Why I Prescribe Movement as Medicine

woman exercising at the beach sunrise

One thing that sets me apart from other Chiropractors is my emphasis on movement. If muscle pain and injury is the disease, movement is the medicine.

Why does movement matter? Do you have a rib that keeps coming out? An S.I. joint that always gets stuck? It’s easily fixed by a Chiropractic adjustment, some massage, or maybe some accupuncture but  the pain and problem keeps coming back. Why? Does that rib prefer to be out? Does the S.I. joint one day wake up and decide that it doesn’t want to move? No! Our body responds to the movement patterns the we use and live our lives with.

Think of your body as a computer. Your muscles, joints, and limbs are the hardware and our brain and how we move is the software. If you’re moving improperly, unbalanced demands are being placed on certain muscles and joints in your body. This doesn’t stop you from living. Your body is strong – it adapts! It runs a new movement program. If you damage your ankle, you limp. Your brain (the software) knows that walking on that ankle will hurt. So it runs a new movement program on your body (the hardware) and we call it a limp. It isn’t good on the other joints that are now overcompensating, but it allows you to get from point A to point B.

Not all changes in movement patterns are as obvious as an injury. Most are more insidious. Always lounging on the couch in the exact same way, that wallet in your back pocket, that heavy and poorly worn back-pack, that big purse that’s always on your left shoulder – all of these unbalanced demands on your body cause your brain to change the way you move. You undergo a state of altered motor control.

Now this is no big deal in isolation. Everyone has their own unique way of moving. A story of what we’ve demanded from our bodies. But this altered motor control can lead to injury and then pain in certain areas. This is why sleeping in a new bed can through your back out, bending over to tie your shoe can cause a disc to blow, and why sneezing can pop a rib out. When you take a system that is running inefficiently and then throw increased demands (a new sport or exercise routine), injury (sprained ankle) or age (I hear that getting old sucks at least 10 times a day) at it, your body will speak out – usually through pain.

So you’re going about your day and you sneeze. There’s a constant sharp pain in your back and it hurts to take deep breaths. The rib joint is locked up and the muscles around it are spasming. You get the rib adjusted, get some acupuncture on the muscle, and you feel amazing. But then it happens again later and the cycle repeats. Why? Was the human body meant to hurt by a sneeze? No.

The rib joint and the muscles caused the pain and fixing them made you feel better. But then you went back out there in the world, moved in such a way that places extra demand on that area, and the sudden jolt of a sneeze caused pain again. The way you move – your software – wasn’t addressed. Only the hardware was looked at.

When you go into the chiropractor’s, physical therapist’s, or acupuncturist’s office, they make sure that whatever area is bothering you is made perfect again at that moment in time. But when you leave those doors, you resume the same movement habits that brought you into the office to begin with.

No one likes pain and of course I use all the regular tools at my disposal to get a person out of pain and discomfort. But that’s just treating the symptom. Re-training their movement patterns with specific exercises and stretches is the long term solution that fixes the problem. And this is why I use movement as medicine.

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Dr. Lell would be happy to answer questions or provide more information discussed in this blog post. Contact him through our Contact Page.