Sunday, March 16, 2014

What a Manual Therapist can Learn from a UFC Fighter

In the early 90's I can remember renting VHS tapes of what was then the Ultimate Fighter series. (I may be remembering the name wrong) Basically back then two fighters, usually with different styles, would just try to beat each other up.  No rules really.  Your best technique vs my best technique.  The Gracie name was already legendary.

A boxer vs a karate guy, karate vs tae kwon do, wrestling vs boxing.  The first I'd ever heard of ju jitsu.  What they all had in common was that they were all good at one thing.

Fast forward 20 years.  UFC is now mainstream.  What we find now is that you can't be good at one thing.  Strikers must become grapplers, grapplers must learn to box, Muay Thai must learn ju jitsu, you have to be good at everything if you want to be a champion.  You have to know all these techniques, must know when to use them, and must have strength and speed.

There is an old saying "he could beat someone with one arm tied behind his back."  Think about this for a moment.  You are taking away an advantage, but still get the win.

A patient walks into your office.  They tell you that they don't want you to use your trained technique, could you still help them?  When I first started out, I can still remember having a patient ask me if I could treat them, but they didn't want to be adjusted.  As a chiropractor, my first instinct was, "Seriously?  You know I'm a chiropractor, why are you hear then?"  My tool box was small.

These days I get that a lot.  It no longer bugs me.  In fact, I find it humbling.  Someone still thinks you can help them without having to be adjusted.  Thank you for the trust and confidence.

So I started thinking.  How big can the tool box be?

If someone took away adjustments,  could you still help?
If we take away soft tissue work?  How could you help.
If we took away corrective exercise?
If we took away proprioceptive type therapies?
If we took away coaching?

As a chiropractor I perform manual adjustments mostly, but only when I think it will help the current condition.  How many different ways can you learn to move a bone?

I perform lots of soft tissue work.  How many techniques of soft tissue work can be learned?  Are some better then others in certain situations?

I place a big emphasis on cementing in new ROM with exercise.  How many ways do you know to get a movement to work better?

Can you help a patient find the movement.  Neurokinetic and Muscle Activation technique work on just getting better motor control.  PRI breaks patterns.

Could you just use a better strength and conditioning program?  Do you know how to teach them to deadlift or squat?

Whatever type of therapist you are, can you go to the next tool in your tool box if you need to? Chances are no one will take away your chosen method,  but chances are if your tool box is large, nails will get hammers, screws will get screwdrivers and rough edges will get sandpaper.

Don't be the guy that only has a hammer, so everything becomes a nail.  He got beat up pretty bad in the 90's.  These days if you want to be a champion, you have to train hard in many disciplines.

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