Thursday, September 01, 2011

Not A Problem (Limitation)


"I've been trying to do the exercises as you demonstrated & explained - flexing & holding the arms & wrists, flexing the legs & pointing the toe while rotating the foot, etc., while doing the gentle "twisting" motion turning my head to look back over my shoulder, etc. But I've run into a couple problems. I had back surgery 3 years ago & have fused vertebra in both my neck and lower back & titanium rods in my lower back. I've been having noticeably increased pain in both my neck & lower back even though I started out doing minimal stretching & built up, and it's causing some dizziness. As I said to you when we met - I've been an athlete all my life and I know about starting out slowly, listening to one's body, and building up gradually. I've also had carpal tunnel surgery in both wrists & started having some wrist problems after starting the flexing up & down.

I've concluded that I will do as much as I can for whatever benefit I can receive, but I'm 69 yrs. old - even though I don't look it - and my chances of "reversing" much at this stage of health I think is minimal. So I guess I don't fit into the picture of who you need to demonstrate your methods."


Under most normal conditions, one would initiate the integrated muscular contraction at the furthest insertion of the body -- which is typically at the neck, wrists and ankles -- but if that is the problem and source of immobilization and pain, then one has to move the focus of movement even further out to the fingers, toes, and facial muscles. That will be the focus (axis) of your movement -- while the rest of the joints need not move at all and play a supportive and stabilizing role -- or to the extent that there is no pain.

But a key concept is that the body is strengthened to the furthest point at which one mobilizes (activates) that responsiveness -- which for you, is to avoid such movements beyond the shoulders and neck -- which naturally causes the atrophying of all those areas beyond it -- because there is no neuromusccular impulses, and cardiovascular maintenance as well.

If the neck cannot be moved, the brows can be lifted, as well as the cheek muscles producing a smile or dimple. Both would require maintaining (increasing) the body's responsiveness beyond the usual limitations you have.

Like I've said, I've worked with some of the most challenging cases, and had to determine where they could move -- and had feeling and control, despite their usual limitations. If your neck is fused, can you lift your eyebrows with your muscles: can you effect a smile; can you bend at the furthest joint of your fingers? -- then you are not paralyzed, and have no hope of recovery. With the hands, can you move your fingers, or can you move your toes -- because if you can, you can effect a contraction of all the muscles back to the origin of the entire muscular system at the heart -- without having to move the neck, wrists, ankles, knees, hips, shoulder, elbow, etc. That is what you have to work with -- and not arbitrarily conform to the exercises, no matter what your limitations.

if nothing else, you develop the most powerful smile, expression of delight, and tremendous dexterity -- because that is what you become good at. That is your
mantra, or practice. That's how the guy with no arms becomes a pianist (or painter) -- playing with his toes. But he wouldn't be able to do it if he just limited himself to the "normal" use of his legs -- he's extended that control all the way out to his toes, by expressly moving in that way.

Likewise with people who have very expressive faces -- and range of expressions. That is what they become the masters of -- and not the conventional, and even the preposterous notion that it is beating their heart. The body has to do that regardless, or one is no longer living. But all those expressions and ranges of movement are possible -- to the furthest extent one does have control and the possibility of movement -- and actually expresses (articulates) it..

That is what you need to recondition yourself to.

That is the essential insight: that an integrated muscular contraction begins at the furthest extremity (joint) that you actually move -- and increase THAT range of motion. You learn to move better in the ways you can move, and not just in the original ways -- thinking you can ignore or deny your present realities. That is not helpful.

You have to learn how to move your body in the ways you can -- and actualize their fullest possibilities, and not just limit yourself further and further.

I hope I've been helpful. Good luck.


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