The Choice Between “A Quick Fix” and Optimal Health
MANY of us are now becoming aware that when we get health problems we can do one of three things.
- 1) chose not to do anything,
- 2) cover up the symptom with pain suppressants, or
- 3) search for the cause of the problem and see if it can be corrected or removed.
The third option is what my wife, Judy, and I choose to focus on. Until just a few year ago most people didn’t even know they had a choice. Now many people are consciously choosing to search for and correct the cause in order to actually create better overall health, rather than attack the symptoms with short term fixes that can have long term negative consequences.
An ideal goal is to find where the body is not working properly and then to correct or at least improve its ability to function, ratherthan just cover up the symptoms caused by that dysfunction. In my experience there is a huge difference between having no pain from medication compared to having the body switch the pain off when the cause of dysfunction is removed. The first can sometimes work satisfactorily but it can also have a mind-numbing effect and create a “foggy” state. The second approach can be invigorating, leaving the recipient with a sense of wellbeing. After all, the pain isn’t actually the real problem; it’s simply the body’s alarm bell.
The painful symptoms that Dr. Judy and I are often able to help include: back pain, arm pain and leg pain, headaches and fibromyalgia as well as neck pain and even knee pain and hip pain. Other non-painful symptoms that we are successful with more often than not include: muscle weakness, stiffness, numbness and tingling.
Are you truly out of options or just think you are?
I think it is important people not think that just because they have had their problem/s for many years and have been to many health care providers without success that they now consider themselves a “hopeless case”. While I understand how they can feel that way I’ve heard that unfortunate conclusion expressed far too many times. I remember a case that happened a few years ago as if it were yesterday. Two women in their early 30s were concerned for their mother who had constant low back pain and sciatica. They told me that she had tried several things over the past five or six years and had given up but asked if I thought I could help her. My only honest answer to questions like that is to say “I’ll need to talk to her and do a brief assessment before I’ll be able to get a good idea of the likelihood of being able to help.” They managed to convince her to come in for a consultation.
One of the diagnostic methods I used then and still use now is Applied Kinesiology (AK) which is a painless, straightforward system of testing. AK is now used in many health care fields for various purposes and was first developed by chiropractors. It enables us to determine if a specific part of the back or neck has a problem that is causing muscle weakness. The presence of muscle weakness indicates dysfunction in the nerves that exit the spine. This then sets the alarm bells ringing and you experience pain.
In this woman’s case I simply asked her to lay on her front so I could test the strength of her hamstring muscles. One leg was strong but the other side with sciatica pain was very weak. When I rested with my hand gently pressing on the lowest vertebra in her back called L5, she immediately had full strength in the week leg and most of the pain disappeared. That is something I had seen many times before even though sometimes I applied the pressure to different parts of the back while testing different muscles. From my past experience in treating this problem I knew two things. First, her pain and weakness was coming from the back. Second, if I treated her with the chiropractic methods that I had used on similar cases, it would most likely improve and quite possibly be fully corrected.
I explained my findings to the woman but she replied “Dr. Barritt, you can’t help me, no one can help me.” One daughter jumped in with “Mum, you know the problems I had and Dr Barritt has helped me a lot. You said it yourself.” The other daughter said “He really helped both people that I sent to him. So why do you think he can’t help you?” The mother remained convinced that she was beyond help and never received the rest of the physical evaluation in order to receive any treatment.
The idea of searching for the cause of any particular symptom can make even more sense when we look at that the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of health. The WHO has said that health is ‘A state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. In my opinion, those who seek wellness care are seeking to optimise their health rather than merely stomp on symptoms. Essentially they are seeking to realise the goal inherent in the above definition of health.
When most of us think of chiropractic we think of ‘getting our backs cracked’. That works great for thousands of people every day here in Canberra. However, what Dr. Judy and I do is so gentle, that many people wonder how it could possibly work so well. I endeavour to answer this question in another article on this website called “Cutting Edge Neuroplastic Treatment Offers New Hope for a Range of Conditions Including Severe And Chronic Pain”. In that article you will learn more about what scientists who have studied this technique say about the positive physiological changes that can occur in the body as a result of receiving this type of treatment.
While this method of treatment can help injury cases, as well as severe and chronic pain conditions, it is also very effective at improving general wellbeing. In fact, an Irvine College of Medicine study investigated the primary technique that Judy and I use and concluded, ‘‘These findings provide substantial evidence that Network Care should be included among those practices with established health benefits.’’
If you would like to discuss how chiropractic care can help you reduce your symptoms and improve your overall health in the process, please call us on (02) 6162 2919 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting for a free 15 min consultation or mention this article and receive $50 off your initial consultation (includes two visits and treatment on each visit). If you would like a chiropractor to visit your office to provide a workplace health presentation or advice to employees, call us at the Optimal Health Centre Braddon.
Jason Barritt, B. Sc. (Hons), D.C.
Blanks, R.H., Shuster, T.L., Dobson, M.A. Retrospective Assessment of Network Care Using a Survey of Self-Related Health, Wellness and Quality of Life, Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 1997, Vol. 1. No. 4, p15-31