I like to pretend that I am Batman. Often, over breakfast I tell my kids that I am a bit tired due to all the crime fighting I was doing last night. When we stay at my parent’s place at Palm Beach I tell them I was extra busy the night before because “down the coast” is not like “up the mountain”, and there are more crimes to fight down there. My son even proudly wears a shirt that says: “Like Father, Like Son – Yes, My Dad’s Batman!” Of course, the kids always laugh at me and I just thought it was a little running family joke I was having.
However, about 2 months ago, Owen, my 7-year-old son, looked at my very seriously and asked in all earnestness: “Dad, are you REALLY batman?” We all had a laugh, but he wasn’t joking. He needed the clarification just to be totally sure. It was a difficult thing for me, but I had to admit outright that, no, I wasn’t in fact Batman.
You see, Owen had been told the same thing often enough from someone that he trusted that he had even begun to kinda, slightly, remotely believe what I was saying. Once a person starts to sort of believe something and they keep getting told it by a trustworthy source it isn’t long until it becomes a fact.
And so it can sometimes be with our health. We can be told all sorts of things about our bodies and our health. Some things we choose to believe, some things we dismiss outright and immediately, while others we go and research to find out what works best for us.
Unfortunately, I occasionally have patients that have been told things about their body by healthcare professionals that result in these patients being overly fearful, overly protective and downright afraid. They have been told: “Your arthritis is so bad, you shouldn’t do anything otherwise it will get much worse”; or, “You have an unstable back that could go any minute, you should never do any gardening again”; or, “There is no way that Physio can help with the problem that you have.”
I have had many people cry tears of relief during an appointment simply because I have taken the time to correctly explain their “disease” or their “condition” or their joint “problem”. Once the fear and apprehension is tackled head on, I often find that together we can then work out a plan for them to move towards better health.
At Physique, like most physios, we love working together with our patients to come up with best outcomes possible. We have seen unbelievable turn arounds in people’s lives simply because they have been given the confidence to move and to exercise.
Never accept that you can do nothing to improve your musculoskeletal health. Always challenge someone who tells you that there is nothing that can be done to change your pain or weakness or stiffness or discomfort. Ultimately, you are the expect on your own body. If something doesn’t feel or sound correct it is possible that it isn’t. Make sure you gather as much information as you can from a variety of sources and talk over your misgivings openly with a health care professional that you trust.
It is time for us as a society to stop just believing things just because we are told them over and over. Get out there, get some expert advice and start getting healthier.