Although we stress the importance of treating the individual and not the condition, we also recognize that case studies can educate and inspire movement professionals. At Gray Institute®, we know that case studies should focus on process, not protocols. Every client and patient is different and deserves a customized improvement plan.

Keep reading for some key benefits you can gain from case studies and how to use cases to improve the performance or wellness of your clients and patients without focusing only on the condition.

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Case Studies Can Deepen Your Understanding of Human Movement

Although case studies focus on one individual’s injury or performance, you can still use them to improve your broad understanding of a condition.

Traditional methods of treatment and training, as well as continuing education for movement professionals, revolve around deductive reasoning, starting with a general rule and trying to apply it to a specific case. This elevates protocol and theory over an individual’s unique circumstances, and can lead to people getting shoe-horned into a workout or treatment plan that doesn’t meet their needs.

At Gray Institute, because we’re dedicated to the idea of treating the individual, we lean towards a more inductive method. In our approach, you observe someone’s movement, assess using physical, biological, and behavioral sciences, and then apply your knowledge to solve the problem. Simply reversing our problem-solving process to emphasize observation and the truths of human movement, we can deliver more holistic care.

Case studies are one of the ways we provide inductive learning materials for our students. In a Gray Institute case study, we typically outline our patient’s unique circumstances and needs. Then, one of our leaders guides you through their thought process, approach, and suggested exercises. In the end, you gain insight, practice pointers, and new tools to use with your clients and patients.

Studying individual cases allows you to gain a better understanding of:

  • Common symptoms and progression for the given condition
  • Movement limits experienced by patients and clients in similar cases
  • How your client’s improvement progression compares to other cases
  • Specific therapies or exercises that may benefit your client or patient

Finding a case nearly identical to your client’s situation can be difficult but is also not necessary. You can still draw inspiration from the reasoning behind the movement exercises and therapies mentioned in a somewhat dissimilar case to develop a customized plan that fits your client’s or patient’s needs.

Use Insight From Case Studies to Build Customized Plans for Your Clients and Patients

Don’t be afraid to modify the lessons, movements, and techniques used in case studies to match the unique condition of your client or patient! Trying the same routine as another movement professional or even something that worked on a past client of your own may not provide the desired results, due to the individual’s unique circumstances. However, well-designed case studies will explain the reasoning behind the use of certain techniques or treatments. These explanations allow you to determine whether a specific suggestion may help your client.

For instance, both a swimmer and a baseball player may both suffer multidirectional shoulder instability. By reading or watching a case study describing the conditioning and treatment of a pitcher, you may identify key areas to work on with your swimmer.

However, the movements used by each athlete are different enough that despite the similarity of their conditions, a physical therapist would still need to customize the treatment plan and exercise routine to mimic the strokes of their swimmer rather than the throw of a pitcher.

RELATED: How Applied Functional Science® Can Change Your PT Practice

Applied Functional Science and Individual Improvement Plans

Roughly 40 years ago, Gray Institute introduced the methodology of Applied Functional Science (AFS). It embraces the truths of human movement, acknowledging that our bodies are a Chain Reaction® that can cause pain and dysfunction. When creating an improvement plan for a client or patient, AFS stresses the importance of studying the movements of the individual.

Here’s an example. When Dr. Gary Gray was treating a young swimmer with bilateral shoulder instability, he studied swimmers as they practiced to better acquaint himself with the true ways that swimmers moved. He then applied that knowledge to customize the techniques and exercises he used to ensure that the athlete could continue doing what she loved.

While Gary had treated other athletes with bilateral shoulder instability, his observation and application of AFS resulted in workouts that were slightly different than his past recommendations.

Check Out Gray Institute’s Case Studies on Our New App

Gray Institute is a leader in continuing education for movement professionals. We offer a variety of courses and learning materials to enhance your skills and practice. Our case studies provide real-life scenarios, detailed explanations, and proven treatment methods, making them one of our most helpful materials. With the new Gray Institute App, you can access select case studies on-the-go and save the studies with a bookmark that lets you find them later on.

Learn more about our app and how to download it on our app page. And contact us today if you have any questions about our app, case studies, or other Gray Institute offerings.