Are you willing to return to duty?

If you have ever attempted (with or without an awesome personal trainer) to lean out or build strength over a long period of time, you'll know that pain can derail you like almost no other distraction.  Whatever the source, pain is a very real challenge that saps your mental concentration, physical vitality and emotional well-being.

I have seen pain and injuries in almost all shapes and sizes handled with different levels of care for different reasons.  In the army, the threat to life, limb, or eyesight would get you moved out of a combat zone.  Anything up to that point could be treated with water, painkillers and large dose of "drive-on".  Hardly holistically healthy advice, but the willingness to overcome your pain and accomplish the number one factor in having a healthy recovery.  I observed soldiers with knee and back pain from a multitude of common offenders like ACL surgery, S.I. Joint Dysfunction, Degenerative Disc/Joints, Rotator Cuff tears, Multiple Disc Derangement, Stress Fractures and MTBI.  The most determinate information on a soldier's medical evaluation and Medical Board paperwork is: Does the Soldier Wish to Return To Duty- Yes or No?

Most pathology (medical abnormality and the change in function associated) does not determine the symptoms presented.  Doctors now admit that most orthopedic conditions diagnosed with imaging have a low or no correlation to back pain.  1/3 of random populations examined will have various disc pathology in their spines but will have no back pain.  This is not to say that having a fractured vertebra will not hurt. A vertebral fracture can be quite painful and dangerous!  This means that you will not necessarily suffer from pain when your own body endures physical trauma from day to day life or an accident.

Dr John E. Sarno is a wildly respected and productive physician at New York University Medical Center.  He's very successful rehabilitating patients with chronic pain, and also widely criticized for his psuedo-scientific approach to treatment.  He has written books on the topic of pain and recovery from Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS).  I say pseudo-science because he receives patients that have true issues, real pain and real diagnosis with imaging, lab tests and other screens... and he counsels them to do two things: 

First, accept your diagnosis.  Understand what that is really saying about your body and what it really isn't saying.  

Step Two, with an understanding of your diagnosis, also know that your pain is in your mind.  Generated by your nervous system and your subconscious to adapt to thoughts and emotions that your brain doesn't want you to feel or face.  

Sounds out there, right?  

That's because it is both out there and true.  You can read Sarno's books and apply the concepts that he speaks about through a wiki developed by Alan Gordon.  Read more about this by clicking right here.

But the greatest treatment in the world will not get you back on track.  You have to ask yourself, if it is your duty to live out your life's purpose, are you willing to return to duty?