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The Human Machine-Fix-it!
Function First, Inc. "the exercise alternative for pain relief"

by Anthony B. Carey M.A., CSCS, CES
Function First, Inc.

The answer to the simple questions of "why" it hurts is the key to living pain-free, active lives.

Knee braces, back braces, wrist immobilizers, sports cremes, neoprene sleeves--all are the equivalent of expensive band-aids. How, you ask?

Anthony Carey

The unfortunate truth is that we as a society are content with accommodating our aches and pains rather than tackling them head on. We are led to believe that we can gain the upper hand over our symptoms by wrapping it, rubbing it or medicating it.

Is this really the answer? Do we need to rely on external sources to keep this highly evolved machine of ours up and running? The answer is a resounding NO!

If our bodies are designed to move without pain, which they are, how come our backs hurt all the time, or our bad knees keep us from jogging, or a sore shoulder keeps us from playing tennis? The problem is usually not the activity but how our body performs that activity. That activity could be an aerobics class, or simply just standing.

There is, at times, a need for orthopedic braces and medications. The problem is that they literally become a crutch for us to rely on. Only with them, can we perform the physical tasks that we wish to do. We resort to these "crutches" because certain things hurt us when we do them. That pain we feel is a warning sign. Pain tells us that something is not right with our body. Therefore, "patching" up the pain is no way to address the cause.

To address the cause, we need to take a couple of steps backwards. The most obvious step is to find out exactly "what" hurts. But let's go beyond the normal response to that question. Beyond responses such as "the cartilage is worn", "the tendons are being impinged", "it's bursitis", or my favorite, "you're not as young as you used to be". Let's go as far back as to ask why this happens to the cartilage, the tendons, the bursa etc. The answer to the simple questions of "why" it hurts is the key to living pain-free, active lives.

We can get away with compensating for a while,
but pretty soon it catches up with all of us.

The origin of all these aches and pains that are labeled "degenerative" or "overuse injuries" is in the way we use, or I should say, misuse our bodies. Golf is not bad for your back and running is not bad for your knees. But if your body's structural muscles (those muscles that battle gravity and balance us from front to back and side to side) are out of balance, then the ways that our body would most effectively deal with the stresses of activity are compromised. Our body then compensates. We can get away with compensating for a while, but pretty soon it catches up with all of us.

At Function First, we have found the best way to figure out the "why", is to look at both the posture and gait (way of walking) of the people that we help every day. Looking at your posture, is the only effective way to analyze the body as a whole, without breaking it down into parts. Many practitioners only look at the parts that hurt. But then they have missed many components to a very large equation. Looking at the site of pain can often help the "what" that hurts. But this is usually temporary, because you have done nothing to correct the events that lead to the pain rearing its ugly head. Changes in our posture lead to changes in our biomechanics or body mechanics. The way our human machine works has now changed without changing its parts. Unfortunately, the original parts were not designed to work the way we are asking them to now.

Death and taxes are not the only two things
guaranteed in life - gravity is a third.

The answer to this dilemma is to balance the body from the inside out. Even if you are under the care of a chiropractor, acupuncturist, masseuse, etc., ultimately you have to do something where you make the changes from within. We need to restore the function to our bodies that has been corrupted by today's automated society, work environments, past injuries and bad habits.

We must also maintain a balance between strength and flexibility throughout our body. Death and taxes are not the only two things guaranteed in life, gravity is a third. And, the more effectively our structural muscles deal with gravity, the less compensation is needed by our bodies.

Improving your body mechanics also provides your body with an opportunity for self-repair. By removing the constant irritation that has lead to the pain, your body is now given a chance to heal.

We are all unique in the imbalances that we develop. Therefore, the way we correct them should be unique to our situation. At Function First, no one is ever given a generic exercise program. And our exercise program can be complemented with an aggressive form of myofascial release that expedites the process by freeing scar tissue and adhesions and clearing nerve entrapments. So, the next time the wear and tear on that high performance machine of yours doesn't seem right, ask yourself, "Do I just want to change the tires or should I get my alignment fixed, too?"

Anthony Carey M.A., CSCS, is CFO and Principal of Function First, Inc.-"the exercise alternative for pain relief". Function First is located in San Diego, CA. Function First assists with people experiencing musculoskeletal pain to eliminate pain, improve function and live healthier lives.

More information on Function First can be found at their website

Function First
The Exercise Alternative for Pain Relief

Function First - Anthony B. Carey M.A., CSCS, CES
3974 Dove St   San Diego CA 92103
(619) 285-9218

Anthony Carey Inc, 2002. All rights reserved.

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