Hey! I hope you’re having a great weekend!
If you’ve read my writings for a while you will not be surprised that I am a BIG supporter of being proactive and getting tests done even before there is a “crisis” so you can stay ahead of anything that could create a problem later.
Being that I live that same message myself, last Thursday I decided to do something that surprised a lot of people. I got a few x-rays taken, even though I have very few symptoms of any kind of problems.
Truth be told, although I am a cancer survivor and have a family history of cardiovascular problems, the only health problems that legitimately scare me are musculoskeletal problems. This includes things like back, neck and joint problems, tears, strains, sprains, arthritis and things such as that. These are the most common health problem in America and they are the ones that I help people solve on a daily basis.
As part of my attempt to stay ahead of any of these problems in my own body I had x-rays done so I could see how my spinal discs, my cartilage my knee, and my bones in my foot looked (all places where I have a history of problems but currently very few symptoms).
My knee and foot looked great but what I saw on my spinal x-ray was shocking.
This is the image of my lumbar spine and pelvis. You can see the abnormal curvature in my spine and the tilt in my pelvis. As someone who sees a lot of x-rays, this is pretty serious especially for a 33 year old.
As I began to analyze the image I started to piece together all the past pains, weaknesses and restrictions I have had in this area of my body and it all started to make sense.
After a day or so of feeling sorry for myself, I went into problem solving mode.
As with the result of any unfavorable test, what must occur is the reverse engineering of the problem that was discovered to find the contributing causes.
For example, if you had an unfavorable cholesterol test, one thing to identify are the contributing factors that can potentially raise cholesterol and see which ones are relevant to you. Then you begin to make changes to those factors and test again after enough time has past for a change to be noticeable.
This is the ideal way to stay ahead of any kind of major problem, by addressing the root issues.
So in the case of my x-ray, I had to follow the same logic. Luckily in this case, it was all within my area of greatest expertise.
Now not everyone really understands what I do in my practice. I test muscles for functionality and strength and improve strength and function to the ones that aren’t working optimally.
One of the many things that will occur if muscles lose strength and function is that muscle imbalances will develop. A muscle imbalance is when you have uneven pull of various muscles groups on the bones they attach to. This will cause the bones to be pulled out of normal alignment, and uneven wear and tear will result. Correcting those imbalances can restore alignment and reduce wear and tear. This is one of the reasons why what I do can reduce pain in many cases.
Now in my case, I have almost no pain. I used to have a lot of pain my back and even now I get a little sensitive there from time to time but nothing that is all that bothersome. Plus, I get my muscles worked on regularly, I exercise a lot and I am diligent to lift, sit and bend in very safe ways. But despite all that, my spine still looks that way.
Now that I have the image I can reverse engineer which muscles may be pulling me too much and which are not pulling enough. I’ve already begun to test and treat these muscles and I’m already noticing a difference in my alignment in just a few days.
I’ll also need to be more conscious of how I’m positioning myself when sitting or standing. I need to make sure that I’m holding myself in a good postural alignment so I don’t reinforce that bad position.
I will also have new goals with my exercise program and will be working on certain areas more than others to ensure proper balance is maintained over time.
I will also go back in for follow up x-rays every 6-12 months until things even out. That way I will know if everything I’m doing is enough or if new things need to be added.
Of course on top of that I will need to maintain my usual healthy habits of eating healthy, drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep so that my joint and muscle health isn’t compromised.
On top of that, lots of prayer!
My advice to you is that if you are concerned with staying ahead of future problems than seriously consider getting an x-ray or even a MRI (MRI’s are mostly to see soft tissue, x-rays show mostly bone) on a part of your body where you have a history of injury or pain. After what I saw with my own image, I will be recommending these much more often.
Anyway, thanks for letting me share part one of my “saga” with you. I will be sure to make updates as things progress.
Chris Vercelli MATm, RTS, CPT
Founder: Non-Fiction Fitness