What You Are vs. What You Do

I have trouble answering the question: “What do you do for a living?” Most people respond by telling you what they are. They say, “I’m a teacher” or “I’m a car salesman.” That is just a title, and it does not explain what they do. Also, when you hear their answer you automatically make assumptions based on a typecast of that occupation. I don’t have a title. If I were to tell you, I’m a personal trainer or a gym owner that would evoke a certain image, but it would be very far from reality. I am not a personal trainer (although I have a certificate) and I do not own a gym (although there are dumbbells and barbells in my workspace). Rather than create a title in the hopes of telling you what I am, I would rather explain what I do. Then you can come up with your own title for my occupation and passion.

People come to see me when they are in tremendous pain and when other attempts at managing the pain have failed. They are hoping to avoid or stave off surgery. Many times they come to me as a last resort. I examine or assess how the person moves and how the body is trying to support their frame. I can find out what elements of movement are missing, and we begin to get the body to experience those missing elements. After some reaching, pushing, pulling, rotating, walking and other actions the pain reduces significantly. The movements are not a cookie cutter approach to a symptom (i.e. leg raises for knee pain or rotator cuff exercises for shoulder pain), but they are based on what the entire body needs. The person walks out with a different physical experience, a change in perspective and hell of a lot less pain.

I use something called the Flow Motion Model (developed by Gary Ward) which details how joints move in three dimensions through seven phases in a person’s gait cycle. When added all up the number of joint actions totals around 400. I am fortunate to have a map with which I can guide others. By knowing how each joint action relates to one another in motion, I can then find out what movements are missing. Once the missing actions are revealed, then a strategy for restoring function and reducing/eliminating the cause of the pain is laid out before me.

The tools I have picked up in my trade can be selected based on what is needed. I share these tools with those in need so that they may improve and enhance their toolbox. How wonderful is it that someone depleted of hope walks in the door and I get to see and hear what their bodies are missing and need to experience? Although some crawl through the door rarely do they ever crawl out. They WALK out with not only a greater level of relief but an empowerment and a sense of hope that life can be different, and it is primarily up to them to make it happen.

I guess you could say I am a sharer of hope! The nice thing about hope is that it can always be found if you know where to look. In some ways, I wish there was a title which I could give that would embody the work I do. Any ideas?

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