If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!

We have all heard this expression, ‘If you don’t use it, you’ll loose it.’ Whether its your French that you learnt at school or those rusty tennis skills, unfortuately aquired skills require practice, otherwise we get a bit rusty. This idea of a blog came about as I recently had a patient who had forgot how to use his back properly. After having a number of very acute and painful epoisdes of pain in his back he had stopped using it. Yes, he had stopped bending forward to pick up things from the floor and instead crouched down using the legs.

He had developed a fear of using his back for fear of it ‘going again.’

There is a medical term for this called, Fear Avoidance, the model is shown below,

Fear avoidance model

Essestially this model shows that long term pain or fear of pain can cause us to become tense about using our body properly and make us feel we are in more pain than we actually are.

The term, ‘stinkin thinkin,’ has been used to explain the negative thought process of not using your body properly for fear of hurting your body.

To prevent this from happening my experience has been to get the patient involved in back rehabilitation exercises and using their bodies properly from the outset to develop confidence. With my patient who had already forgotten how to use his body properly I needed to re-educate him on using the back properly and slowly introduce small back exercises to get him to feel confident again. As I explained to this patient, our work to get the back out of trouble is a active process between both of us. I will diagnose, treat the injury and educate on how  help to keep it loose by doing the explained exercises and you have to do the work. If we work together a good result is likely and less repeat episodes in the future. Fortunately this patient did his exercises and is now doing very well and moving much better.

So, if you feel you are not using your body properly and getting in those ‘fear-avoidance’ patterns of ‘I better not do that, or I’ll hurt my back.…’Come and get some help with us and develop confidence in your body. Remember, ‘If you don’t use it, you loose it.’

Call us at the Clinic on 01582 764361