The Plus Side of Pain

Pain is something many people encounter at some point in their life, and for various reasons. While we usually tend to view it as an inconvenience (which it very well can be at times), did you know it is actually a good thing? It isn’t something you should aim for, but rather feel grateful your body has ways of telling you when something is wrong.

Imagine driving your car down the road. The check engine light comes on. You think,”Just a little further. I’m almost to my destination and will get it looked at later.” The light is a constant reminder each time you get in your car until you finally schedule an appointment with an auto mechanic to get it looked at. What if you had just covered up the light and ignored it? By getting it addressed by an expert shortly after your car displayed a warning sign, you were able to head off major problems down the road, which may have lead to you needing major expensive repairs, or the worst case, a new car.

Our bodies tend to work in a parallel manner. When something is wrong, our bodies are smart enough to tell us we need to slow down and evaluate what is going on. How awesome is that?! Sometimes (okay, fairly often) we are stubborn and refuse to listen to our bodies and get help. Instead, we push through the symptoms, possibly covering them up in various ways. These cover ups don’t address the problem causing the pain in the first place, but rather put off seeking correction of the issue. Unfortunately, we are not like cars. You cannot get a new body. Treat it well! This is the only one you’re given and it cannot be traded in. Furthermore, if you think major car repairs are expensive, you’d probably prefer avoiding a trip to the hospital.

Sometimes pain or other related symptoms are caused by problems you can identify yourself and simply need you to alter your habits or give your body a break and get some rest. Are you properly fueling and hydrating it?  Other times, or if symptoms persist when you try to identify the problem yourself, you need the help of an expert to identify the cause and correct it. Chiropractors are experts in seeking out the cause of issues and addressing those, rather than simply focusing on relieving the resulting symptom. Pain relief is a nice side effect, but our focus is actually on better body function and resulting obtainment of your health goals. In fact, many people seek out chiropractic care to feel and function well, rather than simply to feel “less bad”.

The next time you’re feeling any discomfort, think of what your body is trying to tell you and listen to it rather than ignoring it or covering it up. “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”- Jim Rohn

Yours in health,

Dr. Emily

Optimistic Health

While reading a recent article focusing on conservation and solving the world’s pollution and ever shrinking natural resources problems, I was inspired to correlate the ideas to our own health rather than just the health of the planet (which happen to both be connected, let’s not forget). The message from the article was that rather than people always focusing on what they could cut back on to save the environment, perhaps it would be more beneficial if they focused on what positives they could add. The benefits of a more optimistic mindset were concentrated on-rather than looking at things as problems and burdens, look at them as opportunities just waiting to be fulfilled.
Can the same ideas be applied to our own personal health? Yes, they can! As a chiropractor, I think in terms of how your body can function at its best. Rather than just addressing symptoms, we try to get to the root of the issue to improve your overall health. This can be applied to other areas of your health as well, as it is truly multifaceted. We are constantly getting told to cut back on this or that in order to “lose X amount of weight” or “to have X amount of energy”. With chronic disease and depression being no stranger to a large portion of our population in this modern day, perhaps it is time to look at things in a new light. While I admit, we as Americans often have quite a bit of room to cut back in many areas, maybe it’s time we focus more on adding positives into our life rather than having so much focus on taking away negatives.
For example, rather than watching calories so closely, try adding more real food to your diet-things that are alive, like veggies, fruits, and fresh protein sources. Maybe you’ll find you won’t actively have to avoid the more processed “junk” foods, but rather won’t crave them as much or have as much room for them.
Add in a short walk or run several days per week. Once you are comfortable with the level you’re at, increase your frequency and intensity if you’re up for the challenge and your health allows for it. You may enjoy the endorphins released by being active and look forward to the activity. Turn it into a social time and catch up with a friend or family member while both getting some exercise in.
Get more sleep. Your body needs the time to recharge. Focusing on setting yourself a consistent sleeping schedule is one of the best things you can do for your body. You may find yourself more productive during the day with the added sleep during the night, and end up freeing up more time for yourself while awake.
Lastly, but not least, add some time to focus on yourself-your personal development. This may sound selfish, but by focusing on bettering yourself, you will make everyone around you better. Effects will be seen both directly, through your increased contributions to society, and indirectly, through the confidence exuding from you and onto others you come into contact with. There are so many great books out there waiting to be read that are written for individuals to better themselves. If reading isn’t your thing, start with searching some motivational videos on youtube.
These are only a few of countless ways you can “add health” into your life. While many of these are not new ideas, I hope you are inspired to be more of a health optimist, rather than focusing on your “flaws” and things that are dragging you down. Of course, contact your healthcare provider if you have any question in the safety of adding something into your life.
Yours in health,
Dr. Emily