Chronic Back Pain (or Why Persistence Matters)

5 years ago, I slipped the L5 S1 disc in my lower back. 2 operations and countless hours of physio, osteo and acupuncture treatments later and I am still struggling with varying degrees of daily pain and discomfort. Anyone with chronic pain will understand the struggle between avoidance through denial and the pro-active effort required to try and get back to an even keel. Going from being a very active, physical person to someone that struggled to get out of bed in the mornings was disturbing in the extreme. In many ways, dealing with the fallout in my life caused by the back-incident has been the propeller for much of my experimentations with holistic self-improvement. 

What I have realized through this process, is that persistence is possibly the most under-weighted and yet critical aspect of any successful endeavor. People often focus on the skills or the smarts in evaluating an individual’s success, but it is really the level of dogged persistence that is often the difference between excellence and mediocrity. So it is with managing my health. There is always the creep of laziness, the excuses I make to myself not to stretch because I am too sore in the mornings or the promise that I will do it tomorrow.

That is why I built the food, water and fitness trackers into the weekly dashboard. I don’t always do it, but by setting it out, it reminds me daily that my persistence is the key to possibly unlocking a pain free life. Checking off my lower back stretches as a daily habit, eating that salad at lunch or going for a morning walk with my wife are all my little persistency plans in the week that over time, will get me where I need to be. I focus less on some perfect ideal (6-pack abs) and more on simply doing what I know must be done every day if the end goal is a healthier life.