Thanks to Lisa Decker of Aligned Fitness for posting this picture:
Can you do a squat like that? You should be able to do one…seeing as how we were all once able to do it this way. I see movements like this almost on a daily basis as I watch my two sons play in the yard, or around the house. Their bodies are so free–free of limitations, pain and restrictions. It’s fun to watch!
Knowing that the vast majority of us were once able to do a movement like this (assuming there aren’t any birth defects or abnormalities in the load joints, specifically the hips, knees and/or ankles), a lot of clients wonder how their body got to their current state of health. They basically want to know, “When did all of this happen?” You see, what they’re searching for is an event, but the reality of the situation is that chronic pain isn’t an event…it’s a process. They (and you) didn’t get into their current position overnight, and they certainly aren’t going to get out of it overnight.
I know I’m a bit of a “posture nerd,” but I enjoy watching how my sons move. One thing that struck me about my oldest son was how much more comfortable and stable he felt on his right leg than his left, even from a very young age. I remember watching him crawl up the stairs when he was 18 months old (he’s 4 & 1/2 now). I noticed he would always step up with is right leg and then bring his left leg up to that same step. Never would he step with his left leg, stabilize on it, and push himself up to bring his right leg up to that same step. When going upstairs behind him one night, I held on to his right leg to prevent him from using it and to almost force him to use his left side to step up to the next stair. The result? He kicked his right leg free so that he could use it! I was blown away, but I learned something very valuable on that trip up the stairs: Our dysfunctions, compensations, and tendencies can start at a very young age. We have to work HARD to combat poor posture and aligment…and ultimately, chronic pain.
What’s cool about the body is that it can change. Your muscles have an amazing memory, we just have to remind them what to do! Will you be able to do a full squat again like the child in the picture? Maybe…maybe not. But I do believe that you don’t have to accept your current condition as your health destiny!