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Magic? No, Science!

I had an online session with a new client recently. She was an equestrian and competed in dressage recreationally. She had a few complaints such as chronic pain in the balls of her feet, mid back compression pain from being hit in the back by a bale of hay, and left shoulder pain that kept her from sleeping on her side. She had also gone through foot surgery on both big toes decades ago and had bore three children via c-sections. 

After creating a timeline of this client’s life in regards to her surgeries, injuries, and accidents, we went through a postural assessment. Like everyone else, she had shifted here and there in a subconscious attempt to find the best resting place for a body that has experienced a unique life. She tended to bear more weight on her right and when observing her walk she landed quickly and heavily on her right; perhaps to get off the left foot that had been troubling her more.

Next we broke down her gait into chunks. We assessed how she moved her pelvis, her ribs, and her shoulders. She struggled to rotate her pelvis right and her ribs left. It was about this time that she remembered an incident involving a frisbee many years ago. Movement has a wonderful way of triggering memories. Trauma can be often suppressed. It happens almost every time I assess someone. Something is remembered. In her case, she was hit by the flying disc near her left eye. It had caused permanent damage. Her vision on her left had been affected by the hit and still lingered these many years later.

As we assessed shoulder motion she turned her head to the right almost imperceptibly every time regardless of which shoulder was moving. Could she be subconsciously turning away from her left due to her old injury? A curious hypothesis for sure. I asked her to take her eyes to the left and try her shoulder assessment again. Immediate improvement and no head turning! Had she been avoiding taking her eyes to the left and reconfigured her posture and movements to accommodate too?

I asked her to bring her left leg forward in a split stance. This would encourage her hips to turn right and her upper body left. As we moved in and out of this position she felt tremendous relief in areas that were troubling her. Muscles that were short began to lengthen, muscles that were stretched out began to relax to a shorter resting length. The pain in the balls of her feet were alleviated.

We continued down this logical path and came up with two movements that would encourage her to safely explore her left side and look left. Her mid back suddenly got an adjustment. Her left shoulder began to relax and feel softer and more at ease. Her hips began to also soften and relax so that when she walked she was no longer crashing down on her right.

The underlying cause and resultant effect of chronic pain is astounding and an observer might call the work we do magic. Magic is a word used when we do not understand what is happening. However, once you get a full knowledge of the body, how it is meant to move and stand, and how the brain negotiates with previous experiences, it is not magic at all; it’s science!