I’d like to share with you a story about a particular patient from my office that has a lot to offer and may help you too. This particular patient, let’s call him Bob, came in with an acute lower back disc injury. He was in bad shape, intense lower back pain that traveled into his leg. He was finding it difficult to do basic activities for everyday living. Simple things like getting dressed, tying his own shoes, getting up after sitting, using the toilet, and sleeping at night. To say his life was being affected by this injury is an understatement. Bob was starting to think this was going to do him in. Bob is in his mid to late twenties.
We started adjusting him and I gave him instructions for things to do at home. Ice 15-20 minutes multiple times throughout the day and keep moving, but don’t overdue it. If you are a patient in my office you have heard me give these instructions many times before.
Bob is young, active and motivated to feel better so he did the things that I asked him to do. After a few weeks his condition was not progressing as we had both expected. I asked him what else was he doing outside of the office. Bob said, “I’m doing all the things you asked along with stretching, inversion table, foam rolling, lacrosse ball rolling, taking advil and I’ll sit in the hot tub.” Surprised by the long list Bob told me I asked him how often he was doing these things. He responded, “As often as possible. So often at times this is all I do all day long.”
I was so glad I asked him what else he was doing. I said, “Bob, lets stop doing all of these things. Stick to the two things I told you and postpone everything else. you are doing too much!” Lo and behold, each visit I saw Bob after I gave him that advice he got better and better. Fast forward another 2 weeks and Bob was as good as new.
I get it, no one wants to be in pain. We want to heal as fast as possible. It’s the American way to want to do as much as possible to make that happen. Unfortunately, most of the time the rate at which we heal is not controlled by us…the body is control. Less is more in the case of healing and health. The body does not need help, it just needs no interference!
Bob’s story that I shared is not uncommon in my office. It can be hard to dial back on the things we enjoy doing, or think we should be doing, but an injury is the best time to do exactly that…dial back and take it easy. Get adjusted, rest, use this time to do other things you normally don’t have time to do. It’s important that we learn from our injuries. Use them as an opportunity to become better and stronger.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Steven Bourdage DC