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The Missing Keys To Unlocking Shoulder Mobility

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, Knees Over Toes Course, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)

sandbag workouts

There are few things that are more disappointing and frankly hurtful, than being a professional in a field and not being able to help those that you care about the most! That is honestly just the tip of the iceberg in how I was feeling when after Josh’s second neck surgery in two years, I simply couldn’t help him with his pain.

His first surgery (really his second as he had a previous one 8 years ago) was to help the fact he was getting massive migraines and he would be unable to lift his right arm, pretty scary stuff. The surgery was to help take pressure off his spinal cord, but there were a BUNCH of complications. These issues resulted in needing a second surgery to fix those issues and the original one. In other words, a WAY more intense surgery!

shoulder mobility

After he surgery the process was just beginning. He was in A LOT of pain as you could imagine and no matter what treatment I tried or his pain doctor offered, we couldn’t consistently improve his pain or function. It was so disheartening to have the training, but not be able to make the difference in his quality of life.

shoulder mobility

The good thing is I know my husband is greatly determined (I call it stubborn many times) and always self-motivated. Even though he was feeling terrible and there were plenty of days he struggled to get out of bed, he was always looking for solutions. Whatever he wanted to try I was supportive of as I just wanted him to get better.

Let me tell you, when I say he tried everything, he literally tried everything other than going overseas for some different forms of treatment (he probably would have if there was something promising). So, you cold imagine when he told me he was going to start meditation practice I was happy, but unsure if it was going to do very much for him.

He told me the idea was inspired by his stepmom, Renae, when she was battling breast cancer. With a diagnosis that was terminal, Renae was also open to trying things even if it was just to make her quality of life better and not a solution to the disease. One thing Josh remembered he thought was silly was that she started reading books about meditation. Not having any familiarity with the practice, Josh said he didn’t get it, but she seemed to feel better after the practice so why not try.

I saw him start with 5 minute bouts and I was surprised when I saw he was getting up a bit more, his pain was still bad but he was willing to try more and the like. Knowing him though, I knew he would start wanting to integrate more movement as well. Taking away movement from him seemed almost, if not more painful than the actual pain itself.

That resulted in small bouts of practice that I saw start with and I was surprised after a few weeks that he was doing more and more around the house. His pain and movement were both getting better. Surprised was an understatement because he hadn’t responded well to most of the typical treatments. However, it became apparent we stumbled across something that was actually working.

shoulder mobility

Josh’s neck along with the instability of his lumbar spine were causing havoc on his movement like his shoulder mobility. 

Seeing such profound differences, I started looking into why and how it was so successful for him. I was surprised that there was SO much research around the mind-body practices Josh was using and yet in physical therapy school we never were exposed to such ideas. There were several keys I began to notice that I thought had a profound impact, not only for Josh, but anyone who wanted to improve their mobility like shoulder mobility.

-Decreasing the fight or flight state that most people are “stuck” in that causes their body to hold onto excessive tension.

-Slow movements that integrated the whole body in spiral and diagonal manners that tapped into how the nervous system likes to coordinate movement.

-All movements could be progressed very easily from foundational to quite complex and that means finding a starting point that worked for anyone was very easy.

Such concepts are important and I would like to also note the fact that in the case of Josh’s shoulder mobility, combining the lower body, core, spiral patterns, and neck movement with breath work all seemed to be elements that helped. Most times as a therapist, I will look at neck movement because cervical issues can really impact shoulder mobility. Yet, it isn’t safe for most people to start messing around with the neck as you can easily cause some serious issues.

However, gentle controlled movements where you dictate the range of motion makes so much sense! Doing so along WITH breath work, diagonal patterns, and full body integration made me happy that we found something so profound and frustrated that it took me this long to discover such techniques.

The good thing though is that this journey Josh and I have been on can work for anyone. I speak with fitness professionals ALL the time with orthopedic issues and voice their frustration with being able to improve issues like shoulder mobility, not just for their clients, but themselves as well. The fact we can offer such easy, progressive, and enjoyable solutions (these aren’t suppose to hurt when you are performing them) is why Josh and I were so inspired to create our new program around them.

Our Myofascial Integrated Movement (MIM) program isn’t just about shoulder mobility, or even hip mobility either. It is about helping the body and mind feel more relaxed, that we can perform and live that better life we often strive for in fitness programs, enjoy movement, and even manage the stress of our lives more easily. It isn’t magic, it takes practice, but seeing the transformation Josh has gone through has inspired both of us to want to share this information (like the 3 drills I offer below for shoulder mobility) with all of you!

The new MIM program has 36 workouts and 90 exercises that don’t just have to be used when you want to exercise, but anytime you want your body to feel better and re-energize your mind. Easy to use and helping people become more in tune with both mind and body can be very transformative. Check it out for 30% off with code “MIM ” HERE