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Eureka: Optimize Your Body!

Eureka struck twice on June 23rd and 24th.

Earlier this summer I read a great article detailing the mechanics involved in recurrent hamstring strains.  This was eureka moment number one because this year I have had two separate bouts of a strained hamstring.  Eureka moment number two was when a friend and colleague asked me, literally the next day, what he can do for his recurrent hamstring strain due to running.  He wondered aloud if he should just stop running.

Here’s how I answered him, inspiring today’s blog post:

Fix the Problem

If we stopped doing the things we love that have tremendous positive value for our health because of the negative side effects then we would probably have to stop everything.  For instance, should we stop going to work and sitting at a desk to earn a living to feed and shelter our families?  Of course not!  Instead, identify why the negative side effects are occurring, recognize them as faults, and FIX THEM!  For instance, should we stop throwing the baseball around with our kids because it causes shoulder pain?  NO!  Rather, recognize that there is something wrong with your shoulder, get it evaluated properly, and FIX IT!  Should we not swim anymore because rotation of the neck to breathe while swimming hurts the neck?!  Should we not roll around on the floor with our kids because it hurts our back?!  Or, should we not {insert any physical activity} anymore because it causes {insert negative side effect}? NO!

My Own Treatment

For my own distal semimembranosus and semitendinosus (two of the three hamstring muscles) strain, I am getting treatment:  Cold Laser Therapy, Functional Release, massage, Kinesiotape, and rehabilitative exercises are the prescription.  When healed, I will then commence with phase two of my rehab – the “making me better than I was before” phase!  In this phase, I will incorporate eccentric strength training of my hamstrings, using the “Nordic Hamstring Curl” exercise.  In the other examples above, of course I’d recommend having the neck and shoulders examined so proper treatment can remedy the ailing body part so the human can throw the ball, run, swim, jump, etc.  Of course I’d recommend altering your workstation at work to allow for more movement, standing, walking to offset the ridiculous amount of sitting we do during the day.

Getting my Patients Better

Just the other day I was chatting with a patient who learned that I had a sore hamstring.  I explained to her that I’d rather not be injured, but that whenever I do get injured I use the experience to my advantage.  For instance, I’m genuinely excited to have learned about my relative weakness of my left hamstring.  I get to be a patient of the services I routinely recommend and deliver; I get to walk in the footsteps of my patients; and I get to improve my body for the long term.  I want my patients to be better than they were before meeting me.  And, I expect myself to be better because of my injury, not worse.

In fact, I often find myself telling my young patients (note: young = teenage years, early 20’s) that their pain now is somewhat of a blessing because it has forced them to learn why they’re struggling at a young age.  For these patients, not only do they get better, but they learn fundamental biomechanics, proper ways to exercise, and necessary life strategies to optimizing and maintaining their body.

If you’re in pain, having some degree of physical dysfunction, striving to be better, aiming to avoid arthritis, or just wanting to be your very best, please talk to me.  I don’t think I have all the answers, but I do have some.

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