Most everyone at some stage in their life experiences what it is like to have an injury. Some of these are mild; a sprained ankle, a wry neck or a sports contusion. Other times they are more severe; a broken born, surgery or a disability. Regardless of the severity, all injuries have wide reaching impacts on the body.
Being able to assess and ‘see’ the interactions between these often seemingly unrelated injuries is what makes a skilled Physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor. By looking at the whole body, how it moves and where it doesn’t move gives us unique insight into what areas are likely experiencing ‘excessive load’ and gives us clear hints as to what is causing the injury.
In the words of Ida Rolf “Some individual may perceive a sharp pain in their back, others as constant fatigue, others as the unflattering contour of their body. Those over forty may call it old age. And yet these signals may be pointing to a single problem that has been ignored. They are off balance, they are at war with gravity”.
Unraveling the Injuries Like Layers of an Onion
Donkey, in the kids movie Shrek may not have been that far off when he said “people are like onions,” you really do need to unpeel the layers to get to the bottom of the symptom! One of the best parts about taking a thorough medical history, is the amazing detective work that is able to be done all before you have even put your hands on a patient. A patient’s past history paints a wonderful story for guiding us to better understand their current symptoms or complaints. Their past injuries often unfold like a map, each injury or niggle leading to the next; and to unravel them all you need to do it peel away the layers of an onion.
However it is not just the past injuries which give us clues to current symptoms. A patient’s past movement routines, how they have used (or abused) their bodies over their life time and the types of load they put through their bodies on a daily basis also give us great insight into how the body that stands in front of us today has been formed.
It is only once we have this clear picture of the body, it’s past injuries and traumas, can we start to make a plan on where to start. And often this starting point is far far away from the site of the injury and pain!
Why is it that causes are often so far away from the symptoms?
By understanding that our body must maintain balance, it is easier to understand why the source of a problem could be distant from its symptoms. Known as Tensegrity, this concept implies that the body will adjust itself in order to keep us erect, taking into account whatever senses we have available. Therefore, if an injury or poor posture causes us to favour one side of our body, something else must change somewhere else along the bio-mechanical chain in order to keep us balanced and prevent us from toppling over.
Identifying the first ‘building block’ that moved away from mid-line is essential since it is only by bringing this building block back to center that mid-line can be restored.
Feel like you have a few ‘blocks’ out of order?
Do you feel off-balance? Are some areas of your body refusing to cooperate or “stay straight” even with the best of intentions from you? Does it seem like when one issue is resolved, another part of you flares up? Could these ailments perhaps be intertwined, indicating that this may not just be a string of isolated incidents?
Why not give us a call, our highly skilled Physiotherapist and Pilates instructors would be happy to have a chat and finally get to the bottom of what’s going on!