, for tendon related dysfunction, it is quite the opposite: progressive loading.

 Many clients and athletes walk in with an injury to a particular part of their body, and now call that their “bad” one – bad shoulder, “my bad hip,” bad knee. This creates a psychophysiological connection with the brain that this particular area needs to be treated with more care; to be protected and helped. That it needs compensation from other parts of the body or other surrounding tissues, and that ultimately, it cannot – and may not – perform to its full capacity.

Changing our psychological view of pain, injury and body asymmetries is the first step in healing. The “non-active, just rest” paradigm is no longer correct. In fact, as Brad Beer, physiotherapist says, “you can’t heal an injury in an active part of the body through inactivity.” And when you do, it reinforces the body and brain’s assumption that this area needs extra attention, extra compensation and extra protection.

 We need to move on from the space of injury prevention and adopt a mentality of injury resilience – resilient in advance of the injury happening, resilient during the healing, and resilient in the post recovery phases. Understanding resilience allows us to view an injury from both the physical/physiological and mental/psychological view point. Resilience does indeed come from being physically resilient, and mentally resilient.

Take a runner for example, who runs marathons and competes in long distance races. They have tremendous mental resilience, and when the inevitable training injury occurs, calling on this is essential in addressing the lack of physical resilience that has presented. Injury is a breakdown in resilience, and as such is best addressed by building back up resilience.

 Telling our body how it is or feels – bad, weak, hurt – does not push the needle towards helping it improve. And while it may be hard to break out of these old-school thought patterns and habits, it is the only way forward. Science changes and progresses, the body changes and progresses, the mind changes and progresses. And I is during in jury when this needs to happen the most. Don’t hold it back from happening, but instead, embrace that it can and set up the scene and recruit the tools necessary to let it do so. 

Laura PeillComment