XCELMP | Your Diagnosis Doesn’t Define You: Anatomical Versus Movement Diagnosis
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Your Diagnosis Doesn’t Define You: Anatomical Versus Movement Diagnosis

Your Diagnosis Doesn’t Define You: Anatomical Versus Movement Diagnosis

All too often I hear it. It’s the one statement that can crush dreams and create roadblocks. It can alter someone’s life and create fear. It’s the one statement that if left unaltered or unexplained, can create a life of chronic problems. Because of that, it is one of my favorite statements to hear someone say, because I know I can help change all of the negatives into motivation for success. It goes like this:

“My doctor told me I have this (diagnosis), so I shouldn’t do this (activity) anymore.”

I love it. And you know why? It’s because I get to educate that individual on what truly can be happening with their pain, stiffness or mobility problem that’s keeping them out of living their active life. It’s only one piece of the puzzle into solving the problem, and unfortunately too many people are left unknowing the true potential they have to get better. That’s about to change…

I want you to understand that there are two different diagnoses. The one from the statement above is an anatomical diagnosis. The other, a movement diagnosis, is not a new concept but one that many people never get to because of how our healthcare system works. Let’s go into detail on each so you can see the differences and why you need both to make the best decisions for your health.

Anatomical Diagnosis

Anatomical diagnosis is one you typically hear. It can involve a joint, muscle or nerve and the one your friend or family member tells you they have. Examples can be sciatica, arthritis, impingement, degenerative joint disease or rotator cuff tear. These diagnoses are reported from some type of imaging, typically X-Ray or MRI and having the physician move the joint or muscles around in the area of pain and stiffness.

The benefit from this information is it can show an immediate danger to the body. Especially if there has been a contact injury involved, for example car accident or sports injury. It also gives detailed information about the status of a joint, muscle or nerve to a particular area for a physician to give a more specific diagnosis.

Movement Diagnosis

Movement diagnosis is the more unfamiliar way of determining what can be going wrong with your pain or stiffness. The premise behind movement based diagnosis is taking a step back and looking at the whole picture. Regardless of the area of pain or stiffness, the goal is to assess if there are other regions of the body that may be contributing to the pain or stiffness site. This is called the theory of regional interdependence, meaning the cause for pain and stiffness can come from faulty movement elsewhere in the body.

There’s many benefits to knowing your movement diagnosis. The primary reason is that often times it can trump your anatomical diagnosis. Let me break it down this way.

Let’s use back pain as an example. Your anatomical diagnosis after imaging results in degenerative joint disease, a common diagnosis we hear. Your movement diagnosis results in limited hip mobility and improper movement of bending forward and bending backward. So, we address your hip mobility and improve it while also correcting how you bend forward and backward with correct muscle activation. The result? Back pain free. Now that we’ve solved the movement diagnosis, your symptoms (back pain) are resolved and you’re doing all the activities and work outs you want to do. Does the anatomical diagnosis now matter? Well it’s good info to have, but we found that your symptoms (back pain) which limited your activity (work outs) was caused more by the movement diagnosis than then anatomical one. So, the anatomy didn’t cause your symptoms, it was the movement.

This example applies to any situation that pain and stiffness occurs. Even after surgical interventions, all too often we find that there is still a movement diagnosis limiting someone’s ability to fully recover and engage in all their activities. The best solution when you have pain and stiffness is to have a movement specialist consultation first. This can save you money from unnecessary imaging and more importantly, time. If you have further questions about this concept of movement diagnosis, or questions about your specific situation, please email me at brian@xcelmp.com.


If you have pain and stiffness and would like to learn about your movement diagnosis you can schedule your free discovery consultation with one of our specialists. Sign up below to schedule your time to come in.

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