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The WORST EXCUSE For Why You Feel Pain

I’m getting old.

How often do I hear this excuse when I’m treating a patient who doesn’t get better overnight? There is a disease in our country of olditis. It’s a name I made up to describe people who become paralyzed in their self-pity that they stop doing what is necessary to rehabilitate. So many people out there are choosing the convenient path and blaming their age, without even looking at their own habits, lifestyle choices, and culture. These are the people who will likely end up depending on painkillers to be able to live their daily lives. Something I always tell my old patients is that it isn’t age that causes your pain. It’s your choices that causes your age. What I mean is that if you come in for a knee pain that refuses to go away, more likely than not, it is due to a culmination of poor lifestyle choices over a long period of time.

It is too easy to use age as the primary reason as to why you’re hurting. But there IS an answer to this. Most people do not know that they can reduce their age. Their biological age.

Chronological age is the actual amount of time you have been alive. Your biological age refers to the condition of your body and which age group your health would typically be associated with. For example, a 70 year-old who runs marathons has a high chronological age, but a relatively low biological age. A 25-year old that sits down and watches television all day while complaining about his low back and knee hurting all the time has a low chronological age, but a high biological age. If you compare the 70-year old and the 25-year old on paper, the 70-year old took made better choices and resultantly has a better quality of life.

What is the moral here? CHOICES AND LIFESTYLE DICTATE YOUR BIOLOGICAL AGE. If you sit for 8 hours a day watching TV, work a desk job full-time, eat poorly, and don’t work out, then how much of a surprise is it really when your back, knee, or shoulder isn’t getting better? No surprise here.

In physical therapy, we look at what is changeable. Sometimes, it isn’t just a home exercise program that a patient needs. Sometimes, it’s an intervention.

Before you begin physical therapy, understand that you may have to make sacrifices or lifestyle changes to complete a successful rehab plan. If you want to become a stronger version of yourself, you must accept that you will need to become a different person. How different depends on the person. For some, committing to a daily walk will create major benefits. For others, you may have to dedicate yourself to considerable lifestyle changes. However, if you manage to make the necessary compromises, you will reap the rewards. And they will be substantial.

As always, I hope you the best in your rehab journeys,

– Robert

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