As I work with people who generally want help with their body movement in some way I here lots of different ailments, issues and injuries day in day out.
I’ve had clients with scoliosis, osteoporosis, arthritis, new hips, spondylothesis, recovering dislocated shoulders, post knee surgery, ankle surgery and so much back surgery that I am almost blasé’ to it. I train people with lifelong disabilities and am obsessed with following Instagram accounts of people pushing though barriers that would stop lesser mortals and they go on to achieve what may have been considered the impossible. I also find the Paralympics way more inspirational than the Olympics. The lady riding Dressage with no legs……………..I’ve literally got no excuse wonky hips or not at least I’ve got some!
Now as I said I see these things every day so it’s kind of my normal, but what concerns me is that many of these people have been given such negative advice and phrases for their Dr’s and Surgeons etc. So much to the point they can often be scared to move!
The smallest twinge can have some people convinced they are seconds away from full body paralysis! The “my Dr said my disc was right on my spinal cord” you know it’s always pretty close right as its job is to protect it? It takes a serious whack to damage your spinal cord not just a bit of gardening. The “Surgeon said I would always have back pain, he can’t fix me” The surgeon forgot to finish the sentence which should have been “You have got to fix you because surgery won’t do it on its own and whether you have pain or not is again down to you and not a surgeons words”.
“I was told to be careful with my new hip, knee……” It’s actually an upgrade you know! So long as you do correct rehab to mobilise scar tissue and strengthen muscles following surgery it will work just as well if not better than your old one! Trust me I’ve seen it many times.
My absolute favourite is “The Dr said it is degenerative damage” sighs, head in hands…….I’ll put that one to bed right now wrinkles on your face are “degenerative face disease” yet we don’t consider those life threatening….your body is degenerating yes, but everybody’s is and not every body is in pain.
There are also those that have an onset of back or knee pain etc. and drag themselves to A&E only to feel very dismissed when they just get sent home with some painkillers-“no X-Ray or MRI!” They have not done you a disservice they just know that unless you have had an actual accident there is no reason to suspect a potentially fatal issue and you would be better off with a referral to a movement specialist.
There is also this huge phobia people have of clicking and grinding noises. I often have people say “there is definitely something wrong with my knees they click when I bend them”. I don’t remember ever reading that bodies shouldn’t click-apart from the old wives tale about it causing arthritis which is completely untrue. Clicking, grinding etc. is just air and tendons and ligaments moving about. Anyone that knows me knows I click all the time and you know when I do it the most…………………..after yoga i.e. when I’m at my most bendy!
The thing is I don’t ever remember anyone ever telling me life would be easy and completely pain free?
Unfortunately a lot of the language around pain and posture and injury issues can sound quite scary and therefore be taken completely out of context. There are also just not the resources in the NHS to do thorough and proper rehab and we get left to our own devices.
For some people they have a “bring it on, this won’t stop me” mentality and I find these people (myself included) no matter what will always continue to exercise and either accept that sometimes stuff will hurt or in fact pain will diminish it just takes hard work and a commitment to your body.
You see I read a lot of research about rehab, and pain science and no matter what the injury, ailment, issue or operation the most successful treatment is always the same………………………….exercise!
To me this makes perfect sense for many reasons.
If the issue is due to a joint problem then strengthening the muscles around it will help to support it and therefore minimise any damage and therefore reduce pain.
If the issue is post-surgery then muscle wastage due to immobility needs to be dealt with and again strengthening the muscles surrounding any problem areas can only be a positive step towards supporting it.
Scar tissue following surgery needs to regain its elasticity as the continual shortening has the potential to actually cause more restrictions around the area.
If muscles are generally weak due to postural problems etc. then strengthening obviously helps them to deal with whatever life throws at them much better.
Alongside all that, exercise has been proven to boost your mood as well as improving your general health and helping to minimise risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Now I’m not going to lie and say you will do some exercise and immediately after you will feel amazing, anything new to your body may well still be uncomfortable at first-but you were already uncomfortable doing nothing and getting progressively worse with no option but to up your pain killers………………….what if I told you after the initial uncomfortable stage of starting exercise you may actually start to feel better and those pain killers will start to be less necessary??? That sounds like a better long term solution doesn’t it?
So, whatever body injury, ailment, and pain you are dealing with do not accept it as a reason to sit around, sulk and moan about it whilst doing nothing. If you are doing that stay away from me I’m not tolerant! If you want to do something about it then start now, start small accept there may be set backs but pick yourself up and try again, and if you want some help give me a call-whingers and catastrophisers need not apply!