In my opinion, Physical Therapy as a profession has done a very poor job of explaining all that we can do. Unfortunately, most folks think of us only after they've gotten hurt and have seen a doctor for specific musculoskeletal issues like an ankle sprain, rotator cuff tear, or spine surgery. For these folks physical therapy is an afterthought, and they seek our treatment only for the bare minimum amount of sessions that are allotted by their health insurance. But the reality is that as a doctoring profession, we have a much bigger hand in helping the human body run at an optimal level.
You probably see a dentist for an annual check-up every year. Getting dental work done is no fun, and those annual check-ups can catch issues before they become awful to deal with. How is the rest of your body exempt from this?
Furthermore, we tend to get our cars checked every 3000 miles or once a year for a full diagnostic, even if nothing is wrong with them. We check the air pressure in our tires regularly to see if they are balanced, as this is a major factor in how the car will perform for you and how likely it might break down in the near future. Just like how tires help the car meet the road and propel the car forward/backward, our feet, knees, hips, and core strength all determine how we take each step, or stand up out of our chairs every single day.
Yes, taking care of our bodies and our health is important. Getting checked and tested regularly can reveal the future of our well-being, and uncovers issues and conditions before they become problematic. As another example, one of the best defenses against cancer and its horrors is early diagnosis. However, there is a large disconnect in human psychology between our bodies being fine or “normal” and being optimized. As we get older, it is “normal” for things to work less well. You hear the moans and groans of your cohort starting in your 30’s that things are getting a little harder. “I can’t go out like that anymore,” they say. "I can't do that anymore," or "my knees hurt."
But is this really “normal” or is it just common? Over the years, our bodies accumulate wear and tear from our daily activities. Sitting at a desk hunched over everyday and not working out enough is a bad combo. Only doing one activity like jogging or yoga is also not a great way to go about keeping your body healthy. None of these activities are acutely damaging, but perhaps that's the reason why we aren't compelled to fix issues about our musculoskeletal systems that we're not even aware of.
However, I believe we CAN slow down our aging process. Physical therapy is the missing piece of the puzzle.
Unfortunately, the human body does not come with simple clear instructions on maintenance. "Dr. Google" can be very confusing; one day eating eggs is the best thing for you, and the next day it will lead to cancer. Google might not be the best resource for health and nutrition, but when it comes to the human body, physical therapists can be the experts. We are the car mechanics of the human body. We synthesize the latest research to help get you out of pain right here and now. But less publicized is our ability to help predict the common ways that the body will breakdown.
The way that you move can tell a lot about you. We all know that deadlifting with a rounded back might not be the best thing for lower back health. A good physical therapist can look at movement from an even deeper level to determine where your deficiencies are and how they might be hurting you either now or in the future.
You might look at metrics when you invest in stocks, buy an apartment or car, or even invest in better quality dog food because you care about your pup. Just like how a CFO looks at raw data to predict his/her company's financial future, physical therapists look at raw data about your body to predict your fitness future.
Here at Halevy Life, we have a unique assessment that's based on all the latest research in our to not only determine the shape you're in, but also the likelihood of your getting injured. We have seen many combinations of deficiencies that could lead to very debilitating loss of function, and we want to help you avoid that. Investing time now and taking action steps with the proper approach for your individual situation, work, life and recreational demands is what we specialize in.
In short, wear and tear on your body is common and much of it accumulates without any sort of acute pain or damage. Maybe one day when you're out on a run, your shins are more sore than usual. And maybe that pain will go away. If you pay no mind to this, it can also get worse and worse, maybe developing into shin splints or a stress fracture. You might have to stop running for a few weeks to let that recover. The better option is to take note of your aches and pains, and quiet those whispers before they become screams. A physical therapist has the eyes and the foresight to prevent these conditions and keep you healthy.
by Dr. Bo Babenko, DPT
Dr. Bo Babenko, DPT is the Head Physical Therapist at Halevy Life.
A native New Yorker, Bo started his career working as an EMT, athletic trainer (ATC), and strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). He has continued the pursuit of clinical excellence, focusing on orthopedic and sports physical therapy. Prior to joining Halevy Life, Bo worked in Dubai’s functional fitness world helping to raise the bar of human performance.
A former triathlete, Division I college football player, and currently competing in Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit, Bo pushes his body to the limits to better understand how to optimize his clients and patients recovery. Bo utilizes a holistic approach (i.e.sleep, nutrition, etc.) combined with a evidence-based manual therapy techniques to address the pain, limitations, and setbacks he treats.