You Be Illin’
– Body messed up? Why?
As I get older (and no, I am not THAT old) I hear more and more from friends and acquaintances how screwed up their bodies are. “I can’t turn my neck to the left”, “My back is killing me”, “I screwed up my knee, so I can’t go skiing”, “I would love to work out more, but my shoulder always hurts when I do stuff”. Etc.
Why are we so messed up at such a fairly young age? I recently spent some time at the shore with my 90 year old grandfather and was amazed at how well he moved and the things he was able to do. This man has had 3 knee surgeries while he was in his 80’s and he moves better today than some of my friends who are not past their 35 birthday. How can that be? Well I am not going to speculate at this point why my grandfather seems so mobile and healthy, but I can and will speculate on why so many people at such a young age are messed up physically…more so, I will speculate to what they will be like if they do live to 90 unless they get themselves functional again.
Many people, me included, have taken the attitude of supreme invincibility throughout our lives, and while this attitude allows us to be adventurous and do things that we might not normally do, I believe that it is this belief in invincibility, that is primarily responsible for many of our orthopedic problems. When things happen to our bodies (Strains, swelling of joints, pain, etc…) we tend to ignore the problems and just think they will go away on their own. Eventually many of the problems and pain do, but not always in the right way. Our bodies have a great way of adjusting to pain and discomfort and one of the ways it does this is by compensating. While doing that, we set ourselves up for other problems while never correcting the original pathology. Unchecked neck problems/pain, will eventually cause shoulder problems/pain, and this can cause back problems and so forth.
Another bad habit that the vast majority of people seem to have is the tendency to just “deal with it”, ignore the pain, ignore the problem and live life around it. We adopt the attitude that having pain, or having a particular problem is “normal” and we just need to get used to it. Not only is this a dangerous attitude to have, it is a stupid one.
The point of writing this is to hopefully open your eyes and make you question not only “why” you have that pain, or those problems in your body, but better, how you can successfully start to deal with them. We can’t fix something most times, unless we know what is causing the problem in the first place.
I have watched too many friends, patients, and family members throughout my life just “deal” with the problems by ignoring them, and then watch these problems turn into serious situations.
By now, you are probably saying “Ok, Ok, I get it, I’m messed up”, “now what”? Glad you asked, because I am going to tell you.
For almost every orthopedic ailment in the body, I believe there is a fix of some sort. This may be in the form of an exercise or two, a surgery, a treatment modality, or a simple correction of something causing the problem in the first place. I am not saying here that EVERY problem can be fixed back to normal, but what I am saying is that through years of dealing with these issues on thousands of athletes and normal folks, I have witnessed at the very least, improvements!! Many times we can fix those problems, and even if we can’t, we can always improve the situation.
What can you do to start down the road of health? Start by asking yourself some honest questions. Find out WHY you hurt. Think back to all of your traumas in life, both on and off of the “field of play”. Write a list and you will probably begin to understand where some of the problems you have today have come from. Ask yourself WHERE you hurt most of the time, and WHEN you hurt the most. Again, write this down. WHAT kind of pain is it? (Sharp, dull, pounding, achy, shooting, burning, etc.) What makes the pain go away?
Once you figure out the WHAT, and WHY of your problems, you can start a plan to get yourself right. Find someone that knows how to treat or deal with these problems and do it NOW. Too many people wait and figure it will just go away, or that they can live with it. That’s not a good attitude to have. As time goes on, I can promise you that these problems will only get worse. Where do you want to be in 5, 10, 15, 25 years in life regarding your physical health? Do you want your back to hurt EVERY SINGLE DAY? How would you like to ALWAYS have a limp and never be able to run again? How about needing help getting into and out of a chair every time you use one? What would it be like to NEVER be able to pick up a bag of groceries by yourself again? These are just some of the things that many people can look forward too unless they get their selves fixed and fixed soon.
Think about it, ask the hard questions, and get a plan. I will be writing pieces in the future that cover many ways to get yourself “right”.