Posts Tagged ‘bio-mechanics’

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Sacrum

January 23, 2021

I had a job to do today to screw a hook on an internal door in my cottage. There is a bench in front of the door which is part of how I move around indoors (see blog post ‘The Heart of the Home’) . I thought maybe I could sit on the bench, but needed to be higher. I could have found something to put on top of the bench to sit on, but with nothing to hand I decided to try doing the job in high kneeling.

High kneeling is a position that has been possible for many years, right from the early days of injury, although it has never been a functional position. I used to have little quality to the trunk in general, even less in the lumbar region, virtually none in the pelvis and a definite disconnection at the lumbar sacral junction. Even sitting used to involve propping my body on top of collapsed pelvic structure, so the more demanding position of high kneeling was nothing but propping myself up. My lifeless pelvis would tilt drastically forwards resulting in severe flexion of the lumbar spine and discomfort in the weakness (disconnection) at the lumbar sacral junction. It would take all my effort with both arms just to hold myself there.

This type of structural weakness, with tilted pelvis and arched back, is common in many people with varying disabilities and is also notable in a significant portion of the able bodied population, to a lesser degree. I caught the news the other day where a disabled child had undergone a miracle operation (so to speak) to enable him to walk for the first time in his life. He was wobbling along using crutches with the arching of his back so severe that it was painful to watch. Having never been on his feet the kid thought it was great, although in reality he had simply swapped one struggle for another that was potentially even harder. It was only the use of crutches that kept him on his feet and the importance of ensuring there is sufficient underlying structure to support the bodily position cannot be over emphasised. It is often the case with disabled people that they attain to positions and actions that are beyond the structural capacity of their bodies; mainly through endeavour to live life, the best they can, but also through a desire to push beyond their boundaries.

My work in bio-mechanics has led me to expand the boundaries, through improving structural capacity, rather than to seek to push beyond them, although I am guilty at times of exceeding those boundaries and screwing the hook on the door, in high kneeling, is one such example. What surprised me this time, though, was the involvement of the sacrum. I’ve never known that feeling before, nor such capability. I wasn’t sure it would work, but found I could use my left elbow, against the door, to hold myself up and still use my left hand to hold the screw, while using the screwdriver with my right. With new structural capacity in the sacrum the right side of my body held well and only the weaker left side wanted to collapse.

I have been improving my body for years and for a long time now the sacrum has played a functional role in sitting. Now for the first time it is strong enough to begin playing a functional role in the more demanding position of high kneeling. I have every reason to believe I will continue to improve, while finding new strengths never ceases to amaze me.

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Back to Normal

January 7, 2021

Since my teenage years I have been shouting for change, singing along to the punk rock anthems. Now we are finally faced with the prospect of change I’m not sure we like what is happening. Not that it’s the possibility of change I don’t like, but the actions of government that seek to control and tell us what to do. It rather epitomises all that I’ve ever shouted against.

We certainly live in extraordinary times. Who would have ever thought that our government, who for ever have been hell bent on achieving economic growth, would destroy livelihoods, bankrupt businesses and collapse an economy in the name of keeping people safe. I don’t for one minute doubt there is a new disease across the world. I do, though, wonder if such measures are a sensible approach to addressing the situation. I know little of virology and am no expert in health, although I have learnt much during twenty years working in the field of bio-mechanics and have managed to transform my body and my health. I have learnt that health is a product of three factors. The quality of the body, the quality of the environment and the quality of the interaction between the two (the manner in which we live our lives). I have also learnt that there are no quick fixes.

I went through my initial rehabilitation in a specialist spinal unit at an NHS hospital. The care was wonderful. However, if I accepted their prognosis, and their guidance for my further rehabilitation and care, I would still be in the terrible condition I left hospital in. What is more, having found a better way I can’t go back and show them what is possible. I’ve tried and might as well just bang my head against a brick wall. Their educations doesn’t allow them to understand. If I could find a doctor or physiotherapist who does understand then there is nothing they could do within their profession. Their job is to follow a set practice and the opportunity for developing a new approach is extremely limited. Embracing the phenomenal way of rehabilitation that I have helped prove is possible is simply not possible within the NHS in Britain. The health establishment has become lazy in its thinking. Despite its amazing surgical ability, and capability to save life, it is so conservative, and its thinking stuck so far in the past, that it dogmatically follows a blinkered path. You’ll forgive me if I hold little faith in the health establishments ability to support the nations health right now.

Luckily we live in the age of the ‘freedom of the individual’ and it is the personal responsibility of each and every one of us to seek the knowledge and understanding to care for our own health and make our own choices. I for one will not be bullied by our government. Apparently, though, if we all get vaccinated then life can return to normal! I long for true social living once again. Food and drink, music, dance and theatre, hugging and kissing. All that is integral to being human, eternal and questionable whether lawful to prohibit. As for everything else that might be considered normal, I think the isolation and separation, the technologisation and commercialisation, that we are living with in lockdown, is the ultimate expression of where that normal has been leading us for quite some time. I have no desire to go back and will keep shouting for change.

Power to the People

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Lockdown

November 19, 2020

I actually quite like ‘lockdown’; it allows me to devote more time to myself. I miss the pub though. Since my sixteenth birthday I have been a regular in one local pub or another. I’ve known them as social hubs of community; as an extension of my home and a communal living room. Our government seems hell bent on destroying the fabric of our social existence which seems crazy, although possibly what we need. Pubs, like many things in life, are a shadow of their former selves. They may always have been businesses, but lately they have become nothing but businesses with commercial interests and legislation dominating to the point that the essence of the ‘Institution of the Public House’ has been lost. Rudolf Steiner once said, “Mankind always gets what it needs”. We seem to find it hard enough to sense the need for change let alone know how to bring it about, so it inevitably gets forced upon us.

Queens Head, Dorking – My first local

Lockdown affords us an opportunity to reassess, reset and even reinvent our lives for the better. I’m not changing a great deal, but I am considering what is important and making adjustments. I’m also taking the opportunity to focus more on the work of healing my body. It’s a life of dedication I have pursued for twenty years and it makes a change not to have the usual distractions. More importantly I’m thinking about how our society is changing. The National Health Service is becoming more and more incapable of supporting the nations health, despite their phenomenal ability to deal with accidents and emergencies. It must be reinvented.The work I am involved in is showing that hands on techniques, based on the bio-mechanics of the body can be used to treat spinal injury, cerebral palsy and other serious neurological conditions that the establishment regard as permanent and incurable.

This work has many more applications. Currently there is an ever increasing trend to replace so called ‘worn out’ body parts such as hips and knees, an approach that views the body as a machine whose parts can be replaced rather than a living entity with disease that needs addressing. If our work is embraced diseased hips and knees will be treated and returned to balance.

Fellow paraplegics would be wise to take up this work to find their own ability to improve their bodies rather than relying on a crumbling service. Technology can definitely be utilised, from the properties of modern polymers used to deliver a kinetic input into the body, all the way to the possibility of using an exoskeleton to retrain the rebuilt structure of the body. However we should not fall into the trap of believing that science will come up with the miracle cure. There are no miracle cures just steps in the right direction. Bio-mechanical rehabilitation techniques give all of us the tools we need to take care of our own health.

Change is exciting, especially when your work is waiting in the wings ready to rise to the fore once society, with a new attitude, is ready to embrace a more balanced approach. The current fear of a virus is accelerating the pace of change, so let’s hope for real evolution. Let us also hope that we can reinvent our Public Houses, in a manner befitting the dawn of a new era, before they all fall victim to bankruptcy.