I have an old injury that I have carried with me for most of my life, and as far as I know, the injury could have happened when I was really young. In any case, because I have been so physically active most of my life (hockey, carpentry, martial arts, farming etc..) my body found a way to function around that injury. As is the case with most of us as we age, an injury at a young age is not the same as an injury at an older age.
What often seems to happen, is that our body eventually cannot support the compensatory patterns and shows signs or wear. These signs usually show up as pain or discomfort or stiffness. These are all to a greater or lesser degrees. From a stiff joint that needs a bit of time to warm up, to a frozen shoulder. A pain that comes and goes to a dull pain that seems to never go away.
I had, and continue to manage, a type of dull pain that never seems to go away in my shoulder and neck. As I said above, I tried all sorts of things and what I have come to realize through Structural Integration, is that I have developed such an ingrained compensatory patten in my shoulder that no matter what kind of new exercise I did, I would always use this same pattern to produce the movement.
Imagine that you no longer had the use of your biceps muscle and your arm was straight with your hand on a table. What would you do if you wanted to use your arm to take your hand up off the table? You'd use your shoulder muscles. Try it. Keep your arm straight and try it.
This is a very simple example of compensation that happens in the body. There are actually three muscles that we use the bend (or flex) our elbow and they are the biceps brachii , brachialis , and brachioradialis. So if for some reason you temporarily lost the use of your biceps (biceps brachii) muscle then the other two would take over. But they would only be two doing the job of three! Eventually they would get tired and start to hurt or ache, and that's where so many physical/structural problems begin.
This can happen anywhere in the body, and until we free up and strenghten those muscles that we have stopped using, and we relax or soften the muscles that have been working too hard, then we stay in the same pattern.
This is why I stopped all my training. Because of the injury to my shoulder so long ago, I had become stuck in a pattern that required other muscles to be doing the job of the muscles that were injured in my shoulder. Basically, I lost the ability to bend my elbow with my biceps no matter what the activity, sport, martial art or thing I did.
Doing what I did is probably not necessary. I have found that weight training with the right machines in the right gyms forces your body to use the right muscles for the right movement, whereas if you are doing a sport that doesn't force you to follow a specific range of motion, then your compensatory patterns are free to do as they always do.
For our physical structure, there are two main challenges I believe we face: lack of circulation and lack of strength. I am thinking more and more, that a combination of Structural Integration type body work, including movement education as well as proper safe strength training are the safest and most efficient ways to get a body back into balance and pain free. The side effects are felt in our overall energy as well as our emotional and physical well being.
But, we can't forget food. Food is so important, and when I say food, I mean food. Something with one ingredient, like: apple, orange, almonds etc...
I have tested and tried many training methods and systems. I have tried and tested many diets and theories on nutrition. The ones that sit well with me and the ones that I share with other health care practitioners are what I teach and use in my practice. I will continue to share these things in this blog and on my site's links page, so check back anytime.