Fix Yourself By Searching

When something is not right about our bodies, we should take matters into our own hands. I am a strong believer in self help being the basis for any self improvement or repair. This is true even when guided by a Physical Therapist. Andrea tells me that the patients that take interest in their therapy and do their home exercises are the ones that consistently get better. For most cases, the ones that take a lot longer to get better, or never get better are the ones not paying attention or not doing their home exercises. If I do not care or keep focus on my problems, I will not be able to affect changes in my body. If I do not take care, who will?

One of the critical skills in self care is research. Being able to determine what muscles, tendons, or joints are hurting you is an amazing first step in fixing the problems. It does not always work, and for those cases you can benefit from the help of a professional, but you will probably be able to have a more informed conversation if you do some research first.

To start, I like to search for a particular area followed by the word "anatomy". After hiking six miles yesterday, the front of my right lower leg hurts. So I did a picture search for "front lower leg anatomy". This yields many high-quality pictures that help me to narrow down what a muscle or group of muscles that is annoying me is called.

After you narrow down which muscles it might be, you can do a video or website search for that name followed by terms like "mobilization", "stretch", or "strengthening" depending on your issue. In my case, searching "peroneal mobilization" leads to a website of one my favorite YouTubers Athletes Training Athletes which I think would be a great tutorial for me to follow in this case. I am amazed by the vast repository of images, websites, and videos awaiting me by following a simple chain of research about parts of my body. Often times you can find videos by Physical Therapists who usually tell you exercises that are safe to perform. Of course, with any research, you need to use your best judgment and listen to any pain you feel to decide if the exercise is appropriate for you or not.

Andrea will sometimes advise her patients to "stay off of the internet". The reason for this is that sometimes patients will read a website that says something like this: "Pain in your leg could be a sprain, fracture, or cancer." Some people assume the worse and get themselves anxious. This is not what I mean by self help! Of course you do not ignore all the symptoms. If they combine together to indicate something major, you should see a doctor, but do not automatically assume the worst! Most people probably have a sprained ankle. Think about what is the most likely cause in your situation, and start there. If interventions based on that theory do not seem to work, evolve your theory, or see a professional.

I feel like there is so much information and help out there in the world. Reach out for yourself and your body and seek whatever you need to help yourself. It is often only a few searches away.

published 2015-04-20

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