If you’re not fully vetting your client’s presentation, you may be taking them down a path you don’t need to travel. Mapping is an essential tool in your toolbox to avoid wasting valuable resources and time for both you and your client.
Often times, practitioners are treating their clients before they know the root source of their client’s presentation. Not only is this a waste of time for both the client and the practitioner, it may also mean they end up treating the symptoms of secondary compensation. This can be a perceived threat to the nervous system and lead to further layers of compensatory adaptation down the road.
When I started implementing mapping into my own assessment, here’s what happened.
In the past I would evaluate movement response and look toward what was needed to restore that response. This was a method of looking for the low hanging fruit with the hope that it would make a tangible difference. The process was hit or miss at best. As I became a more adept practitioner, I wanted to understand why I had the misses. I started taking more time in the assessment process. I also started to look for the common denominator that was correlating to the inappropriate movement response in my clients. Then I would assess that correlation. It took longer to assess, but that investment in time was more than made up for in the optimization of the corrective strategies that were utilized. Instead of multiple correctives to the nervous system, I was only using one or two laser focused interventions. I found people were getting faster results with minimal stimulus to the nervous system, because it was the right stimulus.
When you implement an assessment process that honors the nervous system’s need for safety, you will begin to see an optimization in your assessment — a leveling up so to speak. This starts with building safety into the nervous system by not removing coping strategies that have been put in place for a reason.
In order to do so effectively, we need to understand why the nervous system has organized the coping strategy that is being presented. I call this mapping. In mapping, particularly through the lense of Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment™, we are evaluating the symptom-causation relationship. When evaluating the symptom-causation relationship, we have to keep in mind that the causation of one set of symptoms may be a symptom of another causation.
Let’s use a recent pelvic floor client assessment to illustrate the symptom-causation relationship. After doing a thorough movement assessment process, I found the movement functions that did not respond appropriately correlated to a ligament in the coccyx. I then evaluated the ligament in the coccyx. This assessment correlated to a limbic association.
If I would have spent valuable time working directly with the ligament, it could have been problematic for a number of reasons. One problem could have been that the limbic association would have trumped any structural change that might have happened temporarily. Another problem, and more potentially detrimental, is a safety issue for the coping strategy that the nervous system put in place to support the limbic association. When we remove that coping strategy as an option for the nervous system, that potentially can create instability in the limbic center’s ability to cope with the association. This can derail a person’s capacity to appropriately respond to their environment.
In this example, the limbic association required support from the structure. That support is a resource. If we remove that resource, the nervous system will come up with a strategy to replace that resource. The best case scenario is that the nervous system recruits a similar or familiar coping strategy. The worst case scenario is that things could take a turn for the worse with the nervous system replacing that resource with a less desirable coping strategy than its original choice. This could be a structural, physiological or even a limbic maladaptive strategy.
If you’ve ever had clients that either did not respond to treatment or had their symptoms return, this is the reason why: The root source of their presentation was not addressed appropriately, so when day to day activities loaded their nervous system, their symptoms got worse and/or were compounded by a new coping strategy. This is when utilizing mapping in our assessment is critical to derive appropriate intervention with the nervous system of our clients.
Would you like to learn how to optimize your assessment and utilize the process of Mapping to help your clients in a profound and efficient way? Dynamic Neuromuscular Assessment™ is a method by which to have a conversation with the nervous system through movement. Our next DNA™ Seminar is February 22-23rd in Philadelphia. Hosted by John Goldthorp of Fix Your Run.