The best part of my job as a physical therapist is putting the last piece in the puzzle.
Our bodies are brilliant and they will do whatever we ask of them if humanly possible.
It is getting task done that matters to us consciously and so if injured our bodies go to work to find the best solution to getting the task done unconsciously. Most of the time we are not even aware of how we change our movement or posture or how we compensate.
My granddaughter at age 2 dislocated her elbow. She was in enormous pain. We did not know what was going on. Within an hour she was running around happy as a clam and completely avoiding using her right arm. He body just figured out how to deal with it.
Now deciding to just never use one of your arms again at age 2 is pretty dramatic and not really a great strategy, but it is the perfect example of compensation.
By the way my granddaughter is fine. The doctor put it back in place.
Every day I see people who are compensating for an old injury and now they have chronic pain. As soon as we can identify the compensation the problem begins to resolve. If they say “Holy Cow , I had no idea I was doing that” I jump for joy. The self-awareness kicks in and new healthier movements move begin to emerge.