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March 7, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Student Health Services – Did you know? From the Physios!

The human body is absolutely amazing. As (student) physiotherapists we are constantly stunned at the phenomenon of our bodies’ ability to cope with the tremendous demands we place upon it. Essentially however, it’s the fun facts in our biology that really get us going. For example, did you know that like finger prints, everyone has a unique tongue print? Marvellous!

Another tongue-tingling fact: try to lick your elbow. Successful? Probably not, your humerus is too long. Another bona fide fact of a skeletal nature, we get taller over night and shrink during the day. Throughout the day compression from gravity causes our vertebral discs to shrink by at least 0.5cm. While you’re losing height consider this. You are born with 300 bones. Now you only have 206. One in 20 of you are, however, lucky enough to have 207 with an extra rib. 22 of these bones are found in the human head. And try this, measure the length of your wrist to your elbow; it’s the same length as your foot!

Are you getting a feel of where we are coming from? Probably rather quickly, when we touch something, we send a ‘message’ via nerves to our brain at 199.56km/hr. There are approximately 72 km of nerves in the skin of a human being. And consider this while you’re next flying your umbrella on a windy day in Wellington, in 6.5 square centimetres of one hand we have approximately 9000 nerve endings and 2.7m feet of blood vessels. Roughly speaking, there are 40 tendons and 20 muscles within the hand.

If by some misfortune your hand is injured while you and your umbrella are lifted like Mary Poppins’ over Wellington city, do not worry, your body will incredibly heal itself. There are three different stages of healing that ligaments and muscles go through. The first stage may leave you swollen and in pain. This is called the ‘Inflammatory Stage’ where blood vessels are damaged and all of our body’s inflammatory cells gather to break down damaged tissue. Do not be troubled, this stage will pass quickly as long as you RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate). Unfortunately drowning your sorrows or allowing the ‘hottie’ next door to massage heat rub on the wound will only make things worse. Stage two arrives once the swelling has decreased and it isn’t quite so obvious that you fell pretending to relive a childhood dream. The body miraculously releases hormones that help with regeneration and healing of the damaged tissue. This is called the ‘Repair Stage’ which comes four to ten days after injury. Last comes the ‘Remodelling Stage’. A scar is formed, and through exercise (and physiotherapy) it regains most of its previous strength, flexibility and function.

If you ever have trouble with one of the 600+ muscles (wow!), or other bodily worries, then come and visit us or the Student Health team at Mauri Ora. We have recently relocated to the Student Union Building.

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