Length differences or shoulder dips or worry that one side always seems a little rotated this way or that.
A strong indication that a body isn’t coping is pain or dysfunction. When the body is shouting at us in pain, these observable asymmetries may point us towards where the problem is. They could also be a knock-on effect from something else that helps us build a bigger picture.
However, generally speaking our body halves are not mirror images and it’s simply because we’re not built that way!
Here are some examples of when the body is not symmetrical.
Most people will have a left and a right lung. However, each lung is split into sections called lobes. The left lung has two lobes, whereas the right has three. Why? The left lung has less space due to the heart sitting slightly off centre to that side.
Again, most people will have two kidneys. But did you know that the right kidney sits a little lower than the left? Because of the large liver above, it is shoved down a little!
Whereas many organs come in pairs, there are several lone rangers too. The heart, liver, spleen and pancreas are just a few. None of them sit squarely in the middle of your body.
The diaphragm is a large double domed muscle that separates your chest and lungs from your abdominal area. At rest, the right dome sits a little higher than the left. The liver underneath the diaphragm cause it to be higher on this side.
From single cell beginnings
When you were just one tiny cell, pockets of fluid within that cell started to form and multiply creating pressure and growth from within. These fluid bubbles never form symmetrically and each cell starting its journey as a human will be slightly different.
Even when structures are meant to be symmetrical the reality is different. Bones will have slightly different twists and turns to their partners, some muscles will have extra slips of tendon on one side, sinuses on one side of the face will be bigger than the other. From the moment a human being starts to grow, that growth is adaptive and responsive to internal and external forces.
With all this in mind is it any wonder we stand with one shoulder ¼ of an inch lower or with our belly button pointing very slightly to one side?!
So rather than getting too caught up in exact symmetry and textbook perfection, concentrate more on how you feel. If you are feeling great and perfect…fantastic!
If you are feeling stiff and sore or for anything from headaches and sciatica to low back pain, our Falkirk and Stirling osteopaths are ready to examine and treat you according to your individual needs.