Detours-Part 3

Dec 15, 2010
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Course Adjustments

The resulting diagnosis forced a ninety day time delay in the progression toward my goal.  The new goal had to be focused on pain management.  There is an understanding between James and I about the program design.  He takes existing muscle control and mobility functions and helps me to increase strength, mobility, and endurance.  At the same time, he is working with me to try to establish and pattern new movements for areas of non-existent function.  The goal is for function to develop.

Plaza Fitness at Stuyvesant Plaza, owned by Korey McCoy

I equate this to trying to find the “perfect” coat. One coat may have a cut that is too tight in the shoulders or sleeves that are too long.  Another coat style may have too boxy a fit and may not be flattering to a particular body type.  It may take a few tries and adjustments to find the “perfect” coat.   Like the coat analogy, the challenge in my work with James is that the frame of development is not standard.   My function, flexibility, and stiffness fluctuate every training session.  A simple movement sequence may send my body into overload.

Pain management has become a critical task with the back injury.  As a result of the injury, I have experienced increased fatigue, loss of stamina, and generally find it harder to move.  To reduce stress on my back, I alternate the use of walking devices and a Segway, as a mobility device.  The Segway is a two-wheeled electric scooter.  James strongly encouraged use of the technology as part of a pain management strategy.

Foam rolling was also introduced into my program repertoire.   A foam roller, (a foam log), reminds me of a rolling pin without the handles.  The roller is moved across the body and targeted muscle groups to reduce pain and trigger points.  It is a method of myofascial release.

As the recovery process from the herniated disc advances, James splits emphasis and focus between my upper and lower body and right and left sides.  To promote recovery, routines were modified for mobility preservation, strengthening, and postural stabilization.  The muscles that support the spine are in constant use; overused in my case.  The fitness professional’s role becomes fundamental in injury recovery.  James mixes up the program to be sure advancements, however small, continue.  James has an eye toward effects that I think are okay and functional.

I have made statements in recent sessions how certain fine and gross motor movements were not problematic before and he will challenge me with two words –“I disagree.”  I dispute the conclusion, “I have always been functional”.  The reply back from the fitness professional is: “Functional does not mean better.  Just because something sort of works does not mean it works optimally.”

In these moments of detour, I may not always see the path toward the end goal.   When James challenges me; I know a supportive professional has their eyes on the road beyond the detour and that they have stayed true to the unwritten contract to help me reach my goal to improve my walking and advance to walking without devices full time.

Similar to the process of trying to find the perfect coat; I have the professional’s unwavering commitment to help me navigate the detours.  James in turn knows that I will navigate them and will find success and progression.  The training and walking process is about discovery.  It is about discovering what I can do with my limbs, learning how to manage development of secondary challenges, and learning how to move ahead despite the diversion from my injury.

Read a new part of Kerry’s journey on Friday December 17,2010.

Kerry began working with James R. House, III in December of 2009.  James is an experienced fitness professional who earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Physical Education with concentrations in Exercise Science and Athletic Training.  He has over 15 years experience in the sports and fitness field.

Author: Kerry