There is an often quoted line from Thomas Gray’s poem, Ode on a Distant Prospect at Eton College, “Where ignorance is bliss, Tis folly to be wise.” We hear it often in the shortened version “ignorance is bliss” which can be taken to be an excuse to be lazy with one’s mind and be happier. Yet, if one reads into Gray’s poem fully, it is more about not encumbering one’s mind unnecessarily and what lies ahead is better faced without the worry of the arduous path ahead. It really is not about being apathetic about knowledge.
Ignorance is an interesting subject since the law does not give it any weight when one may inadvertently commit a crime, and ignorance about how one’s body works is a definite liability as one gets older. What has become clear in treating thousands of back patients is they are often quite uneducated on how their spines work, how to care for it, protect it and improve its odds of being an asset versus a liability as they get older. Being ignorant of the common “road ahead” for many future chronic back pain sufferers is really an unfortunate consequence of not meeting a good physical therapist. Such an encounter has the potential to really shift a person’s perspective and empower them to a better understanding in the care of their back.
Empowerment is at the core of Full Potential’s Mission Statement and has been since our beginning. The way to be good at something is to have a good purpose for doing it. At Full Potential, we prefer the saying “knowledge is power” which relates to a quote from another Thomas – Thomas Jefferson – “knowledge is power, knowledge is safety, and knowledge is happiness.”
The spine is an amazing structure; designed very well to last a long time when it is used according to its owner’s manual. Since spinal problems cost insurance billions a year, it would seem that getting that manual in your own hands would be a good basic step in controlling costs and improving your quality of life. It would seem Jefferson’s idea of knowledge is so applicable for your back pain.
This reminds me of another quote from a not so famous author in the late 1800s, Anne Isabelle Ritchie. She wrote in a book titled, Mrs. Dymond “if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour; if you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn.” At Full Potential Physical Therapy, we are about teaching you “to fish.” We are about doing you a “good turn.”
We are here to help.
Vincent Hanneken, PT & Owner of Full Potential