Your body is made up of millions of cells that all serve a function, from
your skeletal makeup to your skin, it is an intelligent design that is a lot
stronger and more resilient than we often give it credit for. I frequently hear
clients say phrases like “my back it thrown out,” “I must have a rib out,” or
my personal favorite, “I have a slipped disc.” Now my intensions are not to
offend anyone, I just want people to have a better educated understanding of
their body instead of believing it is a stack of Jenga blocks that can fall to
pieces at any point in time. But before we can have a better universal
mindset of how strong our body is, we need to get rid of these commonly
used phrases in healthcare and in peer to peer interactions.
Let’s use my favorite statement as an example and I will just get
straight to the point; there is no such thing as a slipped disc.
Yes, read it again if you have too. Our spines have to be strong to withstand and transmit
the forces generated from the ground up and sometimes from the top down.
Discs act as a shock absorber for the spine, filled mostly with fluid, and plays
and important roll in the function of the spine. To simplify and not go into too
much detail, the discs are enclosed between each vertebra, kind of like a
patty between two buns, and then on the sides you have ligaments that
surround the spine to give it structural support. To expand on the analogy,
the ligaments are like the wrapper that keeps the burger from “slipping” out
from the bun. Now if the disc is surrounded in all directions, how then would it
go about slipping? And where would it go? That’s the point. It’s not supposed
to slip out from between the vertebrae, but stay between to serve its
function. This doesn’t mean that discs can’t herniate, or bulge out against a
nerve and cause radiating nerve pain. This too can be explained from the
anatomy of the spine but can be saved for a future topic.
Our bodies are meant to adapt and change, which is commonly seen in
people that engage in working out. How then would someone go about
getting stronger or be able to run a faster marathon time? This is a tangible
example of how our bodies adapt to meet specific demands placed on them.
The opposite is true as well. If you don’t put any demands on the body, like
sitting on the couch and watching TV for the majority of the time in a day,
then our bodies get weaker and have no reason to positively adapt.
Therefore, the best way to continue to improve and allow our bodies to adapt
and get better is to demand things of it. Such as lifting weights, going for a
run/walk, doing palates, yoga, or playing a recreational sport. There are a
variety of things that you can incorporate in your daily routine to improve
your physical state and help your body to be at its best. So get out there and
be the best version of yourself and see what your body is capable of.
By Ryan Wigley, DPT Kauai Therapy & Wellness
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