2018: The Best Year of Your Life

January 30, 2018 by

Part 4 – Holistic vs. Isolated

In the last two articles, we looked at principles lived by the minority of our society that are truly healthy. The first was that they focus on building health as opposed to fighting symptoms and disease. The second was that they seek to enhance awareness instead of sedating.

This article delves into the third principle of healthy people, which is that they see things in a holistic way as opposed to an isolated way.

Holistic is defined as, ‘characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.’

What this means from the perspective of health, is that something happening in one part of our bodies is impacting, and being impacted by other parts of our bodies, and even lives.

I learned this very early in my chiropractic practice, almost 18 years ago. At the time I was practicing a very mechanical technique that understood that the spine was an integrated whole. So, I took full spine x-rays on almost all my patients. What I noticed was that very often, when someone would come in with low back trouble, their low back would look good on the x-ray, but their neck was messed up. The opposite was also true.

What this means is that where we have a problem (secondary condition or symptom) is not necessarily where the problem is. This also means that it is important to assess and address the entire system HOLISTICALLY in order to create a solution.

If you have light bulbs burning out too quickly in your house and appliances shorting out, you could go around replacing the parts, OR you could have an electrician go down to the electrical box and address what is more likely to be the main problem.

Unfortunately, many common health care approaches spend too much time replacing light bulbs and not enough time seeing the big picture. In this case changing light bulbs just delays the inevitable.

A holistic approach to health also involves a lot more than just the physical/mechanical. Healthy people look to their lifestyle and observe how it affects their physical health and perhaps plays a role in their symptoms and diseases.

In my chiropractic practice, it is my observation that as people become healthier, they can see the connection between their symptoms and their diet, emotional state, mental state and even how they are doing spiritually. With this awareness comes the ability to change much more effortlessly.

Research shows us that one of the most accurate predictors of back pain is how satisfied people are in their jobs, financial situation, and relationships. There is a neurological explanation for this beyond the scope of this article but when was the last time you considered how what you were feeling inside may be impacting your physical health?

Healthy people understand this and look to all aspects of their lives when faced with a health problem. When someone with back pain not only addresses what is happening with their spine and nervous system but also assesses what they are eating, how they are moving, their emotional state, their interactions with others, and even assess if they are on the correct path in life, not only does it drastically improve their chances of recovery, it also improves the overall quality of their lives. Isn’t that what we truly want, anyway?

The care at Nexus is set up and delivered in a holistic way. We assess the entire spine and nervous system because we know that a symptom in one part of the body is usually not solely caused by that spot, but by stress on the entire system. We teach our patients specific exercises that increases their somatic – or body – awareness. We give presentations that teach patients how to care for their spine and nervous system at home.

While I am no psychotherapist, I often point out how what is showing up in a person’s spine may be connected to what is happening mentally and emotionally in their lives. The state of the spine and nervous system also leave clues about how a person can best go about making the necessary changes in their lives.


So, where in your health and life have you been too caught up in the isolated parts? Where have you been running around the house changing light bulbs, when the electrical system really needed to be updated?

Now, how can you assess and address this in a more holistic manner?

Keep it up! See you next article.


Thorin Gault, D.C.



2018 – The Best Year of Your Life Part 2

January 18, 2018 by

Health Focused vs. Symptom Focused

In the previous article, we talked about how healthy people lived by a different set of principles as unhealthy people. We also discussed that most people were not conscious of the principles with which they lived, making it both difficult to change faulty principles and apply successful principles in other areas of life.

This article will explore the first principle lived by the healthy minority of our society. That principle is to be health focused as opposed to symptom focused.

If you ask the average person what it means to be healthy, what will they say? In my experience the average person believes that they are healthy if they don’t have any diseases or symptoms. Essentially, if there is nothing ‘wrong,’ they are healthy.

How this belief shows up is that very little, to no focus is placed upon health outside of the treatment of disease and symptoms. ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ is sometimes proudly stated by people with this belief.

One of the challenges with this approach is that the underlying process and pattern leading to symptoms and diseases (secondary conditions) can often be present and growing for some time (even years and decades) before we feel it or become diagnosed with it. Waiting for crisis can leave lots of damage to be undone. Not paying attention to your health until you have a heart attack means that even if you are fortunate enough to survive, there will be lots of work to do.

Another challenge is that when we focus on symptom treatment, we often miss what the symptoms are trying to tell us. If you treat a headache with a pill, maybe you are missing that you were just dehydrated and needed to drink some water. Or perhaps you were reacting to something you ate? The headache goes away, but the underlying problem goes unchecked.

Years ago, I was playing in the World Masters (old timers) Fastball Championship in Australia. We played 15 games in 8 days which was more than any of us were used to. Early in the week, the entire team was achy and sore. Many of my teammates were popping pills before and after games and dousing their arms and legs with liniments to numb their pain. On many occasions I was offered pills and potions but declined because my philosophy was that if my body was trying to tell me to NOT do something, I wanted to be able to feel it. Luckily, it never got to that point and I was able to play all the way through. What was interesting is that by the last couple of days I was feeling great while those who covered up their early symptoms were crashing and burning.

The final challenge with a symptom first approach is that sometimes the TREATMENT for the SYMPTOM actually harms our overall health. While this may be an acceptable trade off in cases of our life being in danger with a disease like cancer or life-threatening infection, is it really worth damaging your health because of some pain and discomfort? While doing so occasionally may not be a big deal, many people walk around with pain killers in their bags and purses in case a symptom should arise.


The healthy minority see things differently. These people live by the principle of being health focused, where symptoms and diseases are important messages that something is off – not ‘things’ to be eradicated. They see health more like the literal WHO definition: ‘…a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.’

Because health is seen as something to be attained for its own sake, these people seek to create it in their lifestyle. They live, eat, exercise, and seek professionals to optimize function, have vitality, lots of energy, and feel great (not just not bad).

Unlike the symptom focused folks, in many ways this group gets healthier as they age, to go along with the wisdom they gain with experience – which is a beautiful thing to behold.



The cruel joke is that one of the outcomes of the health focused lifestyle is that they tend to have less pain and disease than the symptom focused group. Why? Because they are healthier.

Does this mean that they are bulletproof to pain and disease? Of course not – they are human. Does that mean that they never treat them? Nope, there is a time and place for these interventions. Those who live with the principle of being health focused use treatments to buy them some time while they make the lifestyle changes necessary.


The care provided at Nexus is consistent with the principle of being health focused. While it is true that most people seek out our care because the have secondary conditions that other approaches have not been able to help, we know that we must help the person WITH the condition to get healthier for it to no longer be a factor. We do this by addressing the underlying patterns creating the symptom. In doing so not only does the condition get handled, the person gets healthier as they progress through care.

It is for the same reason that many of our patients continue to see us AFTER their initial complaint is gone – to continue to protect and optimize their health.


So, look at your health and notice times that you have been symptom focused and times you have been health focused. How can you move yourself more towards the health focused side?

Now, look closely at the other areas of your life. Are there areas that you have been numbing the pain to avoid making a change? Have you ignored the health of your finances or career or relationships for the sake of comfort? How can you make a shift to improve the health of those parts of your life?

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next health principle. If you missed the opening article of the series, you can find it HERE.

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