It’s universal. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when that orange light pops up on your dashboard. It is a sign that something went wrong. Not knowing whether it’s a major problem or just the gas-cap, we all become very careful and tenuous drivers. Once this light is on our cars are programmed to significantly reduce efficiency to ensure safe operation, allowing us to limp our way around until we can get it to a mechanic.
When it comes to our bodies, we have an entirely different way of handling this same situation. Like that light in our cars, pain is a sign that something went wrong. Yet the common mentality remains “no pain, no gain”.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even when the problem is small, without our knowledge, the body sacrifices efficient movement to avoid stressing the “injured” area. Often this happens without any pain present… yet. Over time, these compensations further develop and rob the body of movement and strength. Eventually the body starts to run out of options and pain is the result. Continuing to “push through it” only helps feed the monster – not teach it a lesson.
At MOVE, we do not allow our patients to move through pain. We teach our patients not to fear pain, but to respect it for the signal it is. We will not sacrifice quality of movement simply to achieve more movement.
Most times in a patient’s care, my manual treatment is directed at the source of the original compensation, which is usually far away from the areas they complain of. By working backwards, we can restore the integrity of movement without the need to further punish the painful area with “strengthening” exercises.
Once the structure and movement are restored, you will be able to move more efficiently and you’ll be surprised by how easy strength can be achieved!
Dr. Justin Sullivan, PT, CSCS, SFB, SFG