Most knowledge about our muscular and skeletal system comes from studying cadavers, a learning approach which has allowed us to study one structure and human system at a time and has given us valuable insight into the hundreds of muscles and bones that we rely on for various movements every single day. As detailed as these cadaver models are, they fail to address the collective understanding of how our whole body works as one unit.
After decades of being influenced by this learning style, an isolation mindset naturally develops, meaning most people think their pain is attributed to only one specific area. “I have slipped a disc”, “I trapped a nerve”, “my abdominal muscle is weak”, “I have a tight muscle”, or I have “X condition” is the style of thinking adopted by most people – not because it’s the best or most effective, but because it’s the easiest to understand.
There is an alternative way of thinking, one which understands that each part of the body cannot and does not exist independently. This holistic approach acknowledges that nothing works in isolation. As an example, when we treat someone with back or neck pain, we look at how their hips, shoulders, pelvis, knees, ankles and entire body are functioning (or not, as it may be) and therefore possibly creating the discomfort or symptoms felt in the back or neck.
There’s a reason for this, and it comes down to how the body is designed to be, and how it changes and evolves over time. Naturally, the human body is symmetrically designed, and when we habitually use it asymmetrically, it won’t be without consequences because the body naturally adapts to asymmetry and imbalance. Over time, this leads to one side of the body moving, feeling and looking quite different from the other side. Move after move, day after day, week after week, year after year, the body continually adapts to the imbalanced movement. When this adaptation reaches the body's limit of how much stress it can take, you’ll feel it – and it could be why you may develop stiffness, tension, aches and pains for no apparent reason.
When a holistic approach is applied, the client can be seen as a whole person rather than an individual presenting a specific pain or injury. The practitioner is able to see the bigger picture and address the leading cause of the problem rather than just the symptoms. It takes everything into account and encourages people to take an active part in the treatment process, in that patients can learn what lifestyle changes are required to resolve their issues.
Particularly for anyone who feels unsure about how to manage their pain, who feels their treatment might not be working for them anymore, or who experiences fewer symptoms when exercising but more symptoms when resting, a holistic approach to treatment is a great opportunity to take a wider view on all aspects of their health and lifestyle, and address them together rather than individually.
A holistic approach increases self-awareness and self-confidence in patients, as well as improving harmony between mind, body, emotions, and spirit in an ever-changing world.
Harvey Young is a specialist in posture therapy and the research-based chiropractic technique called Activator Methods®. He will take time to listen to you, discuss your symptoms and develop a comprehensive treatment plan. All of his treatments are firmly based on form and function, and offer practical guidance for living a posture-optimised lifestyle. His treatment focuses on normalising posture imbalance, correcting weight-bearing distortions, reducing neuro articular dysfunction, restoring muscle balance, improving the quality of physical movement and providing symptomatic relief of muscles, bones, joints and nerve-related pain. Outside of work, Harvey enjoys spending time on personal development and engaging in activities, however small, to bring positive changes to the world.