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On the Coast Magazine

We Take Our Bodies for Granted

03/04/2013 10:27AM ● Published by Nancy Babin

Fitness on the Coast

In a properly functioning body, our joints move well with the normal anatomic structures yielding the only limits; our muscles are properly hydrated, resembling supple steak versus beef jerky. By design, our bodies are meant to move, but if they move too much or in the wrong direction injury is the result.

Assuming our bodies are fully healthy and functioning, we are also pain free. Pain is an indication that something is wrong. So when does the pain begin? Simply, it begins when the body does not function the way it was designed. Listen to your body without being tough or a hero: it is speaking to you. You may not feel “pain,” but you may feel your body part on one side that you do not feel on the other. THAT is pain. That’s the “memo” without it having to be received via registered mail. Listen - you may need to do something or less of something. 

When an area of the body that is designed for movement is not allowed to move, the body seeks movement from another area. Think about putting a ski boot on the ankle which is naturally designed to move. It could move, but the ski boot reversed its function and now the knee that requires a lot of stabilization is caused to be a mobile joint. You guessed it - injury. 

An upper body real life application I see is people saying it hurts when they move their shoulder. Odd thing, the shoulder is. The shoulder is designed to move and move a lot. Your arm bone (humerus) hangs on to a small lip of the shoulder blade (scapula). This joint is actually able to function at its optimum when the scapula is able to properly move to, from and around the spine and rib cage. When this scapular motion is compromised, the body seeks this same motion from somewhere else, and that somewhere else is the shoulder joint.

Looking at our pain as a symptom of dysfunction should cause us to seek the source of the pain. “My shoulder hurts when I lift my arm out to the side.” Why? One common cause may sound like this: Mr. Jones, you have been sitting either at a desk or in a car or airplane for the last 30-40 years, resulting in poor posture pulling your shoulder blades forward into a stable-static (minimal movement) position, thus not allowing your arm and scapula to move the way it should. Many muscles act on and interact with the scapula, humerus and their attachments: the trapezius (traps/rhomboids, serratus anterior, latissimus dorsi (lats), pectorallis major (chest) and minor, rotator cuff muscles (SITS), deltoids, long head of the bicep, just to name a few; see where this is going? An imbalance in any of these areas can cause dysfunction. Thus, the pain is not the cause, it’s the symptom. 

Yes, when in doubt, seek the advice of a physician for any pain and possible injury to diagnose and, if required, provide medical treatment. Once the pain has been alleviated, seek the source of the dysfunction so as to not repeat the pain and injury.

About the Author:
Paul Hunter lives On the Coast with his wife, three children infusing his playful style with science to yield astonishing results at Grayton Beach Fitness. Grayton Beach Fitness has recently been voted, “Best Place to Workout on 30-A.” You may reach him at graytonbeachfitness@cox.net.

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