Pain is inevitable. Misery is a choice. You choose. Your choices have consequences.

These words came to me as I studied pain many years ago. The most common physical pain is found in the lower back. More humans suffer from this kind of chronic pain than any other. There are many reasons, again. However, the most common cause of this chronic pain is a combination of too much weight carried on the human frame and too little core strength for support. Back in 1965, the average American male was 5’9” and a buck sixty five. Today, we’ve picked up an inch of height and around thirty lb’s. We’ve chosen poorly as a Nation. Fact.

Lower back pain is typically a form of chronic pain, meaning it sticks around for twelve weeks or more. Many men have chronic back pain for years, even decades. Of course, not all back pain is caused by poor choices. Some is due to injury, accidents, bum luck with regard to genetics, and countless other causes. The fact remains that for the majority, however, it’s due to poor choices. Here’s the root why. When it comes to eliminating chronic pain, the best solution involves choosing more acute pain. The recipe involves more pain at least for awhile. Most humans choose the less painful route. Most humans choose to simply stick with chronic pain and begin the numbing process…

Back in 2008, I was filled with chronic pain. My left hip was diagnosed with arthritis and my orthopedic doc told me a hip replacement was coming it was just a matter of how long I could take the chronic pain. Both my shoulders were wrecked from a mountain bike accident, my AC joint on my right shoulder was obliterated, deformed, and needed a pin put in it to hold it down. I couldn’t lift anything over my head or throw a ball. My doc told me no more lifting anything overhead. Take it easy, he implored me. So, I was facing two surgeries and inactivity. Instead, I chose to do some research of my own, discovered the TRX suspension trainer, and decided to go the acute pain route and see what happened. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday beginning in August of 2010 (Yeah, it took me awhile to commit), I began to build core strength like my life depended on it. Littlest Fricker had pushed me and come alongside – Always together, huh.

Today, eleven years since my painful prognosis, my left hip is pain free. It’s still tight but the range of motion continues to improve (hoping yoga takes it further yet). My shoulders don’t hurt and no surgery there either. I routinely lift heavy balls overhead pain free. I also had chronic lower back pain back in 2008. No more. Nothing. I feel better at 60 than at 50. Fact. Pain is inevitable. Misery is a choice. Choose to put yourself in more acute pain physically, spiritually, mentally, and relationally. Chronic pain of any sort, wears us out. Chronic pain is not inevitable. Choose acute pain to eliminate the chronic. Stop running away from something chronically wrong with you or yours. Maybe you’ve chosen the chronic pain of numbing yourself with alcohol or drugs instead of facing the deeply rooted problem head on. Maybe you’ve chosen the chronic pain of looking away instead of looking inside. Slow down and reflect, my friend. Slow down and choose some productive action once clarity arrives. Pain is inevitable. Misery is a choice. You choose. Your choices have consequences.

Live hard. Love harder (Thanks, Teeks)…

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