As most of you will recall, I posted a blog about young Tej on November 5, 2016 (A Mother’s Love Transforms Her Child). I have continued to work with Tej almost once a week since then for 1 hour at a time. The plan remains the same – improve Tej’s running gait, balance and posture whilst eliminating his joint pain that originates from asymmetries in the body.
The results to this stage have been nothing short of amazing...to the point where his parents have canceled the weekly physiotherapy sessions (the therapist said “I can’t do anything more. Whatever Jeff is doing, stay with that!”) and cut back the regular chiropractic treatments significantly for the same reason. As Tej’s mom, Susan said, “Jeff, you are a trainer, exercise physiologist, physiotherapist, chiropractic, movement specialist all in one! Your work is transforming my son.” To which I said, “Tej is doing the work. I am simply the foil”.
As per usual, I checked Tej’s balance in his coffins (shoes) with the barefoot science inserts (Level 5) in place. He locked in beautifully and easily balanced on 1 foot for over 1 minute. His left shoulderdropped slightly but he corrected this quickly by simply leveling his hips by bracing his gluteal muscles. From there, we got him barefoot and onto the Functional Chain Trainer and Health Bridges to unlock him and bring him back into symmetry (his left leg was presenting significantly shorter than his right). He was complaining about pain in his left hip and shoulder and had strained his left ankle playing basketball. My goals were to unlock his left hip and lower back, balance him and eliminate his pain.I then tested his barefoot running technique, looking to see if he was squared up and listening for the ‘silence’ of his foot contact on the floor. He started out off balance and loud (his feet hitting much too hard on the floor). With short verbal ques (“brace”, “flick the heels”, ‘lift the knees”, “get lower”, “quiet the feet”), Tej made the transition to quick, quiet strides forward. The next phase involved strength drills using the tension bands. One of the areas where Tej needs constant work is strength endurance of his hip adductors and abductors, gluteal muscles, hip flexors and calves. He could not walk let alone run with the bands on without his knees collapsing in when we started doing the drills. Now (as you can see below), he can do so with the bands around his ankles and knees – at the same time! He was able to hold his hips, knees and ankles in line whilst walking and running forward, backward and side to side. This told me that his strength endurance was improving – a big step for young Tej in his transition to safe, efficient running.
The use of hurdles and Bosu Balls is important to teach Tej how to move quickly and safely out of his comfort zone. The drills also help improve his balance, alignment and reaction time from bare feet through the rest of his body. By the time we finished the drills, he was easily running over the 3 hurdles and running forward and backward up and down a series of three Bosu Balls. These were drills that he could not even attempt 2 months ago!The final test on the Bosu Ball was balancing on one leg WITH HIS EYES CLOSED! Not only could he do this on either leg, he was able to hold each for 10 seconds! Try this – I bet few if any of you can hold the position for more than a few seconds – if that!Putting all of the drills together, I had Tej run barefoot and in his ‘coffins’ with the barefoot science inserts to show how much faster, lighter and more efficient he could now move. His mother was incredulous regarding the changes within the 1 hour session. Tej also said to me, as we were finishing with 4 minutes on the Health Brides Level #1 “no more pain” – the 3 words that made the work worthwhile!.
The goal for Tej moving forward is to do the unlocking drills daily. This will help keep him pain-free, symmetrical and running like a cat…oh, and scoring him MORE baskets on the court!!
Here’s to all of you who face challenges with your children and their physical development to gain strength from Tej’s progression. If you keep pursuing positive options, positive things will happen to move your child forward. NEVER GIVE UP…