by: Andrea Mills DC
We were watching the Food Network last night (Restaurant Impossible, to be exact, where Robert Irvine goes into failing restaurants and kicks butt over 2 days to help them learn what mistakes they’re making) when an ad for Prilosec OTC came on. It sparked an interesting conversation amongst the adults about all the disclaimers the drug companies have to disclose, and it made my husband say…
“Why would anyone take that medicine anyway?“
That got me thinking about symptoms (a love-hate topic for me for sure) and our instant gratification society. So here are my musings on the subject.
Most people think of symptoms as separate as apart from them. It’s as if the symptom is a separate entity from the person feeling it. Take headaches, for example. People will say, “I have a headache” and pop some Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen without even thinking twice about the message their body is trying to send them. Is the headache an Ibuprofen deficiency? Of course not.
Headaches happen when the blood vessels in the brain dilate enough to fire off pain sensors. Yet, when was the last time you had a headache and thought, “What is going on inside me that is causing the blood vessels in my brain to dilate?” Probably never, but to really fix the headache you may have to manage your blood pressure, or eat better foods, or drink more water, or get your spine checked by a chiropractor, or get regular exercise. Many things cause headaches.
Do you know what causes yours?
Let’s take gout as another example. The swelling, redness, incredible pain and disability of gout comes from crystals forming inside the joint. This is a blood chemistry issue, plain and simple, and the only way to fix it is to take steps to decrease the acidity of your blood. Not so surprisingly, decreasing the acidity of your blood will also help if you have high blood pressure, heart issues, diabetes, arthritis, or any of the other “chronic lifestyle diseases” that define America’s health.
Yet our medical system insists on defining “diseases” and classifying them based on “symptoms” and pushing drugs to manage the “symptoms” without ever addressing the cause of the “disease.”
In chiropractic, we think of dis-ease as lack of ease in the body. It is not a medical condition separate and apart from you. It is you. You without ease, without proper functioning. Even cancer, that most dreaded dis-ease of all, starts as your cells, mutating and changing into different kinds of cells, ones without proper function.
A few weeks ago, my “Maintenance Required” light went on in my car (I drive a Toyota FJ Cruiser and I have to tell you, I LOVE that car). I knew it went off because it was time to get my oil changed, so I took a picture of my dashboard, texted it to my oil change guy, and within 2 days he showed up to change my oil.
What would have happened if I had ignored that light? Or, even sillier still, taped some black tape over it so I couldn’t see it anymore. My car is running perfectly. Why do I need to listen to the message that light is giving me?
Are you chuckling? You should be because every reasonable adult knows that is a stupid way to maintain a car. If I don’t change the oil and it gets thick and can’t lubricate the engine, I’m likely going to ruin my engine and have a much bigger, and more expensive, problem in the future.
Is your “Check Engine” light on, anywhere in your body? Do you have aches and pains, or digestion issues, or high blood pressure, or diabetes? If you have any symptom anywhere, your light is on. Are you listening to the message or just taping over the light with black tape (taking any medication to manage any symptom is using tape).
Even scarier still are all the health related problems you may have that don’t have any “symptoms.” High blood pressure and diabetes are two notorious ones and both are called “silent killers.” Let’s go back to that dreaded dis-ease cancer again. By the time someone with cancer has symptoms, how far has it progressed? Usually to stage 3 or 4 before you even “feel” any different.
Your body is the most amazing machine on this planet. It runs thousands of processes, manages trillions of cells, and takes the food you eat and the air you breathe and turns it into living, breathing tissue. It creates a new human of trillions of cells out of just 2, the sperm and the egg.
Doesn’t this amazing machine deserve for you to take better care of it than you do your car?