By Lori Okami
We all get them from time to time. Somehow, as we age, it seems as though they occur much more easily and frequently.
In fact, sometimes, it doesn’t even take much. We reach for a dish, and pull a muscle in our shoulder. We carry a box, and hurt our back. We do a new exercise, and tweak something in an unexpected way.
All too often, aches and injuries may be triggered by some movement, but we may have set ourselves up for it long before the recent action. Perhaps we have muscular imbalance; we’ve reduced our range of movement over the years; we routinely perform ergonomically incorrect movements; and we simply allow ourselves to lose strength, condition and flexibility overall. These can create a greater propensity for injuries to occur.
For example, you may have been working for months and months sitting at your desk twisting your head to view your monitor placed at a side angle. In addition, you have been reaching with your right arm extended for your computer mouse, which is placed off to the side. You occasionally feel some tightness but a little massage and weekend rest are usually enough to help you get by. Then suddenly, you start an exercise program and now you begin experiencing sharp and nagging pain during and after exercise and your upper back, neck and shoulders seem increasingly aggravated even while working. So while it seems that you didn’t have a serious problem until exercising, the work position may have been the basis of the strain you experience.
I’ve gone through this many times and in various ways…from high heels leading to back tightness and back strain…to sleeping with one arm overhead then pulling a trap muscle during a workout.
Anyway, all I’m suggesting is that you look beyond the immediate action and consider what you’ve been doing that could have contributed to the problem.
Of course, if you already have an injury, you’ll need to care for the injury first. Your medical service provider can help to treat your condition. However, there may be more to it than just treating the injury. A physical therapist or orthopedic physician can advise you on causal factors and ways to prevent and protect yourself from repeating such injuries in the future.
If you have been fortunate enough to avoid serious injury but have experienced repeated aches from seemingly harmless actions, here too, look beyond the action at how your actions leading up to that point could have contributed.
*** I invite you to visit my website www.lifefitnet.com and participate in a short online survey that should take only 2-3 minutes to complete. No one’s personal, individual data is ever shared and the aggregated information is used to Build a Healthy Hawaii and better understand individual needs and preferences related to establishing healthy lifestyle habits. Mahalo for your support! Lori