In the last article we identified a hierarchy of approaches to health. Success leaves clues and if you observe the healthiest people in the world, you see that they approach ‘health care’ much differently from those who struggle.
We also looked at the first rung on the hierarchy ladder – Symptom Treatment. The value of symptom treatment is that it can buy us some time to get through a crisis so that we can heal and regain our health at a later, safer time. The challenges with symptom treatment are that it does not consider the underlying cause of the problem and very often actually harms our long-term health.
Moving beyond symptom treatment, we come to the next level on the Hierarchy of Health. That approach is Addressing the Cause. An individual with this approach to health may experience the same back pain or headache as someone who just pops a pain killer but will take significantly different actions.
A person who addresses the cause understands that a headache isn’t caused by an Advil deficiency. That a muscle doesn’t just ‘spasm’ for no reason. That high blood pressure is a sign of something deeper going on.
While addressing the cause seems like a great idea to virtually everyone, it is not employed by nearly as many people as you would think. The reason for this is that it takes more work than just treating a symptom. It requires you ask different questions and it typically requires more action over a longer period of time. It is more work to pull out the dandelions by their roots than just chopping off their heads with the lawn mower.
Our office sees many people who first come to us with back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Most of them have spent a significant amount of time merely treating symptoms. After examining their spine and nervous system we often see significant structural distortions and a hyper vigilant nervous system leading to muscle spasms and/or weakness, organic issues, and even shifts in mental/emotional well-being.
Does addressing the abnormalities in the spine and nervous system take more time and effort than treating the individual symptoms? You bet. Is it worth it? I think so.
The added bonus to addressing the underlying cause is that people will usually notice that other, more subtle problems that they may not have even been concerned with start to improve also. In our office, while most people first come to us with some sort of pain concern they quickly report more energy, better sleep, better athletic performance, faster healing, enhanced digestion, better mood and other conditions resolving. Why? A healthier nervous system leads to a better functioning body.
Unlike symptom treatment, when we address the underlying cause our overall health improves at the same time.
So, if you are not getting the results you desire when it comes to your health, perhaps there are some areas where you can look at addressing the cause, as opposed to – or in addition to – just treating symptoms? How might your health be different if in the past, when faced with a challenge you had taken care of the cause right then and there?
How much better would your lawn look today, had you pulled the dandelions by there roots 5 years ago?
In the next article we will take the next step in the hierarchy of health and look at Prevention.
Thorin Gault, D.C.