Practice What You Preach!

Should you always be able to practice what you preach? Being in a profession within the healthcare system many people have asked me am I capable of doing everything that I normally ask of my clients, be in strength, mobility or balance related. The simple answer is no, I cannot do everything that I often expect and seek from others. This can present some what like an irony that I would not consider myself to me injured or currently harboring a condition but I cannot do some of the things I ask from those that do. The honest answer is that regardless of what you may try and teach someone and expect them to be able to replicate each person has different body structures and capabilities. Each person has also developed differently including their health history regarding the injuries they have sustained and they way in which thy have recovered from these injuries. So very rarely do you find someone who is perfectly functional by the standards we test people. To the extent that when I access someone who is perfectly functional I’m almost shocked.

I have gone through my fair share of injuries so If I was to be tested for things such as ankle or shoulder stability someone may think that I may currently be carrying an injury but as of right this second I’m good. We are not always capable of doing the tests and assessments that we use to grade individuals musculoskeletal health. At times we can hold the testing methods we use a little to strongly. As those who are testing these people and trying to push them forward it can at times create goals that can be excessively difficult for people to cross. People are sometimes not capable of reaching what is perceived to be perfect functionality but most are still capable of doing the sports or events that they wish to undertake. There are always ways around certain functional shortcomings. This may mean doing things in an unconventional manner or simply by breaking activities down to their base elements.

At the same time most people involved in health and sports related activities need to be able to do the basic requirements of that activity. Be it simple skills or some of the functional movements that are heavily demanded in the sport, it is essential purely because to understand the sport and what is demanded of those involved, the best way to help them and make their plan applicable to them and their sports is to be able to understand the sport at a basic level and recreate it. Not to be able to understand every fine nuance of a game but to see the way an individual moves and the way this interacts with surrounding players or athletes can at times be one of the most valuable assets you can have. To understand how an athlete should move in their position and how they normally move themselves can lead you down a path where you realise that they may be carrying an injury or weakness. Seeing a player act differently or out of character can lead you to help them to overcome what may be effecting their game. Behind games, and this is especially true for athletes, lies the core of an individual. So if you cant put yourself in their shoes you may miss the signs behind certain problems. You are not a mind reader although many expect us to be. But at the same time make sure you can practice what you preach, to a certain degree, even to understand where your clients and athletes are coming from to better help them and to allow yourself to keep up with the hectic demands of a physical and demanding job.

T-Spine Mobility and Its Importance

Your T-Spine or Thoracic spine is the largest section of our spines. It is where our ribs and spine are interconnect as well as where nearly all trunk movement pivots upon. It connects our upper and lower extremities and is a passage way for forces that go through our bodies as well as protecting the contents of the thoracic cavity.

Our T-Spines are not very mobile as they are not suppose to be, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to stand upright and the contents between or ribs and T-Spine wouldn’t be protected. At the same time movement in relation to the limbs and joints attached to the T-Spine while it moves laterally, anteriorly and expands aids to force dispersal from the upper extremities of our bodies and the transferal of forces into our lower extremities.

The movements shown in the video (by Squat University) above can help with T-Spine mobility and stability which often is neglected with the other sections of the spine being concentrated on. Spine mobility as a whole are often neglected but as can be seen in the video it is very important even in something such as olympic lifts.

T-Spine mobility is a key to helping with many other functional strengths in our bodies. It can aid in shoulder functionality and chest mobility, lumbar strength and hip mobility. Often something overlooked it can at times help with the full functionality of many other and integral parts to our bodies.

Increasing Mobility using Voodoo Bands

A somewhat controversial topic at times to due many peoples views on the use of voodoo bands in relation to improving mobility. This is often due to certain ways in which they are used or to what extent. Mobility bands or Voodoo bands originally came into practice through body building.

They were originally used to provide  an increase in pressure, to the active joint, to allow for a greater degree of movement, especially while their tissues are loaded. Within the body building world they are often also used to provide a hypertrophic effect to grow on the surrounding tissue. 

They became popular in their use amongst athletes and therapists a like. Similar to the application of pressure by an external individual in PNF the bands allow for a greater degree of movement through compression, tension and movement.  These often increase joint mobility, decrease pain, and speed up recovery through myofascial release, occlusion and reactive hyperemia, and joint centralisation.

Certain athletes can at times use the bands to increase their mobility to an unsafe degree in relation to their sport but as a whole it is often an incredibly useful way in which people can increase their mobility and reduce pain due to a reduction of tension in tissues and an ease of movement. The video shows the use of bands for ankle mobility and draining of excess fluid.

At the same time all aspects to Voodoo bands are not necessarily viable. Many use them for neural flossing but the compression itself can act more as a placebo effect reducing a persons ability to fully experience the pain. However as a whole for the benefits they can provide especially to those who are very immobile they are an essential tool.