The BF and I went to a Dodger game last night (go Blue!). They won, thankfully, as he is not in the most chipper of moods when they lose. :) While most people probably sit there and watch the game and drink their beer in brain wave silence, I was completely absorbed watching everyone’s posture and form. How does Clayton Kershaw’s pitching positioning compare to Paco Rodriguez’s or Kenley Jansen’s? And does that have anything to do with their specific pitching role (starter vs. closer)?

The most amazing thing of all is how atrocious the posture is of 99.9% of the guys standing on the field. Each of them have two feet and two legs that are able to weight-bear, and yet they seem to favor only one. Always.

Matt Kemp, a popular Dodger outfielder, was celebrating his Bobble Head night. The BF is very disappointed with Kemp right now, as are many other Dodger fans. He tore the labrum in his left shoulder and underwent surgery in October 2012. Since then, he has not been able to recapture his previous hitting power or batting percentage. Dodger fans can’t understand why if the labrum was repaired he isn’t back to 100% yet. I mean, come on, it has already been almost 8 months since then!

There are no quick fixes in the body, even if you are a professional athlete and in impeccable shape. Yes, the labrum may no longer be causing pain or getting in the way of the shoulder’s range of motion, but surgery does not fix the bad mechanics that set your shoulder up for injury in the first place, nor does it do anything to address the tension patterns and scarring that are now present in the fascia and musculature.

I’m sorry Matty, but without some serious conscious rehabilitation for your shoulder and the rest of your body (his posture is atrocious as everyone else’s) I don’t anticipate you will be able to return to 100% anytime soon.

To the BF, I am Debbie Downer, bearer of bad news, but what I don’t understand is that with the amount of money that these athletes are worth, combined with the amount of money that their support staff is making, why has no one told them all to stand up straight!? No one has put two and two together that if you favor one hip all of the time that the tissues both up stream and downstream to that hip are going to hold different tension than the other side? And that hypertonic tissue cannot generate as much force as healthy tissue?

We look to doctors and rehab specialists as having all of the answers. And they do have tons of answers, but their understanding of how the pieces of the human puzzle fit together are limited to their model of learning. Just as you would not go to your dermatologist if your appendix burst, the same could be argued for orthopedic surgeons. Their realm is the world of tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. What is above and below those structures is not of as much importance, and of even less importance is the fascial structure that weaves and holds you together. Fascia, the body’s aqueous knitting fabric, is the seams, structures, protection, and repairs systems for your entire body (thanks Jill Miller for the definition!!). It is the link between tendons and bones, as well as other connective tissue structures. You know how after you have a significant injury that heals, it feels as though your scar is glued down to whatever is below it? The scar is in fact tacked down through the fascia, and fascia without an external injury can become superglued to the layers above and below it.  

When that marvelous surgeon makes his way through your shoulder to get to your labrum, many other layers are getting shafted in the process. And we hope that physical therapy helps to rehab the joint, which it usually does. But does rehab help to address the tightness in seemingly unrelated areas as a result of the initial injury? Maybe you have only been sleeping on your right side since your left shoulder injury, and now the right shoulder is ridiculously tight because of the funky positions you put it in when you sleep. Now, when you through, you are not only dealing with attempting to favor your previously injured shoulder (because your brain is still protecting it), but you also have to deal with the tension in the other shoulder that is preventing you from being able to wind up and produce as much force as you did pre-injury.

All I am saying is that we need to start looking at the body and an integrated system. Just because you are really good at doing something with your body does not magically make you an integrated human being. It takes work. But I suppose the age of self-reliance for healing of pain, discomfort, and tightness is still dawning. And hopefully for me, when that age does dawn on professional athletics (and the world in general), I am standing right there ready to share my knowledge ;)