The majority of folks that I will meet tend to have issues that either will not go away, or just keep coming back. Yes, at times these issues are due to some injury that occurred at some point in the past, that perhaps they were never truly able to recover from.
However, that actually trends to be the minority. Most of the time the folks I will see have aches, pains and problems… but there was no event that seemed to have caused them.
No one pulled a Tonya Harding on their knee….
No one shot them in their back…
And they absolutely did not fall out of a three story building and land smack dap on their hip.
It was not anything out of the ordinary that brought on the problem, instead it was the ordinary.
Essentially, they way they have to take on the ordinary parts of their daily lives tends to be far rougher on certain parts than ideal.
Yes, some of this situation does come down to habit… however a good chunk of it is also driven by some deeply ingrained hardwiring that all of us tend to inherit.
Well, despite the wide and varied ways in which all of us can be different from each other, we all tend to have some very predictable patterns to how we both stay upright and move. With that, we also tend to have some very predictable ways in which we persevere, press on and pull it together.
And while these Common Compensatory Patterns are extremely useful in helping us survive a strenuous or stressful situation, they tend to be problematic when we get stuck in them.
About a year ago I wrote about these Common Compensatory Patterns, and you can read that little piece HERE.
While that article touched more on the top layer of tension that tends to be present in anyone with a chronic or reoccurring problem, here I want to share a bit about layer underneath it all.
Essentially, on the outside we may look symmetrical, but internally we are not.
This internal asymmetry is so significant, it actually biases us to our right side.
Some of this has to do with how our brains are organized, and some of it our internal anatomy.
When it comes to our brain, the right side tends to both sense and control the left side of the body (with vice versa equally true), and with that the right and left hemispheres tend to divide the many responsibilities. In general, the left side of the brain tends to manage both language and mathematics, and the right side of the brain more creativity, spacial and social awareness.
That said, there is a component of handedness to the common patterns that we will all have.
In general we could say that from the neck up, right handed individuals (90% of us) are heavily biased to their right hand. When it comes to left handed individuals, that bias tends to be not always reversed but instead at times just diminished…and often varies from left hander to left hander.
Yes… when it comes to their brains, left handed individuals are a complex bunch.
However, from the neck down every single human being is biased to their right side… regardless of the hand they write with.
How could this be?
Well, internally our organs are lopsided.
Your heart is on the left, and your liver is on the right.
Next to that liver you have a stomach… that is ideally empty more than half the time. This makes for uneven weight in your torso, and tends to pitch us to the right just to work with it.
Besides that your left lung is smaller than your right, in order to make space for your heart. This makes your right lung the bigger of the pair.
And not just a little bigger… your right lung is measurably bigger than your left. Your right has three lobes to it, where as your left only has two. This makes it so the way in which your ribcage expands with any inhale will never be the same on the right as it is on the left. After all, there is more to expand…
Now, it is not just your organs that are lopsided… your diaphragm is as well.
Just like we have a right and left shoulder, hip or knee… we also have a right and left diaphragm.
And as you may have guessed… your right diaphragm is measurably bigger than your left.
This gives us a reliable right side to sink into, so we can explode out of it. We are designed to drift more easily to the right, and if we can work with it and whip out of that right side we are gifted with torque and leverage.
Like an offset nature of an engine, the lopsidedness allows us to get going… and keep going.
This bias to the right is why we only compete in a track event running counter clockwise.
Read that again…
We never…ever… run in a competitive track event moving in a clockwise direction.
We go counter clockwise so we can get off that heavy right side and swing it around a corner in the process.
Now, as a species we absolutely can turn to the right. However, the turn any of us are able to make to the right tends to be either a lot slower or a lot broader and bigger than the turn we can get to the left.
If we did, we would fly off the track… and chances are this is exactly how they figured out it is best to just have folks run or skate in this direction.
This is also why the left leg is called out when marching in formation. They literally have to remind people that they have a left leg…
So what is the point of this?
Well, I actually have two…
The first is that we are built to move, and so we will all do best moving quite a lot in our day.
The second is that you have two different sides, and that will never change.
When it comes to the first point it is important to realize that architecturally we are not a pillar… and so when we try to act like one we tend to run into problems.
This is why we feel so terrible when we park for too long…or get “stuck in park”. When you are still for any period of time… you will predictably drift to the right.
This also why it is crucial that the movement you do get in involves a great deal of alternation from one side of your body to the other. Beyond walking, hiking, and running, if you would like a resource for what these sorts of exercises may look like click HERE. If would like a deeper explanation as to why this is so important, feel free to click HERE, HERE, and HERE.
As for the second point, this is something that simply needs to be accepted. Your right will never be your left, and your left will never be your right… and this is not something to be fixed.
Instead, it is something to be employed.
If you are right handed like 90% of us, then your right hand will always be your language and precision hand.
If you are of the remaining 10%, then quite likely that job will be best suited for your left.
Truly, it is best not to attempt to switch that up much… things are bound to be far less coherent, and far less precise if any of us were to try.
However, while you right and left hand will never have the same effectiveness for any given task as perhaps the other, you absolutely deserve to have a left sides that is just as strong, coordinated and reliable as your right. The goal is not for symmetry, as much as it is for freedom.
Now, if you want to view what this predictable drift looks like, then simply click HERE. However if you are genuinely curious about some of the things I have touched on above, then feel free to click on the link below. This will bring to the full video where I go into much greater depth of what these Common Compensatory Patterns are, how they tend to present, and even some simple strategies to begin wrangling them back in if you yourself are experiencing any of these things.
If you have any questions about the above, please do not hesitate to reach out.
Regardless, I hope you find the above helpful, and I hope you are comfortable, able and well.