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Are you being "Segmented" by your healthcare provider? Words can be HARMFUL!

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Your hips are uneven! Your glutes are weak! Your right abductihefsdorum (unnecessary medical language) is too tight compared to the other and uhhhh, your left foot overpronates for sure. Hm, what else can we come up with? Oh, I know! The reason for your low back pain is because your left QL is smaller than your right side and you chew too much on the left. Guys, these are things I hear literally on a daily basis for reasons why people think they're experiencing these aches and pains. Many people are looking for help and therefore they seek "professional" providers and these providers sometimes tell them messages like these. Messages like, your issue is this one exact little detail such as your hips aren't even, or this one muscle is tight or this one muscle is weak and they become obsessed about that tight muscle, about that weak muscle, about that hip imbalance.

Now it's the only thing that they can think about or talk about and it's what they blame for that pain. They are now OBSESSED with it. They looked up every single exercise in the book about that issue, and they're doing it. They're obsessing over it. But guess what? Oh my gosh, it's still smaller than the other side, or it's still uneven?!?! They can see it in the mirror. It's still uneven. That means there's no way that they can get better. That's the TRAP that people get sucked into because of these HARMFUL messages that are fed to them.

Words can be HARMFUL!

So what we need to focus on are global movements and lifestyle factors. I would never tell anyone, "Oh, you have low back pain? It's because your left glute minimus is too tight on the right. That's ridiculous. Instead, what about, "Hey, you have low back pain? What's your job? What does your everyday look like? Are you overweight? How is your diet? Do you move enough? Do you exercise? What could change in your social environment? All of these things influence low back pain and to solely blame a single muscle on someone's low back pain is crazy! It's crazy.

Be treated as a whole

Now I know what you're thinking, "But Grant, you make videos sometimes that say 'Tight QL'." Yes, I do. That doesn't mean I'm saying the only thing involved in your low back issue is a tight QL though. Some people might get some tightness on the right or left side of the low back, so my goal is to show a simple stretch to get them moving. That's the goal. We need to get away from blaming isolated pieces for global issues. It doesn't make sense. It's going to make people obsessed about these issues and it gets in their head and then they're stuck in this way of thinking.

Now if they seek help from someone else and this provider is not fixing that said imbalance, weak muscle, or whatever they will be under the impression it's not going to get better and that's not true. I have discussions all the time with people helping them unlearn this message. "I know for years now you've thought that your low back issues are from your uneven hips. Now today in this single visit you reported 50% improvement in symptoms right?" They'll respond, "Yeah we did and it's amazing! But when are my hips going to get even?" That's not the point! Just because your hips are still uneven or your muscle's still smaller than the other does not mean you will not get better. So we have to educate everybody and let them know, "Hey listen, these asymmetries can be very normal. If you divided someone down the middle their right side and their left side would not match on a single human being in the entire world."

I always let people know that we are going to get their low back feeling better, but their hip height is probably not going to change because it doesn't matter.

All of this can encompasses "segmenting" individuals. Segmenting can be a catastrophic approach, "Your knee hurts on this side because of this, this, and this. Also your foot hurts because of this, this and this. Your low back hurts because of this, this and this. When you could have just said, "Do you exercise? No? Maybe we should try that." Or, "Hey, are you on your feet all day long? Are you doing an overuse based activity? Maybe we should find some ways to give you some breaks throughout the day or reinforce those activities." Or, "Are you overweight? Maybe we should try to lose some weight and see what happens with that."

Segmenting an individual is not a good approach for us because it blames those tiny little things. We have to treat the person as a whole. Look at global movements, look at global aspects, lifestyle factors, all those things to properly help an individual. So I'm ending with this today that your hip height, your leg length, you're short (blank) your long (blank) your weak (blank) does not matter and it never will!

I hope that you enjoyed this message. I hope you take it home. I hope you use it on yourself, your friends, your family so everyone knows that global movements matter, not whether or not we get that one muscle stronger or that one muscle looser. Those will not affect the way that you move and the way that you feel, and ultimately that's what is most important. Let's get you moving. Let's keep you moving. Let's get you feeling better guys. Thanks for reading!

I help people with low back issues recover without drugs or surgery through 1:1 online coaching.

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