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Can Physical Problems Really Be “Fixed?”

Hey!  I hope you’re having a great day and thoroughly enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

It was a great day for us.  Food, family, football and the proverbial food coma.  All important Thanksgiving staples!  LOL!

Just a forewarning, I’m going to go on a bit of a rant today, but I think you will find it beneficial.  I’ll start off by telling you the story about the odd incident that got me thinking about this.

Here it goes…

I have a client named Bob.  Bob has been very happy about how he has increased his range of motion and reduced his activity induced pain while working with me and following my advice.  This has allowed Bob to be more active with fewer physical restrictions.  Bob had recently been mentioning his improvements to a few of his friends and one friend really took notice.

His friend was having some back problems and had taken my contact information from Bob while they were socializing.  Bob mentioned the exchange to me during one of our sessions and said that his friend would be getting in touch with me.

A few weeks later I got an email from Bobs friend asking about when he could come in.  During the exchange he wrote something that set off an alarm in my head.

He wrote “you will only work with me if after your evaluation you are confident that YOU can FIX the problem, right?”

Now maybe I am too big on semantics or maybe I take things too literally but when someone says or even thinks that someone else is going to “fix” them (which tends to happen a lot in my line of work), I can’t help but correct them.

I proceeded to explain to him that I would never make someone think that I would “fix” them and if anyone else ever made a promise like that than that person is either ignorant or lying.

Not surprisingly I never heard from Bobs friend again.

So what’s the big deal with this type of thought process??

Well let’s make sure we define the term “fix” first.

Taken from Websters Dictionary, some of the definitions of fix are

1. to put in order or in good condition

 2. to place definitely and more or less permanently.

 If you were to combine these definitions and apply it to the body, you would basically be describing someone putting your body in good condition, more or less permanently.

Most people love this idea because it sounds very attractive to have someone else make positive changes to their body and then once those changes are made, no more work is needed. This attraction makes people, like Bobs friend, seek out someone to “fix” them.

However, there are a few things wrong with this idea when applied to the body.

First and foremost it is absolutely physiologically inaccurate.  Here’s why..

Your body is not a car, television, dishwasher or refrigerator. It is a living, breathing organism that is experiencing change constantly.  Even in the course of one day you can experience changes in energy, mood, hunger, thirst, discomfort and many other sensations.  The reason for this is because there are physiological processes that are being carried out during every second of your existence and those processes are creating small changes inside your body moment by moment.

For instance…

Right now every cell in your body is consuming energy to sustain itself and excreting waste created by its own metabolism.  Every cell is responding to whatever stimuli is within your environment and it is being asked to help your body perform whatever task you are doing at this very moment.  This holds true even if the said task is no more challenging than to hold your body up, focus your eyes on this article and make sense of the written words.

As soon as you decide to do anything else, every cell in your body will change its tasks ever so slightly to help facilitate whatever it is you are doing.  This is why we can do so many different things so readily.

Right now you have blood circulating all throughout your body that is touching every cell, every minute. The composite of that blood can also change moment to moment depending what you have eaten, what you’ve drank, what is in the air you’ve breathed and what supplements, chemicals and medications are in your system.  Do you ever feel different after you eat or drink certain things or after you take certain pills?  This is a big reason why.

Right now you have nerves all throughout your body that are sending messages to every cell telling them what to do.  Every thought and every intention you have can change how those nerves communicate.  This can have a dramatic effect on what those cells do, positively or negatively.  Ever had your heart beat faster or your muscles tighten up when you get nervous or stressed?  This is a big reason why.

Right now all your muscles are being asked to hold your bones together and maintain whatever posture you are in.  As soon as you move they have to all change jobs and facilitate whatever movement and change in position you want to achieve.  Ever gotten fatigued being in one position for a long time but been perfectly fine in another?  This is a big reason why.

Every change in body position also changes your joint position.  This means that a different part of the bones are touching each other during every change in position.  This changes what types of stress your joints have on them every moment.  Ever had discomfort in one position but not another?  This is a big reason why.

Every exercise, movement or activity you participate in has a different dynamic in regards to the physical stress that will be placed on your body.  Even if you do what seems like the same stuff over and over; the exact location, magnitude and sequence of these stresses can in fact be different even if you can’t feel that difference.  Ever had trouble doing a movement one day but been fine doing it another day? This is a big reason why.

I could go on and on.

The point is that the body is not an organism capable of much permanence, if any.  Unless something is put in or removed, there really isn’t much of a chance for permanent change.

This is an important concept for all people to grasp, especially if there is a problem in your body that you’d like to improve or a positive change that you’d like to maintain.  The key idea is not to try to achieve the “fix” and instead to focus on improving the way your body functions day in and day out so that it can do what it needs to do to become the way you want it to be.  Then you have to maintain those behaviors over the long term so you can maintain the changes.

Well that sounds like a lot of work!

 It sounds like that because it is!!  Nothing is given, it is only EARNED.

But here is the encouraging aspect of this-

Because there is very little permanence to what is happening in the body, you can actually change things significantly in a very positive direction with the right actions.

You see, the idea of being “fixed” not only gives way to a belief that the positive changes should be permanent but it also gives way to the belief that negative changes are also permanent.  Both of these will cause discouragement and frustration.

By taking the right actions, adopting the right habits and getting the right assistance, anyone can make a positive change to anything. Which brings me to my next point about why the idea of being “fixed” is wrong.

When most people think of having something fixed, typically our mind thinks of someone else doing the work.  This was perfectly articulated by Bob’s friend when he asked me if I only work with people if I’M confident that I CAN fix their problem.

Given all I’ve just said about how much the body can change moment to moment based on what THE OWNER does, how arrogant and ignorant would it be for me to think I could “fix” them?

But we love the idea of someone else doing the work don’t we?  I mean come on, I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to this in certain areas.  I love being able to take my car to a mechanic, call a handyman to fix my appliances and call the geek squad to fix my computer.

But… I also know that if I want those things to last long and perform well I have to use them properly and do all the necessary maintenance, otherwise I won’t have them working well for long.

So all this being said, have you or someone you know been guilty of wanting to be “fixed?”  Have you allowed the disappointment of not being “fixed” to damage your hope for better days ahead?  Have you resigned yourself to believing that your situation, condition or problem is permanent?  Hopefully this little rant gives you some better perspectives.

Yours in truth,

 Chris Vercelli  MATm, RTS, CPT

Founder: Non-Fiction Fitness

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