Don’t step on the crack or you’ll break your mother’s back!
This popular children’s game comes to mind at times when walking with my kids or treating a patient with back issues.
When my very young and active 70 year old mother broke her back however this game rang ominously true.
As most multitasking women do, she had been nearly down the stairs with a small laundry basket and a cup to put in the sink in her hands when she missed the last couple of steps and fell awkwardly.
She wounded up compressing her lumbar vertebrae into a “wedge fracture” -the term that describes a trauma that turns a rectangular vertebrae into a triangular shape when viewed in profile on X-rays.
Now, instead of discussing the obvious medical issue of osteoporosis (bone thinning) in this article I want to share my mother’s healing mindset.
Blessedly, other than being born with a congenital heart defect and having high blood pressure my mother has enjoyed relatively good health all her life. The back fracture was her first ‘accident’ where she had to go to the ER and her first ever broken bone.
What is remarkable is her recovery. She was off her pain medications in 3 days and up and walking around in a week and completely pain-free and back to her usual busy routine in a month.
Patients 10-20 years younger than her with similar injury can take 3 months and sometimes complain of chronic pain depending on pills for years.
Two clear differences are her reliance on faith and prayer as medicine and her healing mindset. Her healthy mindset expects positive and rapid healing, so she got it.
There was absolutely no whining or victim mentality in her recovery whatsoever. Sure, she got frustrated and regretted
the whole slip and fall incident, but she focused on the “forced rest” it gave her.
She relished the chance to see her friends and family (although sheepishly) and the chance to reflect and be grateful for her previous health.
Her resilience and positive perseverance is something I share with my patients now as encouragement and I keep a photo of her broken spine X-ray on my phone as one of my wallpapers to remind me regularly that healing is in large part in our mental control.
Want more healing that goes beyond the “pill for every ill” approach?
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