The language barrier in the assessment and retraining of movement-
Let’s not cloud the issue
Communication is key. In the clinical or performance environment, terminology and jargon can divide opinion; and that may be just between the professionals working within these spaces. For the client, terminology can add an additional barrier between them and their goals, clouding the way along what already looks like a difficult road. Indeed, the ability to easily connect with clients, making the results of assessment and the finer details of retraining interventions transparently clear, is quite a skill; yet one the client deserves to benefit from.
Fascinating, but… so what?
Within the battery of multi-joint tests that make up ‘The Performance Matrix’ (TPM) movement assessment tool, there is certainly much detail in both how clients are assessed and what the results the system generates inform upon. In the figure 1, we multiple regions that require consideration in respect to the client’s specific goals.
Figure 1. Multi-joint assessment delivers a large volume of information for clinicians to interpret for their clients.
One complex topic TPM highlights within its results is that of movement variability. Movement variability is a measure of how similar or different a specific component of a movement pattern is. Low variability means something is very consistent, which might sound good, but this consistency can be associated to injury if we ‘always’ use the same movement patterns to achieve our movement outcomes. TPM identifies when clients can’t stop using a specific movement pattern, therefore identifying low movement variability. Although fascinating to the movement focused clinician or coach, the client may be left thinking ‘so what?’. The client has every right to ask, ‘what does all this mean to me?’ and to be given an answer that is not only jargon-free but also clearly translates to the achievement of their goals.
On their terms… without the terminology
Putting concepts such as movement variability and the meaning of TPM’S results into the client’s language, connects this highly systemised, multi-joint assessment process with the ultimate desires of the business; long-term, satisfied clients, who are desperate to tell anyone in their network why your business is where they need to be. In terms of talking a client through variability, we might identify that ‘everyone moves’ differently; there is variability between how people move, and this is normal. We even move different to ourselves; if we perform the same task again and again, we will do this slightly differently every time. As we get fatigued or when we are in pain, we sometimes start to move in a more consistent way, so that certain regions do more work than others. Sometimes, we move like we are fatigued or in pain even when we are not and can’t stop using only a narrow band of movement options; we display low movement variability, and this is what TPM can identify. TPM finds these ‘consistent’ movements and helps restore ‘lost movement options’ through specific movement retraining interventions (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Client specific movement retraining is delivered to restore ‘lost choices’ in movement.
Clients can then be informed this will help them perform better and for longer, a point reinforced through a relevant example, such as cycling. When we watch how cyclists actually used their body over a race, they use a number of different body positions (Figure 3). They vary their movement around both the bike and the course, especially as fatigue sets in.
Figure 3. ‘Cycling’ races often require many different body positions.
A ‘one-size (movement) fits all’ does not work even for something that seems so ‘simple’ as riding a bike. Finding lost variability in movement may be complex. But the skill of making clear why movement variability matters to our clients might just be as valuable as the expertise required to restore it.
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