Something’s Missing

The more I venture through life, the more I realize people think there’s something missing from an aspect of their life. Whether it’s financially, spiritually, mentally, or – what this blog will be mostly about – physically.

When you look around at others and see their success, or your closest definition to what success is, you may become discouraged. I’ve done this myself and constantly wonder what the secret to their success in and why it seems to easy. Considering I don’t know much about finances and spirituality, we’ll stick with the mental and physical to which I subjectively think I know most about.

I’ve found recently that people think they’re missing something that is stopping them from being their best selves physically. Patients of mine continually beat themselves about not doing the exercises or drills that I prescribed to them that they think will eliminate their pain and increase their function. When, in reality that is not the case at all. This got me thinking.

I’ve started to realize that (1) Most people aren’t going to do the 10 exercises and stretches that I thought they’d benefit from, so I started to give 1 or 2 that would more or less embody all those exercises to make it realistic and simplistic, and (2) Giving homecare can overwhelm people, in turn leaving them stressed out and confused.

Understanding those 2 points, I’ve started to tell people that these drills and exercises are aimed to simply get you moving either more and reminding your body how resilient and strong the body really is (simple approach on your journey of being in less pain and staying as functional as possible for as long as you can) and aren’t the cure-all for their pain and dysfunction. In addition, I regularly tell my patients that I experience pain as well, because I do very often as do MOST humans. I make it a point to outline the fact that I’m a healthcare “expert” and even I don’t know all the answers to managing my pain, in hopes that will help put things in perspective and hopefully calm them down. I simply try to find the things that do and don’t hurt, and simply continue doing the things that don’t hurt and trying to find a way to alter or eliminate the things that do hurt.

With that in mind, I’ve started to explain that rather than looking at the things you AREN’T doing, let’s evaluate the things you ARE doing. For example, if bending over induces pain, can we get you to bend over differently or limit the amount you need to bend over during the day to reduce the amount of painful experiences while your body heals itself? Rather than giving you a few exercises and stretches that now add to your daily to-do list and can overwhelm you rather than being of benefit to you.

It’s like trying to lose weight; rather than doing XYZ diet that all your friends are doing, doing endless amounts of cardio in the hopes that burning 200 calories will make your abs magically appear, or taking the “magic fat burning supplement/pills, can we analyze the calories you are taking in? Can’t we simply get you to cut your portions of what you normally eat to an amount that will hopefully put you into a caloric deficit, resulting in a loss of body fat?

Do not let the feeling of hopelessness stop you from living your life. I almost guarantee you will get several conflicting ideas/theories on what’s happening with your body, which begs the question, what do we really know about the body? In reality, it’s a HUGE grey area, and if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written, I constantly make mention of how complicated our bodies and our pain can be. We wouldn’t have chiropractors, massage therapists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, physical therapists, fascial stretch therapists, osteopaths, and so on and so forth if pain was so easy to solve. If health care professionals had all the answers, there would be JUST “Manual Therapists” and we’d be living in a pain-free society.

Moral of the story, rather than overwhelming yourself with the dread of thinking there’s something you’re NOT doing, evaluate the things you ARE doing and see if you can make minor tweaks to simplify your strategy to decrease perceived pain and get you back to living your normal life.


Tyler Paterson RMT

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