This week we unpack our onion principle in our wellness concepts video series.
The onion principle is an analogy to help explain how small unresolved issues or dysfunction can become more difficult to fix later down the track. It’s an analogy to help explain why it can take longer to fix a longstanding issue.
The picture of an onion lends itself to having layers. Onions have layers and so do subluxations in our spines.
Why do our bodies create layers of dysfunction? Why not get rid of it at the start?
Our bodies are great adapters and compensators.
When we have a small issue, let’s say a sprain, our bodies will try and create a temporary way to still work outputting function while protecting that area while its healing. An example would be, spraining an ankle and limping. We limp as a temporary means to alleviating pressure off the foot while it can heal.
When we look at our spines, it’s a similar process. Let’s say we sprain a joint in our spine. Our body will temporarily tighten small muscles around that joint to limit its movement so it doesn’t get further damaged. But in the process of protecting that joint, it’s now disrupted and compromised the normal harmony of muscle activation that keeps our spines moving without injury. Before long the first layer of compensation hasn’t worked so it recruits bigger muscles that have the strength to stabilise that area. However, these muscles are designed to be used for power not endurance, and eventually fatigues and can’t protect. So, then another layer of bigger muscles comes to assist and another layer of compensation forms. This vicious cycle continues and continues till the joint can withstand the forces that we put upon it from our daily movements. But how many layers off compensation has it had to go through? Many.
But because it has been going for such a long time, what was temporary solution becomes a permanent pattern that your brain starts to repeat till it becomes our new normal.
All of a sudden, we have compromised function and we don’t even know about it! Now it takes lots of time, energy and money to fix what could have been avoided if we took the measures to listen to our body’s whispers before it started shouting at us.
This example applies to a mechanical example like our spines. But you could take the same principle and apply it to our lives as well. How many times in life do we go through seasons where we are so busy getting stuff done that we forget to create space to recharge? Over time what was supposed to be a season becomes a full year or many years of output and very little input. Our bodies have created layers, like an onion, of compensation where now the original issue is so covered up that it takes time to fix the root cause. It comes to a crisis point in life for us to step back and take notice.
So let’s be proactive in health approach. Let’s take measures to ensure we are healthy over a lifetime with good habits and make sure we address small issues in our spine well before they snowball into mountains that take time to fix.
Food for thought right?