Natural Movement

ed“First move well, than move often”

The above quote by physiotherapist and movement expert Gray Cook very simply defines what we should be doing with our bodies every day to prevent disease or dysfunction. Although simply written “moving well” is difficult. With the increase in sedentary behaviour, careers involving staring at screens and sitting in chairs for 8 hours a day, and the excess weight we carry around unnecessarily, it’s tough in this modern age to keep our movement free and functioning.

But first what is “moving well” and how do we define it? How do we know if we are moving well? A good place to start is by looking at the primary movement patterns our bodies can perform:

The 7 Human Movement Patterns.

  1. Squat
  2. Hinge
  3. Push
  4. Pull
  5. Rotational
  6. Single leg (gait)
  7. Lunge

Are you “moving well”?

If you think about the way you move your body throughout day you will generally go through all these 7 patterns, whether squatting to sit down or lunging to climb a stairs, your body is constantly repeating these movement patterns. Dysfunction in the body can often be traced to limitations within a specific movement pattern.

How is your movement?

When attempting to perform the movements do you notice tightness or restriction of movement within certain areas? A proper assessment by a trained professional can help you determine if you may have limitations in any of these movement patterns and if the problem may be caused by tightness or shortening of soft tissues or lack or range of motion.

The way your body compensates during some of these movements can say a lot about what the potential dysfunctions may be. For example when you squat do you notice any of the following compensations throughout the body:

Feet pronate and externally rotate: This may indicate tightness in the soleus, gastrocnemius (calf muscle), hamstring and piriformis and/or weakness in the gluteus medius (bum muscles).

Knees buckle / hip internal rotation: May indicate weak/inhibited gluteus maximus/medius, tight adductor complex and iliotibial band. May be an inability to control hip movements, pointing to an underlying motor control stability problem.

Low back arches: May indicate tight hip flexors and latissimus dorsi, compensating for a weak outer and inner core.

Low back rounds: May indicate overactive external obliques, compensating for weak core muscles.

These are just a few examples of how the body compensates and overuses certain muscles to facilitate movement and function daily. But over time these compensations can themselves lead to problems as over reliance on the supporting muscles can lead to tightness, stiffness and poor balance and or posture. An Osteopath, experienced personal trainer or other qualified healthcare professional can perform a full movement assessment and help identify where you may have movement restrictions or imbalances which could be contributing to stiffness or pain. Sometimes awareness alone can be the best starting point and can make a difference so begin to notice how you move your body daily: do you feel like you have any restrictions in any movement patterns? Do you notice any compensations in your body where you don’t feel balanced or aligned when performing certain movements?

Moving differently

A great way to prevent dysfunction from occurring in the first place is to keep moving in a variety of ways and keep challenging the body to adapt. We get stuck in modes of movement, whether that’s sitting at a desk all day or lying down on in the same position every evening staring at the screen. It’s no wonder the body closes up and tenses. We need to challenge the body with new ways of movement. This helps increase strength, range of motion and flexibility and ultimately offers more protection for our joints as we age. Consider activities that can challenge you to move in new ways you have not been used to. Some great activities for challenging your movement include:

  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Martial Arts
  • Dancing
  • Rock climbing
  • Sports- Football, Tennis, Rugby etc.
  • Cross country running – non linear

Of course many sports such as football, tennis, rugby etc involve moving the body in multiple planes and are also excellent for challenging movement patterns. Walking and running are good activities for fitness for their usual repetitive nature doesn’t challenge your movement as well. The key is to get creative and consider where is there an opportunity for you to move in a different and challenging way.

As always this information is not a replacement for medical advice, and is not intended to treat, cure, or repair any medical condition. You should consult with a health professional before beginning any exercise program.

Full Shoulder Replacement? Dos and Don’ts for a Full Recovery

3eIf you have ever experienced shoulder pain and loss of full range of motion, you know that simple tasks like brushing your hair or driving a car can be excruciating. As we age, our most-used joints experience wear and tear. From professional athletes and weekend warriors to crafters and nurses, years of overuse may lead to any number of problems including arthritis, fractures, tears, or even dislocation.

Early treatments may include rest, physical therapy, oral pain medication, and injections. When the pain becomes unbearable and negatively affects your quality of life, shoulder replacement-replacing your ball and cap with artificial joints-may become the best option.

So, you have spoken to your orthopaedic surgeon, and full shoulder replacement is on your horizon. Here are ways to make sure you are back and better than ever within one year of surgery.


Do talk to your surgeon and ask lots of questions. Shoulder replacement is a real operation. Depending on your existing health and pain medication use, you will either have in-patient or out-patient surgery.

Don’t jump into surgery without evaluating all other less-invasive options. You need to be prepared to take it easy after the operation. Your loved ones, employer, and co-workers will all be affected by this decision.

The Day After Surgery

Do keep your arm in a sling. Following the surgery, you will need to limit motion as much as possible. Keep the sling on except when dressing, bathing, brushing teeth, eating, or completing other daily activities.

Don’t remove the sling for non-daily living activities. This will hinder your healing.

One Week After Surgery

Do visit your doctor for a post-operation check. Remember to keep your arm in the sling unless you are performing activities of daily living.This is also the point where you will be able to start simple exercises with assistance.

Don’t continue using pain medications. Post-operative pain medication dependency is a serious problem.

Three to Six Weeks After Surgery

Do work on your range of motion. Exercises should be done daily and start from a lying position. Move your arm up and over your head to stretch your tendons. Once you have mastered raising your arm while lying down, work on raising your hand with your palm against a wall.

Don’t push yourself too hard. Remember that recovery is about quality over quantity. You should be working up to moving your shoulder in natural ways without pain.

Three to Six Months After Surgery

Do resume activities that exercise the joint naturally. These include running, swimming, cycling, or golf.

Don’t lift weights. You should be strengthening muscles without exertion. Lifting weights could lead to tearing and further injury during the healing process.

Six Months to One Year

Do continue performing activities that allow you to exercise your shoulder. Have fun!

Don’t over do it.

Ways Physical Therapy Can Help

3Anyone who struggles with chronic pain or range of motion issues might benefit from physical therapy. A physician might recommend this treatment plan to help a patient recover from an injury or some medical condition. The medical professional can teach pain management techniques, as well as methods for improving flexibility and range of motion.

Pain Management

Many people experience ongoing issues with pain that interfere with daily activities. Instead of resorting to medications for various types of pain relief, physical therapy can be an effective way to manage discomfort. The therapist can provide the patient with exercises that target specific muscle groups and joints. Performing these exercises can build strength and flexibility, which may reduce pain. This type of treatment can also include electrical stimulation directed at specific muscle groups, which often helps alleviate discomfort.

Enhanced Mobility

Anyone struggling with mobility can benefit from physical therapy. This treatment can assist people with building strength to stand, walk, and move around. Specific exercises will stretch and strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and enhance coordination. When patients must perform specific movements such as transferring from bed to a wheelchair or using a walker to walk, this type of therapy can teach skills and help build strength.

Independent Movement

Aging often brings about issues with independence. A therapist can assist an older patient with independent movement to give a person more autonomy. Part of this type of treatment also involves screening people for fall risk to determine whether they have a high potential of falling in the home. If a patient is found to be at an increased risk, the health care professional can provide specific exercises that will help build strength and coordination.

Illness or Injury Recovery

Sports injuries often involve fractures and sprains. Recovering from this type of injury can be a lengthy process. People often benefit from specific movements that will help strengthen injured areas. With professional guidance, the patient may also be able to avoid additional injuries, which can occur with exercising too strenuously after an injury. Similarly, some illnesses also necessitate physical therapy. For example, a stroke usually involves various degrees of physical impairment. To regain movement and function, a professional can assist with weakened muscles and balance issues.

Post-Surgical Recovery

Recovering from surgery usually involves allowing the body to heal and then slowly building strength and coordination once again. Specific exercises often help with post-surgical recovery, targeting areas that need to heal and strengthen. People often find that they recover faster when they utilize targeted exercises both before and after surgery. Some people may even be able to avoid certain surgical procedures with the use of physical therapy. Performing exercises may help with healing and pain management after an injury, eliminating the need for surgery.

Building physical strength and coordination is virtually always a positive health enhancement. By applying these principles to healing and well-being, it may be possible to recover faster and more completely. A workout designed specifically for someone’s unique needs should be an effective treatment method for recovery.