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This Is Why Some Problems Are Much More Difficult To Treat than Others

Every patient that comes to me for treatment for a painful condition is given an introduction folder about my clinic at Alté View with an inscription on the inside pocket.  In bold and italicized letters the inscription reads:  “The first step in the path toward healing begins with the desire to help yourself.”  I wish I could assign myself credit for this quote, or even to some lofty physician from ancient Greece or China, but in all honesty, it is so well known and repeated throughout the centuries that its message basically became self-evident.  And although empowering for many, there are some that may feel annoyed — even insulted — at the high level of responsibility expected of them in the presence of another “healer.”  If there was a pit in your stomach that clenched tightly when you just read that quote aloud and you thought, “this could be me,” then this discussion will serve to help you the most… but only if you want it to.

“Can’t you just give me an exercise to make my back pain go away?” I will sometimes hear from my patients.  This desperate call is not just heard within one specialty of healthcare, but truthfully within them all.  “Can’t you just give me a pill — a shot, a drug, a surgery, a diet, an internet product, an automated downloadable app — that will make everything go back to the way it was before I had pain?”

I, too, am not always innocent of desiring a quick fix for a nagging problem that gets in the way of my busy lifestyle.  All you have to do is go online to YouTube with your current pain problem and you'll find an endless stream of health specialists and fitness gurus claiming to have the "secret" to "unlocking" your problem and curing your condition.

It is ironic how now, in our modern and fashionable age of celebrities, it is not uncommon at all to hear that there are actually doctors, physical therapists, and personal trainers, who clamor around for the most elitist list of patients they can collect in their purse and brag about to others. It is more obvious now than ever before just how sensationalized certain elements of the healthcare system have become.

It’s our instinct, after all, that drives our sense of value and impression.  Would you rather go to the physical therapist that worked on Tom Cruise’s broken ankle after his Mission Impossible injury, or the local clinic down the street with only three Google reviews?  Even if your ankle rehab turns out to be a terrible disaster and totally mismanaged, you can always say, “Well, he was the therapist that worked on Tom Cruise!”

Sometimes — not always — famous and powerful people can actually become the hardest patients to treat, not because of their injuries, but because of the overwhelming demands placed on them and those around them.  The challenge for any healer is now two-fold:  to remain objective in a completely unnatural and unrealistic environment, and to also facilitate a genuine process of healing.

What a tremendous disadvantage it can be for celebrity athletes, or stage performers, who have enormous pressures constantly placed upon them to ignore pain, repetitive injuries, and trauma, just to deliver a show.  We know that after injury our bodies only get one chance to really heal right.  If one fresh injury occurs on top of another that hasn’t recovered, over and over again, than this sort of perpetual inflammation will cause a negative — even catastrophic — remodeling of the body that completely distorts the normal timeframes of healing, which we had discussed earlier at length.  The damage may not always be so obvious as it is within physical tissue, such as tendinosis, scarring, or joint degeneration seen on MRI, but it can also be invisible within the nervous system itself.  That sort of unseen trauma and abnormal re-wiring can lead to conditions perpetuated by chronic pain and other strange ailments or “undiagnosable oddities.”

If you are the parent of a school athlete and you recognize some of these pain patterns in your children, please take control for them.  I’ve seen so many parents either push, or willingly allow, their children to train at such an insane level of sport activities that it could almost substitute a full time job… in addition to going to school.

Unfortunately, the compulsion to repetitively perform through injury and insult is not limited to professional or amateur athletes.  Practically speaking, most working class people are compelled to lift, carry, hoist, twist, stoop, sew, stir, stand in place — or insert any other verb you can imagine — just to earn a buck to make their lives a little more comfortable.  This obligatory burden is not just self imposed upon the blue-collared workforce alone, but among countless numbers of computer workers, college professors, and other white-collared “desk-bound employees” who are shackled into the same repetitive posturing all day long.  

Do you know how many world-class, top-dollar, surgeons complain of chronic neck and upper back pain, simply because they are forced to stand on a concrete operating room floor, bent over a body, cutting and stitching, for hours on end?

I encourage you to diversify your job duties, use orthopedic supports, strengthen and stretch yourself if there are deficiencies of weakness and immobility… in the end, nothing compares to taking a sabbatical or just changing jobs.  

You can try any modification you want, but if your job makes you stick your hand above a candle stick, you’re not going to make fire any less hot with all the novelty treatments in the world.

In contrast to our modern medical machine, the healthcare system of our ancestors was without solicitation, salesmanship, or bargaining on behalf of our doctors and providers.  We would actively seek out help by traveling far and wide, overcoming much hardship, to find and commit to a distinguished healer.  Rightfully so, it is just as important for us today that we approach our own health and wellness with this same sense of dedicated enthusiasm.  Even if we do not know much about medicine and the science of healing, we do know enough to care.

If you have a concern about a stubborn and painful condition and you would like an expert to evaluate you, then click here to schedule an appointment with us today.



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