• totalbodyhealthgis

injury, athletic performance, and activities of daily living

Updated: May 2

It’s no secret that how we live influences our health. We know that lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can accumulate to better our health or predispose us to potential health issues. While the problem may be bubbling under the surface, we may remain unaware of it for some time.

For example, take two people of the same age and gender. Person one drinks soft drinks daily and regularly skips brushing their teeth. Person two on occasion indulges in a soft drink, but never skips brushing their teeth. Upon a dental check-up, person one has cavities, while the other does not. We can be pretty confident the sugary drinks and inconsistent tooth brushing routine were factors in the development of the cavities.

Our musculoskeletal health and function work in the same way. Our bodies are constantly and rapidly responding and adapting to our daily routine - how we live and what we do. These daily adaptations can shape us for great functional and athletic performance, or predispose us to dysfunction and significant injuries.

Let us use another example, imagine holding a sledgehammer vertically, with one hand at the base of the handle. This might take a little balancing, but ultimately you would manage as long as the head stays up and the handle stays vertical. Now imagine you lose your balance and the head falls forward. Do you think you could keep the hammer horizontal without it touching the ground? Even if you could, this is going to require some serious strength and a lot more effort to hold it there.

Now let's use this same example but in our body. If we are standing upright with good posture, our heavy head (5kg-7kg) is the equivalent of the hammerhead, and our spine is the equivalent of the handle. If we can keep our spine vertical, this weight doesn’t seem like a problem, we don’t even really notice it. What if we add a desk job into the picture, hunched over all day with rounded shoulders, putting our (hammer) head at quite an angle. Our neck and upper back muscles are going to do all they can to hold onto that outstretched hammer the entire day. This can create a flow-on effect - our back muscles working overtime may go unnoticed, to begin with, but over time, micro-injury on top of micro-injury and so on can start to add up to something noticeable. This constant building strain can result in tension headaches, neck, and mid-back discomfort, and poor shoulder biomechanics. Sometimes the build-up can be so gradual we ignore it, brushing it off because we are so used to it. Let's say in our example we are a weekend golfer, but now we have poor shoulder biomechanics developed from sitting all day and we start piling micro-injuries up in our shoulders as well, then 2 years later, boom, we have biceps tendinopathy that just came out of nowhere right? Just like the tooth cavities, this tendinopathy didn’t happen overnight.

The human body is a robust machine that has developed and evolved over thousands of years to be tough, functional, and to survive many harder terrains than the ones we live in today. Rarely, not never but rarely, will an injury occur completely out of the blue without at least some subtle predisposing functional deficit occurring prior. If you are injured, or even if you’re not, our method at Total Body Health Gisborne is to address the injury and work on recovery, but also to address WHY the injury happened in the first place to prevent reoccurrence. Have you ever known someone with chronic recurring injuries? Our bodies are robust machines, but with functional deficits, they start to break down.


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