As a podiatrist, I see lots of recurrent pain in the feet of my patients. I also hear lots about their recurrent pain elsewhere. Backs, knees, necks, shoulders. The list goes on and on. Everyone seems to be in some form of discomfort. We are incredibly lucky in Australia to have access to a multitude of health workers, from medical specialists, to allied health practitioners, as well as access to so much information. But people are still in pain. Why is that? Could it be that we are missing something? I think so…….
I have had a good number of injuries in my life, sprained ankles, stitches, broken bones, soft tissue strains. Would it surprise you if I told you that with the exception of the most recent ankle sprain, every single one has occurred on my left side? Coincidence, or something of interest? What answers would I get if I just asked why?
WHAT IS ANATOMY IN MOTION?
Anatomy in Motion (AiM) is a systematic approach to accessing the way the body joints moves during gait. Each bone and therefore each joint is shaped in such a way to allow a particular movement to occur. If a movement is no longer accessible, something else will move more. And overtime, symptoms appear. If you don’t ask why, and remove that reason, it doesn’t matter how much you roll out a tight muscle, or how many times you have a massage. The problem will just continue to reoccur and recurrent pain sets in. The brilliance of the AiM technique is that it gives practitioners who ask WHY a roadmap to then follow. This is known as the Flow Motion Model. It shows what each joint is doing in each phase of gait. Once we establish why something isn’t moving in the way it should, we then use the map to work out where that movement occurs in the gait cycle. We then are able to use a series of gait based movements to feed that lost movement back into the body.
GIVE ME AN EXAMPLE, I’M NOT SURE I UNDERSTAND
Take an ankle sprain. Most of us have had them. Why on earth would an ankle sprain lead to ongoing headaches. Let me explain.
You roll your left ankle. It flipping hurts, so you don’t bear weight on it. Healing occurs over the days or weeks, but often only to a point of efficiency, not perfection. This can leave you with some adaptations. Ones that often go unnoticed. Your brain has shunted your weight away from the injury, placing more weight on your right leg. It also wants to protect your damaged ankle so it assumes a pronated foot position (putting less strain on the ankle ligaments you damaged) . So you end up with a right foot in a supinated (higher arch) position, and the left in a pronated (lower arch) position. The right side adductors (groin) are now short, the left long. The right ITB is now long, the left short. Adaptations continue up the chain. Your trunk now must lean so you don’t fall over. Your eyes need to stay on the horizon so your head tilts the other way. All of this has probably gone unnoticed. Most of the time the adaptations are subtle. Your very clever brain and body have changed ever so slightly to allow you to get on with your day. Suddenly you are getting recurrent headaches. You have your neck muscle massaged, you take pain relief. You are told that it’s your job, or technology or stress or dehydration or menopause, well you get my drift. But what no one has ever done is to truly ask WHY. To take a full injury/surgery/trauma history. To try to get to the bottom of why this occurred. What if by showing your body to move comfortably to the left (like it used to before your ankle sprain) is all it takes to stop your headaches……
I HAVE RECURRENT PAIN. HOW DOES AIM HELP ME?
Firstly we look at your history, overlay that with your static posture and your movement capabilities. Most people appreciate that our bodies are connected. Things don’t generally happen for no reason. When you present a body with a more balanced, more efficient movement, the brain will chose that option. Appropriate exercises are given as homework. This is not a magic bullet, it requires commitment. But it’s worth it. AiM practitioners worldwide help people everyday get out of pain, and even avoid surgery. If you have recurrent pain and are interested in undoing patterns of movement that may be hindering your efficiency, book an AiM assessment with Eliza
If you’d like to read more about the founder of AiM, Gary Ward, you can do so here