|The Amazing Race
Last year, there was a strong father and son team on The Amazing Race, coming in first place on many legs of the race, then unfortunately, while running on a beach, the father tore his Achilles Tendon in the sand, and they had to forfeit and leave the race early. The tear would likely take 3-4 months to recover, so their chance of a million dollars was over too soon.
After watching the show yesterday, I was thinking about how Osteopathy can help The Amazing Race contestants. For both these teams, I thought about how an Osteopath as a teammate could have helped prevent the Achilles Tendon tear on the father and son team, and helped the daughter recover and get off her crutches sooner to continue on the race. For the father, during his time on the race, all the running likely caused tightness in his lower leg and calf muscles. It would have been interesting to hear if he complained of any leg cramps or pain in his foot earlier in the race. In any case, decreasing muscle tightness in his lower leg and thereby reducing tension in his Achilles Tendon would have likely prevented his torn tendon. Running in the sand is harder than running on a harder surface or on grass due to the increased need for balance, and the pushing down to toe off in the sand was likely the straw that broke the camel’s back as the saying goes.
For the daughter, being buried up to her neck in the cold sand likely caused decreased circulation to her legs and muscle tightness, and after being buried so long, her pain was likely due to muscle cramps and ischemic pain from decreased blood flow. Thus, the crutches helped by allowing her to move without using her already tight lower leg muscles, and she would likely be able to walk normally when her leg muscles relaxed again. Since she is on a race, The Amazing Race, she does not have the time to allow the muscles to naturally relax again with rest. Thus, to speed up her recovery, an Osteopathic teammate could more quickly decrease her muscle tightness and improve circulation to her legs using Massage Techniques, Muscle Energy, Acupressure and Counterstrain, or a combination of these together, to help her legs recover faster.
For the Osteopath, treating the different areas of pain for a patient is like completing the different challenges or legs of The Amazing Race. And by balancing these areas of the body, we can help our patients continue along the road to good health. Thus, our aches and pains are only challenges to our health, not pit stops or destinations in our life. When the Osteopathic Practitioner can balance the body to the way he or she wants the patient to feel, then that is like landing on the matt of The Amazing Race in first place, together.