Friday, April 24, 2015

Gravity: Is it taking a toll on you?

There is no escaping gravity, in fact it is the one constant thing that never changes on this earth! It doesn't matter if you sit, stand, walk, run, play sport or are sedentary .... It is a constant 9.8m/s2 and it does not have favorites. In the world of gravity we are all equal to its pulling effects. If it weren't for gravity we wouldn't be grounded -- we would be free floating heavenly bodies--- no we are not fallen angels!!

Dr. Carolyn Richardson from Queensland Australia is one of the pioneers in research of gravity and the muscular system. She and her team have been well published as her research is scientific and sound. She has coined the term GRMC or Gravity Related Medical Conditions.... You can read more in her book at I've been a fan of her research for over 15 years and it has served as a keystone in my clinical practice in NYC. As you know I am in the business of pain and gravity keeps me very busy! 

Then why do I hurt and others don't  --- if you are thinking this then you must  read on to get an inside view on pain. I say these two things to every patient of mine "If YOU don't have a good relationship with gravity your body will breakdown" and "Better the relationship, the better the quality of life".

Let me explain!

Gravity has a pulling effect on you and if your muscles don't respond to that pull you will fall flat to the ground. To avoid that, your muscles offer gravity a counter pull via core muscles and anti-gravity muscles to keep you upright.

Balance of reaction forces between gravity and muscles = all well. 

Imbalance = all hell

It's that simple Really.

Our "jungle life" allowed us to closely interact with gravity as we climbed, rolled, stood, walked, and jumped --- all things that tone activate rejuvenate the core and anti-gravity system. It uses our sensory tactile system to send messages to our body to perform and thrive. Our "urban life" causes us to sit and the static predictable nature of a computer screen desensitized our sensory system to movement. Yes we don't move for over eight hours a day and counting.

In the same way we recharge our cell phones every night for using it during the day..... prolonged sitting posture discharges sensory awareness when sitting at a computer. Yes sitting reduces tone in the core and anti-gravity muscles --- making your body use phasic muscles to do the job which leads to breakdown and eventually pain.

We were meant to move; not sit for prolonged periods of time. If we don't move often or are not aware of how we sit --- breakdown happens within the gravity relationship causing pain.

To avoid GRMCs finding a balance between all the static postures and constant movement is optimal and important. It can be taught and learnt just like any other skill be it a language, cooking or art.

I can do that! Come to Duffy & Bracken and let me reacquaint you with Gravity!

Renuka Pinto, MPT, PGDR, CSCS, CES
Duffy & Bracken Physical Therapy Director