blue sky

Home     Display     HandyHints

Young and Thoughtless - Old and Paying For It
early strains and injuries come back to bite later in life

When we are young we don't necessarily think we're bullet-proof; we simply don't think. Medical advice is there for the taking, particularly how to perform certain tasks properly to reduce the risk of injury. Despite this, a more important factor seems to be time, or lack of it. Doing it the right way is often inconvenient, and getting the job done quickly is all that matters. Something heavy needs lifting. Strength isn't a problem, so we walk over, pick it up and transfer it somewhere else in seconds. Had we observed the rules by squaring off to the object, kept the back straight and bent the knees, then rose to a standing position before turning, most likely no harm would have been done; but we didn't. Not even standing right in front, we turned, bent over from the waist, picked it up, and while rising were already turning in a different direction. Internal damage was the result.

There may have been no sign of any injury, and if it was just a one-off, consequences would probably have been unnoticed and minimal; but repeating any inadvisable exercise frequently is a recipe for poor health down the track. Unfortunately, everyone seems to make this mistake, many not from personal choice. Simply earning a living presents workers with everyday tasks that are eventually going to cause painful, sometimes debilitating ailments.

Parents with young children are forever lifting and carrying their offspring, plus juggling a multitude of other chores into the bargain. By the time they are having to care for their kids, they themselves are already experiencing signs of wear and tear sustained earlier in life. Subsequent discomforts just have to be ignored for necessity's sake. Later, however, although they may have been looking forward one day to picking up and holding their grandchildren, those strains and pains acquired along the way may make such a small wish impossible - not a desirable prospect.

Sports are, without doubt, healthy activities, and injuries sustained are generally accepted, but far from acceptable. Any action that causes torn muscles, dislocations and lasting soreness will contribute to a future medical condition that may be irreversible and will certainly be regretted. We have been given just one body, and it can only take so much, believe you me.

My own condition would have started in childhood, carting books to and from school in an unsuitable backpack. Like any kid, I did other pretty stupid things for my own pleasure, and continued during my working life slowly ruining my health without thinking. Aside from writing and art, all of my other jobs were manual; and while doing them, often the wrong way, I never considered my body. Now I am paying the price. I suffer continual back pain from a deteriorating spine that, according to a radiologist following recent X-rays, is because my back is rubbish. I don't care that I'm 12 centimetres shorter; but being advised not to stand too long, to avoid bending, and not to lift anything over 4 kilos makes for situations that are awkward and often embarrassing.

Like most people, I try not to let it worry me. I'm getting on in years, certainly, but thankfully I'm not in a wheelchair and can still perform many of the old tasks adequately by taking care how I approach them. 35 years ago I could practice on the driving range for an hour before playing 18 holes of golf, and that was every day of the week. Now I can only manage four holes once in a while before my back tells me it's time to quit. Maybe I shouldn't play at all, but as far as I'm concerned there's life in the old dog yet and I can still wag my tail, even if a lot slower than I used to.

If I could go back in time, I wouldn't want to change anything in my life because I am where I want to be and enjoying my seasons of happiness. I wish, however, that I could have seen what the future would bring. Maybe then I would have done the same things, but done them the right way.

So, be wise before the fact, make it to retirement in good nick so that you can do all of those things you've had to put on hold. Plan on being fit and healthy enough to stand tall, and go those extra yards without the aid of pain killers and a walking stick.

Click this Click for PDF file image to view or print complete article.

  Top of page

Money Fruit Food on plate Spyglass ereader Popcorn

About     Contact

Where every effort has been made to be accurate and fair-minded, comments and opinions expressed on this website are based on personal experience and do not necessarily reflect the views of the wider community or those groups and institutions mentioned. A Season of Happiness and its staff accept no responsibility for any outcome based on suggestions offered. What works for us may not work for you. Please bear this in mind.

copyright © 2011-2018  All Rights Reserved