g.a.t – gait analysis therapy
G.A.T in its original form is known as AiM (anatomy in motion) which is a completely new way of looking at pain and dysfunction. AiM is the brainchild of renowned Sports Therapist Gary Ward (author of ‘what the foot‘), G.A.T/AiM is a systematic approach to assessing and influencing movement through gait (walking). Much of the chronic pain people experience can be mapped to problems in the gait cycle. Correcting these problems helps the body return to balance and a pain free space.
Why we need to change
How many times have you released the same tight spot with a tennis ball, specific stretch or foam roller? Have you ever wondered why the same spots repeatedly become tight or painful? Or, if you have sought treatment for chronic pain or an injury, how often do practitioners go straight to the site of pain? Or you feel better for a few days after the treatment and then the pain returns?
Stop chasing pain
Have you ever heard the expression ‘Stop Chasing Pain’? Unfortunately ‘chasing pain’ by specifically treating the site of pain is what dominates most of today’s healthcare industry. It’s based around a flawed, out of date concept. The idea that if something hurts, there must be damage or inflammation in the tissue.
The truth is, the site of pain is rarely the true problem. The site of pain is often simply the physical evidence that the body is compensating for something, and is therefore no longer balanced. Identifying how and why your body is compensating, and then correcting these patterns, is the primary goal of G.A.T.
The g.a.t Philosophy
The G.A.T philosophy means I am actually really interested in YOU. Not just your pain. The way you move, your posture and the pain you may be experiencing simply represent the journey of your life. We need to really understand this journey in order to really help you.
Throughout life your body can go out of balance for many reasons. Previous injury, lifestyle habits and even stress can all change the way we function. When the body is out of balance, some structures are forced to work harder than they normally would. They’re basically picking up the slack for somewhere else not pulling its weight.
Over time, this may cause overworked muscles/ligaments to send out distress signals in an effort to gain your attention. These signals are processed in the brain, and what was first felt as a slight niggle, or tightness can develop into a chronic painful condition. Often pain is the overworking structure really trying to get your attention.
It’s true that rubbing the painful area often makes the signal/pain go away, albeit only temporarily. But surely a better solution is to identify why and how the the body is out of balance, and address that. If you return the body to a more neutral balanced state, then each part does its share of the work.
Important Considerations You May Not Be Aware Of
The nervous system can be compensating for the effects of an injury long after the tissue has completely healed.
People often accept living with chronic pain because an MRI scan or X-ray has indicated structural abnormalities. However, most people over the age of 30 show some degenerative changes but this doesn’t mean all these people are in pain. The important thing is, are you compensating and if so why and how?
Compensation often occurs as a threat response. If something is causing you pain, your body will subconsciously do everything possible to get you out of that pain, including changing movement patterns. This can lead to some areas working more, and others less.
The same movements/postures done every day eventually become habits. Over time, habits become normal, or at least what your body perceives as normal. It’s simply adapting to make your habit more efficient. However, making one habit more efficient can lead to other tasks becoming more strenuous.
Gait Analysis Therapy/G.A.T is about helping YOUR body return to a more balanced state. Things like previous injury, stress, lifestyle habits can all make slight changes to how you move or stand. My job is to help identify and correct these changes to help you return to balance.
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