Updated: Apr 16, 2020
C O M P E N S A T I O N
This is both an amazing and dreadful adaptation our bodies are capable of doing. Without appropriate compensation we would (probably) never function on a day to day basis.
Think about the time you injured your shoulder, your wrist, elbow, knee, _________ (insert any body part here) and then think about all the other things you were still able to do - think about all the silly things you did to compensate for the lack of movement in your injured joint.
I remember the time I got hit on the side of my face with a soccer ball (chiro colleagues - I actually LOL’d on the Part C station of the TMJ girl who got hit by a soccer ball) and literally had to drink soup for 2 weeks. My neck, traps, and tongue paid the price on the lack of movement in my jaw.
Now think of the way you walk or run and all the little quirks that you do but don’t necessarily cause you any pain.
Now think of what you do for a living for 8 hours in a day. Sit at a desk? Always on your phone? Always standing? Always going up and down stairs? Always adjusting your patients on the same side of the table?
All the parts of our bodies are interconnected. Our muscles are enveloped in a strong fascia - almost like a sweater. When we get injured, stay in chronic postures, get an infection, have increased inflammation in any part of the body, we develop adhesions. This is good (ish)! The collagen fibers isolate this problem so it doesn’t spread, however, at the consequence of developing scar tissue and causing “kinks” in this fascial sweater we wear. If there’s a kink in the sweater near the top, it can cause bunching or asymmetry in the shoulder or chest area. It’s only until we get rid of this kink that the sweater can lie flat on our bodies. Scar tissue in our bodies is normal and sometimes we don’t even notice them. It’s only when it affects pain sensitive structures that we actually pay attention to them.
Kinesiology grads - ever used those goniometers in class to ‘appropriately’ measure range of motion in a joint? Now think of the neck. Rotate your head to the left. Now to the right. Which side moves better? Let’s say turning to the left is a struggle - which segment is the culprit? Occiput and C1? No, must be C1-C2. Buttttt it COULD be C5-C6. We don’t know! But what if there was no difference between left and right rotation? How do we know that each segment is moving the way it should? Am I perfect?! What if there is a lack of movement at C1-C2 and because of it, C2-C3 or any other motion segment is c o m p e n s a t i n g for that lack of movement? Manual therapists can detect this and correct something before it causes you pain (ahem... chiropractors!). By the time we are in pain it’s usually too late!
My point is that compensation is awesome - but something we take for granted. Don’t get angry at your body when it’s in pain - try and ask yourself why. Pain can really bring your soul down but only if you let it. Rise above it and fix it!
… Or if you don’t want to fuss about it, seek professional help :)
Stay tuned on how these mechanisms can cause infertility!
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