What Comes First – Pain or Moving Poorly?
“Are you moving poorly because you’re in pain? Or are you in pain because you are moving poorly?” –Gray Cook
I think we can all agree that we, as human beings, are creatures of habit. Well, guess what – not only does that happen on a conscious, neurological level, but it also happens on an unconscious, anatomical level as well.
What does that mean? It means that not only do you go to the same coffee place every morning, have the same routine, use the same hair products, and often do the same things on the same nights of the week, you also bend over to pick up a piece of paper the same way, you sit at your desk the same way, and you drive the same way. After a while, those movements become engrained in you the same way. You go to the same barber for 15 years and, even if the last three times you went they butchered your hair, it’s more than likely you are going back a 4th time. If you have sat at your desk in the same position for 15 years – shoulders shrugged, hunched over your keyboard – most likely you will still sit like that in years 16 and 17 as well. Our ankles get bound up, either from years of sitting, or, for many women, from years in heels. Before you know it, every time you need to get something that falls on the floor, you either bend at the waist, stretching out those lower back muscles that aren’t supposed to be stretched, or you squat down coming onto your toes putting unnecessary compression on your knees.
Then one day you decide to make a change. You hear about Get Fit NH and you sign up. We bring you in and you have your initial assessment to check those movement patterns. All too often one of two things happens:
A) You don’t take the screen seriously, you push yourself and do patterns the screen showed you shouldn’t, and before we know it, you’re in a sling or can’t walk up or down stairs. Or,
B) You have one screen and don’t take it seriously, then when the option to rescreen presents itself, you blow it off.
Well, the above paragraph shows why this screen is so important. We use the screen to see how you move so that we can assess what we need to do to make sure you are exercising safely and effectively. More often than not, many of the injuries we see are not because “I just picked up too much weight when I squatted” or “Man, my arms just aren’t strong enough”. Instead, injuries happen because there is some type of restriction in that pattern. The body has become so used to doing a movement in a certain way that it starts to rely on muscle groups it shouldn’t rely on. In many cases, your body may rely on the wrong muscles more than the muscle groups it should be using. Guess what that leads too if not corrected? It leads to pain.
So which comes first – pain or moving poorly? Well, the pain has to come from somewhere. Unless there is an outside factor such as disease or severe injury, that pain is born out of improper motor patterns. Joints don’t just spontaneously combust and start to hurt randomly one morning. So take these screens seriously. Find the time to get rescreened and listen to the results. Often the root of our problems is not the pain itself, but what causes the pain in the first place.
Make it happen!