Hardware vs Software

Filed in MMT — October 20, 2018


Hardware vs Software is a hot topic in the health and fitness industry. It can spark heated debates surrounding what can be done and what can’t be done. What is software? What is hardware? What is the controversy and why does it matter?

What Is Software?

Software is flexible, malleable, and can be changed. When applied to human function it is ripe with neuroplasticity. The Systems learn, adapt, and evolve as needed to grow. In order to do this, they need to be agreeable to change.

Our compensation patterns are the musculoskeletal equivalent to a software issue. They were created for a specific purpose, but instead of moving through the adaptation they become stuck in a way of living and are what we sometimes refer to as a ‘software glitch’.

What Is Hardware?

Hardware is inflexible and cannot be changed. It also seems to be a 4 letter word in the industry.

A few examples of hardware when applying the term to human function are plates and screws, broken bones, arthritis, demyelinating diseases, lesions, and the list goes on.

The Systems view these hardware bits as alien. They will constantly try to adapt around these areas in protective nature.

When confronted with ‘hardware issues’ many practitioners hang their head in defeat knowing that changes will not take place. They have given up before they’ve begun, because that’s what they’ve been taught.

Hardware vs Software; The Great Debate

So what is the great debate with Hardware VS Software?

As Manual Therapists, we work primarily with software. We work with the Systems to create positive changes. Knowing that we can’t change hardware issues does not mean we can’t create positive changes!

Is there really any debate then?

3 Ways To Successfully Address Hardware Issues

  1. Don’t treat it like it’s a death sentence. Treat it as you would any other pain and movement issue you are presented with in your practice daily within its specific limitations.
  2. Dig deeper. This is a primary opportunity to possibly discover the neuromuscular, neuroemotional, biomechanical, and or lifestyle triggers that resulted in the hardware issue. I often ask my clients why they want to go back to how they were if that’s what brought them to where they are now.
  3. Encourage ongoing wellness sessions of their choosing. With hardware it often becomes a point of how good they want to feel for how long. The Systems will continue to adapt, but the more symptomatic issues can be reduced with self-care and continued maintenance.

In my opinion, the bottom line when it comes to software vs hardware is that both require a skilled Practitioner and that the patient be an active participant in their healing process. Create an environment of education, exploration, and discovery for positive changes to evolve.

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