Why we need a body MOT to stay healthy & pain-free as we age
Updated: Jan 19
By law, in the UK, you must get an MOT for your vehicle, but nobody forces you to have an MOT for your body. This is despite the fact that you must rely on it throughout your life, you cannot really replace it, and your independence and freedom depend on its overall condition.
So, what do you need to look at to make sure your body is able to work well and avoid injury?
Christophe Champs, a consultant in Biomechanics and founder of PODO looks at why we all need to consider a Body MOT if we want to stay healthy and pain-free as we age.
TREAT YOUR BODY LIKE A CAR – GIVE IT AN MOT
By Christophe Champs, founder of PODO Clinic and Workshop
If your body hurts or when you feel low, you may reach for a pill, but pills don’t address underlying causes. Just treating symptoms won’t make an issue go away. To do that, you need to look at the cause(s). And that’s where a body MOT can make a real difference to the quality of your life.
A good place to start is with an expert in biomechanics as they can take an overall look at your structure, your posture, and your movement. From there, they can recommend what sort of treatment plan you will need and/or what other type of expert may be best for your personal circumstances. For example, you may need orthotics and then an exercise plan with a trainer, or regular physiotherapy or IDD (Intervertebral Differential Dynamics) Therapy, or perhaps Pilates or yoga might be best for you, or cranial osteopathy. There are lots of options and by getting your body assessed you can then focus your treatment with the correct professional.
What to expect
A body MOT should focus on your main concern(s) with an expert to understand your physiopathology or how you went from a healthy state to a pathologic one. Once a problem is understood, it is on its way to being sorted. You will also benefit from having a professional identifying any bad habits and they can also dispel any myths you may have been told. Finally, you must have a proper treatment plan established, with progress points to track, and a person to talk to when you have any questions or are feeling demotivated.
Every clinic has its own philosophy and therapeutic arsenal. At PODO for example, we work from—and on—the feet (the body anchor and a quarter of the skeleton) up to the neck. Looking at the entire body while referring you to other techniques and therapies when needed. Communication with patients and referrers is ongoing to make sure the patient understands how their body can work better and is able to take steps to get there.
Surgery-free—also known as ‘conservative’—solutions/treatments (for example, orthotics, manual therapies, physical therapies, coaching) are the most common approach and it is unlikely that any radical treatment involving blades and needles will be recommended at this stage.
For example, at PODO, we work on orthotics because they can address both sides of your body independently, but also because they can be adjusted or replaced over and over as your body changes, something that you can’t do with the joints inside your body.
Orthotics can be used for anything from a short time to permanently (depending on the patients and their goals), but bad habits must be changed and not allowed to reappear if you want to age more healthily and keep active and pain-free for longer.
Alignment, balance, and posture are the three axes your biomechanics consultant can improve for you with a pair of custom orthotics. Osteopaths and Chiropractors also work on the axis of your body, the skeleton if you prefer, through manual therapies. Once the bones are realigned, the muscle imbalances are reduced and can be addressed with your physiotherapist and trainer using various manual, physical, or alternative therapies.
Where are the limits of a body MOT?
Your structural factors can’t be changed. You’ve got to work around them. The skeleton and its 224 bones are connected by the ligaments. The elasticity of your ligaments will define whether you are stiff, mobile, hypermobile, or somewhere in between.
Postural factors are the ones that can be changed. From an untracking kneecap or foot overpronation to anterior pelvic tilt, obesity, or poor flexibility, your practitioner will ask you to make changes to your lifestyle and general diet. These will help to solve the issues and ensure long-term health.
It is important to remember that our bodies are not fixed, they change over time, and these changes influence the health of our bodies and our movements. At any stage of life, men and women—whether athletes, workers, or pensioners—can benefit from a body MOT.