Gray Cook: The Lack of Movement Health Requires Rehabilitation

Don’t put a fitness solution on a health problem. Gray Cook gives advice to coaches and personal trainers about when to work with their physical therapy partners to get needed rehabilitation for their clients. 

If we’re going to look at movement on a continuum when we’re trying to create move­ment health, we call that rehabilitation. If you’ve got pain with movement and you’re looking at your gym for a solution to that, you don’t even have a diagnosis. The low back pain you may have might be a hip flexor problem or it could be bone cancer.

I’m pretty sure side planks are not going to specifically address those problems equally, but I’m not saying side planks won’t help a weak back. You don’t know what you’re aiming at. When somebody has pain or a movement dys­function or a past medical history that scares us, let’s find out what we’re working on and what’s causing these problems.

The old-school way of doing this in fitness is a workaround.

“That hurts.”

“All right, we’ll just do it this way.”

If you’re training people with a large amount of pain, your workarounds are going to start multiplying, and then they’re not your clients. The workarounds never lessen. They always increase because what you’re doing is running from the problem instead of confronting it.

If you don’t have the credentials to diagnose the problem, find somebody who does. It’s as simple as that. You’re not losing control. If I as a physical therapist make a good referral to a neurologist or an orthopedic sur­geon, I get 50% of the credit for that awesome decision, unless the person I refer them to is an idiot and I’m not going to do that. I’m going to refer you to somebody I would refer a family member to and when they’re successful in finding the things I’m not able to find, I get 50% of that credit.

We’ve seen football coaches scared to death to send players down to the training room because they’ll lose control of the athlete. We’ve seen personal trainers scared to death to send a client back to rehabilitation, maybe a different therapist this time, to finish the job because they’re scared they’re going to lose control.

You’re not. If it works out right, you get 50% of the credit because you picked up the problem. You identified a need you couldn’t provide, but you were so concerned about that need, you created a path. God bless your heart. That’s what professionals do. You don’t bottleneck things with you, and you don’t let problems sit on your plate too long. Otherwise, you are the problem.

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