A large water stain had appeared on the ceiling of my college apartment. Some kind of leak in the roof. I called the property manager about it and he sent a handyman over. Per instructions from the manager, the handyman carefully painted over the spot on my ceiling. Then left.
Needless to say, the problem was not fixed.
I’m not sure what exactly the manager was thinking. Maybe he wanted to save money and thought this was the way. Or he was trying to will a simpler solution into being. Or he misunderstood the problem. Or he just plain didn’t want to do it.
We do something similar with our health.
We try to save money and time on our self care. We want it to be easy and not demand our attention. We don’t understand how important it is to really take care of ourselves, how much better life gets when we try. We just don’t want to deal with it all.
Given these tendencies, there are a lot of enterprising people out there who will gladly take your money while promising you simpler and easier, little to no real effort required.
Take this ad for example. It showed up in our mailbox a couple of weeks ago.
We aren’t trying to put down this branch of medicine in the slightest. But we do instinctively wince at the kinds of big promises and optimism of the flier.
Reason being that even if the treatments do work at short term relief, the root cause and other contributing factors to the existence of the problem are not being addressed. Which means recurrence is practically inevitable. Simply put: if your knee was destroyed by a lifetime of poor running and walking form, and even if you managed to heal that knee at least a little, you still have to correct your gait or you’ll just end up back at the same spot.
This is what the Health Industry pushes: quick, easy, cheap. Minimal mental investment. 8 minute abs. Low-calorie potato chips (that cause anal leakage). Sugar free sweeteners. Countless as-seen-on-TV devices.
Or… a free luncheon to come learn how we can take away your worry and pain with just a few simple injections.
If you are serious about getting stronger, decreasing pain, building the confidence that comes from ever-increasing physical autonomy, it is absolutely vital that you understand the root(s) of your issue(s) and address them sincerely, with thoughtfulness and presence.
Stop and look at what your efforts have been for your own physical, psychological, creative, and spiritual self. Have they been sincere, sober, and complete? Or do you prefer shortcuts that don’t require much personal investment from you?
Maybe you need injections, a back brace, custom orthotics, or weight loss pills. Maybe you don’t. Ultimately that’s for you alone to judge. But we want to put forth the possibility that the lasting solutions to what ails you are unlikely to be found in a pill, syringe, or product.
If you are experiencing physical difficulties, whether in the form of pain, weakness, limited range of motion, etc, you should first have some sort of active movement practice established. If you don’t, any other efforts you make are going to be hindered if not entirely ineffective. And if you receive a specialized treatment, you will also need to include movement as part of your follow up to that treatment.
You need to move better and get stronger, first and foremost.
We want to encourage you to be more curious and explore many varied avenues to decreasing pain and improving all other aspects of your health. We think the path is so simple that it seems ridiculous:
Move well, often, and in ways that take you outside your comfort zone. Understand that you are responsible for your own experience. And that any solution of real value is going to require you to pay attention and make a sincere personal investment.
Simple, but not easy.
Now, there’s a water stain somewhere on your health ceiling. Are you going to paint over it? Or are you going to roll up your sleeves and figure things out?