The Monday Memo
August 28, 2017 PITT DPT STUDENTS
MOVEMENT IS MEDICINE
Charles Badawy SPT, CSCS, USAW
Intentionally or not, our society is CONDITIONED to be afraid of moving. As we age, gathering our bumps and bruises along the way, we’re told we’re broken:
- Ruptured discs.
- Rotator cuff tears.
- Knee arthritis.
We’re often told these things just happen:
- They’re a product of age.
- We’re told to stop:
- Stop bending over.
- Stop picking things up.
- Stop using your arms.
- Stop running.
These people are right, but they’re also very, very wrong. Injuries and tissue pathology are in fact a consequence of being a human. If you’re doing it right, you’re going to get hurt sometimes. Impersonate your favorite Peter Griffin GIF, rub some dirt in it, and get back to work. More often than not, injuries are temporary. They knock ya down, but not out. Much like a good relationship, it’s important that you respect the injury, give it time to calm down, and then approach it from a different angle.
However, that different “angle” is, and will always be, movement. Blown disc so you can’t bend forward? Bend backward for a little while instead! Move your shoulders, hips, knee, and elbows! Move your neck! Torn labrum? Pull. A lot. Strengthen your back and posterior deltoids until the pain goes away. Knee Pain? Bike instead of run, then get to work on those glutes and hamstrings, because I can almost guarantee you they’re weak. The end goal after an injury is obviously to regain function. This in itself demands that we perform the movement that is painful or the movement that isn’t working properly. We want to regain that ability. And we can.
Let’s cover this very briefly to avoid a novel:
1. First, you need to stop hurting. Nothing will work if you’re in pain.
2. Then, and really at the same time, you need to keep moving. Find movements you can tolerate and keep the tissue active.
3. Slowly, and methodically, load the tissue. Teach it to be resilient again. This is how you heal. This is how you stay young. This is how you retain the basic functions that make us human.
Movement is medicine folks, so get moving.