MDT and the Gym
It is time. It is time for us to help those who want to stay fit, exercise and, most importantly, prevent injuries in the process.
Not a week that goes by in the clinic where I'm not asked "What do you think I should do? Elliptical machine or bike? Run or use the rowing machine? Use weights or body weight? Pilates or yoga? Upright bike or recumbent bike? Treadmill or stair master?" And the list goes on and on...
I'm sure you experience the same frustration I feel when personal trainers, Pilates, yoga, spinning instructors etc., "interrupt" the healing process we try to achieve with our patients. The work we have done to help patients find Directional Preference and achieve Centralization is lost at times.
I often tell my patients that they can't expect that in a room filled with 20-30 people the instructor will correct their form or that their personal trainer will help “stretch” their pain away. Even if they do adjust, stretch or modify the weight (as I did for years as a personal trainer), it may not work and there is the possibility of injury. We need to teach our patients to be responsible for their mechanical setup, movements and symptoms.
MDT assessment and treatment allows us to help patients find what will work best for them when they exercise. As we know, not every exercise is appropriate!
This recent NY Times article is yet another example of the broad generalizations that are often reported by media outlets describing how the fitness industry, or any exercise, can help solve aches and pains. Further, it quotes a lead researcher, suggesting an example of “an effective back-exercise program” in a 1991 study published in Physical Therapy that shows a full regimen of exercises that aren’t necessarily sensible for everyone.
Since fitness trainers cannot take our MDT courses, patients have to be the ones in control! We need to teach our patients what the average gym member doesn't know. Most importantly, patients need to be proactive in knowing that not everything they read about will work for them.
So, what is the solution? Create an educational talk in your community that will allow the public to know how you can help them stay healthy and fit. MIUSA recently videotaped the patient presentation I have used for years, and I welcome you to use it as a guide to help you create your own community talk.
Consider finding a way to get the message across to gym members in your vicinity. "DO NOT CHOOSE JUST ANY EXERCISE". We can help find the ones that will work best for YOU!