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  • Paul Croutworst

The Movement Blueprint

The Movement Blueprint

Now that I got your attention, no I’m not talking about the Democrats collectively coming together to impeach #45. I’m talking about movement. As in EXERCISE!!! Many of you may love it, many of you may hate it. Most of you probably need it! But you need a custom road map to navigate the mechanics of the human body. Let me explain why.

To give you a little background into my history, I have always been a high level athlete. Now turned weekend warrior. I grew up playing football, baseball, ran track, skied moguls, mountain bike, lifted weights(poorly mind you) and raced my motorsports through anything and everything. When I wasn’t competing, I was playing other sports just for the activity and the sheer fun of it. At the time, I took all that ability for granted. Now with all the high level activity over the years, I have accumulated quite the laundry list of injuries through acute trauma or from just moving using everyday normal(or so I thought at the time)movement patterns.

My Laundry List

-Fractured arm -Fractured thumb -Two wrist surgeries -Knee surgery -Bilateral hip surgeries -Dislocated shoulder -Sprained ankles -Of course many bursitis and tendonitis episodes as well as muscle strains and sprains. -And just had a cast removed from my arm and had a nice recent knee injury from a fun escapade at one of those trampoline places. (When will I learn?)

           And with all these injuries, I have accumulated countless compensatory movement patterns to boot. It’s only natural for your body to compensate. The human body is the master of compensation. If a movement is painful, your body perceives a threat. Your body wants to avoid the threat and it goes into protection mode, so therefore it compensates and this is how your new movement pattern begins. If you lack mobility in a joint, let’s take your hip for example, it steals it from the joint above and below. In this case, it would rob mobility from your low back and knee. Over the months and years, you have a cumulative effect until one day youfinally break down. And that’s how you end up with back and/or knee pain because they are becoming hypermobile (too much mobility) in the wrong ways. Most times when you are injured, the injury itself actually heals over time however the dysfunctional movement pattern you’ve adopted over time remains. This is where the underlying problem is hidden for most people and gets missed or neglected.

To fast forwar

d a bit, I am now a father of three very active children who are constantly on the go. Their energy is never ending and I always say to myself how much I want to keep up with them and even kick their butts at soccer or basketball for many years to come. And with this comes my addiction. My addiction to exercise and movement. Being strong. Being flexible. Being resilient to stress. Just straight up being able to move well and move often as I age. It’s a fact that the more you move, the better you feel. Motion is lotion. People many times get stuck in a rut when something hurts. They think that it’s better to rest and the issue will go away. However, doing nothing is usually the worst thing you can do. Just because you move a certain way, doesn’t mean you should. Everybody can run but were they taught to run? No! They just run because they always did. Can they run much more efficiently, run faster or run without pain? Of course they can. It’s a skill. They just don’t know how because nobody ever taught them. Just because you can move, doesn’t mean you move well. The same principals apply to every movement in the body. Yes, everyone can walk, everyone can squat, and everyone can lunge. But it doesn’t mean it’s being done right. Is it pain free? Is it potentially feeding into a current dysfunction and delaying progress? Is that last straw moment lingering in the shadows?

One thing I like to say to my patients, ‘’you know what’s addicting? Feeling good!” And every time the patient responds with a resounding “you’re right”! Sometimes it takes a debilitating injury or the culmination of dealing with nagging chronic pain for a person to realize this. Pain isn’t something that has to be dealt with just because you’re “getting old”. Pain is not directly associated with age. Pain is an output of the brain telling you something isn’t quite right. For this reason, pain is good. But the majority of the population doesn’t realize this. People don’t know what they don’t know. In other words, they don’t truly understand the neuromusculoskeletal system and how it works and how various movement dysfunctions are one of the leading causes of pain. It’s just not your language. Why would you know these things? Now ask me to play a guitar, fix a plumbing issue or do automotive repair. I can’t. It’s not my language. However, movement and getting to the root cause of movement associated pain is my language. Sometimes a little detective work is needed and the issue isn’t so glaring.

Usually performing a very thorough history of past injuries, figuring out ones repetitive motions at work or lack of motion in some cases, you can put the pieces of the puzzle together. In addition, performing a thorough movement assessment allows you to get to the bottom of the dysfunction. It allows you to see one’s movement strategy. Does the person toe out when they walk? Do their knees collapse in when they squat? The most dysfunctional patterns usually rear their ugly head. From here, we formulate a strategy to get that person pain free, moving better, stronger and more confident to do the things in life they once did and never thought they would again. It’s about educating and empowering each and every person to understand that they don’t have to be a victim to an old knee injury or degenerative disc disease. It is possible to get your life back. You just have to move and move often…..with the right strategies of course. Remember, it took a habit to make those movement patterns that got you into that mess. It’s gonna take a habit to break that pattern. There is no magic pill.  It takes work and follow through. Every person is different and ones individual’s recipe for success is not the same as the next. It’s not one size fits all people. All back pain is not created equal. My goal is to educate folks on their custom blueprint for optimal movement.

Now, to be honest, I have been on the flip side as well. It hasn’t always been rainbows and sunshine. I have had my share of depressive moments and lose motivation every now and then. But I have to constantly remind myself that the one thing that consistently makes me feel good is movement. “Exercising never makes my body feel good”……said no one ever!!! Especially if it’s being done right.  Going back to my laundry list of injuries, there are times that I feel like I’m a slave to exercise. It’s a gift and a curse. It’s a curse because there are many of times where all I want to do is nothing after a long day of work. But I’ve learned that doing nothing only is just a recipe for disaster. It’s a gift because exercise makes my body feel good. I feel loose. I feel strong. I feel mentally tough. It allows me to keep up with my children. When I feel good, I can project that energy into my family, into my patients and into my friends and life is just overall better.

So now you have a better idea of my addiction to movement and the why behind it. My goal since becoming a corrective exercise specialist is to get everyone moving better. I share my experiences to give people hope that better movement is possible, not just a pipe dream. The injuries are just an unfortunate setback. A blip in the radar usually. Although in the moment, the world may feel like doom and gloom. However each and every time, I have rebounded stronger and learned to move smarter. After all those injuries, I can still ski a bump field of moguls with the best of ’em, I can do a full depth overhead squat and I can keep up with my kids. If my laundry list is that long and I can still move well, so can you. Let’s see your laundry list and get your life back. What’s your movement blueprint?

Paul Croutworst, PTA, NASM-CPT, CES

Owner- 802 Fitness and Therapy

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