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Stay on Top of Your Game with FMT

Feb 13, 2013. The Economic Times

“We strive to help control or rid you of your pain, but our goal is also to train/teach you how to manage your body independently,” says Adam Lindsey, Fellow of Functional Manual TherapyTM at VARDAN, summing up FMT’s approach not only to injuries, but total fitness and efficient living

Going about their daily lives, people have to deal with pain, restricted movement and, of course, the possibility of injury. Whether it is a top sporting meet or a leisurely tennis game, a walk in the park or housework, both acute injury and simple wear and tear of the body must be guarded against.

A body must be totally aligned and fit for it to perform optimally, and that is precisely what Functional Manual Therapy (FMT) aims for. “We understand the difference between average and truly great, efficient movement,” says Adam T Lindsey, one of just 16 Fellows of FMT worldwide, based at VARDAN (a joint initiative of The Times of India Group and the Institute of Physical Art, USA). “And we never say we are specialists in one joint; we treat the whole body!”

This is why FMT — as practised by the four American FM therapists, Adam, Charles, Jevene and Karin, along with their 13 Indian colleagues at VARDAN — makes such a difference. “It all comes down to approach,” says Lindsey. “The big point for any person is efficiency. Small dysfunctions over time can lead to pain and injury. But the body must be looked at as a whole unit: a patient with foot pain may have a dysfunction of the knee and/ or pelvis that must be addressed. If ignored, pain is likely to return.”

“Most people think if there is a pain, it will go away. Sometimes it seems to but it actually doesn’t,” he says. “They wait longer and it gets worse. Why let it get worse?” After all, people go in for preventative dental care although teeth can be replaced. Our bodies should be viewed the same way, as they can’t be replaced!

As FM therapists aim for whole body efficiency, they use their hands as well as exercise to correct dysfunctions in joints, muscles, tendons or other tissues in the body. “We make sure walking, running, throwing, lifting — every movement related to performance — is driven from the core muscles,” he says, outlining the ‘core’ philosophy of FMT. “If posture is incorrect, the core will not fire as it should.”

“We are trained to observe faulty movement patterns,” he says. “We then use our hands to palpate the patient, feeling the dysfunctions to confirm what we see.” Once the root of the dysfunction is identified, they use techniques unique to FMT to mobilise the affected part.

affected part. “Typically the first dysfunction we treat is mechanical,” Lindsey elaborates. “This may be a joint, muscle, tendon, nerve or visceral tissue that is not moving well or stuck.” These tissues may be directly linked to the pain or inefficient function or contribute to pain and inefficient function in another area of the body. An FM therapist is trained to see these connections and treat what may not be obvious to the average observer, because the body tries to compensate for one malfunctioning part by using another.

After mechanical dysfunctions are mobilised with FMT’s hands-on techniques, neuromuscular control has to be addressed.

be addressed. “Once a joint, muscle or tendon has regained mobility, the muscles need to be retrained to utilize the motion gained,” Lindsey explains. A lot of people think that if they do an exercise, the right muscles will get strong. What they don’t always understand is that when there has been an injury, pain, or even just mechanical restrictions, muscles shut down and research shows that these muscles will not just start working again, even with aggressive exercise. These muscles need to be very specifically facilitated.

control, which is mostly a functional issue. “For a cricketer this may be throwing a ball or swinging a bat,” says Lindsey. “For a runner it may be how the foot touches the ground.” More and more research is demonstrating the importance of “retraining the brain”, not just the muscles, for lasting improvement in function and pain control.

The second and third stages — neuromuscular re-education and motor control — are very important because without those the gains made in treating the mechanical dysfunction would be lost.

Injuries are not always acute but can build up through years of misuse or wrong posture. FMT looks at both differently. “Acute injury needs to be addressed promptly. We try to help normalize tissues and joints as quickly as possible and reinstate motion when it is appropriate,” he says.

When it comes to wear-and-tear injuries, FMT’s focus is on efficiency and someone’s habits over time and how that affects them. “If someone is very efficient, they will have smooth movements and maintain control over the core muscles that stabilize the trunk,” Lindsey says. “A person who is inefficient may not have a problem today or tomorrow, but over time he may.”

Surgery is always an option — sometimes an inevitable one — but in many cases FMT offers an alternative. Physical therapists are part of the total healthcare framework that includes physicians and surgeons, but often FMT can delay or totally avoid surgery. An example unique to FMT is a revolutionary meniscus repositioning technique developed by FMT co-founder Gregory Johnson, which reduces swelling and irritation in the knee so that mobility can be regained without surgery.

To schedule your appointment,
SMS VFMT to58888 or
email vardan@timesgroup.com

For more information log on to www.vardan.in

VARDAN is a Times Group Initiative

Virender Sehwag | 34
CRICKETER | Shoulder Injury

I HAVE HAD TWO shoulder surgeries – in 2008 and 2010 – which led to restricted flexibility and limited range of motion in my shoulder. I went for rehab, but still sometimes experienced post-surgery stiffness.

Then I learnt about FMT at VARDAN. The very first time I met the FM therapists; they had a look at my shoulder and ‘released’ it, which really benefitted me. They re-established my range of motion! I realised that my injury resulted from the fact that I was throwing from the arm instead of throwing from the whole trunk and core mechanism. They worked on my core so that I was able to use my body more efficiently to throw. They have made a special set of orthotics for me, which I wear during my running and muscle strengthening.

VARDAN has one floor for physical therapy, another for customised exercise programs and a third for Pilates – I use facilities on all three floors! My friends and a lot of other cricketers are going there for treatment too.

Cricket is a demanding sport but there are injuries in other sports as well. I would recommend FMT to all sportspeople — to everyone, really. Even my mother, who suffers from migraine, slipped disc and severe arthritis, has started walking once again, thanks to FMT!

Arjun Sharma | 47
TRAVEL & RETAIL | Herniated Disc

ICAME TO VARDAN WITH A SLIPPED disc and a long history of lower back pain. I was intrigued when I heard they only use hands, so I decided to try them out as every other place seemed to be only full of machines.

I felt better after the very first session and they did something that I had never experienced before. Instead of examining my affected area — L4, they went to work on the slipped disc through my abdomen. Treatment focused on actual mobilization of the disc and lumbar vertebrae to improve its position and movement. By the fifth session the pain was gone and I was put on a supervised exercise regime. I was instructed in stability exercises for the core as well as given strategies to improve my movements, thereby decreasing the stress on my lower back.

I must say that no other therapy comes even close to FMT

Partha Bose | 50

IAM INTO HIGH INTENSITY sports activities like gymming, weight-training, running and cycling – right from my school days. But for the past 4 – 5 years I have been getting muscle spasms in my lower back. I consulted various doctors, including ones in the US, and followed their advice of rest and physiotherapy. I had to limit many of my activities for the last one year, because the spasms became more frequent. Then I heard about FMT. The FM therapists at VARDAN explained why I was getting this pain – it was postural; I had an overall strong body, but my core was weak. If the core muscles are strong and fire properly, other parts of the body will work properly too! There were large segments of my spine that were stiff – not moving – so when I flexed, or extended, too much motion was occurring at one or two segments. This resulted in excessive sheering on the discs at those levels, low grade pain, and resultant muscle spasm of the large muscles attempting to stabilize these segments against the excessive motion. As I learnt, very often, the problem is not where the pain is … the pain is the secondary symptom of a problem somewhere else. The spasms are infrequent now, but even if they occur I know what to do. I am back to gymming and plan to be active for the next 15 years with FMT!

Abhishek Poddar | 45
BUSINESSMAN | Herniated Disc

IHAD CHRONIC PAIN FROM MY NECK to the shoulder area. I was treated with conventional physiotherapy (Ultrasound, traction, exercises) that resolved my pain, but then this second episode occurred.

I tried FMT at VARDAN on the advice of a friend. It turned out that my pain was due to weak muscles of stabilization in the neck, as well as limited movement in the upper thoracic spine, which contributed to excessive sheering and compressive forces going into one disc in my neck. I also had muscle spasms, and an elevated first rib.

I felt so much better after the treatment that I was hooked to it. The FM therapist improved my soft tissue mobility and thoracic spine motion, corrected the first rib position, then addressed my posture and gave me stabilization exercises. What three weeks of therapy in Bangalore could not do, I got done in one session with FMT!

Aditya Kanoria | 54
BUSINESSMAN | Cerebral Stroke

I SUFFERED A STROKE DUE TO which my left side was partially paralysed. I was undergoing treatment in Kolkata when I heard about FMT and decided to try it. I have had six sessions and now I am back again after a break. Like many Indians I expected some quick magic remedy; FMT is not that. The initial sessions were exhausting and sometimes painful but it definitely made a difference to my condition. And I must say that the FM therapists work harder than their patients! Thanks to their efforts and specific FMT techniques I can now walk with a cane and even climb stairs, though I still have no strength in my left arm. I know it will be a long haul but I am certain that I will continue to improve with FMT. It is FMT’s hands-only practice that makes all the difference. After all, they are dealing with human beings and you can only feel their pain if you touch them with your hands…

Gaurav Singh | 54 BUSINESSMAN | Hamstring Injury
(As Recounted by his FM Therapist)

HE IS VERY ACTIVE, RUNS, swims, plays tennis, does yoga and works out. It’s been one year since he had a hamstring avulsion (Hamstrings are three powerful muscles at the back of the thigh). He had surgery in the US and returned to India for rehab, where VARDAN helped him recover.

We saw him pretty early on in that process and started by showing him how to move with a brace, so that would not put strain on the injury. Once his brace was off and he was able to move his leg, we went to work on getting his joints to move normally again.

Hamstrings are big, and each muscle must move independently, but when the tissues have been immobilised due to injury, they get stuck. And that needs very specific hands-on work, not on the surgical site which is still healing, but on the areas affected as a secondary result of immobilisation.

Habitual movement patterns do not automatically go back to the correct way after immobilisation. So we had to work to retrain his gait pattern. We also did functional strength training. He is now walking and running, and back to his active lifestyle.