Lifelong Patient Syndrome


Sometimes no one can make you better. They can only make you smarter. We cannot undo the sand through the hourglass or turn back the hands of time. Years of wear and tear on the body are like miles on a car. No one can turn back the odometer. You can only figure out how to drive the gradually aging car better. In my business I see a fair amount of people with what I call “lifelong patient syndrome”. They spend every day searching for the magic pill, or the magic chiropractor, or the magic exercise, or the magic doctor. They think ‘one more surgery” or “a different approach”. They always seem to be either hurt, rehabbing or doing what hurt them in the first place.

The fact of the matter is that if you want to stay active you have to make choices. I have often used the analogy of getting your hand slammed in a car door. It hurts. A lot. No one says “I can’t wait to get healthy so I can go back to slamming my hand in the door”. Why don’t we think that way about running, or bench pressing. When you know what hurt you, why do you go back to it ? Why is it not like the car door.

When I was young I loved playing sports. I loved lifting heavy weights, playing endless hours of basketball. Eventually I even enjoyed going for a run on the Charles River. I can no longer do so many of my favorite things. I long for them but don’t look for a magic bullet that will allow me to do them again. I know the magic cure does not exist. Time heals all wounds except those caused by time.

At 52 I’m happy. I can work. I can demonstrate every exercise I need my athletes to do. I can play with my kids. I can take a swim, play catch ( but not for too long) and go for a walk. Please do yourself a favor. Accept the things you can no longer do with grace. Save on your medical bills and your time and accept that aging is a process that begins all too soon.

22 Responses to “Lifelong Patient Syndrome”

  1. Melanie Driscoll Says:

    actually now that I look at it…I pretty much used this entire article, not just that one line.

  2. Melanie Driscoll Says:

    Hey…I saw that your original quote became a song…I’m going to start stealing more stuff. Don’t worry-you got writing credit:) Thanks!

  3. It’s true but he is in the genetic 1%.

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  4. Actually Mike I do and I completely understand the frustration. I’m just not sure we can limit ourselves as quickly as we sometimes do. Right now there are Major League Baseball teams seriously considering Roger Clements as a middle reliever at age 50.

  5. Steve- I think we do agree. My complaint is not with intelligent exercise but with adults unable to give up pursuits that result in injury. It is very much like the thread on http://www.strengthcoach.com about “when to slow down”. I said if you are healthy and enjoying what you do, keep doing it. If you are forever injured, visiting Dr’s, PT’s etc, something has to give.

  6. Steven Head Says:

    I don’t always disagree with you, Mike (rarely, actually) and I do see a fair number of folks with this syndrome, especially when it comes to forever chasing/changing exercise programs in search of results, only to never acheive them. Its akin to the analogy of drilling wells to find water, rather than dig one well 100 feet, folks will dig wells 10 feet deep, over and over, becasue they didnt find water. But for every person with LPS, I see probably 10 who use age as an excuse, who sell themselves, their bodies waay short because of a number on their license. They begin to shut down, narrow their efforts in fear. Much of my work’s most gratifying experiences come from helping folks regain physical capacities they never thought they’d see again….
    When folks’ egos get in the way of smart , age/current condition- appropriate programming, that’s when you have a problem.

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