Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why not?

Why did this happen, Doc? What is causing my pain?

Is it because I exercised/slept on the couch/went dancing in stilettos/exercised on the couch in stilettos?

The answer is: yes, all of the above, and then some. Truthfully, I usually won't know WHAT caused your pain because there is rarely ONE incident that caused it. The way you are today is the result of everything you have and have not done to date. That car accident in the early 90's that you didn't seek treatment for, the year you crashed on your friend's futon, the horrible chair at work, these matter. Yesterday's hard workout may have coincided with the onset of your current pain, but it was likely just the (wait for it...) straw that broke the camel's back.

It is ironic that we want so much to know why we hurt when we hurt, but care so little about our well-being when we are, well, well (actually, Alanis, it is less ironic than incongruous). One could argue that we want to know why so as to not do that again... but one would be wrong. Say I concur that your head is indeed sideways because you slept funny - now what, never sleep funny again? Or you postulate that you put your low back out driving to Buffalo for some last minute Tar-jay shopping - now what, no more bargain border shopping? Few of us when well want to know how to remain that way or become well-er (!). But the injured? They are suddenly VERY interested in injury prevention.

When someone has a heart attack, do we blame the last cheeseburger he ate (sob... if only he hadn't ordered the COMBO!!!)? We want to know the cause of our problem, the reason for our suffering, but really, we should be less concerned with the tipping point, and more focused on the process. Health and wellness are a journey, a culmination of choices and decisions over time. Where you are now is the result of where you have been, and all we can really do about it is deal with the present and choose to act right for the future.

Am I clear? I'll try to be less cryptic and more chiropractic.

Make good choices now. Take care of yourself now. See a chiropractor now, before you NEED to. It seems that the people who see me regularly, before they are in agony, have a lot less problems than those who wait. They hurt less frequently and less intensely. And when things do go awry, a pinch here, extra stress there, perhaps some bad luck mixed in with bad timing, the regular Joes get better faster.

They don't have to ask WHY they hurt, because the answer is 'sometimes it happens', and they are too busy getting better.

I don't even care what showed up on your x-ray (actually, I DO care - very much! Just not in the way you think). If you think a bit of arthritis on x-ray explains the pain you've had for 2 weeks, think again. It may contribute to your problem, but structure does NOT always equal function, and whatever shows up on radiograph likely predates your present complaint. It was there before you hurt, and will be there after.

So let's talk ergonomics and work on a stretching routine, and remember to book your follow-up visit. Let's worry less about what went wrong and focus more on how to fix it and then keep it from happening again. When you feel so great that you wonder WHY you are coming in, then I've done my job.

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