Movement Variation

The capacity of the human body to adapt and flourish in a wide range of environmental conditions is well recognised. Indeed, it is this ability to effectively adapt physiologically, psychologically and genetically that makes us successful as a species. Significant attention has been given to the long-term adaptation to environmental factors, for example, the mismatch hypothesis of evolutionary medicine. Of particular note, however, is the capacity to make rapid changes at neurophysiological and behavioural levels in response to alterations in environmental constraints. The ability to effectively modify responses under a broad spectrum of conditions is central to effective sporting performance and to long-term health outcomes. Simply speaking, the ability of humans to respond to a variety of challenges is what makes us stand out.


It has been shown that People suffering from long-term neck pain perform active movements of the neck in less variation. This means that I can’t comply with all the full range of motion that someone without long-term neck pain can.

Variability is natural and an important feature of human movement there are many new models to explain movement variability as it relates to go to learning and health. Any movement that is less than optimal is characterised by biological systems that are overly rigid and unchanging, whereas good optimal movement characterises systems that are very adaptable to perturbations (challenges) such as those with associated abnormal motor development or unhealthy states. This is why it is imperative to develop and foster a good amount of movement variability by incorporating a rich repertoire of movement strategies.


good or bad movement?

understanding the movement is variable encourages recognition that different people move differently even to achieve the same task.

I will muscles anticipate certain postures in movement adjustment in every day life and tasks however people with long-term low back pain I’ve been found to have less variability in the timing of their muscles when anticipating certain postural changes.

Tasks and constraints?

This is an idea to help people explore multiple solutions for a certain task via experimentation with movement patterns and also developing coordinated relationships. This means that our movements will vary depending on the constraints imposed on the task at hand.

i.e.  Bending forward to pick something up.

this is the idea of Brain Smudging and movement.

“One aspect of the changes that occur when pain persists is that the proprioceptive representation of the painful body part in primary sensory cortex changes. This may have implications for motor control because these representations are the maps that the brain uses to plan and execute movement. If the map of a body part becomes inaccurate, then motor control may be compromised – it is known that experimental disruption of cortical proprioceptive maps disrupts motor planning” Ref.: Moseley, G. Lorimer. Reconceptualising pain according to modern pain science. Physical Therapy Reviews 2007; 12: 169–178.smudging and movement.

this is an idea that essentially plays with our brains ability to be plastic and constantly trained and re-trained.


I.e. Increased cortical representation of the fingers of the left hand in string players – this was a study that found that string instrument players whom were left handed had a larger map of the hand in the sub-conscious part of their brains – when scanned).

Novel Movements

Nobody has an opinion on all of our movements we have made.

A novel movement is a movement that our body has not yet made an opinion about (as opposed to paying memory fear avoidance movement)

Novel movement may create a window of opportunity for your body to come to a non-painful opinion about a certain movement. If you get enough nonpainful opinions accumulated, your body might change its overall opinion, or might have fun doing so!


Play and Novel Movements

Children learn to move through exploring experimenting and playing. Not just through instruction. Play is fun, voluntary, involves autonomy, improvisation. It can be thought of opposite to boring work, under the stress of needing to reach somewhere with tasks.

Neuroplasticity and Play? 

Play focuses attention, promotes developing new movements and exposure to perturbations or loads. This is imperative to neuroplasticity. Playing activates chemical factors which encourage extra nerve growth. Rats whom were forced to work and find their way through a maze experienced nerve growth in a specific area whereas rates in an enhanced play environment have WIDESPREAD brain effects – they have thicker edges of their brains.


Credit to

Todd Hargrove found at

From the Preston Chiropractor Team
Getting You Back in Action & Enjoying Your Life Again
Serving the people of Preston and surrounding areas including Southport and Lytham St Annes

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