If you’re anything like me, you grew up doing a lot. I grew up playing sports year-round – always finding something to do. Growing up I played plenty of sports – hockey, soccer weightlifting, volleyball, rock climbing, squash – and I’ve experienced my fair share of injuries. In fact, it was a volleyball injury that caused my first ever bout of back pain and introduced me to the world of manual therapy.
Now you might be wondering why I’m talking about playing sports and having injuries and why I would title this piece “you’re not a car”. The reason is this: if, like many of us, I had such an active life and experienced back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, etc.. am I doomed to a life of pain? When you buy a car, you have an expectation of a certain lifespan. If you’re lucky and take care of your vehicle it will last a few hundred thousand kilometers. Can we expect the same thing from our bodies and, if so, what kind of lifespan can we expect?
Often when I chat with patients, they suspect that their knee injury from their high school days is probably why their knee is hurting today. We have this idea as a society that “old injuries come back to haunt you” but the reality is – you’re not a car! Things don’t break down and stay broken in your body. We have mechanisms in our bodies that heal automatically. Even major injuries like a broken bone take a few months but they heal. Sometimes pain can linger and it’s due to a number of factors other than injured tissues. In cases like this we usually take a look at what other kind of stress you’re putting through that joint – are you exercising enough? Too much? From there we put the puzzle pieces together to form a complete image of you – it includes much more than just your injury from when you were a teenager.
The bottom line is that pain is complex but, in most cases, it also has solutions. Just because you had a flat tire 10 years ago doesn’t mean you’ll have a flat tire today, tomorrow, or next year.
Theo Ramsdale – Doctor of Chiropractic
Owner of The Wellness Zone