Wednesday musings, 6/1/16 and 6/8/16: small steps, awareness to change, and disc resolutions

Wednesday musings, 6/1/16
Most of us are aware that it takes a series of small steps to accomplish a larger goal. Those who want to lose weight know 10 pounds doesn’t (generally) fall off overnight. Instead it comes off slowly, 1 pound at a time. The same is true of any athletic endeavor. The goal might be run a mile without stopping. If a person that hasn’t run in many years tries to go out and run a mile on the first day, things don’t always go so well, particularly the following day. Instead, interspersing short bursts of jogging with long bouts of walking will begin to nudge the person closer to his goal. Over time, the jogging bursts become longer and the walking bouts become shorter, until eventually, an entire mile is completed. 

Clients come to me for a myriad of reasons. Many just want to be more active in a safe, progressive way. These clients often come in, excited, 3-4 months after beginning an exercise program. “I have to tell you something,” they say, almost giddy. “I can put on my socks/underwear without sitting down. I haven’t been able to do that in years.” This is a small success that probably won’t be shouted from the roof tops, kind of like losing 1.5 pounds or jogging for two minutes won’t be shared loudly on social media. But these are the things that matter. I was at an arm balance workshop 3 years ago. The teacher said, “I don’t remember the first handstand I actually held, but I do remember the first handstand I ever attempted.” The small success of trying made more of an impact than the actual accomplishment of the goal. Remember to celebrate the small successes. They often matter more than the goal itself. 

Wednesday musings, 6/8/16
A client I see once a month came in recently. He was standing differently, as though he was a little more comfortable. I mentioned it offhandedly to him. “I can stand in the middle of my feet now without feeling like I am pitching forward. It’s made a big difference.” 

We often don’t give our feet much thought, let alone how our feet press into the ground unless they hurt. We do that with many body parts, ignoring how they interact with the world until they are no longer interacting in a way that is working as well we would like. For this client, improving the awareness of his feet support changed his entire way of standing. Awareness is the first step to change.

In other news, if you are diagnosed with a disc herniation, it doesn’t have to define you. A paper published in 2015 found a percentage of disc bulges resolve with conservative treatment, meaning they no longer appear in images.* (The percentage that resolved depended on the type of original disc protrusion). There is value in knowing the body is capable of healing. 

*Paper can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25009200/