• Colin Liggett

Imminent Surgery? Prevent Surgery by Changing Your Movement Patterns.

Have you been told that surgery is imminent? I'm not against surgery. However, I think it should be the last option. Surgery is non-reversible and I have treated countless post-surgery clients who have found no change in symptoms, increased symptoms or new symptoms.

I have also had many clients who ended up canceling the upcoming surgery appointment as it was no longer needed.

“How can this be”, I hear you say. “I have lower back pain, my MRI shows I have a bulging disk”. Lets look at some telling research:

In a study of 71 PAIN FREE adults, 52% had at least one bulging disk or other similar MRI abnormality. The authors of the study stated that: "the discovery by MRI of bulges or protrusions in people with low back pain may frequently be coincidental.”

In 2002, a controlled trial of arthroscopic knee surgery for osteoarthritis involving 180 participants found that there was NO difference in outcome over a 2 year period between the participants who had knee surgery and those that had a sham (fake) surgery.

Check out the article linked here written by a top orthopedic surgeon who walked away from his career. He thought his (hard to recover from) lumbar fusion surgeries had a 90% success rate, then a study showed the success rate was actually 15 - 25%...

I think of dysfunction in the body as being either "hardware" or "software". "Hardware" is wear and tear on joints, ligaments, cartilage, torn muscles, adhesions between fascial layers etc.

"Software" is how the nervous system tells the musculoskeletal system to move in any given situation. If you want to move your leg, but your nervous system has to engage a muscle in your neck first, that's a dysfunctional movement pattern.

When I meet a new client, I have a few questions that run through my head:

1. Is this a Hardware or Software issue? (I only fix software)

2. If this is a Hardware issue, was it caused by a software issue and can correcting the software reduce or remove the symptoms?

An example of a software issue causing a hardware issue might be incorrect centration of a joint. Joint centration is the ability of muscles surrounding the joint to fire at the correct time in any movement, thereby allowing optimal joint position. The optimal position of the joint facilitates maximum loading with minimum strain/degeneration.

If a joint is not in an optimal position, pain will be communicated. Yes, you might have damaged cartilage (hardware issue) but what if we get that joint into optimal position (software)? Perhaps the signal of pain will be removed.

I'll state it again..

I’m not against surgery. I just think it should be a last resort and that people should realize that when you ask a surgeon how to fix knee, hip, shoulder, wrist pain etc, they are likely to think of a surgery option.

Here are three questions I think all clients should ask before surgery is agreed to:

1. What is the success rate of the surgery?

2. What are the risks, benefits, and possible complications for this operation?

3. Are there any alternative therapies that would be worth trying before surgery?

The answer to question three should often be a referral to a neurological movement repatterning therapy, unfortunately it may take some years before the surgery community cues into this.

My next blog is about how surgery can cause significant movement pattern defects that may last for years and how therapies like SMR can easily correct these dysfunctions within minutes.


Jensen MC1, Brant-Zawadzki MN, Obuchowski N, Modic MT, Malkasian D, Ross JS. 1994 :Magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine in people without back pain


Lubowitz, James H. 2002. “A Controlled Trial of Arthroscopic Surgery for Osteoarthritis of the Knee.” Arthroscopy 18 (8): 950–51.


#surgery #kneesurgery #pain


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