Back to school…
Back to work…
Uh oh… Back to pain!
Dr. Eric Kelly Doctor of Chiropractic
For thousands of adults returning to work, and hundreds of kids returning to school, after a grand summer of rest and relaxation, the month of September hails a return to routines that often put us under pressure, bend us out of shape, tire us out, stress us out, make us sick, make us sore, and commonly result in aches, pains, and health issues that are entirely lifestyle related and therefore avoidable.
The most common changes that occur in our lifestyle routines are as follows: we sit more, we drive more, we work more, we exercise less, we get less sun exposure, we relax less, we incur more stress, we sleep more (but less well), we have less time, we eat less well (while often eating more), and the list goes on! So is it any wonder why, as we go from summer to winter, that our health begins to suffer?
Even our children suffer as they return to school routines that include poor posture and long hours sitting, heavy and awkward school bags, and activity routines that often dwindle due to poor weather, decreasing daylight, and increased workload at home and school.
I suppose the point of this article is not to deceive you into thinking that all of these things are entirely avoidable. They’re not. However, I think it is generally possible to achieve some reasonable balance in one’s life through a little bit of good planning. So I challenge any and all of you to sit down, preferably with your families, and review the common routine changes listed above. I think you will find that many, if not most, of these negative routine changes can be better managed to reduce the overall impact that these factors can collectively have on our health and wellbeing.
Here’s a good analogy for you to consider: Imagine you are in a pool treading water. I’ll even give you arm-bands (floatation devices) to make it that bit easier so you can relax and tread water rather effortlessly. Now imagine you’re doing this while wearing a backpack. No problem you say, the backpack is empty! Well of course, that’s easy! Wait though… Now for every negative routine and lifestyle stressor (see the list above), you have to add a good sized rock to your backpack. For example, when you sit more, add a rock, drive more, add a rock, work a lot more, hey add 2 or 3 rocks here, etc etc. You get the point yes? Some rocks are avoidable, some aren’t, and some are simply much larger than others. Wouldn’t you agree that in this scenario, it’s how well you manage your backpack that will determine how well or poorly you float, and how efficiently you spend your energy?
You see, this is a very good analogy for our lives. We are designed to tread water with ease, to float in good health and wellbeing, when our lives are in good balance. We can even tolerate a few rocks (ie. stressors) in our backpacks. However, for many of us, modern lifestyle and unhealthy work/school routines add so many rocks to our backpack that we quite literally struggle most of the time to just to keep our head above water. This struggle alone fatigues us, and eventually we succumb to the weight, and our health and wellbeing are compromised. What happens? Ease becomes dis-ease. We get sick, injured, and tired; we develop aches, pains, and chronic health problems; and it is often not until this happens that we realize that if we do not change something, and take a good few rocks out of our backpack, that we will suffer a significant health crisis.
This is the concept of ‘allostatic load’, and it has been researched extensively, however I think you will agree that it is really just common sense. You see, keeping one’s head above water so to speak, is about reducing the number and/or size of the rocks that threaten to drag you under.
So as we all contemplate the end of our less than sunny summer, I urge you to consider the above and identify for yourself, and as a family unit, the various rocks that each of you can remove to help ensure you make it through the autumn and winter with the best possible health, vitality, and wellbeing.
And if, by chance, all does not go as planned, and you suffer an ache, pain, or injury, please remember that there is help out there, and go see your local Chiropractor for assistance.
Dr. Eric Kelly is the owner and primary Chiropractor at Glanmire Chiropractic Clinic. If you or anyone you know may have questions, feel free to call at 021 4824450.