Image of woman from the back doing a yoga stretch.

Why are people reluctant to see a medical or alternative health practitioner when they have a condition or injury that is getting in the way of everyday life?

I’ve run into two friends recently who are dragging their feet about getting treatment. They both have shoulder injuries. (I’m not going to make a big thing about the fact that they are both men.) To be nursing a sore shoulder for weeks and weeks, hoping it will get better in time, doesn’t make sense to me.

In the past I’ve done some surveys of a few individuals regarding the above question. They gave me some helpful insights.

One of them said he wouldn’t get treatment for an ailment or injury because of fear. When I pressed him to expand on what sort of fear might be running him, he said, ‘It’s probably a male thing. One would be seen to be weak or wimpy by going to a doctor or physiotherapist. The thing to do is tough it out and then, with any luck, eventually you’ll get better.’

But not always. A neighbour has been experiencing radiating back pain for the last eight weeks. He has seen no one about it and doesn’t seem to have any interest in doing so. In the meantime, apart from the pain interfering with lots of daily activities, he can’t participate in his passion, which is surfing.

For my part, I don’t understand this mentality. My yoga practice routines, for the most part, help with medical conditions I’ve had or with injuries I’ve sustained. But not always. I don’t unnecessarily seek out doctors or other practitioners. But some of them have been great partners to me in restoring or improving my health. Because I do yoga regularly, I’ll take on board the exercises my physio gives, almost always with good results.

One thing came out of my small sample group that was interesting. It seems that a big inhibitor of getting appropriate treatment is that when a diagnosis is given, then that clearly                                                identifies that there is a problem. No diagnosis, then it’s easy to imagine that there is nothing wrong. This is the head-in-the-sand approach.

Yoga teachers encounter plenty of students who have shoulder complaints: rotator cuff injuries, nerve impingements, bicep tendonitis and the like. These partly arise because the students are in an older age demographic. Their lifestyle is becoming more sedentary and their bodies less muscular. They lose some of their upper body strength, but still try to keep up with workouts. Or, they might be gardening, moving house or even doing yoga practice. One quick, wrong move, and there’s trouble.

Here’s the thing. If physical problems don’t get too imbedded, then recovery time will be relatively short. But, the longer the injury or condition is untreated, rehabilitation may take many months instead of weeks. Head-out-of-the-sand approach will save time, energy and pain!