Why is it Important to Have Self Awareness?
Last post, we began talking about self awareness, and specifically kinesthetic awareness. You can find that here. Just to review the definition of kinesthetic awareness:
Kinesthetic is a derivative of the word kinesthesia. The formal definition of kinesthesia is: awareness of the position and movement of the parts of the body by means of sensory organs (proprioceptors) in the muscles and joints.
The easy answer to why this is important would be that having an awareness of what is going on in your body can help you to have better health, or even to discover things about your health BEFORE they become a big problem.
If we break this down on a different level, patients come in all of the time without a good understanding of what is going on with them or how they got to this point. For example, consider this made up conversation.
Therapist: Tell me about what is going on with your back.
Patient: I don’t know; it just hurts
Therapist: Where does it hurt? With what movements, activities, or positions do you notice it more?
Patient: I don’t really know.
Part of what a therapist should help with is to assist a patient with gaining a better understanding of this type of awareness. Sometimes, simply being asked specific questions about a pain experience begins the process of thinking more specifically about those symptoms. Without a better self awareness, the patient will have less control over his/her healing.
Better Self Awareness Gives You More Control Over Your Healing
Often a big part of a home program is to help a patient have better awareness of HOW they move. This allows them to FEEL when something is not right, which better allows them to make adjustments towards improvement. This might mean that being aware gives a person the control to relax when he/she is tense or in pain. It might mean that he/she can self-correct a movement pattern that is leading to increased stress and strain. It definitely allows a patient to gain control over their situation, even if just a little.
Where to Start?
Next post, we will walk through a simple exercise to increase kinesthetic awareness. For now, start by PAYING ATTENTION. If you have pain, WHEN do you experience it? WHERE do you experience it? During WHAT activities, positions, movements do you experience it? What TIME of day is it better or worse?