Old Injuries - by Physiotherapist Cody Vandommele

The more I work as a physiotherapist, the more parallels I draw between the human body and a car. Like a car, the human body requires fuel for energy and locomotion. Both contain an electrical system, which delivers signals between parts. Each one is also composed of a framework or skeleton. Whereas a car relies on a drivetrain to move, the muscular system is responsible for maneuvering our skeleton to produce movement.

At first glance, human motion may appear uniform across all people. However in actuality, each person moves around this world a little differently. There are 600+ muscles in the human body and within each individual there is variance in how these muscles function together to produce larger movements. This variance is largely a product of our habits and environments. Postures, occupations and types/amount of physical activity all influence our movement patterns. Injuries, large and small, can also affect our movement patterns and ultimately our framework.

Let’s go back to the car analogy. You are parking your car and hit a curb. On the exterior there is a small scratch, which is easily buffed out, but on the inside, the car’s alignment has slightly shifted. The car still drives fine but over time this alignment shift affects your car’s overall performance (i.e. reduced handling and gas mileage, increased tire wear, etc…). You continue to drive the car as normal, and then one day the car blows a tire. What may seem like a fluke was actually a result of poor alignment.

This example translates directly to the human body. Pain changes the way that we move, whether it is conscious or unconscious. If not rehabilitated correctly, these changes in movement patterns can lead to joint wear, poor movement quality and further pain. As an example, an ankle sprain may cause you to reduce weight bearing through the affected leg. Over time, the ankle pain subsides but now you become more comfortable bearing weight through your unaffected leg. Over time, pelvic alignment changes and you begin to feel back pain.

A physiotherapist is trained to help identify movement dysfunctions like this and address the source of the problem, not just the symptoms. Through a combination stretching and strengthening exercises, movement patterns can be corrected allowing muscles to regain their proper function. As a result, your body can “drive” you through your day-to-day life while reducing the risk of future injuries. If you have any old injuries you'd like addressed, or new ones that you have no idea where they are coming from, it might be time for a 'scan & assessment'.

Cody Vandommele