As the New Year is upon us, a common reflection is on the state of one’s health and well-being. We are usually good at taking care of others including children, our spouse and maybe even our parents, but we do not look at ourselves. Most people regularly attend their annual physical with their internist to rule out all of those “bad” things that could affect our health, and we go to the dentist, sometimes even twice a year, for our cleanings and to make sure our smiles are kept up. Probably THE most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight, but we don’t take it that step further to recognize that our musculoskeletal health can feed into not only that overall appearance, but our health and ability to be able to continue to do the things we want or need to do to keep us happy for the rest of our lives!
Your strength, flexibility, range of motion and cardiovascular fitness all play a part in your “musculoskeletal health,” and a decline in any one of those areas may prevent you from playing with your children or grandchildren, playing golf or tennis, or even getting out of bed or up the stairs. These losses may creep up on you over time and before you know it, you are unhappy because you cannot do what you want to do independently. Benjamin Franklin had it right when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Today’s society often leads us to justify that we don’t have TIME for prevention or that we can’t AFFORD that personal trainer, healthy food or gym membership but it is time to recognize that in many cases, spending the time and money now may ultimately be what saves you MORE money in costly health conditions and surgeries or even can add years to your life.
If you recognize that it is now harder for you to play the sport you have always loved or even simply harder to make it up the stairs in your home or out of a chair, it usually won’t get easier on its own. These don’t have to be big things like falling down, but could be that you are using your hands more to help lift your body weight or your gait (walking) pattern has changed or you just can’t turn your head far enough when driving and trying to change lanes. All of these things are signs of some musculoskeletal decline in your body. The good news is that there is usually something that you can do about it!
As a medical provider, we often say that the longer you have had an issue, the longer it may take to improve so we want you to ACT NOW! Don’t keep turning the focus away from yourself and to others and if you notice something, do something about it! Reach out to a healthcare provider who then may be able to guide you to other practitioners who can help. It DOES“take a village”…a team who can help each of us be the best that we can be.
This team may include doctors, physical therapists, personal trainers, Pilates or Yoga instructors, nutrition consultants, therapists etc. and the list may go on and be specific for you, but know it can be done and the best way for this to occur it to be PROACTIVE not REACTIVE or as we say in healthcare, PRE-HABILITATIVE versus REHABILITATIVE. And find that one practitioner who will be on YOUR team and can help liaison your efforts. You have YOUR internist, and YOUR dentist, and probably even YOUR hair stylist, but your challenge now is….who is YOUR Physical Therapist!
If you are interested in learning more about Physical Therapy, or have specific questions, come to the LPT free community lecture “Be The Best You Can Be” on 2/26/19, see our events schedule for details.
Written by Lauren Masi, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, Physical Therapist and Clinical Services Director at Lafayette PT
Arranged and Edited by Jill Ramsey, BSBA, Executive Director at Lafayette PT
This article is intended as general health information and is not intended to provide individual specific medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or any other individual. Please consult your doctor or a medical professional before starting or changing a health, fitness, or nutrition program.
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