For a long time the healthcare field has been plagued by a disease that is difficult to treat: pride. Most doctors, including chiropractors, think they are the answer to the health care problem. The reality is that we are all just a piece of the puzzle. In the end your health is just that, yours and you should be free to choose how you want to be treated and informed of all the options.
Without going into specifics there are certain factions of health that are more exclusive, believing that their way is best and to go in another direction is the height of foolishness. A wise man once told me “If the only tool you have in your belt is a hammer then, pretty soon, every problem begins to look for a nail.” In healthcare this can be re-stated as “If the only tool you have in your arsenal is drugs, then every problem, disease or symptom looks like a drug deficiency,” or “if the only tool you have in your arsenal is adjustments then every problem is one of misalignment.” This saying can be applied to just about any healing methodology but the mindset must be fought against by both patient and practitioner.
In general “alternative” healthcare providers are more open to different therapies than “traditional” ones, but this is not always to case. Many are so dogmatic and ideological that if they cannot help somebody then nobody can. This causes their patients to either become fiercely loyal or to disregard them and their peers as quacks and charlatans. Either circumstance is detrimental.
As health care professionals we must recognize that regardless of our chosen specialty we are only a piece of the patient’s overall health. To think that we or our specialty is the answer to every patients every problem is the height of arrogance.
No two people are the same and even. We may see two people with very similar problems but the cause and the cure may be completely different. Chiropractic may help one, acupuncture the other. Sometimes it is a matter of finding the right combination which may include an occasional pharmaceutical drug or surgery.
Acupuncture has been proven to be very effective in treating many conditions.
The point is that we, as providers of health care, must be willing to work together to find the answers instead of dogmatically “sticking to our guns” while the patient suffers. Along with that patients must recognize that they play a significant role as well. Instead of relying completely on someone else they must participate in their own rescue. This includes:
1. Knowledge: before blindly following directions do some of your own study so that you understand the decision you are making.
2. Use us: as health care providers we have studied and are more than willing to share what we know or find the answer to a question you may have.
3. Exercise: Get up and get active because movement is good for the heart and body.
4. Nutrition: Providing your body with the nutrition it needs is vital for any healing process.
5. Hydrate: Your body is made up of over 70% water so adequate water intake is essential. I recommend at least half your body weight in ounces (for example if you weigh 150 lbs. you should drink 75 ounces of water). Soda, coffee, and energy drinks do not count.
6. Sleep: Deep sleep is where your body restores itself and heals. Get 7-8 hours per day for optimum healing.
7. Healthy Habits: Reduce the amount of sugar, processed foods and white flour you consume. If you smoke, QUIT!! Maintain proper weight and do not spend too much time watching television.
8. Stress: Remove as much emotional stress as possible and avoid taking on any unnecessary emotional burdens. It is also important to establish proper boundaries with everyone you meet.
Stress comes in many forms and is the root of many issues.
9. Spiritual Matters: Much healing comes from within. Get in tune with your spirit through prayer and make sure your spiritual foundation is strong and uncompromised.
10. Hope: It has been shown over and over again that maintaining a positive attitude is crucial to recovering from any illness. Surround yourself with people who will fill your life with real positive thoughts.
As individuals the more we understand that our health is our own the better we will be able to help ourselves and in turn many others. Each of our journeys to health will be similar and yet different.
One of my jobs is to educate my patients, potential patients and the general public about the important role chiropractors play in the grand scheme of health. Chiropractors adjust the spine with the intention of removing nerve interference which allows proper signals from the brain to every muscle and organ in the body. These proper signals encourage the body’s inborn systems that heal the body from the inside out.
Take charge of your health instead of letting it take charge of you. Start today by asking questions and seeking out the options that are best for you. I encourage you to include the healing potential of chiropractic when making future health care choices.