My Story

From an early age I always wished to visit a physio that would do a full body examination on me, identify my strengths and weaknesses, explain to me why or why not this is important, and develop a plan on how to reduce my pain and optimise my movement.

For the last couple of decades, I have: read and applied, observed and applied, heard and applied and dedicated myself to become the physio I always wished for. I am now pain-free, I don’t yet move how I want, but I know I will get there.

 

Where it began…

Growing up in North Queensland, I played rugby league from a young age, I gave everything I had each and every game. I was a scrawny kid, more built for endurance running, so niggling injuries were frequent.

 

Here started my physio wish…

At only 15 I had my first back injury. A disc herniation at L4-5. One of the biggest risk factors for prolonged lower back pain is a spinal injury earlier in life. This is where my pain journey began.

I still remember the awful advice from the physio and a chiropractor, “try not to move your back out of the straight position”. So, I’m 15 and I have the belief that I can only operate from one position and this should be maintained at all times otherwise I’d risk further injury.

 

Sigh! Never had a chance…

As a young adult, I realised increased body weight was necessary to stay competitive in rugby league so off to the gym (and the kitchen) I went. Increasing my weight 15kg in a couple of seasons.

Now I’m a young adult that hasn’t moved out of the ‘strong’ position since I was 15. I had forgotten, and worse, had no idea how to be strong in any other position. I had put on more size than my body could handle, and I had muscles that were only strong in the limited movements and positions that the gym machines allowed.

 

Do you see where this is going???

I was uncoordinated and oversized but didn’t know it and couldn’t figure out why I had chronic lower back pain since I was 15. I was experiencing daily back spasms. I had constant sciatic pain that felt like my right thigh and behind my knee were burning that was so intense I often rubbed the area just to make sure my skin wasn’t actually burning. I was needing someone to stand on my back most days, so the muscles would relax. I used ‘extra-heat dencorub’ on my back each night so the heat would distract the pain long enough for me to get to sleep.

In short, I had completely rewired my body to being strong in one position and one position only. I was in constant pain and had forgotten how to move.

 

What next???

After a few years working at a screen all day as a pharmacist, I developed shoulder, neck and jaw pain that caused weekly headaches that would last from 1 to 5 days at a time. I stopped playing rugby league and my only physical training was bodybuilding based.

Although I was in constant pain I began to miss the competitiveness of sport too much and I googled something like ‘fitness training’; Rich Froning appeared on the screen and I joined Crossfit.

 

Here starts my movement education…

The exposure to new movements taught me that I had the capacity to be strong in completely new patterns, it exposed my lack of coordination and caused positive neuromuscular changes I didn’t think were possible. My pain reduced but my ‘stiffness’ increased and I was no longer able to get my hands to my knees when trying to touch my toes. I worked hard on my flexibility…hard but not smart…I created ‘longer’ but weaker muscles and had my second pain-inducing disc herniation. I recovered from this injury within a few months and decided it was time to make my movement education official and I changed careers from being a pharmacist to a physio.

I went to uni and a massage academy at the same time to learn the intricacies of musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. I knew there was so much more to learn than I could get from a textbook and my studies, so I expanded my movement practice. I practiced Crossfit, yoga, gymnastics, handstands, Ido Portal’s capoeira-based training, Jon Yuen‘s strength and coordination training and a bit more.

My education and movement practice led to continual discoveries on the role movement plays in pain modulation.

I learned how to build a relationship with my pain. I learned how to ease my pain, aggravate it, strengthen surrounding muscles, ‘release’ neural tissue, identify and relax unnecessarily contracted muscles, when to stretch passively, how to stretch actively, and most importantly I learned how to build my body’s ‘map’. This ‘map-building’ is known as proprioception, the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.

Developing the ability to map my body was the turning point in understanding and treating my pain and developing my movement capabilities.

This is a practice that is never too late to learn. The brain is capable of continuous learning and adaptation. Our brains can and do reorganise and form new neural connections throughout our life in response to new situations (e.g. learning an instrument; learning to walk again post-stroke). This concept also applies to chronic pain. Your brain can reorganise its ‘pain networks’ so the messages it receives from the body are not perceived as pain signals but rather as they are, movement signals. After all, if you can adapt into an increased pain state – you can adapt to be pain-free.

The movement training I teach does not follow the ‘no pain, no gain’ model. In fact, the mantra of the training will be “make it effortless”. The movements are ones we were all once able to do. They may be difficult to coordinate initially, but strength will not be the limiting factor. It is important to understand that if your pain is too high in training, the ability to map your body is blurred; and positive, pain-free reorganisation is unlikely.

Together with my clients, I will develop a movement plan to challenge brain-body connections while keeping pain minimal. This is the essential process for positive neural reorganisation and regeneration towards a pain-free future.

 

Now…

My commitment to my clients is to share my knowledge, treatment skills and passion for this profession. I will teach that you can live without pain through movement.

I look forward to working alongside you.

 

Yours in movement,

Christian Ellul.

From an early age I always wished to visit a physio that would do a full body examination on me, identify my strengths and weaknesses, explain to me why or why not this is important, and develop a plan on how to reduce my pain and optimise my movement.

For the last couple of decades, I have: read and applied, observed and applied, heard and applied and dedicated myself to become the physio I always wished for. I am now pain-free, I don’t yet move how I want, but I know I will get there.

 

Where it began…

Growing up in North Queensland, I played rugby league from a young age, I gave everything I had each and every game. I was a scrawny kid, more built for endurance running, so niggling injuries were frequent.

 

Here started my physio wish…

At only 15 I had my first back injury. A disc herniation at L4-5. One of the biggest risk factors for prolonged lower back pain is a spinal injury earlier in life. This is where my pain journey began.

I still remember the awful advice from the physio and a chiropractor, “try not to move your back out of the straight position”. So, I’m 15 and I have the belief that I can only operate from one position and this should be maintained at all times otherwise I’d risk further injury.

 

Sigh! Never had a chance…

As a young adult, I realised increased body weight was necessary to stay competitive in rugby league so off to the gym (and the kitchen) I went. Increasing my weight 15kg in a couple of seasons.

Now I’m a young adult that hasn’t moved out of the ‘strong’ position since I was 15. I had forgotten, and worse, had no idea how to be strong in any other position. I had put on more size than my body could handle, and I had muscles that were only strong in the limited movements and positions that the gym machines allowed.

 

Do you see where this is going???

I was uncoordinated and oversized but didn’t know it and couldn’t figure out why I had chronic lower back pain since I was 15. I was experiencing daily back spasms. I had constant sciatic pain that felt like my right thigh and behind my knee were burning that was so intense I often rubbed the area just to make sure my skin wasn’t actually burning. I was needing someone to stand on my back most days, so the muscles would relax. I used ‘extra-heat dencorub’ on my back each night so the heat would distract the pain long enough for me to get to sleep.

In short, I had completely rewired my body to being strong in one position and one position only. I was in constant pain and had forgotten how to move.

 

What next???

After a few years working at a screen all day as a pharmacist, I developed shoulder, neck and jaw pain that caused weekly headaches that would last from 1 to 5 days at a time. I stopped playing rugby league and my only physical training was bodybuilding based.

Although I was in constant pain I began to miss the competitiveness of sport too much and I googled something like ‘fitness training’; Rich Froning appeared on the screen and I joined Crossfit.

 

Here starts my movement education…

The exposure to new movements taught me that I had the capacity to be strong in completely new patterns, it exposed my lack of coordination and caused positive neuromuscular changes I didn’t think were possible. My pain reduced but my ‘stiffness’ increased and I was no longer able to get my hands to my knees when trying to touch my toes. I worked hard on my flexibility…hard but not smart…I created ‘longer’ but weaker muscles and had my second pain-inducing disc herniation. I recovered from this injury within a few months and decided it was time to make my movement education official and I changed careers from being a pharmacist to a physio.

I went to uni and a massage academy at the same time to learn the intricacies of musculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. I knew there was so much more to learn than I could get from a textbook and my studies, so I expanded my movement practice. I practiced Crossfit, yoga, gymnastics, handstands, Ido Portal’s capoeira-based training, coordination training and a bit more.

My education and movement practice led to continual discoveries on the role movement plays in pain modulation.

I learned how to build a relationship with my pain. I learned how to ease my pain, aggravate it, strengthen surrounding muscles, ‘release’ neural tissue, identify and relax unnecessarily contracted muscles, when to stretch passively, how to stretch actively, and most importantly I learned how to build my body’s ‘map’. This ‘map-building’ is known as proprioception, the perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.

Developing the ability to map my body was the turning point in understanding and treating my pain and developing my movement capabilities.

This is a practice that is never too late to learn. The brain is capable of continuous learning and adaptation. Our brains can and do reorganise and form new neural connections throughout our life in response to new situations (e.g. learning an instrument; learning to walk again post-stroke). This concept also applies to chronic pain. Your brain can reorganise its ‘pain networks’ so the messages it receives from the body are not perceived as pain signals but rather as they are, movement signals. After all, if you can adapt into an increased pain state – you can adapt to be pain-free.

The movement training I teach does not follow the ‘no pain, no gain’ model. In fact, the mantra of the training will be “make it effortless”. The movements are ones we were all once able to do. They may be difficult to coordinate initially, but strength will not be the limiting factor. It is important to understand that if your pain is too high in training, the ability to map your body is blurred and positive, pain-free reorganisation is unlikely.

Together with my clients, I will develop a movement plan to challenge brain-body connections while keeping pain minimal. This is the essential process for positive neural reorganisation and regeneration towards a pain-free future.

 

Now…

My commitment to my clients is to share my knowledge, treatment skills and passion for this profession. I will teach that you can live without pain through movement.

I look forward to working alongside you.

 

Yours in movement,

Christian Ellul.