In this, the final installment of the Hierarchy of Health series, we will be reviewing each of the approaches. Each has their benefits, and each has their costs. In order to be satisfied with our health, it is imperative that we match our goals and values with the approach most likely to meet them.
The first approach is Symptom Treatment. Symptom Treatment is about getting rid of the superficial pain or secondary condition. Success is determined when we feel relief, or at least more comfortable.
The benefit of this approach is that it can buy us some time until we can get to true healing. If we break a bone, we know that the pain killer is not healing us – but provides some comfort while the healing work is done. Symptom treatment is also typically rapid and not time consuming (relief occurs quickly).
The cost of symptom treatment is that it does little to improve – and often impairs – overall health. A comfortable person taking Tylenol is not healthier than they were 20 minutes earlier when they had a headache – in fact one could argue they are now less aware and not as healthy. A lifetime of mere symptom treatment may lead to a significant decrease of health and serious health problems and disease.
The next approach in the Hierarchy of Health is Addressing the Cause. This goes deeper than symptom treatment. This approach understands that in the majority of cases, symptoms are secondary conditions with an underlying, primary cause and that just treating the secondary effects will do nothing to solve the real problem.
At Nexus Chiropractic, our Initial Phase of Care (IPC) is designed to address the primary problem of a spine and nervous system locked in an abnormal state.
Does this take longer to correct than just treating a symptom? Of course. The benefit is that the outcome is typically much more sustainable and even better, when you correct the underlying pattern, very often there are other ‘side effect’ benefits as well.
The third approach in the Hierarchy of Health is Protection. Protection is the first approach that is proactive, as opposed to reactive. Instead of waiting for problems to arise, you take steps on a regular basis to ensure you stay in good shape, much like most reasonable people have the oil changed in their car whether their engine light comes on or not.
While Protection does require regular care, it can go a long way towards preventing major crises that are very inconvenient and very expensive to address in terms of time, energy, lost opportunity, and money.
Our final approach that sits highest in the Hierarchy of Health is Optimization. This approach doesn’t react to problems, or even try to prevent them. The focus of Optimization is continued improvement.
A person utilizing this approach uses their experience to look for new and refined ways to be better tomorrow than they were today. These individuals are maestros of their health and lives.
The more advanced care we provide at Nexus is designed to deliver optimization by helping the nervous system to become ever more adaptable and highly organized.
Where do you spend most of your time on the hierarchy of health? Be honest.
Are you happy with the results you are getting with your currently approach? If yes, keep doing what you are doing.
Do you want more out of your health? Where will you be in 5, 10, 20 years if you keep going the same way? Start by moving up one rung on the Hierarchy of Health, commit to it, and observe what happens.
There is perhaps nothing more rewarding in my work than watching someone choose a higher path for their health and life. It is never too late to make that choice.
Thorin Gault, D.C.
April 1, 2019