Most of the injuries that most people suffer with aren’t because of some high impact sporting event, but are more often than not due to everyday accumulated microtrauma.
You can think of accumulated microtrauma as being like “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
If you have asymmetries present in your body, ‘basic’ movements that you perform on a day-to-day basis – every single day of your life – will be creating microtrauma in your body.
And it’s these accumulated microtrauma that are the number one cause of virtually all bodily aches and pains – from the all-too-familiar back pain to the less familiar plantar fasciitis – and a whole host of other symptoms and ailments in between.
An asymmetry is very simply a difference from one side to the other (i.e. not symmetrical).
Most of the time, we think of this as being a difference from left to right, but an asymmetry can also exist from front to back.
When there are imbalances from left to right, one common type of asymmetry that will often present itself is rotation. Rotation can be present as pelvic rotation or thoracic (upper body) rotation, or both.
That means one side of the body is further forward than the other, which also means when you bend down to pick something up, or to fasten your footwear, or anything else that requires you to bend forward, you’re doing it with torque in your body…
…and if there’s one thing the human body hates, it’s torque.
And, worse yet, rotation can present itself as counter rotation, which is where the pelvis rotates forward in one direction while the upper body rotates in the opposite direction.
Every time you bend forward to pick something up with torque present in your body – either in your pelvis, or in your upper body, or both – shear forces are being created, which creates a microtrauma.
As this happens day by day, week by week and year by year, one day you go to do a simple thing like pick something off the floor and BAM! Your back “goes out”.
Now we all know that picking something off the floor isn’t exactly a strenuous task, right? So what happened?
Microtrauma Is Like The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back
Accumulated microtrauma is what happened. It’s commonly known as “the straw that broke the camel’s back”; but whatever label you want to put on it, the outcome remains the same.
Asymmetries that have been developing for months – and more than likely, years – have created an accumulation of microtrauma and the thing on the floor was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, or in this case, the straw that feels like it broke your back.
This is why many of us have the notion that we can expect pain and suffering as we get old, because that’s what happens, right?
Well, no, actually.
That’s what happens when we get old if we allow the microtraumas to keep accumulating.
But if we address and correct the asymmetries present, then not only does the accumulation of microtrauma cease, but we actually turn back the clock and our body gets younger as we get older.
Catching Drips In A Bucket
Think of it this way: if there was a leak in your roof and water started to drip onto the floor in your lounge, you’d probably place a bucket or something under the drips to catch them.
The bucket is pretty light when it’s empty, but as the drips – which, individually, are also very light – collect over time, the bucket begins to get very heavy.
So we can think of the bucket as your body and the drips as the accumulated microtrauma.
As the drips accumulate, the bucket gets heavier, which is where the feeling of getting old comes from. As long as the leak in the roof (the asymmetries in your body) is left unattended, the drips (accumulated microtrauma) will keep filling the bucket (your body).
Eventually the buckets becomes full and the water starts pouring over the side (the back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain…).
‘Getting old’ is a fallacy that only becomes true if you make it so.
So how can you put it to the test?
Well, if you haven’t read Pain Free by Pete Egoscue, that’s a great place to start.
Read the first three chapters to get a thorough understanding of the problem and then go to the chapter for the symptom that’s bothering you the most.
Do the exercises for a week and notice how you feel.
If you haven’t done so already, you can also sign up for two free ebooks I wrote on posture and its effects on you. There’s also a free program of corrective exercises in one of those books to get you started.
Again, do the program for a week and notice what feels different.