I'm constantly reminded of how intelligent our bodies are. They hold all the answers, if we take the time to listen and explore. Body awareness and anatomy are the two tools that I find invaluable when investigating a body complaint.
Once in awhile I get really extra lucky with a client. I find the answer in one session and never have to see them again. It's times like these that keep me going and wanting to help people with their bodies.
Alice came to see me because a friend in her running club said I could help her with a problem she was having in her hip. These are the best and worst type of referrals. Expectations are high. So, I say, "I'll know if I have the tools to help you after the first session. Sometimes I need a few sessions to get to the bottom of it."
Most people appreciate this honesty. Alice was ready to give me a try.
Alice was training for a marathon and when she hit Mile Nine, she was getting pain in her left medial (inner) hip. I told her I don't treat pain, but rather, "I look for weakness that might be causing compensation and pain as a result."
Pain is the best way for your body to tell you something is wrong. It seems to work, it certainly gets your attention, doesn't it?
I looked over her entire lower body and kept exploring various movements for weakness. I had her resist me in various positions to look for differences between the right and left hips.
I expected there to be weak muscles/movements in her right hip (since the left was the issue). I found nothing.
It had to be the left hip. I expected the weakness to be on the outside of the hip, in relation to where the pain was. It wasn't.
Each body has it's own way of solving problems. Which is why protocols and methods often leave us hanging.
The weak position was in the least expected area, the last one I checked. When I found the specific position of her left hip that was weaker than the right, she could feel it too. Something wasn't connecting. With some education of anatomy and body awareness guidance, she began to feel the muscles contracting. She was hopeful. We both were.
If it was this hard for her to feel the muscles in that position working while laying down, there was no way they were contributing while running.
I reviewed exercises for her to strengthen the area that needed it. I felt skeptical that it would work. This seemed to simple to be the answer.
But, it did. It worked.
Each person's body has its own unique way of "getting the job done" and compensating to do it. She wanted to run a marathon, so her body found a way to do it, even though it was less than ideal.
The pain went away as a result of strengthening the weak position in her hip. She ran that marathon and I haven't seen her since.
This rarely happens. But, it did.
Do you have a story about a time that you used body awareness to help solve a body complaint? Share it in the comments below.
Check out Andy's Online Anatomy Course to learn more about my method of solving problems.