By George Barlow
The human body moves in three dimensions (or planes): the frontal, sagittal, and transverse planes. To describe these planes of motion, it is more effective to provide specific examples of planes as opposed to the definitions.
• The Frontal Plane: While standing upright and looking into a mirror, bend side to side and/or step side to side. These movements (laterally or to the side) are in the frontal plane.
• The Sagittal Plane: While looking into a mirror and standing upright, step forward and backward. This forward/backward movement (or anterior/posterior) is in the sagittal plane.
• The Transverse Plane: This is the plane that is vitally important, but often ignored. Stand in the same position in the mirror and twist or rotate the upper body right and left to create a movement in the transverse plane.
We are movement specialists. The key to movement is about understanding what motions are performed while moving. Applying this concept to function and day-to-day activities creates a change in the way that a person thinks about how they are functioning. That change leads to deeper thought, with the next step of understanding what muscles are acting when the body moves in these motions.
The next question is: Are you using the proper muscles and have the proper range of motion to move in these planes or is your body compensating with other muscles and joints to eventually cause pain?
Oftentimes, simple adjustments or awareness of using muscles with the intent they are supposed to be used can decrease symptoms and pain. Think about movement and think about what planes of motion are being used when you are moving.
Featured photo from Movnat.com, labeled for reuse.