03 Nov Invest in Your Body- It’s the only place you have to live
Financial advisers advise to save regular over time and invest in our future. And our bodies can benefit from profound, seemingly impossible ways over time from minor adjustments in our habits and lifestyle choices.
Take for example the following patients’ experiences with physiotherapy:
-The 14 year-old rower with shoulder pain who only needed to be taught how to sit correctly when rowing to eradicate the pain completely, and improve his speed with rowing! Had he not been taught this subtle posture adjustment at that age, he may have spent decades creating needless strain on his joints
-The tennis player in her sixties who didn’t realize the tightness in her calves and hamstrings meant that her knee always stayed somewhat bent. Until the knee pain started, it hadn’t occurred to her that this seemingly petty amount of tightness could cause increased wear and tear in her knee joint
-The 50 year-old patient who wasn’t aware that sleeping on a waterbed was the reason his back was curving more and more each year and causing him to lose inches in height and to experience headaches and dizziness from the stiffness in his neck
In each of these instances, the patients made fantastic recoveries with a combination of hands on treatment and specific exercises.
However, we do see patients who have left their symptoms too long, and who do not make full recoveries. This is often because the body has made adaptive changes over the years in response to poor posture, or a progressive decline of strength, flexibility and general fitness over the years as a result of people failing to be proactive with their health.
It truly is a case of ‘use it or lose it’, and our goal as clinicians is to help people regain and then maintain and improve their function. We often see the subtle negative changes taking place in people’s bodies before the pain and lack of function kicks in to a level where people notice they have lost an ability they used to have, or that tasks are suddenly more challenging or painful than they used to be. Our role is to be detectives who find these problems in the early stages and prevent them from progressing over time.
We are never more pleased than when we see a patient who is ageing gracefully and has been able to carry on performing all the tasks they wish to into their eighties, nineties, and beyond! This is not something that just happens. It takes thought, and effort, and the ability to recognise when one needs an opinion from an expert to point them in the right direction. Just as with money, the earlier this input is sought out and implemented, the more effect it is able to have on keeping us well into our later years. Of course genetics do play a role in how we age, but there are a host of variables we can effect either positively, or negatively by how we treat the bodies we live in.
So invest in your health today by getting minor injuries sorted out quickly, and doing those exercises. Regular body work will show massive dividends in your future health.