Do you ever people watch? Do you pick out the peculiarities about them? We all have them and it is okay. It is what makes us who we are and what is unique about us. I saw a guy the other day on his bike riding around Fort Collins with a rainbow dyed man bun. Now that was something to see. Then there was the mom jogging while pushing the stroller and talking on her cell phone at the same time. But the one that got to me and made me want to know more about his story was the fella who sat down on a bench downtown.

Being a chiropractor I pick up on things when I see people move and interact with whoever and whatever they are doing. It isn’t a gift but just a standard of perception since I interact with people all day long to help solve their problems. I see people’s movements a little different.

So I knew from the moment I saw this guy that he had a problem. There was zero bounce in his step, it was all very slow and calculated. He bent forward just slightly at the waist. He has some lower back pain and some crazy limitation on him. I would bet money on it because what he did next gave it away.

He walked up to the bench and proceeded to sit down. This was an event. He put one hand on the back of the bench and then slowly lowered himself down. You are probably thinking he is an old guy, but he was probably in his 30’s.

Once he got down he did something unexpected. He leaned to his right so that his left “cheek” was off of the bench. And he sat there. And sat there. It was like someone hit the pause button. He wasn’t moving. There is no way this could be comfortable and there is no way he could hold this position for very long.

I was wrong, at least on how long I thought he could hold this. His head would move, but the rest of him was stone. He didn’t move from that unnatural position for the seven minutes it took for me to finish my latte. He just sat there.

As I was walking away thinking about how interesting it was that he had to sit that way, it hit me. This is how his back pain/problem has defined him. He had to sit like that just so he could sit down. You know how I feel about sitting from my other blog This Thing Can Kill You, but I don’t think he was even able to get rest from his walking. I bet he sits at home watching TV like that. How does he drive his car? I hope he doesn’t have to sit when he works.

I don’t know his story but I saw enough to know that he is hurting in his lower spine and everything was modified because of it. I don’t know if he has a permanent condition or if he is getting care for it. He was struggling and my heart goes out to him

I hate to see people struggling with their health especially when just getting by seems to be the biggest chore. He worked out what he had to do to get by. He had to lean to one side and raise his leg just to sit. I wonder if he had shooting pain in that leg otherwise.

But this is what we do as human beings. We learn to get by. That is a huge detriment to our health and well-being because the longer we ignore something it becomes a bigger problem until it starts defining us. I don’t think we need to jump for every little ache and pain, but we need to be more conscious about our health, interactions with our environment and habits we are creating. So when things are creeping in and becoming more frequent visitors, we need to take action if we want to remain vibrant, healthy and fully engaged in our lives. Otherwise, we give things like this man’s back problems room to define us.

Like I said, I don’t know this man’s story. I do wonder if he was getting help, has he been to a chiropractor and does he have a great back story to how he got that way. In any event, he has a problem that defined him and I wonder if being proactive about a small thing could have meant skipping down the street or strolling with love one.

Don’t let your health problems grow up and define you.

Dr. Jeremy Overholt