What I'm Learning from Instagram

Last week, I watched a webinar by Anna Hartman of MovementREV, after following her on instagram for well over a year. She is one of the smartest people in the field, and I definitely aim to model a lot of my practice after her. She is an Athletic Trainer with a lot of osteopathic training from the Barral Institute, among multiple other courses. If you follow her on instagram, she provides some amazing tips for self treatment, and is one of the most accessible resources as a practicing therapist (we had a really good video chat a couple of weeks ago about patient interactions and conceptual framing that was incredibly helpful!).

Along with a lot of practical tips and tools, one of my biggest takeaways from her, is prioritizing continual assessment (emphasizing full body listening, not just the "injured or painful area"), with no assumptions made. Whether it's acute or chronic, so many other structures and components will change, and often working there can make the biggest changes symptomatically and functionally.  But, the only way to know where to start, is to assess a lot of things, a lot of times. Like at the start at every single patient encounter, a full reassessment. 

If a clinician has you warming up with exercises or stretches before even speaking to you, nevermind actually assessing, I'd consider that a biiiig flag. Same goes for after an intervention, and before prescribing homework. If we aren't assessing, it's seriously just a guess (and maybe a mildly educated one if we're being generous).

We need to stop assuming we know what that patient needs. No two ankle sprains, disc irritations or hamstring strains are going to present the same way, let-alone have the same compensations, needs, and progressions. We need to ask the body in front of us what it needs and wants. Then, we can introduce change to the body and nervous systems in non-threatening way, with the most efficient self-care routine. 

Thanks to training early on in my education and career that was beyond the walls of the University, I attended courses in multiple levels of Functional Movement Systems, Functional Anatomy Systems, and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, that meant I've always looked at full body, regardless of injury (Shout out to Robyn, Eugene and Jamie and a few other's for that!).

But since following Anna, becoming friends with Salus Manual Therapy, and a few others, I'm confidently taking it a step further and thinking about both aspects of the nervous system, circulatory and respiratory systems, and about 17 other things. ALL. THE. TIME.

At United, we also place a big emphasis on the biopsychosocial model of pain management. So now you throw some Greg Lehman and Peter O'Sullivan into the mix, and my brain pretty much explodes when I get a new client. This is HUGELY important (the psycho-social stuff, not the head explosion). Because really, when does pain and injury not come with stress, apprehension, anxiety, quality of life changes, and subsequent hormonal, neurotransmitter, and other health changes. Too bad we don't get the opportunity to learn about THAT in school!

Basically, this was the long way of me saying, we as clinicians really need to continue to step it up. Teach patients self awareness and self care, educate them on resiliency, and ensure they can adapt tissue to accept the loads their lifestyle requires.

Really not that hard, right?
Just kidding. It is tough. But it's amazing at the same time, and worth the countless hours of reading, listening, and watching.

Listen (to the person and their body) to UNDERSTAND.
Not so you can fix or help them, but so they can feel empowered to help themselves.


Megan Pomarensky