I have always been athletic since I was little, I loved playing sports and wanted to be a ninja. As I got older I practiced martial arts and got into lifting weights for the fun of it. I just loved Kung Fu movies and I lifted weights so I could get more girls. As I approached my mid-twenties though, most of my training had fallen to the wayside. Instead I had to focus on work and paying bills and life became more of a grind. I didn’t realize that my bad weightlifting habits and more sedentary lifestyle had made my body weaker. I thought that I was invincible like when I was younger and I could still run up a wall and do a backflip at a moment’s notice. I was wrong.
I was twenty four and now and living in Colorado, my girlfriend and I heard about a cool gym bigger than a basketball court covered in trampolines. Even the walls were trampolines! I was very excited to show off my moves on the tramp. I had one growing up and was pretty skilled in the art of flipping. About half way through our excursion I felt a small painful “pop” in my lower back. I didn’t think much of it and kept jumping even though it hurt. I still wanted to practice a new move I was working on. After our hour on the trampolines was up the pain got worse. By that evening I was hunched over in pain and could barely walk. I still thought I’d be fine in a day or two.
Weeks turned into a few months and I was still in a lot of pain. I still hadn’t seen a doctor because I had no insurance at the time and I didn’t make too much money at my job as a waiter. I struggled with having to work in pain everyday and I couldn’t continue the activities I used to enjoy. I just kept plugging along day to day, not realizing that I was getting depressed. I was so angry that my back still wasn’t better.
After at least a year of living like this I was finally able to get on my girlfriends insurance. I was convinced I needed surgery and that this hell would finally be over. I was wrong. The doctor took some x-rays and he just thought it was a muscular issue and that I’d be fine after a little physical therapy. I didn’t think so, but I went along with it. It didn’t help whatsoever. I was angry the doctor didn’t take me seriously. I was angry I couldn’t get on with my life.
I decided to find another doctor. This time I got an MRI, it showed some minor disc degeneration and slight retrolisthesis, a displacement of one of your vertebrae. This doctor didn’t think it was bad enough to warrant surgery and he too prescribed physical therapy . I also tried other alternative options at this point, such as massage, acupuncture, dry needling, electrical stimulation, chiropractors, even anti-depressants that supposedly help with pain. I fell into worse depression. I drank and smoked marijuana everyday to dull the pain in my mind and body. My life became repetitive and I couldn’t break the cycle. Working at a job I didn’t enjoy and dealing with pain, I didn’t like who I was turning into and I couldn’t stop it. I would make some progress with my pain occasionally, but inevitably it would always come back like before. Was I going crazy?
Years went by and by the time I hit thirty I had had enough. I was now married and we just had a baby. I knew I had to change something. I had to do it for my wife and son. I decided that I couldn’t rely on doctors, I had to do this on my own. I thought of my Kung Fu heroes and people like Tibetan monks, who can do amazing things with their minds, and people who had it way worse than me. I was going to go back to physical therapy, but I would approach it differently this time. I would put my entire soul into it. I studied the human body and became more in tune with my muscles. Before I had just done the movements, but now I worked on my mind muscle connection. I was hyper-aware of my posture at all times. I studied nutrition and I quit the drinking and the pot smoking. It was a hard road, but I started to see results. These results gave me even more drive and determination. I was finally starting to have less pain and I was starting to be happy again! I kept at it full speed and made huge strides.
Which brings me to today. I still do have back pain, but it is much more manageable and infrequent. I have more control over my body. I continue to learn more about exercise and nutrition every day. I still have setbacks as well. I just recently pulled a muscle in my upper back doing one of my workouts, but I have learned how to cope with such setbacks and learn from these mistakes. The important thing is positive thinking. It really does play a profound role in your health I believe. I thought for all those years that there was something that the doctors needed to fix, when in actuality I had the power in my mind the entire time to fix my life
I now am studying to become a personal trainer, because I think that if I could help even one person who might have some problems like me, I could truly feel fulfilled. I want to be able share some of the wisdom that I developed over so many years of hardship, so that other people don’t have to go through what I did for so long. I absolutely believe that through the right mindset, proper exercise and good nutrition that anyone has the power to make their lives better. You can do it.