Do you know who sank the boat?

One of little Tessia’s favourite bedtime stories is the classic “Who sank the boat?”

I’m lucky enough to read this to her most nights (some nights on repeat) and it got me thinking about our clinical reasoning as therapists each day and how patients become injured.

For those not familiar with the story it follows a bunch of animal mates who, one by one, get in a row boat. A cow, donkey, pig, sheep and a tiny little mouse enter the boat in that order, and…*SPOILER ALERT*

…the boat does not sink until the tiny little mouse (“the last to get in, who was lightest of all, could it be him?”) jumps in.

Now, knowing what we know, it certainly was not the mouse, the last to get in, whom sank this boat….indeed, in this case the little mouse was the ‘trigger’ for the boat to sink but it seems as though the mouse never would have been a problem if it weren't for the heavier animals that came before it. They were huge contributing factors to the boat being at it's tipping point.

This reflects how a lot of injuries present themselves. Bending to put a sock on, drying your hair, sneezing are all little mice. Harmless little actions most of the time – unless chronic inactivity, ongoing poor posture, stress and a build of muscular tension are the cow, donkey, pig and sheep bringing us to our threshold.

The solution: Stay proactive. Stretch, move and exercise. Breathe slow and eat and drink well. On top of this we often see our clients on a regular, proactive basis to try and keep those contributing factors out of the boat so that the little triggers become less significant. Addressing some of these factors regularly and incorporating physiotherapy management into your lifestyle can be one of the best ways to future-proof your body. 

Athletes will call this injury prevention, but we just call it looking after yourself.

Tristan Chai