Education is the first step you will take on the road to healing. By gaining an understanding of your anatomy, the principles of postural alignment, and proper body-mechanics, you develop the foundation on which to build healthy new movement patterns.
Manual Therapy is an essential part of the rehabilitation process. We incorporate a variety of hands-on techniques such as myofascial release, traction, deep tissue mobilization, joint mobilization, muscle energy, cupping, Kinesio-tape, and Graston. Our goal with these interventions is to decrease pain or swelling, and increase tissue mobility to help you begin to achieve neutral joint mechanics.
Think of your body as a pulley and lever system. If the pulleys (soft tissues) are too short/tight, the levers (bones and joints) cannot attain the proper alignment and movement. Poor posture, injuries and de-conditioning create compensatory shortening/tightening of your tissues. Gaining flexibility gives your body the opportunity to regain proper alignment and movement. In conjunction with hands-on interventions, you will be instructed in specific isolated stretching techniques designed to safely and effectively restore your body’s ability to be in alignment.
This refers to isolated strengthening. When recovering from any injury, we need to learn how to stabilize one part of our body as we move another. Classically, we focus on core strengthening which provides the foundational stability from which to move the larger joints in our bodies i.e. hips and shoulders.
The next step is to integrate this new found alignment, mobility, and strength into functional movement patterns. These exercises focus on re-training your body to fire the right muscles, at the right time, creating healthy movement patterns that protect your joints, and increase your overall strength, endurance, and efficiency.
The 3 keys to learning these new movement patterns are repetition, variety, and visualization.
- Repetition. Only through a high number of repetitions does your body begin to re-learn its movement patterns. It is the key to moving from focused exercise to intuitive fluid functional movement.
- Variety. Your therapist will choose a few exercises with similar movement patterns, but which are done in a variety of positions. This will challenge your body to coordinate the movement using different muscles, and sequencing patterns in each position. This increases your body’s ability to automatically use healthy movement patterns during functional activities.
- Visualization. Only perfect practice makes perfect. This is why we are meticulous about form. Your therapist will incorporate verbal and tactile cues as you view your movements in a mirror. The mirror is important, for practicing at home, especially in the beginning stages. Often our perception of how we stand/move is not how it is in reality.
Finally! This is the big pay off! With practice, you will begin to embody a felt sense of the appropriate pattern and sequencing of the exercises. You will no longer need a mirror, or have to constantly remind yourself about how to sit, stand, move, lift…. Instead, your body will reflexively, and intuitively move with strong, healthy, fluid movement patterns. This means full recovery from your injury, returning to the activities you love, and bonus feature…a drastic reduction in the risk of future injuries!