15 november 20185 min reading time

How is it that we so often look at ourselves and think that a particular part of our body is not doing well enough? We are very quick to judge that part and speak of it as “my weak spot” or tell a therapist “my father or mother also had a hernia in his or her lower back”.

By negatively programming ourselves we set ourselves up to fail

In this day and age we certainly know the power of self-programming and how this can either positively or negatively affect the development in any part of our life and ultimately our bodies. Most of us give up on an injured body part before even attempting doing something about it. I would strongly suggest you think twice before judging a body part and thus not giving it (yourself) the chance it needs to be trained, improved, and ultimately be a part of you.

When looking at our bodies and what is needed to recover from an injury, we want to identify two things. First, is my body capable of healing, i.e., is my neuro-immunological component intact and not compromised (very dependent on optimal rest)? Second, am I getting the necessary and specific movement required to stimulate optimal tissue repair?

For many of us, our low back injury is for the biggest part caused by sitting too much behind a desk, and it slowly recovers without our looking up corrective movement but instead carrying on with the same habit which caused it. If that’s your case, you are most likely subdued to a suboptimal healing process, which will be adaptive to your sitting posture. In other words, the posture of your spine will change based on your injured tissue and will not heal in a way which will allow for your previous freedom of movement. When this happens numerous times over a few years, for example, we end up with a spine stiffened from all the scar tissue which has lost its original strong structure and freedom of movement.

The power lies in understanding how to avoid the problem before it becomes a problem

For most of us this is very difficult because of our very busy lives. When approaching a patient who happens to be a mom of three, working most days of the week and trying to have a social life on top of it all, I am very discreet with my suggestions, yet to the point. The understanding of your body and what it needs stays central. How much you are able to do about it will vary from week to week and from person to person.

We often feel hopeless and trapped in our physical situation, not only because we think that our bodies are not serving us well enough but also because of the daily responsibilities taking up most of our day. A good place to start is with finding out where you are now in terms of your physical status. Becoming aware of your weaknesses before they become a problem is always a safe bet. You can, for example, ask yourself, “what can I do to buffer the effect of all my sitting behind the desk?” or if you have a physical job, “how do I know whether my body is strong enough to cope with the physical requirements of this job?”.

You may need help with evaluating your physical status, and I can’t recommend enough finding an expert to help you understand better the complexity of your physical strengths and weakness. It is much better to take the responsibility and do that now instead of being forced to address the problem at a later stage, entering the therapist’s room with unbearable pain.

How often do you stop to look at your body and assess its needs or maybe ask an expert what you can do? Once you stopped and looked, what will you do with the understanding when you have become aware of its complexity?