Today’s guest post comes to us from C. Shante Cofield, otherwise known as the Movement Maestro. Shante is a Doctor of Physical Therapy in Brooklyn and a dedicated craftsman. She is uniquely knowledgeable in the realms of athletic care. Today’s post serves to illustrate the importance of having a trusted medical partner on your side for those times when basic maintenance just won’t get it done. We should certainly all be able to perform basic maintenance on ourselves, however once pain sets in, their is no substitution for an expert diagnosis and an efficient treatment strategy. Don’t delay your return to life!
When your car’s check engine light comes on, while you may drive around for a while trying to ignore it, most people certainly don’t ever open up the hood and try to figure out what’s wrong. You may choose to drive thousands of miles with that light on, only giving in once your car either breaks down or it’s time for that annual inspection. Either way, it’s a trained mechanic that’s taking a look, not you and a few YouTube videos.
Liken this to your body. The human body is the most complex ‘machine’ you will ever encounter, and while it’s good to know how to perform ‘basic maintenance’ akin to being able to change the tires on you car, diagnostic tasks are best reserved for a trained professional.
Enter: WODMedic. About a month ago I had the privilege of being selected to join the WODMedic team as an elite facilitator. This is a title granted only to those who have demonstrated proficiency and specialization in treating athletes on their journey towards optimal health and fitness. We are the diagnosticians you want to be seeing when your human ‘check engine’ light comes on. Elite facilitators from the WODMedic team don’t just love treating this population, we’ve gone above and beyond to seek additional training to best serve the needs of our clients and patients. Elite facilitators have taken additional coursework, earned additional certifications, and have been yelled at many a night by their significant others for scouring the Internet for profession-related articles, videos, and podcasts instead of going to bed.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I agree with K-Star in that humans should be able to perform BASIC MAINTENANCE on themselves, but I’d like to draw your attention to the words ‘basic’ and ‘maintenance’. If we again refer to our car analogy, this would be comparable to being able to change a tire, check fluid levels, and for some, change your own oil. These are all very basic tasks that can easily be learned, and nine times out of ten you know if such a task is necessary or appropriate. There is no diagnosing required. There is no investigation needed.
With the advent of YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, what I see some athletes trying to do should be labeled ‘advanced assessment,’ a far cry from any sort of basic maintenance. Overall, I love what social media has done for movement and mobility, and I gladly contribute to the posting and hashtag frenzy; but it’s important that people understand the intended audience. While I gladly dispense information in 15-second windows, I do so with the hope that those from a different academic background understand that this is but a mere glimpse at the bigger picture, a small piece in a very big puzzle.
All too often I have fellow CrossFitters come up to me before, after, or during WOD and say something along the lines of “My knee hurts really bad sometimes. What do you think it is?” That’s exactly like taking your car to the mechanic and saying “My car makes this funny noise sometimes. What do you think it is?” My friend, I left my MRI glasses at home (not that they would likely actually help) and have absolutely no idea. It could be one of a number of different things, generally the least of which is actually a problem at your knee. I do however know how to perform a thorough examination and evaluation to best narrow it down to likely players and come up with a plan of action.
The take-home message of my automobile essay? Please don’t downplay the years of schooling it takes to become a physical therapist or chiropractor and assume that you can do the same thing just by watching a few videos, reading a book, and buying some bands. Please do continue to try and help yourself by performing mobility work, but first reach out to your local WODMedic facilitator and get assessed so you’re not just smashing a lacrosse ball into your brachial plexus (if you don’t know what a brachial plexus is then you should absolutely first seek professional guidance) and wondering why you’re not getting better. There is value in all the social media and internet-based information out there, but I urge you to first meet with a provider to find out what you actually need to be doing, what you should be avoiding, and what is truly causing your symptoms. To find an elite facilitator near you visit www.WODMedic.com. Your body will thank you.
Quick Bio of author, C. Shante Cofield, DPT, OCS, CSCS
Shante employs a functional and integrated approach to evaluation and treatment, with an emphasis on identifying involved soft tissues and structures via movement dysfunction. With this biomechanical assessment serving as a foundation, Shante implements a comprehensive treatment plan that is specific to each patient’s pathology and includes manual (hands-on) interventions, corrective exercises, therapeutic taping, and any necessary behavioral modifications. For those of you who don’t speak science, this means analyzing the way you move in order to determine the source of your pain, and then treating the problem, not just the symptoms.
Wishing to combine her passion for movement and health into a career, Shante continued her educational pursuits at New York University, graduating with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) and earning her certification as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). Shante used her time at NYU to focus on sports medicine and orthopedic rehabilitation and further developed her orthopedic skills via numerous continuing education courses, later becoming a certified Functional Movement Screen (FMS) provider and Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) provider. Always thirsty for knowledge, Shante then went on to become a board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS), demonstrating advanced clinical reasoning, skills, and experience.
With her unique skill-set, Shante has experience treating individuals of all ages and levels of functionality, be it the post-partum mother with pelvic floor dysfunction or the elite athlete hoping to set a personal record. Shante continues to work in a private practice setting located in the city, but has expanded her services, offering private work to the residents of NYC and one-on-one sessions for the athletes of CrossFit718.