You Have A Choice

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In this hand, I have the fix for your problems. A TOTAL fix!

You will live better, feel amazing and life as you know it will improve beyond comprehension.  Your struggles, your weight gain, your illnesses will vanish and life as you now know it will cease to exist. You CAN truly make a change!

In the other hand, I have a blue pill. It’s a placebo. You’ll wake up tomorrow and everything will be exactly like it is right now.

I’ve written about the enormity of ‘the system” and the problems that are dangerous rip currents in healthcare. (“Why are doctors so…)

You don’t have to read that article – it’s actually more of a rant than anything educational anyway – The gist is just to “be better” in society as a whole. Each of us but especially all of us in healthcare need to be better and hold ourselves to a higher standard.  It’s Just good advice for anyone, anytime.

But often…OK more often than not, in my particular brand of healthcare, ie “feeling better, therapy type treatments, rehab and performance enhancement” –

 It is the patient that is the problem, not the system!

Yeah, you don’t want to hear this

If you are indeed the patient, it is indeed a tough pill – but too bad, it is Captain Obvious time.

During such a disregard for any act of effort I feel a ‘call out’ is in need.  Maybe this helps you become a better patient and in part helps the relationship you have with your doctor so when you pay this hard-earned money to someone like me you get what you really want.

As is my norm..

I’ll preface this article with a story or two – entertaining while enlightening, I’m trying to get you to laugh.

A found laugh is like finding a dollar bill on the curb – Nothing that will change your life but still feels like you’re one up on the rest of the world.  Let’s see what I can do.

Today I had a client who wanted worked on after a massage.  Routine chiro stuff and typically its easy peesy, this workup’s cheesy.

Today however the client looked me in the eyes and said, “Hey doc – I know all this feels good, but I want a fix.”

Seriously?! You do? YES!!!

I love to fix things and although I’m happy to let you spend your money however you see fit, I want to FIX you girl! I was pumped. And dammit…I had the fix all lined up.

This was a rather common issue – she has had constant upper back tightness along her shoulders -she feels all her stress “here” (grab her shoulders and neck move) and although chiro, PT and massage all seem to help, she just feels like it all comes back 2 days later.   Sound familiar?  I hear this daily. Repeat  Daily – probably sounds like you huh?  Yeah its aggravating, but far from unique.

Remember that video I posted a month or so ago with the purple ball and the idea of how there are muscles that are movers and muscles that are “stabalizers” and on and on…No? but I made a video guys. I posted it to this page even. Here’s a link for it. Neck Stabilization Video.  

Well exactly. That’s what happens.

I went through it piece by piece – full on tilt awesome therapy delivered to your face. Aaaand nothing.

She loved the little song and dance and nodded appropriately and asked appropriate questions and even had a few insights.. I could tell she “got it.”  Although this rehab is insanely low brow, low tech AND cheap  – it is incredibly effective.  Cameron, my therapist commented -, “it’s a life changing tool that nobody wants.”

Yep it is – despite being a semi flat ball and hokey and cheap it is an incredible new look into the human body and functional kinesiology rehab work. Minds should be blown!   But.  Alas, they are not. It’s like the gong show every time I get all worked up. BONG!!!! Exit, stage Left.

Don’t laugh – that video has been viewed all of 8 times since being posted with zero likes and only one comment. Even my mom didn’t “thumbs up”

Over lunch I discussed this with my staff and they concluded its just a lack of effort.   Yeah, that’s an easy answer -lack of effort.   But you see the work required for this particular life altering, headache reducing, sleep affecting rehab tool is 30 seconds of leaning on a damn ball. Leaning….It CANT be lack of effort as it is next to zero effort!

So, after my 10 minute soapbox rant, I asked her…“Or you could just have me pop your neck?”

“Yeah, that’s all I want.”

“But..But that’s not the fix, that’s just a pop – you’ll feel like crap again 2 days later”

“Yeah, well..OK – it feels pretty good – you want me face up or face down?

OK so what is this? What do I call this phenomenon?

Instant gratification? Close. Wanting a pill for a problem? Yes close. It’s a real world problem that affects many aspects of our life and we are ALL guilty of it.

I see this idea reflected in nearly ALL aspects of human behavior.

In the health fields, nutrition diet fields and with personal training field we, in the industry, often say, “people just want a pill.”

Look, we all know the dangers of antibiotics overuse at this point in the game.They don’t help viruses guys, different bug – you’re just basically killing all your good gut bacteria for no reason, which affects your ability to get well and counteracts, actually increasing your chances to just get sick again greatly – but hell, we still want it – AND, strangely we feel better when we do have a pill to pop. But let’s get real, its not helping us – we just feel like we have a fix – when in fact we don’t.

I want to change this. But I’m not sure I have the ammo for this battle.

Anyway, my take on this article is to just become aware. Wake up and seek out the actual fix not the bandaid here. Increase awareness, look for clues (It’s called a CLUE.) and dammit, care about yourself enough to want to experiment!

I write on the diet stuff often. Right?  It works. But not many try it – many claim to – remember Adkin’s diet? A million people lost a crazy amount of weight on it but if you ask people now they’ll say it was a failure – no one even read his stuff, they just cut out bread and cookies and ate crap – not at all Dr. Adkins idea. And I see this same response happening for the new trends (new and improved by the way)

Keto? Yeah mention that in public – you’ll be loved or hated and 12 different people do it differently. I mean guys, there are dudes out there preaching they have CURES! For diabetes, cancers, PAIN! And no one even looks up a correct application. What I’m saying is I need an effort here people – you need to experiment with your body.  You have to try new things! We’re humans! Our DNA is the same as everything on planet EARTH – the difference is we are incredibly adaptive and implementive. We thrive because we can make changes more rapid than the other species. Yet –  we have lost the ability to figure out what even makes us feel good. This isn’t the article telling you to try Keto by the way – it’s the article telling you to try something.  For Yourself.

Many of my patients just don’t have the energy/willpower/effort to just try something, even with the problems that cause them the most discomfort, time wasted and money.

I have one more amazing story on this. I’m going to relate it to you because it blew my mind last week.  I’ve never seen it up close and personal like this before and although it’s maybe a common psychology deal – it affects our health and entire being. I’m still shaking my head in awe.  Wow!

I had another patient, the same morning as the decade of neck pain girl from above. Let’s call him Gary, as really, I just don’t think there are many Gary’s in any of my tales.

So Gary has been coming to me for years. He always tells me he’s “getting ready.”   Getting ready to start working out. Getting ready to start eating better. Getting ready to just get his life back. Annnnd, he just moved back in with his mom for the 8th time this decade. He’ll start soon enough he just needs to get it all squared away and I guess he’s waiting for the planets to align and an eclipse to tell him the universe is FINALLY READY for him to just take that first step.

As I was working on him, he mentioned an accident he had that was the cause of all his misery. He had a major issue that I’m sure was both painful and traumatic and was the onset of all his sloth.

Casually I asked him when that was. “oh, at 7 years old he answered.” Seven?

Wait. You’re a grown ass man!  I thought, not said.

He continued…”I think the layer upon layer of scar tissue and bone destruction from the accident is the reason for a lot of this low grade pain and hesitation I always feel.

As I work on him with my hands, I just started kind of moving him around…”you know, Gary, I don’t feel ANY scar tissue or problems here man. I’ve been working on you for years, you’re good.  Seriously, you’re fine, you just need to go already. Start that workout, Start that diet you’ve been thinking about, read that book you’ve been telling me about. Dude, You’re perfect.  In fact  -There’s not even really a single cell left in your body from back in the days of that accident. Your body has remade itself a thousand times over – it’s not your body keeping you from any of this stuff – you’re good to go. As a professional in healthcare AND physical Fitness I am TELLING YOU, NOW! Is the time – You’ve got this, you can remake yourself into the image you see in your mind’s eye!

I got all fired up, basically, I became a tornado of motivation and positive quips and Ansel Adams pictures of inspirational quotes, Icebergs with giant mountain sunder the sea out of view and mountain climbers at a peak rah rah feel good, Pinterist, Artsy, Etsy motivational confetti throwing high school coach fire up incredibleness. My GOD! This is what I got into healthcare for everybody!  To Fix people to give them back their lives and Win the day!

As I disengaged my brother like grasp and  removed my arm from off his shoulders I looked deep into his eyes after wiping the sweat from my brow and saw…

Well?…

I saw nothing.

He wasn’t there.

Totally disconnected and offline. Like a robot that has lost his charge.

Blankness.

And then I saw it – a whirring in the back of his mind, his eyes more like windows at this point. A spark and a reboot.   Like restarting a computer –  he just came back online.

“OK”, he stated, “I’ll see you next time.”

He never even heard me – He honestly just went 100% offline, his brain not even registering any of the positivity I was spewing, 100% ZERO.

I mean what is that? He physically and mentally just couldn’t digest the wares I was peddling. It didn’t fit into his life plan.

It was Keanu Reeves in the Matrix amazing to me. To be there and witness it firsthand. That’s real y’all. A human reboot!

Later that weekend I was talking to my wife about this.

Her gift in this world is the ability to summarize. If she ran this website, each article would be 47 seconds long and Buddhism simple.

She put it as an analogy –

See its like this. When you Chad take your pickup into the mechanic and have them look at it, you give the mechanic your perceived basic symptoms.   “Hey Joe, my truck seems to be running weird and I’m having a hard time slowing down for stop signs and red lights and hobos.”

Joe the mechanic starts to exam and diagnose and then, like you, explain the changes that need to be made on the truck, and the brakes and tires and racks and pinions I just nod off and say, “yeah just do whatever it takes to get this fixed.”

I don’t understand mechanics much and although I love to occasionally try, it seems like voodoo and science fiction. It’s just foreign.

I just glaze over and don’t care about what Joe is yammering on about over there – I have articles to write on his back and diet and exercise routine and can’t wait to tell him how much I know if he would only shut up for a minute about my truck.

You see the irony on this yes? It is similar no doubt. So now I’m a hypocrite and a moron for spouting my faith at you but not listening to your reply.

Maybe a bit

BUT…

Now, after witnessing the life changing neck pain girl not caring and the mental reboot from Gary over there, I think I will be a better human for it. If nothing else, I can learn from expert’s advice and just…I don’t know…try harder?

I guess the worst case scenario is that I will know I have surrounded myself with people that care.  And if they are going to make the effort to care, I suppose, I owe it to the universe to care a little myself.

Be aware. Instant gratification, the pop a pill mentality is out there in all aspects of life and most likely rarely works. I know when dealing with changing the body – like cellular level reconstruction of your body, your fat %’s, your gut bacteria, your sore shoulder and hip, and muscle development – it just takes time. And effort. It’s a road and guys, it all works – all workouts, all diets, all treatments…it’s just that some work better. More efficiency and fun and enjoyment is what I’m after here.

Find out what you need changed in your life. Right now. Write down the top three things that would impact your life right now and spend just a few minutes each day improving these three things.

Example:

  • My knee is sore
  • I want to play with no sugars for a week
  • I want to see my kids hoop it up

Now work on these three things. When one of them is no longer one of the big three add a new one to the list.

Plan on having a lifetime big 3 list and what you’ll find is that these three things keep becoming smaller and smaller issues.   You’ll whittle it down to minor changes that maybe just take seconds…maybe just take awareness and you will reap the benefits in life.

Realize you are not the person you were 5 years ago. Your cellular structure is remade constantly and you can literally become whomever you want to be. If we took the time frame off of anything…fixing a shoulder, losing 100 pounds, creating kiss butt eating habits so you look amazing walking out of the shower, learning a language and on and on and on – make the effort, give it time and you can change anything!

Be aware of your blind spots and brain computer reboots and fix this stuff.

OK, this article just took on a life of its own and went all directions, sorry guys – the moral of the story is

Care about yourself and be willing to work a bit. You’ve got this!

Be The Detective. Solve The Mystery Of Your Health

I did a fairly cheesy seminar at the university last week for the athletic trainers and a few of the team docs. I feel the addition of these simple analogies helped a lot with the understanding of how and why my decision making is done.

I use analogies in my clinic all the time as it just helps to visualize a lot of information. The problem with analogies for medical use is they get over simplified to the point that they often offer little value. Cute Quips like, “Your knees are like car tires and only have 50,000 miles in their lifetime.”

and “you can never run again after surgery.” – “I hold all my tension up here.” “slipped discs”

These analogies straight up stink and are just plain misleading.

My cheesy analogies however, are different! Why? Because I made these up, so obviously they are legit..

Cheesy but effective Analogy #1

Be like a detective with your health.  

Seriously, Imagine yourself as a two brim hat wearing, huge magnifying glass holding, British accent , aloof silly detective. It’s called a CLUE.   

I will take this approach as a doctor often. I think all good doctors should.

So should you.

Look for clues. What can you use to help yourself with decisions in your health?

If doing “X” seemed to make the pain 50% better for 3 days? – wow, that’s a good clue, pay attention.

Running seems to make it worse? – now we’re on a path, get out the magnifying glass and ask why… was it the distance, poor mechanics, could it have been a 50 mph gale and freezing rain in your face and not actually have anything to do with the running.   

You need to push the envelope here and be smarter –

Eating the #8 at the drive thru left you feeling like you ate a shoe and you were on the toilet 5-6x the following day? That’s a clue – this tells you stuff so pay attention here – you are Sherlock Holmes here a classically trained, highly intelligent world class detective. You’re not Mr. Magoo.

Now look, you can’t use…”it just feels good” – that’s a misleading clue.  In Agatha Christie novels, often a creepy, evil tempered guy with perhaps a questionable past is one of the neighbors – this guy is always implicated and looked on with the stink eye…but his character is  written in the novel to throw you off the trail. Don’t buy it!

We use crappy clues all the time in our health and follow the wrong footsteps in the mystery.   Pain is often misleading. “Feel good” is often misleading. Eating a gallon of cookies and creme to drown your sorrows in sugar laden chocolateyness is just not helping.

Absolutely stretching the hell out of your IT band and lying on a shot-put to roll-out your quads on your sore legs….agh.

Which brings me to cheesy but effective Analogy #2 –

Healthcare Therapy and treatment should often be looked upon as a little kids bike lock.

The example meaning:  You can do all the right stuff but if it’s in the wrong order it won’t work/open.   Just like you can put in all the right numbers and the lock still won’t open.

It needs to be in the correct order.

I use the bike lock analogy often.  

In the clinic and in lectures I occasionally take flak for not offering a bunch of exercises and rehab on the initial couple treatments.This ‘bike lock’ idea is why.

Because despite doing all the workup and treatment options, if it’s done in the wrong sequence it doesn’t work – or doesn’t work as well as it could.

Routine real life examples: For a lot of injuries, the inflammatory complex needs to be taken care of first.   Nothing really heals or starts on the healing process while inflamed.

This is why I don’t offer exercises right away and typically tell my clients NOT to stretch and roll and exercise a lot immediately on low back pain injuries.

“Doc, do have any exercises I can do?”

“Not yet, you’re going to have to get the fire put out first. – You’re just not THERE yet.”

As a patient, if you are at the inflammatory, “put the fire out” stage, why would I then offer you exercises that just irritates the whole area again?

The cart is in front of the horses. Do this, THEN, this, THEN this – often it may come on the same visit, but in the right order.

It’s the application of the ideas – the application, the “why” is even more valuable than the idea itself.

And the One thing I will always have is a “why.”

It drives my wife nuts, but I have a reason for most everything I do. If I didn’t have a ‘why’, then for what reason am I doing it?

Because some dude on You Tube told me too?

Because it’s what my PE teacher told me back in High School?

Because your friends told you that what to do?

It’s just not good enough for me.

So now we go full circle to the Sherlock Holmes idea again.

You can often create your own clues or reactions by trying something the guy on YouTube says. You have to have experience to get the ideas for what works and what doesn’t.

If YOU TUBE ANDY tells you to roll your quads out and stretch the hell out of your IT band with a ball.  Try it. But be true to yourself…

Did it help, hurt or no change? Look for clues!

Remember you can’t use:

“It felt good.” – that’s a poor choice and a liar.   

Also, You can’t choose, “well it hurt so bad it must be doing something.”

Aside from that being straight up crazy that’s a poor clue.        

You can’t use – “I just do the same stuff over and over for months without ever looking up out of the sand because that’s YOU TUBE ANDY and my girlfriends said to do – maybe eventually it will do something.”  

that’s an actual definition of insanity.

You can’t use, “that’s what I did back in 97” – well wait a second, you can.

You tried something that worked before?  For sure, try it again. But beware, it could be a different issue this go around, so pay attention.  Did it work this time?

“Oh Chad, This is just all so confusing, you have a DRCHADPETERS site, just tell me what to do.”

That’s just lazy doctoring and terrible self treatment and dammit…it’s not good enough – I may not know exactly what you have AND aside from that, you know your own body WAY better than any outside doctor, therapist or well meaning friend.

I’ll tell you some ideas I have – doctor advice to be viewed as “some ways to make clues.”

“OK, how long should all this take? I’ve been stretching for 3 months now and no help….”

3 months? Sigh

How about 4 applications?  say 4x in a week. Yep, for most non surgical, injury type issues, 4 treatments should give you a clue.  It should be promising and give you a direction if you are headed in the right path.

Looking for clues and creating scenarios where you can gather information to make better decisions lets you take control over your own health.   

Just WANTING to get better isn’t enough.  You need to do something, make a decision based on the response and act accordingly. You need to try stuff and try stuff in a logical order.

If it doesn’t work, try the opposite.  

Have you noticed how many of my articles suggest contracting tight muscles, not stretching?  How many use ice not heat on a spasm?

The “why” is…because I learned from experience. I stopped doing the same thing over and over because some professor in my past told me that’s what to do.  I paid attention to what worked clinically and what didn’t. Now I even focus on, with nearly as much attention, to what works better.

I advertise most injuries take 3-4 visits in my clinic. For resolution. The norm is 3-4 visits per week for 6 weeks.    

Dude! There’s a reason!

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is a classic definition of insanity!

I don’t see patients and go immediately to a preconceived treatment plan.  Not only do I not treat every client exactly the same, I rarely do the same treatment on back to back visits.    Maybe I’m not a better doctor. Maybe I’m just a better “body detective.” Or maybe I pay attention to the clues better. Maybe I put treatment applications in a better order. What I’m certain of is that it’s an ongoing experiment – All I care about is the end result. Get your life back!

There’s a chance that this article was just all over the place – maybe the Sherlock Holmes and the Bike Lock analogies would have fit better into two separate articles.  I’m not sure – I’m just all about maximum effect with quick results.

So I’ll just go ahead and press “publish” on this article as is and then pay attention to the feedback -knowing I’ll be better the next time!