Our bodies can do amazing things; however, your body doesn’t know you “need to”
- sit in a meeting
- mow the lawn
- stand at a workstation/counter
- finish a project at the computer
- train for a marathon, play your sport, etc.
As a physical therapist, a big part of my job is educating patients on interrupting the pain cycle. So often I hear people say they don’t have time to take a break from work, athletics, household responsibilities, don’t like ice or heat, don’t have time to stretch, don’t want to miss a game, don’t want to take any pain medicine, or just don’t know what they can do for themselves.
As you can see, I can come up with multiple lists on the justification of the “need to” and “don’ts”. What we NEED TO do is take care of our own bodies first. What we DON’T need to do is rationalize our time. We are deprioritizing our health and wellness. If your back is aching and needs to just be in an extended (non-sitting & non-bent over) position for a little while, it doesn’t know you "need to" be at your computer or on the road driving. Get out of sitting! Often! If the training for your upcoming marathon is consistently causing arch or knee pain and could use a break along with guided stretches, your body doesn’t know you really "need to" shoot for a new Personal Record (not to mention you paid the entry fee). Rest. Cross train. Do lower impact activities. Change.
Sorry for the tangent and somewhat preachy moment – but it all ties back into interrupting the pain cycle. Stop doing what is hurting you! It sounds simple, but we are hard-headed and just want to do whatever we want to do. Our bodies are amazing. Sometimes, we need to facilitate its capabilities instead of continually operating in dysfunction. We need to change…something.
The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”…Albert Einstein
Once pain sets in, rest is not always enough to “fix” what ails us. We will simply modify, compensate or flat out change things to allow us to keep going down this destructive path...after all, it's the path of least resistance. When we stop doing things we used to be able to do and enjoyed, just to help avoid pain, is when we truly have lost a battle. Be encouraged, though, it doesn’t mean you have lost the war. Interrupt the pain cycle. Don't just sit idle, Make a change!
Upcoming posts will talk more about what to look for with moving better and HOW to know if you move dysfunctionally.