Recently, I had a past patient return to me with a flare up in neck and shoulder pain. He reported that his pain has been increasing for a while but finally returned to therapy after he could barely turn his head and lift his arm.
It got me thinking about what I used to say when I would “graduate” a patient: “I hope I don’t see you again, at least for the same problem here in Physio.” However, our bodies need tuning up – just like our vehicles.
Car Care vs. Health Care
Cars receive regular oil changes, fluid refills, tires rotated, alignment performed, timing belt changed, tune ups and even detailing without a second thought. It is standard care for the automobile. Why? Because you want your car to perform well and avoid a breakdown.
How about similar care for your body? Don’t you want your body to perform well? Don’t you want to avoid illness?
Preventative Care vs. Emergency Room
Many studies demonstrate that preventative health care costs less and reduces risk for a number of preventable diseases. What if your spinal range of motion was 100%? What if your strength and flexibility imbalances were normalized? This would certainly decrease your risk of injury and allow your body to move more the way it was intended.
I no longer tell patients that “I hope we don’t see you for the same problem again.” I know that I will see them again. The only question is will I see them because they “have to see me” or because they are getting a tune up? I now always recommend periodic tune ups with your physical therapist to keep your posture in alignment, strengthen weak areas, and maintain normal joint mobility.
So, before the new year begins, take the time to do preventive maintenance before you experience a flare up. Avoid a breakdown and a towing to the emergency room!