After going through lockdown and virtual classes, we are back in the swing at my amazing gym. Monday morning I hammered out two 30-minute sessions; Tuesday I was almost done with two more when – uh oh, down goes Frazier! My back locked up tight; I hobbled off the floor and tried foam rolling it out but this was more than a little tweak.

When your back is out, everything is just… off. The simple things like getting in and out of a car, putting on socks, tying shoes – are suddenly a big deal. Yes, the Spartan racer had to get help putting on socks. One of my more embarrassing moments! Having had back trouble before, I knew I would get past it. But damn it hurts when you’re in the middle of it. It can be worked through, to a point, but no one is at their best in that situation.

I went straight to the chiropractor Tuesday morning. (Well, I showered first. He didn’t need to experience that!) I don’t need him often but he gets me right back on track. Three visits later and I’m mostly there – I even ran this morning!

As I went through this week trying not to twist or move quickly or, you know, breathe, I was thinking about getting off kilter, being out of alignment. I knew I was going to see the chiro as soon as it happened. When my car gets out of alignment, I get that fixed right away, too. So why do I just keep plugging away, keep not being at my best, when other parts of life get off track?

Warning Signs?

How do you know when there’s an alignment issue? For your car, there’s a pull in the steering and uneven tire wear. Were there signs with my back? Nothing jumped out at the time, but in hindsight, there were moments when my right side wasn’t quite right, stiffness through the lower back, sciatic tingling – little things I ignored at the time because they didn’t seem important. This problem, however, didn’t happen on one lift, one exercise. I aggravated what was already there.

Life is the same way. It’s easier to let the little things go, not make a big deal about something that bothers you, to “go along to get along”. Now, I’m not saying you should make every moment in your life a fight. But how many times have you wound up in a huge disagreement or major impasse at work, when one side is confused because they are just doing what they have always done? The other person was bothered by it all along, but never spoke up. It builds, and eventually there’s a breakdown. This doesn’t happen in one conversation – we are aggravating what is already there.

As a manager, I learned the hard way that it wasn’t fair to my staff when I avoided confrontation and didn’t communicate issues (even minor ones). Truthfully, I was bad about that for a long time. Ducking confrontation, however, only leads to bigger problems down the line. Stand up, speak your mind, and air it out (professionally, of course) as soon after the incident as possible.

As a person, though, it’s hard to do. Avoiding a problem with a coworker, a client – it seems easier to work around the situation than face it head on. Eventually, you are all twisted up from bending over backwards and dodging issues – which makes the adjustment and recovery that much more painful.

When you are not at your best, not aligned properly with your world, problems will grow. You can keep plugging away, but at some point it will turn into a breakdown. Learn to look for the signs, in you and in others; don’t ignore them! Get yourself back on track or find someone you trust to be your “life chiro”. Soon you’ll feel that satisfying POP as things fall back in place.

Photo by Jesper Aggergaard on Unsplash