I've been working in fitness and rehabilitation for over 18 years. I’ve trained athletes, post surgical patients, and general peeps doing all things active.
And across this time I have worked with many, many, many people in pain.
The story of a person coming to me in pain usually went a similar way when I started out. They would say something like, “I’ve had this pain for a long time – and it’s bothering me”.
And I, with my youthful zest, would go through all of the rehab protocols I had learned in my years of study, and a few days/weeks/months (depending on the person) later, I would send them on their way, pain free (high 5, right?)
With a cheerful goodbye, we would part ways, both so pleased with how ‘helpful’ I had been.
Fast forward a few years and I noticed a pattern. People kept coming back to me because they'd gone and “hurt themselves”.
‘Oh…I was doing great and then I was in this netball tournament/did this fun run/went trampolining with my kids”… and then the old pain was back -and often some new problem to go with it.
This frustrated me no end because they had walked out of our sessions pain free.
After paying attention to these people for a while – I realised something significant:
There’s doing some small little exercises localised at a joint for rehabilitation, squeezing, and lying on the floor and breathing...
AND there’s running, jumping, dancing, lifting heavy things and doing all things ninja.
And there’s a chasm of skills needed in between.
Post rehab, most people are out of pain, but if they leave their training there and jump straight into conventional activities, here’s what I’ve noticed –
So I started to work with people for a little bit longer. I stayed with them long enough to provide both acute rehab, and strength and conditioning. And it worked.
This is when I realised that neuromuscular stabilisation (NMS) was bridging that gap.
That if I trained people for just that bit longer – not to be ‘out of pain’ but through to being strong, fit, agile and capable (by achieving overall stability) – the results lasted, where previously they had not.
NMS was the link that seemed to be missing – for the people going around in circles between therapy and fitness.
And for women who have had children, where the very physiological process of growing and birthing a baby is designed to make everything looser and more unstable - it is the optimal solution.
Kristy Ahale is an Exercise Scientist and founder of The Postpartum Method, the program that helps women alleviate back pain, abdominal separation and back pain and takes them through to being whole body strong.