The average American adult is quite a busy individual. Within the hours in a single day, we must work, eat/cook about 3 meals, take care of children/pets, workout, sleep, and somehow find time to do give our brain and body a moment to unwind. All this if we want to maintain our “sanity”. Our way of living takes up a lot of time. So, when we get sick or injured, the last thing we want to do or can even afford is to take time out of our busy schedules to tend to our body. This is especially true when we have financial obligations, some that may be more difficult to meet given this year’s unforeseen changes. Because of this, we look for what we call “the quick fix”, something that will take your pain away (even if it is temporary) and allow you to get through the day to complete your responsibilities.
We expect to go to the medical doctor and be prescribed some time of pharmaceutical that will make the pain and inflammation go away. Or we agree to receive a cortisone injection or some other type of epidural in hopes that it will do the trick and let you quickly get back to your life. Why do we think this way? Yes, we are an advanced species, but we are not invincible. If we get injured, the only way we will make a full recovery is if we dedicate time and effort to ourselves, just like we dedicate time and effort to our careers and our family members.
The quick fix method is temporary and does not actually heal anything. It is like putting a band-aid over a broken bone, can you imagine that helping at all? The worst problem with it is that we become reliant on it to keep us going even to just make it through the day. And we abuse of this method for as long as we can until many a times, we end up pushing it too far. We then get to a point where our pain becomes chronic and the doctor ends up telling you that the only way to get rid of the pain is to do surgery – a treatment that now definitely warrants you taking time off from your life to recover. All the while, this could have been avoided if we would have just properly addressed the injury/pain from the beginning. And yes, by properly addressing the injury I mean putting in the work and attending physical therapy or changing your diet and/or lifestyle (dependent on what the injury is and what the professionals recommend).
Our bodies need time and guidance to heal properly. In a previous post we talked about tissue healing rates and how inflammation is a good thing, and our bodies need it to initiate the healing process. So, if we only take anti-inflammatory medication and push through the pain, we are making matters worse and doing our bodies a disservice. So, when your physical therapist tells you it’ll take about 6 week to get you back up to normal function with 2 sessions a week and a home exercise program to perform all other days, commit to it. We don’t prescribe this because we enjoy torturing you, we do it because we understand the bodies healing needs and want to help you make a full recovery.
I know time is of the essence and we all have very little of it to spare. But we need to make our bodies a priority because without them, all the other responsibilities we stress about will never get done.
And then think of what would happen?
By Jennifer Santamaria PT, DPT