‘The straw that broke the camel’s back’.
‘The straw that broke the camel’s back’. You can blame the straw, treat the camel’s back, OR find another mode of transport!..
Most agree, including myself, that: the future of healthcare lies in prevention. Intervention therefore surely needs to start in schools, as not simply intellect and character start to develop whilst young, but also posture.
Though the majority of patients physiotherapists see can cite an approximate time their symptoms started, far fewer can identify a definite moment/cause. This is because, invariably, the incident which finally ‘broke the camel’s back’ was trivial; years of subtle postural asymmetry resulting in repeated overloading of a structure, leading to it’s physical attrition and eventual failure.
Such asymmetries can start to develop at a very young age. We have all seen schoolchildren lugging incredibly heavy bags around over just one shoulder, and sat in their hugely uncomfortable unergonomic chairs. Plus I recall sustaining numerous sprained ankles, and the occasional muscular tear through participation in sport at school, yet never once saw an icepack, let alone a physiotherapist. And all this during the physical growth phrase of human development.
THIS, this is surely when to intervene. Not when the child who carried the heavy bag becomes one of the estimated 10 million people in the UK experiencing chronic LBP in adulthood, at a cost to the National Health Service of £4.2 billion! Not when the child who repeatedly sprained their ankle at school, finds themselves on the waiting list for a knee replacement, due to years of subtly reduced ankle movement resulting in compensatory overloading of the knee (not me fortunately, but so nearly might have been).
Prevention is invariably both better and cheaper than cure. I believe that simply providing children with an understanding as to how the body responds to the demands we place upon it, and taking albeit comparatively minor sporting injuries, scrapes and falls at school more seriously, could stem the growing burden of musculoskeletal injuries on society (MSK disorders currently account for 30.5% of Years Lived with Disability http://bit.ly/12qJzkc ). So too by schools embracing technology, such as the simple Kindle, might we very literally lessen the immediate physical burden.
‘Give me a child of 7 and I will show you the man’… It is perhaps time we started diverting money towards the correct end of the healthcare loop..