Becoming an excellent diagnostician is an art. An art that many physicians,
chiropractors, physiotherapists and other body workers aren't interested in. Their
process is key -- the bottom dollar -- the lifestyle accrued with a certain practice.
There is no intrigue in the unknown, deeper levels, higher understanding.
That being said, I’m not stating that I’m an excellent diagnostician, far from it. But
my desire to be burns brighter every day. I am seeking deeper truths. The links
between structure, mechanics and PAIN. Finding patterns and strategising while
picking up on minutiae.
The more intricately I learn to understand the body the more that I see the sadness
For myself and the patients I work with.
When your life's work is the study and analysis of the human body, injuries, ailments,
niggles -- intrinsically it makes you see yourself.
That mobility deficit that you have been identifying and treating all week.
Introspection of your own inflamed tendons from overuse, the instability where
passive connective tissue has taken abuse in the past. The cumulative effect of
living and movement patterns with all said issues.
Having the bold blunt honest truth looking you directly in the face in each step you
take, each move you make, each breathe you take where you allow your mind
analyse -- is CRUEL.
Being able to see deeper is a blessing and a curse.
The blessing of helping people understand their own process whether it is a chronic
issue or a fresh injury.
Enabling them to take control of their lives again. Have a method. Mitigate and slow
progressive conditions, kick the body back into gear, regenerating and healing.
The honesty needed in this line of work with a keen eye and sharp analysis is a
curse. Helping people view some very hard truths regarding the body and the finite
nature of it. Giving this admission to people with as much empathy and sensitivity
possible but also knowing the sooner they see and understand the more they can
keep an aspect of control.
I’m blessed with the ability to HELP people understand the process that comes along
with the truth.
What is osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. Explanations about the progressive collapse in osteopenia to osteoporosis. What is a rotator cuff -- why is it not overly happy in
most everyone past a certain age.
What are the implications of irreversible scoliotic curves, the detriment in excessive
weight in all the load bearing structures of the body.
The loss of protein productive capability in the late thirties, the destructive nature of
sitting endlessly, moving poorly and being glued to technology.
The consequences of excess stress. Poor hydration habits.
The list goes on. Oh does it go on....
Holding the understanding but having to determine how to serve it. A tight rope.
Eggshells. Cliffs edge. When do you dive straight in? When do you ease your
delivery? Is the patient able for tough news or will it devastate them? Bedside
manner and the never-ending tight rope.
Optimism is a strength of mine but I’m not blindly optimistic. I see the light and
shadows. I'm an optimistic realist.
I have seen things that are nothing short of miracles. Been called a magician, a God, saviour, referred to in esteems far above and beyond reason.
But have seen the exact opposite too. Useless, a quack, a fake.
Being faced with excruciating irreversible unmanageable cases. Palpably sensing
the impatience, discomfort, disbelief. Dealing with cases that hurt your heart to see
the pain behind the eyes.
These words ALWAYS speak to me.
"God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference."
As far as I see we cannot change the fact that we are all mortal (some of us far
sooner than expected) with bodies that are continually accumulating mileage
whether we like it or not. What we can change though is the understanding of our
bodies and provide it what nourishes it.
Think of your body as a garden plot. Tilled. Fresh. Fertile organic land. Some
blessed with more fertile organic soil,
others with more sandy or rocky plots.
As the years go by it is as the days go by in a garden. Plant the right seeds. Give it the
right nutrients. Physically tend to it. Hope for the best physical elements but also
have realism instilled that storms happen. By giving it the right nourishment in the
right time we can produce great yields.
A hard fact with our body is that we only have one growing season. There is no
rewind button. There is no pause. Father time keeps ticking along and when the
solstice appears, the days start getting shorter and the growing season is quickly
past. What will we have for harvest?
Who's to think that by neglecting it, throwing trash into it, drowning it, and not taking
care of it that you will get good yields? Fresh vegetables? Juicy fruits.
Take control and do it now. Mind your garden. Encourage your families to do so and
the sooner the better.
Good quality sleep, food and hydration are easy places for everyone to start.
Past this, having space for mental health and moving your body with intention.
There are 1 trillion levels to this game but it’s good to get your skin in the game and
trust me the sooner the better.
Make YOUR body a priority.
Some truths are easier than others.
Dr. Greg Tollefson