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Is Our Attention on Our Overdraft Fees or What Builds Our Accounts?

 

Plantar fasciitis.

Biceps tendonitis.

Disc herniation.

Iliotibial band irritation.

Osteoarthritis.

Labral cartilage tears.

Bunions.

Rotator cuff fraying and tendonitis.

Sciatic nerve irritation.

Stenosis.

 

We could go on and on.

Each of these diagnoses are the results of long term imbalances in the body.

Muscle that has been overused, used beyond its power capacity, not rested.

Fascia that has been overused to stabilize structures, rather than underlying muscle support.

Weakness in muscles during functional movements changing biomechanics and resulting in bone growth where we don’t want it.

Poor mobility at the hips creating unremitting movements across the lumbar spine.

Poor biomechanics (often resulting from above conditions) in functional movements done 1 million times.

 

Each malady is a sign of where your muscle and your movement need your attention.

The specific issues are like sign posts calling you to attend to places in your body where the accounts of your tissues have become overdrawn. My mentors at Folsom Physical Therapy use the checking account analogy for the tissues of the physical body, and I have been considering how the orthopedic issues that arise from 1,000 or 10,000 or 1,000,000,000 repetitions of unourishing practices are like overdraft fees that we pay. We pay with pain, with suffering, worry of loss of mobility, loss of independence.

But that is not the end of the story. We must be courageous to look with a deeper lens, into what these overdraft fees are telling us.

 

For some reason, (maybe because of a preference to produce rather than rest/ connect?) we have developed a one down relationship with the body.

We use our bodies like we use inanimate objects- like I use my mac relentlessly or my honda.

We choose to ignore rather than deeply investigate the gentle signs of imbalance and underlying lack of resources.

 

In the field of orthopedic medicine, we are encouraged to put our attention on the above overdraft fees- the fissures in the disc or the fray of the ligament or the rip in the tendon. We are encouraged to take passive remedies that do not ask us to change: to get knocked out for a surgery, to receive an injection, to take a pill.

But without addressing what caused these overdraft issues, our attempt to stop the fees are superficial in their ability to help us resolve and evolve.

 

One of my best teachers in graduate school was speaking to the surgical decompression techniques for the undersurface of the acromioclavicular joint of the shoulder and he said “Decompression surgeries work, but they only buy time. The patient will have to go back and address the movement and neurology that created the acromial compression in the first place in order to have lasting results”.

This makes perfect sense- sometimes (and not all of the time) our orthopedic medicine is like someone paying our overdraft fee. Sometimes those fees need to be paid. And at some point, we need to go back and change our relationship with spending and earning in order to experience different outcomes.

 

In order to establish a new relationship with our bodies, one that is based in the knowledge of bioplasticity (the changeability of all cells in our bodies), biomechanics (beginning to understand the physical forces we expose ourselves to), and basic physiology we need education and also to deepen our understanding and improve our relationships with our bodies. We need to remain calm in the face of pain and orthopedic injury, which is not easy to do. And we need to turn the mirror to ourselves to get an idea of how this problem arose. It is not from outside of ourselves.

 

Our bodies can be thought of as gardens rather than machines. They require understanding and part of that understanding grows from our ability to feel. Where is your spine? How is gravity loading the cartilage of my meniscus? How are my biomechanics influencing the health of my spine or detracting from it?

 

To not understand our movement in this way, is to move through our physical life with a deep level of unconsciousness. It also lessens the potential of our relationship with our physical selves.

Our movement can be a powerful amendment for nourishing the gardens that are our physical bodies.

 

Here are some ideas of what a healthy body garden requires from a movement science lens:

 

1)    Enough proprioceptive awareness of how the body moves (and postural habits)

2)    Enough strength for the daily movements created by the body

3)    Solid connection between the peripheral and central aspects of movement to engender more awareness and more ability to change

4)    Enough mobility for the daily movements created by the body

5)    Enough rest of tissues to allow for repair following breakdown

6)    A sense of what breakdown/ inflammation/ fatigue feels like in the body

 

In my almost 20 years as a clinician, I can confidently say I have encountered one or two people that had the above conditions and were seeking orthopedic care to address specific issues that arose following trauma.

But by and large, most of the work I have done in the clinic revolves around the overdraft fees- encouraging rest, proprioceptive awareness, enoughness of strength. This is how I spend much of my day. And it is disheartening to report that many people move through the 6 or 8 weeks of physical therapy without changing how they tend the garden of their body.

Most of us relate to the body as I relate to my car- with an expectation of ongoing output without proper or nuanced input.

When there is a problem (such as one listed above) we might take our body into the mechanics, and receive a diagnosis, but we do not change our lifestyle, or our beliefs around our bodies and our movement.

 

Every challenge on the list above can be looked at as a gentle reminder to come back to the inherent incredibleness that is the physical body. And to look at movement (like our thought content, like the food we consume) as a form of primary medicine- like sunshine or compost or water- it is a condition that is required for the health of all of your tissues (especially and even your heart and brain) and how you move is a condition that can cause your garden to continue to evolve and flourish, or continue to diminish.


Happy building!


x Trina




 

 

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