Lessons from Physical Therapy: Chronic Back Pain

I would like to recount a lesson about chronic back pain when I was still a student of Physical Therapy. To my former PT colleagues, if my data is incomplete, please go easy on me. It has been about nine years since the board exams. And don’t worry, this is not a pretentious reference document. =0)

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First way to break one’s back, obviously, is to sustain direct injury from a sudden and powerful external force (e.g. car accident or falls from a height).
Second way is when a mild, damaging force is applied on the back repeatedly over a long period of time (e.g. laboring for hours in a job that uses the back too much).
Third is lifting medium to heavy loads with the wrong body mechanics (e.g., lifting a heavy box using your lower back without the assistance of your legs).
The fourth way is when the abdominal muscles are weakened for various reasons which causes the pelvis to get pulled by the back muscles, tilting it backwards in such a degree that the structures in the back gets impinged (e.g. pregnancy or beer belly or lack of abdominal exercises).
I won’t offer any solutions to these. If you have back pain and are seeking medical help, please see a doctor and have a PT take care of you or Google it. I’m writing about this because these are the same methods that can be used to break a soul. Yes, I think that these mechanisms that break backs can break souls. Bear with me as I go through each one quickly.
1. Souls can be broken by a sudden and powerful external force like tragedy or death. Who truly can keep it together when he or she loses a loved one, or a home, goes through a disaster or beholds a massacre? There’s really not much we can do when these happen except to pray, to be there to listen and to extend a helping hand for the broken.
2. Souls can be broken by mild, seemingly innocuous little tugs that are done over and over for a long period of time. They often times seem soothing than damaging. They also can appear to be be pleasing or helpful. Examples are alcohol, nicotine, drug and pornography addiction. It can also be promiscuity and rebellion… These little nudges towards the edge can also come in the form of consistent bullying by acquaintances and even by friends… Over time, of course, these result to sorrow and death. Christians call these sweet, poisonous little things as sin. No matter how small they may begin, they always have the same result.
3. Souls can be broken when they move in the wrong way, regardless of how noble the intention. These types of actions could not have caused damages if they were applied the right way. This could be joining a church with the wrong expectations or motives, or it could be loving and abandoning all for the wrong person, or going through life with arrogance and pride, or expressing admiration through acts of lasciviousness. To put it simply, a soul can be broken when we do things without God. Christians read and study the Bible not to be saved, but because we already have been saved. We learn the things of God because we know that He desires to keep us safe. His way is the best way.
4. Souls can be damaged when they neglect the things that ensure uprightness, and by doing so, they swing towards a direction that will cause pain. Weakening one part of life, strengthens the pull of another. Among Christians, this happens to us when we break away from our fellowship with other Christians and spend more time with people who make us want to sin. This can also happen when we don’t spend regular time with the Lord in silence, solitude, praying and meditating on His words. We think we do ourselves a favor. But in truth, we are choosing to lose the very things that set us apart from animals.
I’m praying that my brothers and sisters in Christ out there would choose to be soul-menders and not soul-breakers. There are already a lot of the latter who unknowingly spread hate instead of the love of Jesus.
Let’s seek out those being broken and lead them back to the Healer.
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