I was diagnosed with depression in 2018 and, along side talk therapy, my psychologist advised me to walk each day. I hated it! I was tired, I was depressed and trudging around the streets of my village seemed like the ultimate humiliation! I was an athlete, not a walker - FFS!?!
But, it was meditative, and it did really help to clear my mind and ground me. And I would give credit those daily walks (sometimes shuffling trudges with no spring in my step) for helping me literally and figuratively, get back on my feet!
So it wasn't surprising, when, a year later, I found myself in Lisbon for a 6-day course led by a brilliant guy called Gary Ward, that talk us movement geeks all about how we human should walk.
You know that Humans are are bipeds, 2-legged, and millennia ago, we decided that walking around upright was the way to go.
In order to get from point A to point B on our 2 feet, and with our 2 legs, and using our 2 arms, there a series of physical events that have to happen....
Did you know that your core runs from your skull all the way to the soles of your feet?
So, when you're trying to strengthen your core and you're banging away with traditonal abdominal crunch exercises, or planks, you are both wasting your efforts, because you're working on a tiny, isolated section of the whole, and you're probably making things worse, because I find the jaw, or the feet are often responsible for your back pain, and not your weak abdominals?!
So, when you work with me, you'll soon feel the difference in the way I am treating your body as an interconnected whole, rather than disparate parts, and you can expect to start to feel these connections yourself, plus, you can say goodbye to the typical, and very boring, classic core strengthening moves - yippee!
The ability to zoom out and see how all the various parts of the whole are interconnected, and therefore treat you in a holistic way that takes everything into consideration is what I like to call X-Ray Vision.
To get you out of pain quickly and durably, one of the main techniques I use is called Neurokinetic Therapy, (NKT). NKT is a relatively new therapeutic approach, and its efficacy is still being researched and explored. I use NKT in almost every session because it gives me a precision plan of treatment to follow that gives my clients lasting change and immediate relief from their physical pain.
Here's 10 facts to help you understand this technique better:
Yesterday I treated a client whose shoulder and neck have been stiff, sore, stuck since ... forever! She was in pain ‘everywhere’, but was most fatigued, frustrated and just ‘done’ with her constant back pain.
She put the cause of this nagging back pain down to hunching her shoulders at work, or the fact that she holds her stress in her neck and shoulders, and so thought that might provoke her back pain, and, whilst that's defo not a good posture to hold, or healthy habit to form, it only explains some of the problem behind her back pain.
If I was looking for what, I'd have had my answer; sore shoulder, feels tight, clients says it feels stuck, give it a massage, should be good = no more back pain….
But no actually, by working through my protocol, I found that her upper back muscles were weak, her brain couldn't find them anymore, and so, as our bodies do in the name of efficiency, (not to be confused with efficacy) is it had gone right...
There you are with back pain, again = ULTRA COMMON OCCURENCE in my world! And I could get all the scary stats out here too so you can see how much of an impact back pain has on longevity, productivity, bla, bla, bla, but I won't, because we're focusing on you and your badly-behaved back.
The back pain could be labelled sciatica, slipped disc, bulging disc, lumbago, it really doesn't matter at this stage. You're simply in active, ouchy back pain and you want it gone quick, and more importantly, you want it to stay gone.
Here's what NOT to do:
1 - Get a massage - oooooh yes, I know, feels so good, all those nasty, sticky spots are being rubbed into oblivion, you can envision the tension melting off you like butter off a hot scone, you’re already living a life free of back pain, yippee…. and yet, what you are actually doing is making things worse!
Your brain is already struggling to hold the circuitry together, which is why you're suffering from back pain in the first...
This is what happens in your body:
You fall out of a tree at 6 and hurt your shoulder, and your brain says to your body, don't worry, I have another path for you to follow so that you can keep lifting your arm.
Your parents think, wow, this kid bounced back fast! But the back pain has already started, you just don’t feel it yet.
You take a tumble from a horse at 13, crack your neck a bit, and bash your head badly, but physio on her neck and head, and some down time stop your aches and pains and bring your back to your former show jumping glory!
Your brain says, ok, abdominals, you're on the front of the body, you're kind of nearby, take over from the muscles that flex the neck okay? 'cos else this head won't stay upright, and we all know that that just won't do!
You think, my neck feels weird, and I can't quite swallow like before, but it'll pass. Maybe months, or even years later, you wonder, "By the way, is it normal that my neck is soooooo tired when I do those basic...