The other night, as I do from time to time, I was reviewing some pages on my website. As I was reading the page entitled “What Others Are Saying” (which is full of various clients’ success stories from over the years), I had mixed feelings.
Yes I’ll admit, it was personally edifying to remind myself of these amazing (and in some cases miraculous) stories, but as I did I began thinking about what happened to some of those people after those comments were made. My confession to you is that some of them didn’t do very well over the long term.
Here’s a big reason why…
You see, some people have been led to believe that if their pain goes away, they are “cured.” They have a mindset that looks at their orthopedic disease as if it were an infectious disease and because of that, they go about treating it the wrong way.
Orthopedic diseases are things like arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, fasciitis, disc herniation’s, stenosis, joint pain, back pain, neck pain, muscle tears and other problems that affect muscle, joint, nerve or connective tissues. These diseases develop over time and are caused by many individual factors, most of which are controllable. If someone takes proper care of their musculoskeletal system, they can often avoid them.
However, if we treat these problems like infectious diseases, what will we do? We will wait until we feel a problem (usually pain), seek medical attention, try and find a “cure”, and if we begin to feel better we will then go on with our life the same way we did before.
This is how we would treat a cold, flu, virus or infection, but orthopedic diseases are different. They don’t develop because something is in us that must be eliminated via a “cure,” They develop because of how we take care of our body.
Things that will positively influence your orthopedic health are consistent hydration, eating an anti-inflammatory diet, proper exercise, moving regularly (and the right way), activating inhibited muscles, using proper lifting techniques, limiting your sitting time and getting proper recovery time between activities, just to name a few. Yes genes play a small role and yes age does make a difference, but by and large these controllable factors are far more important to the equation.
Sadly, many people I’ve worked with over the years have failed to make that mindset shift and that is a big reason why some of the success stories you see, hear and read didn’t have happy endings. Many people over the years quit working with me once they felt better because they had an infectious disease mindset. When their problem came back, some of them thought they should look for a more permanent solution that would allow them to keep the rest of their lifestyle the same.
Sadly, what these people failed to realize is that there is no permanent solution. The solution IS a lifestyle solution because your body changes day to day depending on what you do or don’t do. If what you do or don’t do doesn’t align with what is best for the health of your body, eventually it will let you know. Pain and orthopedic diseases are two ways that it does that.
Now, I will say this though- there are a lot of people that truly get it. These are the ones that stay the course and develop a new LIFESTYLE that includes many of the things I’ve mentioned. These people also usually end up being the ones that see me regularly for years. These people do really well.
So anyway, that’s my confession. It comes with a friendly word of caution- don’t ever think you’re “cured.” Work every day to create the environment where health can thrive and where pain and orthopedic disease cannot. You will not regret it.
Your friend and advocate,
P.S.- Today is a really special day for me. It is the 21st anniversary of the day I began chemotherapy. Last year around this same time, I wrote about an article about my experience of getting diagnosed with leukemia as a sophomore in high school. You can read it by clicking here- http://www.nonfictionfitness.com/20-years-ago-this-week-i-began-a-fight-for-my-life/