In the last blog entry, I talked about how the ways we move create and maintain communication pathways between the brain and body. These pathways help with coordination, avoiding injuries, and beating chronic pain syndrome. Now, I’d like to dive a little deeper and talk about how moving can affect your balance and in turn your performance.
In one of my favorite episodes of the TV show “The Office” Jim, the office prankster, messes with his desk partner, Dwight. In the episode, Jim secretly trains Dwight to crave Altoids whenever he hears the music associated with a computer being turned off. Jim continues this experiment until finally Dwight is left with a confusing need for an Altoid every time that well knownMicrosoft log off music is played even when a mint is not offered—leaving a bad taste in Dwight’s mouth, literally. So, what’s the significance of this anecdote about the psychological battle between two co-workers? This mind tricking prank, inspired by physiologist, Ivan Pavlov’s work, does a great job of explaining how our brains can perpetuate chronic pain even after the initial injury is “healed.”
Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s pretty simple isn’t it? On average, a person will breathe 12 breaths each minute, totaling 17,000 breaths per day. It’s a function that is second nature, and we don’t even think about it. Now, place one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly. Which hand moves when you breathe in? Does your chest rise with each breath? Or, do you feel like your chest and shoulders are relatively quiet and your belly expands?
Low back pain is a common phenomenon in the world. It’s a condition that can be a constant complaint to some people, and an episodic annoyance to others with no definite solution in sight. But, a lot of times those who deal with low back pain on a regular basis, resign themselves to the pain and the inconvenience, feeling that even if they win the battle against one flair-up, another incident is just around the corner. So why fight it? Why not just surrender?