“The Life Force Physiotherapy Team spends much of our time trying to save you – from yourself.”
We know humans are wired to survive but it seems to us that we are not necessarily wired for self-preservation beyond survival. Overuse injuries, excessive joint compression due to obesity, poor posture, muscle weakness leading to inadequate joint support and lifestyle imbalance all reflect on choices that are not aligned with surviving well for a long-time! Add to that the excitement and urgency to get going on spring/ summer projects and activities and trouble appears. Oh the things you do to yourself.
The Life Force Physiotherapy Team spends much of our time trying to save you – from yourself. Save you from yourself as your expectations of your body are often unrealistic. At a time when people demand to have everything conveniently at their finger tips, we have grown accustomed to getting what we want when we want it. Our body doesn’t respond well to instantaneous demands, expecting it to tolerate double or triple the stress and strain usually applied to it. Investing in your body and building its tolerances carefully, allow you to do what you want to do. Lose reality with that and your body will not cooperate quietly. While your mind, emotions and energy level may be aligned with getting a lot done today, your physical body may not be. Just because you want to do something, doesn’t mean your body will cooperate.
As your healthcare professionals we are sensitive to what you want and need your body to do. Your goals are ultimately our goals. The only difference is that we have a clearer understanding of the journey to go from where you are at today to the physical demands of what you love to do. For example, we had a client the other day who presented with low back pain which developed after a day of gardening. Not only does this client love to garden, she also loves to do it all herself. Delegating it to others or paying others to do it ruins the experience for her. She loves being outdoors and digging in to the task at hand – planting 250 annuals in one day! This client walks regularly and doesn’t sit around a lot. Understandably, our client thought this is preparation enough for a day in the garden. Gardening requires your back to have a high tolerance to repetitive and sustained bending and to the compression forces created by lifting. A strong core that can endure working at a higher level for 6-8 hours is essential to a day in the garden. Walking and usually being on the go don’t build these tolerances leaving you vulnerable to injury and pain. Could this client have increased her safety margin in advance of planting 250 bulbs in one day and avoided low back pain? Absolutely! She could also have further increased her safety margin by doing the task over 2 days instead of one.
As a team who care about you, we are impacted by your frustration, upset, anger, disappointment, frustration, frustration and frustration! It is hard to watch you create your own pain and be so upset by it, especially when we know there is an alternative. Building your body’s tolerance and safety margin requires you to listen, to be patient and disciplined and to develop good exercise and activity habits. This combination will get you 90% of the way to not creating your own pain. The last 10% requires resilience as, even though you are doing everything you have been advised to do, your body will not fully cooperate initially. These bumps in the journey often cause people to throw in the towel and give up on the concept of prevention. Learn to weather the storm and keep your end goal in sight. The body will align in time.
In terms of the length of time it takes your body to be ready for a new activity/ project it obviously depends on the condition of your joints as well as your strength, flexibility and endurance today relative to the task you are planning on doing. Seasonal changes in your activities require approximately 6 weeks preparation. Much like a recipe book, ask your therapist at Life Force Physiotherapy to identify the physical goals that indicate if you are ready for the task at hand. For example, if you want to spend a day in the garden planting 250 bulbs you need to be able to correctly complete the following without pain:
1 minute floor plank
A full Quads stretch
1 minute wall sit at 90 degrees
10 reps of touching your toes from a standing position
A grip strength appropriate to your age and gender
10 floor push-ups on your toes
If you can’t complete this list then you need to modify your planting plan. A ‘mind over matter’ approach won’t force your body to cooperate. Train your body to the appropriate level or be wise and modify what you are demanding of it. We are always here to treat your pain but also here to help you prevent it in the first place. Get your body ready to do what you love to do.
Call today to set up your prevention appointment.