Tara Kachroo

No pain? You can still make gains! Integrative Movement Therpy helps optimize function, even when you don’t know it’s compromised

Perfectly functional does not mean optimally functional

Perfectly functional does not mean optimally functional!  I don’t have very many clients come in with no complaints, but just before christmas, I did. One of my clients had gotten such exciting and astonishing results from her sessions with me that she insisted her husband also book an initial assessment.

This client, let’s call him Roe, had no real pain complaints. I was excited to see what we could find, because while reducing or eliminating pain is often the goal of the work, it’s actually not such an important assessment tool for figuing out dysfunctions. Compensation patterns can be in place for years, even decades, before they finally cause enough structural strain to cause tissue damage or pain.

Thorough assessments will reveal issues that were hidden, and compensation patterns that can cause injuries later

The first thing I noticed was that Roe’s head didn’t follow a straight line when he walked, instead it moved slightly side to side, tending to drift slightly more to the left. His posture didn’t look strained but his whole body was turned just slightly to the right – including his head! When he looked forward at me, he actually would look slightly out of the left side of both eyes. This gave him a bit of a fun, mischievous look! Nothing to complain about, or is it?

My guess is, that, left unresolved, this compensation pattern would eventually cause strain in his right ankle or knee, and since the knee doesn’t really rotate, possibly lead to a meniscal tear or ligament injury. But fortuntately we caught it before it was even noticeable to him. Once pointed out, he could feel how awkward it was to try to straighten out, especially in his eyes. When he looked forward out of the middle of his eyes, it felt to him like he was looking to the left!

Eye movement issues can cause big postural problems and result in chronic pain

We completed an eye movement exam and eliminated the possibility that it was just an eye muscle discoordiation pattern. However, closing his right eye did change his ability to coordinate his movement and increased his stability. This let us know that there was more strain in the right eye than the left. What could account for this strain?

Roe’s history included a deep cut just above his left ear that had required 10 stitches about a decade ago. Palpation of the area revealed deep adhesions, through the initial injury site, through the bone of the skull, and right into the meningies, which are the connective tissues on the inside of the skull that extend around the brain the spinal cord and down along the axons of the nerves that exist the spinal cord. The sclera of the eye is just an extension of the dura – which is the outermost of the brain’s meninges. Thus looking to the right pulled on this connective tissue layer and strained these adhesions.  Roe’s body compensated to avoid this strain by keeping his eyes slightly to the left. The whole rest of this body compensated for his eyes being slightly to the left, but turning just slightly to the right. It sounds bizarre, but it’s actually pretty common. I see lots of chronic pain clients, especially those with eye pain, head aches, neck stiffness and migraines, whose body is compensating in this way for their vision.

This theory that the brain was stuck to the left around the scar was confirmed when the scar tissue around their left ear was pulled tight when Roe lifted their right leg, as if they were doing a nerve tension test. 

It’s possible tyo get big results very quickly if the assessments are thorough and the interventions are specific

The treatment was easy and basically just an extension of the final assessment.  I pinned the scar tissue and Roe pulled on his brain by tensioning the longest nerve axons in his body – the sciatic nerve, which run from the base of the spinal cord to the big toe of each foot – by lifting his right leg and straightening his knee. After this intervention Roe felt immediately more stable; ten minutes of integration exercies yielded even more positive changes to his posture and stability. His eye movements were more relaxed and his mischievous side eye was gone! Several days later I saw him out and about. He reported continuing to feel amazed at how easy it was to look around, and that he could now look out of the corner of his eye without pain.  He hadn’t even known that it was a problem before because it had become so normalized. He had been so habituated to the pain that it felt normal. The pain was there, but he didn’t know to complain about it!

pain complaints

I’m looking forward to working with him again in a few months to see what else we can optimize, and what other hidden complaints we can uncover and resolve. If you would like to discover what’s hidden, reveal your blind spots, and optimize your function, I would love to work with you. My clinic is in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Book an initial assessment online.