Knock on Wood

by Will Forrester 

The other day I was driving down the road with a friend who clearly is experiencing a lot of lower back pain. As I’ve written before, I used to battle frequent lower back pain, but have been relieved from it through chiropractic care. So I asked him what he was doing to try to relieve his pain. He was wearing a back support brace, taking some pain medicine, and doing some back exercises someone had recommended for him. And he was getting to the point of considering surgery. 

I really felt bad for him, because he was clearly in a lot of pain. I told him about my sciatica (see link) and how it had driven me to seek chiropractic care. About how a critical turning point in me getting better was when I *stopped* taking pain medicine and instead began letting my body, through pain, tell me when I was pushing too hard, needing to stand up or sit down or whatever. I tried to ever-so-delicately ask if he thought taking pain medicine might be allowing him to further aggravate his back injury. 

I could tell he was completely following the logic of what I was saying. But he didn’t really want to accept it. 

“But what if I want to go fishing and do things with my kids? Isn’t it better to take the pain 
medicine so I could do those things?” 

I wanted to say, “And if your back keeps getting worse, do you really think there will be enough medicine to allow you to move around at all?” 

But before I could make another attempt at getting him to consider chiropractic for himself, he asked me, “So how has your back been? Does it ever bother you?” 

“Nope, I feel great,” I replied. 

“Knock on wood, right?” He said. 

In other words, my friend was suggesting that what I was doing and the fact that my back feels terrific amounted to luck. I know many, many people resist investigating chiropractic care for a number of reasons. But honestly, whatever barriers you might have to getting your lower back pain, or neck pain, or whatever checked out, can you at least follow the logic my friend adamantly refused to admit to seeing? If you just take pain medicine, you are only masking the pain. If you do steroid injections, again, you are not solving the problem that is causing the pain or numbness or whatever, you are simply making it possible to continue to do physical activities that will ultimately continue to aggravate and worsen the site causing the problems. 

It reminds me of one this quote: “Successful people are the luckiest people in the world. Just ask any failure.” Of course, if you ask a successful person, he will probably admit to experiencing some luck, but most success is dependent upon a lot of hard work and good decisions. If you’re seriously hurting, you have got to know that just one good night’s sleep is not going to be enough. You won’t “get lucky” and start feeling better. But you can get better, maybe even completely better. Without meds. Without surgery. 

You know what? As good as I feel, I do feel like the lucky one. But I know it wasn’t just luck.

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