You are what you do: Part 2

November 10th 2017 |

Has evolution caused your pain?

The way we choose to live in modern times could cause a lot of your aches and pains. For some of you that will make complete sense but for others maybe you've not taken the time to think about it. Now, I'm not just talking about the amount of time we spend sitting but also the amount of time we seem to lose in our lives by being so busy. Modern life is a mix between long periods of not moving and long periods of rushing around trying to do fifty things at the same time but not really feeling like you have time to do any of them. There is an old saying that goes: you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day, unless you are too busy; then you should sit for an hour.

Many people come into the clinic with something that is causing pain. Our job is to find out why the pain happened and how to make it go away. When we ask questions, not taking time for leisure and hobbies is a common theme and it seems when this pattern is changed - along with other forms of therapy of course - that pain decreases.

I've not looked at daily expenditure patterns of cavemen or primates but I imagine it would be very different to where we are today. Our energy expenditure would probably show periods of very low activity followed by periods of very high activity. For example, a full day at the office and then a high intensity workout at the gym or rushing home to do the housework before going to get the kids then heading out to a meeting at night. I think we are designed more to have moderate level energy expenditure - the somewhere in the middle stuff - most of the day.

Evolution has also changed our postures and that changes how our body is able to move. Many people in modern daily life sit a lot of the time. We sleep in a curled up position, we sit to get to work, we sit for meals and we sit at home for leisure. The muscles in the front of the hips are held in a shortened position, some of the muscles in the back of the legs are held in a shortened position, the head pokes forwards and the shoulders roll forwards. Is it any wonder people get back pain? Yes buying a better chair, a better desk or a better monitor might all help but we need to offset the demands of modern life in different ways. To fix pain that presents because of postural changes, we need to think about ourselves first rather than the task that needs to be done.

We need to take time to do leisure activities purely for enjoyment. We need to stretch regularly. We need to move more. We need to breath better. We need to pace our lives better. People are pretty aware of the things in their life but often feel they cannot change them. The things that people think are probably not right are possibly the same things that cause some of their pain.

Have a think about your life and see what things you can fix before you need physiotherapy or osteopathy to fix the other stuff.

Ross Smith