Monday, September 28, 2009

Learn How To Move And Free Yourself From Injury

One of the critical pillars of physical wellness is proper movement. And by that I mean that you move and use your body in a way that supports the strength inherent to an aligned and balanced body structure. Back and body pain, for example, are usually caused by unconscious movement patterns. Often the most obvious and last “cause” happens the moment of injury. The patterns of ones habitual movement over years or over a lifetime create strong and weak points in the body and after which the injury is just waiting to happen.
This is really, really powerful because what I am saying here is that we are basically all unaware to some extent of how we are moving and using our bodies and many times, most of the time, this is directly affecting how we feel as well as affecting our body structure itself.
You know you’ve heard the saying “form equals function” right? Well, in the human body there is some truth to that saying because form does dictate function. But form is also dictated by function. This is a reciprocal relationship with a feedback loop. The body will accommodate to the way you are using it. And, over time, it will change its structure to better accommodate patterns of use (and stop accomodating patterns of non use). This is why when you try to do something at a level that you once did it as a youth, you are not able to and often get injured. Its not that your body isn’t capable, it is that the body has changed from the new patterns that you have put into it since you were a youth! So your body is no longer set up neurologically or muscularly, for this type now foreign movement and the thing that you were trying to do as a weekend warrior and got injured doing, simply applied stress to an already weakened spot.

Many, many times clients will come to me with say, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome- the burning, penetrating concentrated pain in their wrists, heels of their hands, fore arms, etc. They are swollen up, all inflamed, and because of this they have become weak and unable to perform even the most basic tasks with their hands and arms because of the swelling and the pain. Another, more subtle, version of this is the folks who have started to have tingling sensations in their hands (or sciatica and tingling in the feet for that matter).

What has happened is that for years (usually) these people have typed away at a computer or some repetitive task, moving their fingers rapidly, while holding the rest of their body in place without movement. This creates a movement pattern in the body and after awhile it becomes unconscious- that is they do it without thinking, without being aware. This pattern of use leads them to the problem (carpal tunnel, sciatica, back pain, ankle sprains, etc.) Yet when they arrive at the pain, they are unaware that their whole structure has changed over the years to accommodate the specialized non integrated movement of typing ( or whatever movement). So, in essence, the movement pattern is now reinforcing the problem, because, you see, even when they are not typing, their holding pattern persists, the forward rolled shoulders, the collapsed support in the lumbar spine, etc.
This pattern is actually causing their symptoms to become worse and the conventional treatment is treating only the symptom but ignores the root cause which is the unconscious movement and holding pattern! (in carpal tunnel this involves wrist surgery, sciatica may use disc surgery, etc.) So the moral of the story is to become aware of your movement and how it is directly affecting your body. Become aware of your own holding patterns. And the way to do this is to train yourself to really feel in your body…to really feel the holding patterns and the movement patterns. There are many ways to do this. You can meditate and then move, or study something like yoga or tai chi or Alexander technique, or film your self and analyze the movement, but the best way is to hire a teacher to help you discover and develop, in bite sized chunks, the skill of body awareness, of kinesthetic awareness. This is critical to really gaining full control and mastering your body and physical health

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