“Usually the problem is that motion that’s problematic is occurring during all of your activities. The body follows the rules of physics. It takes the path of least resistance. So if it’s easy to move there, it keeps moving there, and that’s what you’re trying to change to make it easier to move at other places where you should be moving more.”— Dr. Shirley Sahrmann
Shirley A. Sahrmann, PT, PhD, is Professor Emerita of Physical Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her bachelor’s degree in physical therapy and her masters and doctorate degrees in neurobiology from Washington University, where she joined the physical therapy faculty and became the first director of their PhD program in movement science.
Shirley became a Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association in 1986 and in 1998 was selected to receive the Mary McMillan Award, the Association’s highest honor. She is a recipient of the Association’s Marion Williams Research Award, the Lucy Blair Service Award, the Kendall Practice Award, and the Inaugural John H.P. Maley Lecturer Award.
She has also received Washington University’s Distinguished Faculty Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award, the School of Medicine’s Inaugural Distinguished Clinician Award, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Indianapolis. She has also received the Bowling-Erhard Orthopedic Clinical Practice Award from the Orthopaedic Academy of the APTA. She has served on the APTA Board of Directors and as president of the Missouri Chapter.
Her first book, Diagnosis and Treatment of Movement Impairment Syndromes, has been translated into seven languages. Her second book, Movement System Impairment Syndromes of the Extremities, Cervical and Thoracic Spines, has been equally influential in promoting movement diagnoses.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.
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Want to hear an episode with someone who considers Dr. Sahrmann’s work a great influence? Listen to my conversation with performance coach Eric Cressey, in which we discussed why pinpointing the cause of lower-back pain can be so challenging, how seemingly unrelated meds can exacerbate pain, addressing and correcting suboptimal patterns of movement, improving thoracic mobility, defusing desk-bound damage, how to ask the right questions when seeking treatment for what ails you, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
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