Do you shrug your shoulders, hold your breath, clench your teeth, or maybe even curl your toes while performing certain activities? If so, you likely have a faulty compensation pattern, which is causing a decrease in performance or ongoing pain in seemingly unrelated areas of the body.
You have also seen these people. For instance, the person running in front of you with their neck bent off to the side, where the longer they run, the closer their ear gets to resting on their shoulder. When I see this on the street, I have to resist the urge to run up to this person and tell them A) they have a faulty neural pattern that is slowing them down, and B) I can fix it.
Did you injure yourself and the brain then created a faulty movement pattern to get around the pain/tissue damage, which resulted in (what looks like) a bad habit? Or the other way around did the brain latch onto a pre-existing bad habit attempting to create stability post-injury when it couldn’t figure out what else to do? Either way, the brain forgot to return to it’s functional movement pattern when the pain/tissue damage healed resulting in new symptoms and decreased performance.
Can you fix this problem and do you need to use a Sensory Motor Repatterning (SMR) Therapist to remove the faulty patterns? The answer is yes you can fix this and you don’t need the likes of me to fix it for you. Gray Cook’s book “Movement” may be a great place to start, though it’s heavy on the technical side, so I often recommend reading his “Athletic Body in Balance”. Gray developed movement assessment protocols (FMS and SFMA) to break down movements into the basics allowing faulty movement patterns to be identified then addressed through retraining. An example might be observing someone always leaning their head to the right when lifting weights. The fix would be to reduce the amount of weight lifted until the person could perform the movement without using their compensation pattern (in this case lateral head side bending). With time, the weight would be gradually increased and the pattern replaced with the correct movement pattern of the head held straight.
Gray’s SFMA and FMS protocols are extremely effective, but they are also time consuming. I use SFMA to help direct my sessions, but find Sensory Motor Repatterning (SMR) Therapy a much faster method of correcting the faulty patterns, which can be done in minutes versus weeks. Some patterns are harder to to detect by yourself and therefore harder to correct without professional assistance. Next post, I’ll discuss what is by far the most common habit/dysfunction I treat. I bet you’ll be surprised…