What if you were given a life-changing program today?
I have had three knee surgeries. One was from wrestling, one from football, and one from skateboarding. None of the three were a catastrophic accident. All three were from planting my foot the wrong way while shifting my weight. This type of injury has become a common occurrence, but we typically attribute it to bad luck when it happens, right?
At 14 years old I sustained an undiagnosed spinal fracture from repetitive use of my low back. I distinctly remember having to miss a month of sports due to the back pain. I did not see a doctor because the pain left as suddenly and unexpectedly as it came. My first knee surgery was performed two years after my mysterious back pain experience. My second was two years after that. Is it possible that injuries to the low back and the knee were somehow connected?
Today we think of the body as a system, and not individual parts to treat in a vacuum. We know that low back function influences, not just knee, hip, and ankle function, but also neck and shoulder function. Pain in one spot can be an indicator of dysfunction in another spot. Is it possible that I could have prevented my knee surgeries? If the knee surgeries could have been avoided, might I have fulfilled my goals of being a State Champion wrestler, and of being a kicker in the NFL?
The second part of the previous question involves some additional variables; however, preventing my knee injuries may have been an option had a thorough evaluation of my movement and posture been conducted. I am incredibly thankful to Dr. Stephen McNeil, who repaired my knee three times. As a result of his surgical knowledge and skill, I have maintained my ability to wrestle, run, hike, and keep up with my kids. While I appreciate his work, there should have been an earlier step in my physical development before my only option was to see an Orthopedic Surgeon.
My mission since college has been to serve others as the facilitator of the earlier step - the prevention of non-catastrophic musculoskeletal injuries. Three other family members on my Mother's side have had a similar injury to their low back. All three first experienced back pain as an adolescent. A proper evaluation would have identified a tendency to hyperextend the low back when compressed, causing localized tightness. This tendency is a movement fault that can and should be detected early and corrected with coaching and minimal treatment.
When we think about modern healthcare, it is set up to be more of a "sick care" system. We fix broken body parts after the injury, rather than emphasizing prevention of the injury in the first place. Today we know enough about the human body to create an individualized plan that will benefit you for life. It is based on the type of body that you inherited from your parents. It is based on the way that you express your body physically. When you come to see me for the first time, I want you to understand that I expect our interactions to be life-changing for the both of us. I will give you an individualized plan that you can take with you when you graduate from my office. I want you to have a plan so that you can be in charge of your own body. I will be there for the assist.