Back pain clinic Principle 2 – “You become what you do”
There may be a more eloquent way of saying this. And others have certainly said similar things in the past. As an Edinburgh osteopath and Chief Back Officer I am not claiming to break new ground with our principles. I’m simply stating them clearly so that we – the Active X Backs team – and you understand what guides us. They are our operating principles.
Why do we have principles?
Having a framework to work to helps when you/we have to make a decision. We all make many decisions every day. If you don’t have established reference points to guide you, every decision has to be made as though you are the first to come across this problem. And as though you are the first person to have to make this decision. It’s unlikely that either of these is the case. Having principles makes life easier for an osteopath (and for you I’ll bet). We tend to crave consistency in ourselves and very definitely in others.
One day you ask me why I am giving you a particular exercise to do, and I explain that to you. What if the next week I give you a very different exercise and you ask me why again. The answer this time is entirely at odds with the answer the first time you asked. You will find this unnerving and are less likely to trust me. Principles help us to remain consistent in our approach and actions, and consistency breeds trust.
We have principles in order to keep us on a straight path and so that you will find us worthy of your trust.
What about back pain clinic Principle 2 – “You become what you do”
Watch a toddler bend over to lift something heavy. It is a work of art. They move easily, and naturally bend and lift as any seasoned power-lifter would be proud to do. Send them to school for just two years and that same child will no longer bend and move as easily. They have been moulded by sitting in a chair for 20+ hours each week.
In a work environment, if you sit on your bottom for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week and move around very little you will change shape. Your bottom will become flatter due to loss of gluteal muscle mass. Your hamstrings and hip flexors will tighten and shorten. At the front, your abdomen will start to sag as your belly muscles lose conditioning. You will become well-adapted for sitting in your chair. But not much use for other things. Your physical activities (and lack of them) have moulded you into what you are now.
What’s the science behind back pain clinic Principle 2?
The word is “mechanotransduction“. Look it up. Essentially, your cells will respond to the forces exerted upon them. More forces will result in more tissue being created. Whether that be more muscle, bone, cartilage or whatever. Although there has to be sufficient rest periods from those forces. It’s during the rest times that the tissue grows stronger. This is where our 1st rule “Use it or Lose it, But Don’t Abuse it” also comes from. If you don’t use it, the tissue will weaken. This leads to a loss of capacity. You don’t just become what you do. You also lose the ability to do that which you avoid.
Is there more coming? What about Principle 3?
All of our principles are listed on the Active X Backs homepage. More detail on each one will follow in subsequent blogs.