In November 2018 I will be participating in the Athens Marathon – the ‘authentic’ marathon.
It was first run in 490BC by a Greek foot soldier to announce their victory against the invading Persian forces.
At just over 42 Kilometres, this race travels from the ancient city of Marathon to the original Olympic stadium in Athens.
It is going to be a significant challenge to me as a non-runner. I have begun my training for it and I am, quite literally, taking it step-by-step.
It occurs to me that there is a valuable analogy here for my work in mobility. The Moballise Physiotherapy Clinic is founded on the improvement of mobility and the freedom of movement that it brings. This journey, for many of my patients, can be a huge challenge. I have assisted high-level ex-tennis champions who could no longer walk up or downstairs without assistance in returning to being active tennis coaches.
Equally, I have seen an 83-year old lady with a fractured right arm return, with much determination, return to full mobility and activity levels. No matter what your starting position is though, the return to mobility is never an easy journey.
Just as I am having to plan out my gradual, sometimes frustrating progression towards completing a marathon, so your mobility has to be planned out if you truly expect to see improvement. I have a goal set in time (42km run!) and I have reverse engineered that goal into small, daily steps that need to be performed. I am reassured that, as long as I complete my daily goals, then my end goal WILL happen.
This is exactly the same way that I will work with a patient who aims/needs to improve their mobility to free them from their symptomatic pain. There are many, many techniques that can be used multiple times per day that will not only improve mobility, thereby reducing painful symptoms, but will also fit seamlessly into a person’s normal daily routines. All the patient then has to do is make sure they use these techniques regularly and their goal of being symptom-free is pretty much guaranteed.
When I am in clinic I regularly, as you would hope, wash my hands. I normally do this before and after seeing a patient. During a busy day in clinic, I can wash my hands up to thirty times! Every time I go to wash my hands, I stretch a lower limb body part. It could be calves, quads or hamstrings. As long as I stretch something whilst I wash, I am happy that I am gradually moving towards my goal. This is a tiny example of how I have fitted an essential part of my preparation into my normal daily activities. It CAN be done! We are merely becoming programmed towards immobility and, eventually, painful symptoms. This is a reversible process if we want it to be. As is running a marathon. I have no intention, however, of reversing the marathon and running it twice, though!!
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