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Movement Is Medicine

Let’s start with a bang.

If you think a gym membership is expensive. Or if you think one round of physical therapy is expensive. Or hiring a strength coach or personal trainer is expensive, you should try heart disease, diabetes, or traditional approaches to managing lower back pain.

By the numbers:

Americans spent 50 billion in managing low back pain. 700 billion managing and treating cardiac issues. 350 billion for diabetes last year.

Could movement be viewed as a primary treatment option and preventive measure for each of those conditions, the answer is of course.. YES! I hope by now I have your attention.

First you need to understand some really important terms in understanding this movement is medicine concept.

  • LOAD
    Burden placed on the system… your body
    How much can you put in your cup without overflowing
    How Heavy
    How Often
    How many
  • RPE
    How does it make YOU feel
    The WHY… The only WHY
  • PAIN
    An unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with, or resembling that associated with, actual or potential tissue damage.
    The ability to produce AND withstand force

Let’s say you go a walk in clinic for flu like symptoms and your physician prescribe you 100mg of Tamiflu, a nasal decongestant, and a fever reducer. All properly dosed to manage your symptoms. You swallow the pill and your body processes that medication and goes to work helping you feel better. So there is a DOSE and then a RESPONSE to that dose. We can see in the figure below how this dose and response will be variable from person to person; which is why working with someone who understands your unique constraints can better set you up for success than a generic one size fits all approach. The dosage for a 74 year old male recovering from a stroke or a 36 untrained type 2 diabetic will be drastically different than a 44 year old active adult with no pre-existing conditions.


This is everything. This is whats movement is all about, adaptation. The envelope of function is the window or range in which LOAD (stress applied to the system) can safely be used without compromising or without resulting in negative adaptations. If we use training for a 5k or even a marathon, this all makes sense.

If you want to train to run 26 miles you can not go from couch to mile 26 in one week. You have to slowly progress your running distance. If you only run 1 mile in your training, yes you will avoid being unsafe; however you will not fall into that zone that will create positive adaptions. If you constantly run higher running distances at high intensities you will be in the zone beyond your envelope of function. You will be overloaded eventually resulting in failure of bones, joints, tendons, and muscles. This envelope of function is a dynamic system. It is constantly evolving and changing because you are a biological organism that changes day to day as well. Stress, energy, nutrition, sleep, recovery, and more will impact this. So a precise understanding of load, volume, frequency, recovery, and progression must be used to get the most “good” medicine out of your movement.



It’s no shock the south is largely the most unhealthy and inactive populations across the country. We look to quick fixes for deep rooted issues and our healthcare system doesn’t appreciate the value of preventive measures. We need to increase our access to high quality movement professionals and movement strategies. We need to reward those who invest in their health with decreased insurance premiums. Why should I pay as much as someone for the same insurance plan if I am doing everything in my power to not have to use my insurance? I could go on and on. The biggest thing we need is more education and outreach on the importance of movement and activity for quality of life and health and wellness.



Yes, your discs can heal. Movement is the extra icing on the cake. Even if you have received the worst diagnosis on your recent MRI there is great news. Movement can be used to help your disc pathology heal. Just like herniated and bulging discs can be considered “wrinkles on the inside,” turns out these wrinkles may be reversible too. Yep, that’s right…give it about a year and discs can actually un-herniate.

In fact, this rate of spontaneous regression is approximately 96% for disc sequestration, 70% for disc extrusion, 41% for disc protrusion and 13% for disc bulging. This is good news! This is another reason to trust the process. Rehab doesn’t magically happen in 4 weeks!

Working with an expert movement provider like a physical therapist can help develop a treatment strategy to get you back to moving optimally without having to be fearful of your “more than normal that you think” disc issue! Movement is the magic sauce.



Yep, movement for the win again. In these images below we have the principle of SAID. Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. In the first image we see the large finger size in a professional climber. His finger muscles have adapted to stress and he is now better prepared to perform his sport. The female in the middle has a very strong and muscular physique. This is powerful and empowering for all woman to not only pursue this if they desire but to wear it proudly showing off their discipline and dedication. Healthy is strong. The image on the far right shows a professional arm wrestler. Clearly his right arm is much larger than the left because of the demands placed on the right. So we can use movement and loading strategies to make muscles bigger, stronger, more conditioning, and healthy: both before pain and injury and certainly during/after. This process is called hypertrophy which is an increase in cell size!



That’s right, movement. You might think of your bones as not moving or changing much, especially once you’re done growing. But they’re more dynamic than you think. They adapt and change over the course of your life through a process called bone remodeling. Have a bone fracture? Have osteoporosis? Have any bone pathology? You need load to make your body lay down new bone. This goes back to the envelope of function and dose-response relationship. We can again use movement as medicine to build healthy and stronger bones.



More movement. Tendons are different than muscles. They have very poor blood supply. So they need tension and load to adapt out of pathology. We replace the phrase tendonitis with tendonopathy because we knows it’s more complicated that just inflammation of the tendon that causes pain and limitation. We can see in the image below how important optimal load is for tendon adaptation. We can also see how impactful UNDERloading or OVERloading can be on tendon health. If you have been dealing with any tendon pathology like tennis elbow, golfers elbow, achilles, patellar, rotator cuff, hamstring, glute, biceps, and more; physical therapy and movement are the most effective in both the short term and long term go get you out of pain and back to the activities you love.


We can’t just say movement is medicine aimlessly. We need to be precise without movement approach from all angles. Movement is a vital sign. We need a baseline to measure progress and have a foundation to build on. We know normal heart rates, respiration rates, blood pressures, but what is normal movement? What is the standard. What is good enough? What are we aiming for? We must use movement to get healthy. We must use movement to get functional. We must use movement to gain a greater level of fitness. Movement is medicine is best served in the right system with the right framework and with the right guiding principles. At Myomuv, we have refined our system using our three step process to best meet you exactly where you are.


Movement impacts the longevity curve more than any single modality. We know movement assists in physical health by providing a more functional and strong vehicle to experience life through. We know that movement impacts cognition because of the connection between the brain (central nervous system) and the body (the movement system). The two are hardwired together. Movement is also deeply connected to emotional health. If you don’t believe me then the next time you’re anxious or depressed, then just go move for 15-30 minutes. You will certainly feel better.



Movement is medicine. Movement is medicine. Movement is medicine. If you didn’t view it as such, now you know. Medicine for physical health. Medicine for cognitive health. Medicine for emotional health. Medicine for tendons, bones, joints, muscles, and discs. Medicine to prevent. Medicine for performance. Medicine for healing.

That’s what we do at MyoMUV. We help you MUV better. We used MUVment as the ultimate medicine.

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Send us a message below and an expert movement provider will contact you directly!

Dr. Bryan Keith

Myomuv PT

We help active adults and athletes return to the activities they love without pain, without taking time off, and feeling more confident and capable than ever before.