As a physical medicine doctor of 15 years I have seen a lot of patients that have presented with various levels of pain and musculoskeletal problems. Some as simple as low back pain as the result of shoveling snow, to as complicated as having Lyme disease/low thyroid/ chronic inflammation/ shoulder pain all layered on each other, never knowing what is the real cause of their physical pain.
Somehow, in any of these cases, there needs to be a point where the basics of physical health are incorporated into daily living. Along with proper treatment, this will set the foundation for healing and get a patient back to a better state of health from when they first came in.
In sports, when a team is doing poorly many times the coach will take the team back to drills they learned as a kid to reinforce the basics of the sport. This allows the team to return to "the basics" of being successful and winning games. The same thing has to happen when restoring the physical body to the way it is supposed to move and feel.
What are basics for health?
1) Proper motion of Joints
2) Responsive, stable muscles
3) Proper nutrition
4) 8 hours of rest
5) Reduced levels of emotional/mental stress
Why are these the basics?
If your joints don’t move properly it is difficult to exercise and move. If your joints don’t move then it is harder to stimulate your muscles through proper ranges of motion and muscles become weaker and unstable. In order for muscles to contract correctly and heal, you must have good nutrition to support energy and healing of these and other soft tissues. Recuperation from exercising your muscles and daily work comes from sleep. Eight hours of sleep has been shown time after time in research studies as a necessity for health, or the body suffers in numerous ways. If you don’t get enough sleep, stress increases and your ability to remain calm, relaxed and think clearly throughout the day is limited.
The Basics are a Foundation for Healing
Doesn’t this all sound familiar? Do you remember that song, “the knee bone is connected to the thigh bone?” Everything in the body has a connection to the other. If you don’t have a basic foundation then how can your body heal?
The following is a list of action steps (prioritized) to take to get back to the basics:
1) Chiropractic, Manual Physical Therapy, Exercise, Yoga
2) Chiropractic, Manual Physical Therapy, Athletic Trainer, Functional Exercise
3) Naturopath, Holistic MD, Chiropractic, nutritionist, Diet involving low carbohydrate/healthy fats/Protein
4) Set a bedtime for yourself just like you would a child. Put yourself into bed with no electronics and get the 8 hours needed. Take a nap.
5) Meditation, Vitamins and Herbs, Acupuncture, Exercise
Obviously you have a lot of choices beyond what I have listed but these are good starting points to get back to the basics. There is no glamour or complexity with the basics. They are absolute musts. Without them you can never achieve the physical health you want.
Download the NIHA ebook, Back to the Basics, for more tips on establishing the basics of good health.
Coy Roskosky, D.C., is a physical medicine doctor in the Washington D.C. area specializing in chronic pain, sports injuries and sports performance, carpal tunnel syndrome and TMJ. He has a "whole body" approach and uses many techniques tailored to the patient's needs, including Applied Kinesiology (AK), Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT), Active Release Technigue (ART), Activator, and Acupuncture in his chiropractic practice at National Integrated Health Associates, NIHA.