Why am I only moving the left or right side of my body in my Group Physio sessions?

Do you ever feel ‘lop sided’ or ‘out of whack’? Are the majority of your current and/or past injuries on one side of your body?

Injuries mainly on one side of the body is something that we often hear our physiotherapy patients complain of. Physio-led Exercise or Clinical Pilates has moved away from treating isolated structures as we have found that this can have limited scope. Research is becoming less supportive of this also. Radiology such as X-rays and MRIs do not always explain your pain. There are many people walking around completely pain free who on scans would have quite serious disc bulges and joint degeneration. This can seem quite strange to comprehend, but there are fit and healthy 18 year olds out there with disc bulges that you would never pick.

Craig Phillips, the creator of Clinical Pilates, has redefined Physio-led Exercise as a “Movement Based Classification & Treatment” (MBCT) tool.  This tool allows a physio to classify the patient against a directional preference model and “tailor” the exercises into the direction of flexion (e.g bending forwards) vs extension (e.g. bending backwards), the left side of your body vs right and also rotation.

When you come in for a Physio-led Exercise Assessment, your Physio will assess you based on four areas.

  • The Problem: We will record your areas of pain on a body chart and look for any pattern. Are most of your injuries on the left or right side of your body? If so, we will look at the strength and control on that side vs the other and if it is in fact weaker, then we will focus more on treating that side.
  • Preference: What things make your pain better? Do things such as sitting/bending forwards help your pain? These are flexion activities and we will try and chose exercises in your program into the direction which your body prefers.
  • Exclusion: What exercises should we avoid? E.g. Sitting (a flexion position) may help your pain, but walking (an extension position) aggravates it.
  • Trauma: Was there a trauma that lead to your injury and if so, what movement direction was this trauma in? e.g. were you leaning back and rotated when you were hit by another player in sport? If so, then we will initially try to avoid these positions in your exercise program.

Once your Physio has determined a directional classification based on your problem and preference of movement, we can then treat you by developing a rehabilitation program that meet the directional criteria that we have found. We will check in with you regularly and once a year have a one on one session with you to determine the effectiveness of this program and make sure it is helping to reduce your symptoms and achieve your goals.

We hope this has helped to explain why you may be working one side of your body more than the other and also why you may be doing a different program to some of your friends in your group physiotherapy session.

Please contact us on 8555 4099 or book online if you would like to join us in Physio-led Exercise.


Written by Luci Minogue, Physiotherapist.