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Physical Therapy at Roots!


Physical Therapy at Roots!

Overhead Squat
One max set of handstand push-ups.
This is a yearly Skill Benchmark.

Charlie Merrill, in the hat on the right, traveled to Salt Lake City with Roots' 2014 Regionals team.  He treated the team before, during, and after each day of competition.  He was instrumental in the team's ability to perform well.

Charlie Merrill, in the hat on the right, traveled to Salt Lake City with Roots’ 2014 Regionals team. He treated the team before, during, and after each day of competition. He was instrumental in the team’s ability to perform well.

Manual Physical Therapy at Roots!

We are pleased, honored, and excited to welcome Roots athlete, Charlie Merrill, and MPerformance to the Roots offices…

Hello Roots.

I’m Charlie Merrill and I want to help you get better in the CrossFit gym and to be a more healthy human being!  I’m a Manual Physical Therapist and long time Roots member.  Along with Nicole, I have big plans for improving the movement and health of Roots members as well as the community at large. Starting November 1st, I began treating all of my clients at Roots!  While Merrill Performance will continue to operate independently, my ability to treat Roots members, as well as people from outside the gym, will be greatly enhanced.  I’ll be treating clients at Roots Monday through Friday in both an excellent new private treatment room as well as in the gym.  Watching athletes move “real time” in a gym setting is so valuable to me and to my clients.  In case you don’t already know who I am, here’s my story.

From the beginning of my career as a Physical Therapist, I felt like a black sheep in my own profession.  I was always disillusioned with the status quo and even with the future direction of my profession.  As I entered the mainstream clinical world, I had the opportunity to work in a variety of settings with a wide variety of patients.  Everything from sports medicine to serious neurological issues to organ transplants to burns to work injuries!  In doing so, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly with regard to how care was delivered.  The high volume, standardized, low critical thinking model of how to treat an injury made me cringe.  I’d always planned to avoid this by specializing in manual therapy and so decided to learn as much as I could about these often obscure Osteopathic techniques.  The realization that I could learn so much from those outside of my profession opened the door for me to learn amazingly useful things from all kinds of experts.

As time went on, I started to appreciate that there was a major change happening in the world.  Not only were people learning from those in their respective professions.  But, there was a huge amount of crossover between related and even seemingly unrelated disciplines.  This sharing and adopting of knowledge between diverse sets of people was and still is very exciting to me.  It shows up in high tech where phones become a way to process credit cards.  It shows up when skiers learn how to base jump and use parachutes to create a whole new experience.  And, it showed up in my work as a Physical Therapist where this excellent “new” sport called CrossFit opened up a new way of thinking about what it means to be move well and be strong.  While the opportunity to learn new things from a CrossFit coach might be overlooked by many in my profession.  I feel very strongly that sharing information between disciplines is the “next logical step” that will shape the progress of health in the future.  We all have so much to learn from each other.

After 3 years as a CrossFitter, I’ve discovered (and lifted) a ton about myself as an athlete.  I’ve also seen how CrossFit can quickly expose people’s limited movement.  This allows me to treat people more effectively and ultimately making my clients more fit and durable.  I’ve integrated much of this knowledge into my practice every day and I feel it’s given me a unique perspective on injury patterns and how to best treat them.  For example, seeing how a stiff ankle can create low back pain.  Or, how a stiff mid back can create shoulder pain.  Discovering CrossFit has become one of only a few paradigm shifting moments in my career where I felt my skills advanced to a whole new level.  And now I want to share that with as many people as I can, beyond just treating individuals one on one each day.

When Nicole invited me to move my practice to Roots, it instantly felt like the perfect marriage of healthcare and fitness.  It marks a significant point in the progression of health where the most powerful form of fitness (yes, that’s CrossFit) combines with the latest manual therapies and corrective exercise techniques.  Working more closely with the coaches to combine our knowledge and understanding of movement will advance all of our understanding and make us all better at what we do.  I plan to better leverage Shane’s strong massage therapy skills as well.  He and I think a lot alike and enjoy problem solving together.  In working with Shane, we’ll be better able to keep athletes healthy and progressing in their sport.

Over the course of my 15 year career, I’ve treated the best cyclists, runners, triathletes, rock climbers, and CrossFitters in the world!  But, regardless of whether I’m treating a CrossFit Games athlete or a Roots newbie, my belief is that strong critical thinking and manual therapy skills are critical.  These make the difference between living with limitations and overcoming them and progressing.  Here is a list of the skills I bring to Roots as a Manual Physical Therapist:

Joint mobilization/manipulation
Trigger point needling
Soft tissue manipulation, trigger point, and myofascial release
Active Release Technique (ART)
Corrective exercise
Movement reeducation and joint stabilization
Medical Bike Fitting
Custom Orthoses (not that most of you studley paleolithic athletes are likely to need that)

Here is a link to my website with descriptions of my skill set.

I also wrote a blog post on my philosophy on evaluating and treating injuries here

I look forward to seeing you all in the gym more often, hopefully healthy and crushing the daily WOD.  But I’m here for you if you need some guidance and hands on help with your high performing body.  Catching issues early is critical to keeping you working out consistently over time.  And consistency with any skill is what results in the best progress.  So please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some help.

Charlie Merrill, MSPT
Merrill Performance, LLC
2406 30th St, Boulder, CO 80301
[email protected]

5 Responses

  1. Katie

    Great news! What a win for the Roots community. He’s one of the best physical therapists I’ve ever seen. Amazing at trigger point therapy as well.