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Your Invincible Years are Over: how to stay strong, fit and pain free as you age

Old Superman #famousoldies

I used to beat the hell out of my body when I was in high school.  I played soccer, basketball, rugby and a variety of other sports on almost a daily basis.  I would bang and crash and hurt myself, but it never really slowed me down because I just took it for granted that within a few days or a few weeks my body would heal up and be ready for more.  In University I tested my body with little sleep, more sports and a lot more alcohol, but I still always bounced back and kept going.  Around my mid-twenties to early thirties a few things happened that started changing my perspective on life.

By the age of twenty four, I had completed two university degrees and was officially a registered physiotherapist.  I’d like to think I was a lot smarter after six years of university, but I learned much more in the following six to ten years than I ever did in school.  It was a time when my body seemed to start getting less and less invincible and I started gaining more and more perspective on the importance of physical health.  I still played soccer, hockey and squash, but my body started taking longer and longer to recover; things that used to take days to feel better, starting taking weeks and I was forced to consider the physical consequences of my activity choices more than ever.

As a physiotherapist, working with clients from nine to ninety years old, I started recognizing that I was not alone in the weakening of my invincibility around age thirty.  I would hear an average of ten ‘getting old sucks’ complaints a week, equally spread amongst the thirty, forty and fifty year-olds.  The sixty and seventy year-olds tended to phrase it more around ‘this old body is falling apart,’ and the eighty to ninety year-olds just seemed to be happy if something actually didn’t hurt.  Read More

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Mind over matter: The power of perception

I am a physical therapist by training, but have become a psychologist by experience.  Working with people from 9 to 90 years old and from the peak of athletic performance to the lows of neural rehab, I have come to see pain, emotion, attitude and perception in a new light.  I have seen 250 pound rugby players squirm at the thought of a needle and polite 70 year old English ladies drop F-bombs while I loosen their hip.  I have seen confident CEOs get lost in pain and happy go lucky blue collar workers shift into deep depressions after car accidents and battles with insurance companies.  Chronic pain can have many sources and only some of them are physical; unfortunately it is usually only the physical issues that get addressed and the people that could use some help cognitively are the least likely ones to pursue that type of care. 

This website is geared toward helping you with the physical side of pain, posture, prevention and performance, but to get the most out of it you will need to be mentally open to change in your body.  I have created a page on the right side bar called Books to Read that recommends books that I have found particularly helpful.  Here they are again for you:

The following are books that I have read and found very useful in my life.  To understand your body and your pain you first need to understand yourself and make sense of your life; this is a missing element in many people that suffer from chronic pain.  Most people are open to seeking physical therapy for their pain issues, but much more reluctant to seek any cognitive therapy.  I recommend the following books to help you:

  • Understand why you think the way you think
  • The basics of how your brain works
  • The roots of your relationship with your family
  • The role of work in your life
  • The role of money in your life
  • What motivates you
  • How pain can affect you
  • How to get the most out of life without sacrificing a piece of yourself

Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformationstyle=border:none

  • A fascinating book written for the lay person about how your brain works as it relates to your personality, your relationships and your pain.  Highly recommend it.  Click on the picture to learn more about it.
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