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Yes, that’s right! If you don’t use it, you lose it and that includes muscle, strength, function, skills, language, brain tissue….. There is a pattern here that it seems everything natural in life must be “used” or demonstrated for function; nerve pathways and muscle chains must be nurtured and “cleaned” for optimal long term function.

When we describe “cleaning” up movement, muscle tissue and nerve pathways, it is because all those parts of the body get congested and disoriented over time. We take our car in to get an oil change regularly so that it functions at its optimal potential and if we don’t then some cars last longer that others but eventually there is a blow-out. The same principle is true with our body; it’s just another vehicle that we use to get around and it’s the only one that can never be replaced!

We know what our cars need to function at a high level; fuel, oil, tires, spark plugs to name a few. The fuel needs to be clean, the oil needs to be changed, our tires need to be updated and inspected for damage, the spark plugs get old and give out.

Our bodies have similar needs, like any vehicle. We need fuel/nutrition, oil/joint lubricant, tires/shoes – our buffer between the ground and our feet, and spark plugs/the daily motivation to take care of these needs because it goes out and fades with time and stress.

There is no clear set of rules to incorporate or follow. Where is the manual that we get at birth telling us how to manage our body and all its intricacies? How often to change the tires? Even with cars most people are clueless, at the mercy of a mechanic that could be just looking to make a buck. Have you ever had that feeling that you weren’t getting the whole truth or you realized that someone said they did something to your car and the truth is that you would never know whether they did or they didn’t? Have you ever had surgery and hoped that what you may have needed got fixed?

We do standard maintenance on our cars to avoid a blow out, to avoid being stranded on the side of the highway needing to call triple A for the quick fix then going to the mechanic to get significant work done. This is very similar to our bodies but rarely do we do any general maintenance! If there is a problem then it’s because we had a blow out and instead of being left on the side of the road a few hours, we are stuck in bed or at work with miserable pain that impacts our lives for sometimes years to come.

When we have a blow out, it is often much more significant than any car trouble that we have ever had and there can be no warning signs and no clear route to getting a solution. Going to the doctor to get some type of relief is the first step just like calling triple A; they will give you a band-aid to decrease the pain, an injection or medication for inflammation control. It’s like a patch on a tire and it lasts for a small amount of time until you need another because that hole has not been repaired. Going to see a surgeon and/or physical therapist is like going to a mechanic for repairs. You want a clear reason WHY you have the problem and a real solution!

My main expertise is not engines, that takes a significant amount of time and dedication to be an expert in that field. What I have is a basic understanding of what is needed for an engine to function properly and what parts need to be consistently maintained. However, I am an EXPERT of how the body works! If you find this helpful check out the other blogs to start grasping WHAT you can do and WHY you should be doing it!

If you would like to learn more about how Physical Therapy can help you please download a copy of my free report that answers the 21 most frequently asked questions about Physical Therapy…

Dr. Jonathan Ruzicka
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