I’d like to discuss a topic that I’ve been compiling info on for a few years now. Let’s call it a brief overview, since years of info could takes years of posts to share:) In the last few years I have become extremely passionate about getting my patients and athletes to understand how important their nutrition is to reaching their goals (pain free, injury healing, performance rockstar, mobility, etc.). Although I’m not an expert in nutrition, I have had plenty of personal experiences, researched a bunch, and grown to create an amazing relationship with a nutrition coach that I have partnered up with…..Kristen Beaumont of Clean Plates (exciting things to come people!!)
Here’s the reason why I believe that nutrition and mobility go hand in hand
This nutrition quest started about 8 years ago (when I was first starting PT school) when I was in search of a cure for my chronic fatigue syndrome (aka general diagnosis for “we don’t know why you get tired/sick all the time”). After many doctors and drugs, I finally met a nutritionist who helped me realize that what I was eating was causing me to have the health of an 80 year old. No wonder I felt that way! So it was a rough couple of months to get everything figure out and cleared up, but because of that nutrition guidance I was energized and free of sickness (unless I cheated or accidentally ate something bad which happened often in the beginning). So I firmly believe that nutrition, and my fantastic nutritionist, saved my life from years of drugs, doctors and life modifications.
About a year after the diet changes, I started to have some right sided lower back pain. I attributed this to sitting in PT school for hours, but when I started to seek treatment from one of my professors I learned that my newly found gluten intolerance had affected my back and was not completely resolved. The first day of treatment my mind was blown because even though I was in there for my back he was working on my lower right abdomen. And as he started to get things moving I could feel the pain radiate into my lower back and then slowly start to release. One area of the body that gluten gets “backed up” in is the iliocecal valve, which connects the small intestine to the large intestine. The many years of build up in my intestines had not only stripped me from nutrients and created inflammation, it had limited the mobility of the organ itself and attached itself to surrounding structures creating pain. Because of how innervated the area is, pain was radiating into my lower back and causing my sacroiliac joint to lock up and hip flexor to be in spasm. So he worked this out for a few months, and I did my best to eat as clean as possible to give my gut some time to heal. My back pain resolved, but now if I have a little slip up (aka trying to get rid of my beer allergy because I’m in Colorado and that’s what they do here!) I can feel the pain in my lower back. I spend lots of time on my Yoga Tune Up Coregeous ball getting my organs to move properly, and the back pain resolves! Learning experiencing this in such an early stage in my PT career led me to use this information as one of my main drivers for treatment with my patients. And now trying to share as much as I can with others through the Thrive.
You can work your butt off mobilizing and training and rehabbing, but if the internal environment that you’re trying to build off of is struggling to survive there’s no way you’re going to reach your goals to their maximum potential. Therefore, you are just surviving through life, using mobility and training as a maintenance but always seem to be far from reaching your goals. Or if you do reach them it’s only temporary and you have to continuously work really really hard to keep them. Point is, you need to eat mindfully (read here!) for mobility & movement to work FOR you. And you need mobility & movement for your body to maximize good nutrition you receive from mindful eating.
Don’t get me wrong. I have athletes who start coming to my mobility classes and notice drastic changes in the way they feel and move pretty quickly. Without even delving into their nutrition. So they could be eating terrible because they haven’t been sold on the clean-eating-lifestyle, and they are still seeing the benefits. But if their nutrition is not good, they are actually not thriving with mobility because the health of their tissue is not optimal for making the change that mobilizing is meant for. So they may be making slow changes, still have pain, or maybe the mobility just never sticks after hours of work.
The same goes for nutrition changes. Many people see huge improvements in the way they feel soon after making healthy choices, even without mobility. But they may start to see lingering issues that they just can’t seem to pin down a cause even after all of the diet changes they have made. This can be due to how well your organs move, and the structures around them (muscle, fat, skin, joints, etc). Yes your organs need to move to work properly!! And years of a diet full of too much inflammation causes organs to not move properly, which means their function can be limited drastically. And when the limited organ mobility starts to affect surrounding structures you can acquire other issues such as pain, injury and mobility restrictions. So in order for your body to do something good with the healthy food, you need to be a mobile being, inside and out.
Kristen and I will be educating people on specialized topics in addition to the gut healing that I experienced (see options above) where nutrition and mobility really go hand in hand, in hopes that we can motivate others to move past surviving and start THRIVING!