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Posted on 08-24-2016
What in the heck is he talking about?
Well let me explain. You know that kid’s arcade game that was so popular a few years back? Often you would see it at Chuckie Cheese. The idea is this. There is a bank of holes in front of you, mole holes to be specific. In a game that tests your speed, reaction time and hand-eye coordination, you are supposed to tap the head of the mole with a hammer every time he pops out of his hole. They pop up out of different holes and you are to drive them back below the surface before they pull their heads back in and make you miss. They increase their appearances/disappearances in speed and frequency until you can’t hit them anymore. After a predetermined number of misses, the game is over. You get points for all the moles you whacked. Remember now?
Still..I’m not sure that explains “Medical Whack-A-Mole.”
Well, just stay with me. Almost all illness and symptoms of illness are manifestations of some kind of inflammation of tissue, whether it be an organ or gland or complete system. Let me say that again. Almost all illness is the result of inflammation. Heart disease...inflammation of cardiovascular tissues. Many illnesses have inflammation in their name. The suffix “itis” actually means inflammation. Think arthritis. “Arth” is the prefix and it means joints. Arthritis then, is translated from medical terminology into our layman’s terms as joint inflammation. Bronchitis, is inflammation of the bronchioles of the lung. Dermatitis, is inflammation on your derma, or skin. Meningitis is inflammation of the covering “meninges” of your spinal cord and brain. Pancreatitis… can you guess? Of course! You are now starting to understand doctor terms. Good for you!
Okay, we’ve established that many of our illnesses are actually named for inflammation but many more aren’t so easily identified as inflammatory processes. But conditions like headaches, and cancers can be rooted in inflammation as well. So guess what a large percentage of our medications are designed to do? That’s right! Reduce inflammation. The drug companies have developed a nearly infinite supply of anti-inflammatory medications that target the many different types of tissues within the body. There are anti-inflammatories specific to the muscles, the brain, the lungs, the joints, the heart and on and on and on. Many of these are steroid based medications. Some are non-steroidal. But either way, there are very few drugs that have “zero” side effects. And as far as I can tell, there is no drug that we can manufacture that will actually “create” health. To the degree that synthetic chemicals can accurately mimic the chemicals that the body itself makes to maintain health, they might come close to mimicking the signs of health, but side effects are nearly certain. The truth is this. Nothing is as good as what the body synthesizes for its self-regulation. Only the body itself can create health.
You might see where I’m going now. Medical Whack-A-Mole is the pursuit of controlling symptoms by prescribing medications. As the medications control or “knock down” one symptom, fooling the patient into thinking they are healthy because the mole has been forced below the surface, ie the cholesterol is down, the blood pressure is down, new “moles” emerge. These side effects are beginning to exhibit themselves in other areas. Perhaps it’s hair loss, or hair growing where it didn’t, irregular heart beats, unnatural sweating, constant fatigue, or restlessness, or anxiety, or difficulty sleeping, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, thoughts of harming yourself or someone else, anger, weight gain, sexual dysfunction or decreased libido, etc, etc etc.
The doctor has hit one mole/symptom in the head and now he has more moles/symptoms he has to knock down and the “hammer” is almost always more drugs with more side effects and the person isn’t one bit healthier. The only way the person is going to truly get healthier is to change the circumstances that are creating the inflammation in the first place. More often than not, this means changing your lifestyle, your exercise habits, your food plan, and your sleep habits.
Let’s play with this analogy some more. If the mole represents the symptom or the illness, and the hammer is the drug that is to “handle” the symptom, what of the ground level from which the mole emerges? Let’s consider that layer of sod as the pain threshold. The closer we are to the surface, the more inflammation we experience until the point that it produces pain in our lives. The mole sticks his head above ground. The medical response to this is to hit it with the pharmaceutical hammer. Their equation is something like this Less inflammation = less pain = more health. The truth of the matter is that less pain does not = more health.
However, an ‘anti-inflammatory lifestyle” will move us away from the surface, and move us away from chronic pain, acute pain and other symptoms associated with sickness. This can be achieved, and ought to be achieved without “drug hammers.” Our blood pressure will decrease, we will maintain a healthier weight, we will see cholesterol go down, our digestion will improve and our energy restored, the list is really endless. The farther we move away from the surface/sod/inflammation line, the less sick we are. The closer we move to the surface, the more sick we are.
The adjacent image illustrates what is happening to so many of us and our peers. Our lifestyles create stresses that inflame our tissues and push us towards the surface where we begin to experience discomfort and pain. As indicated earlier these stresses can be from ongoing dietary insults, lack of exercise, not enough rest, work stress, relational stress, negative thinking, exposure to toxins etc. After a time, our body cannot adapt to these stressors without sending a “mole” up to warn us. Do you think that by merely poking the mole on the head with a medication that we have really addressed the cause of our symptoms? Of course not! And now we have just added toxins to our body that it will find necessary to adapt to, if it can. These adaptations ultimately fail and it takes stronger and stronger drugs in greater and greater doses in order to deal with the signs of sickness. The body keeps trying to push a mole out as a sign that something is wrong. As we said before, medicine equates health as pushing the mole back in its hole.
Earlier, I mentioned there are actions you can take that will help us to achieve that anti-inflammatory lifestyle. The poster above suggests what they are. These behaviors are genetically congruent with what your body requires to be healthy. Deviate from these behaviors and you will not express your optimal potential in any endeavor, sport, work, relationships and in health. We need to eat well, and rest well, think well and move well. This means fresh food, green and red veggies, and fresh or frozen fruits, optimally consumed in a 2:1 ratio. This means good sources of protein , like fish and organically raised beef and chicken. We need to get a comfortable night sleep of 6-8 hours nightly, and a midday nap if your situation allows. Approx 15 minutes. They don’t call it power napping for nothing. We also need to put ourselves in positive environments, read great books and look to be inspired and motivated by the movies we watch, the books we read and the relationships we maintain. Daily affirmations and goal setting are also useful. We need to make exercise a daily part of our lives. Walking/running, stretching, biking, weight lifting, swimming are all valuable ways to stimulate the production of growth hormone and testosterone in your body. These are healing hormones. They are youth hormones that you can make yourself. That’s only part of the moving well component I mentioned.
Healthier Spine = Healthier Motion
Another important lifestyle choice you can make is to regularly address your own neurological function. Your nerve system is the primary regulatory system of your body. It runs all your organs and tissues and is responsible for your ability to adapt to your environment. This nerve system is “housed” within your spinal column. Of course this nerve system and your spinal column are the main concerns of the chiropractic physician. Every day your body's nerve system is assaulted by random and unpredictable forces. It is compromised by repetitive stresses. The spine is traumatized by physical labor and sporting and leisure activities. It is weakened by poor mattresses, broken down sofas, old office furniture and poorly designed work stations. It is deranged from long time postural alterations associated with computer work, gaming and constant texting. The result in spinal column stress and misalignment is a secondary stress on the nerve system. The combined effect of altered posture and neurological dysfunction can manifest itself in any number of symptoms. Symptoms that we have been trying to control with medications. But it doesn’t make sense that medications can correct the problems that are caused by misalignment, faulty biomechanics and inefficiency and a nerve system that is not fully competent.
From time to time it is important to boost neurological function with chiropractic adjustments. This is not the same as grabbing the pill bottle or syringe or going under the knife. With chiropractic you have not added or taken away anything. You have simply hit the reset button on different parts of your nervous system. A chiropractic adjustment, or realignment is like making sure the front end of the race car is fully aligned so that it can handle better and get around the race track in the most efficient manner in the least amount of time. It’s like making sure the onboard computer in that car is monitoring and regulating all the systems so they work in harmony so that the car can perform at its optimal potential. In effect, an adjustment is a tune-up for the musculoskeletal system as well as the nerve system.
At FOSTERing WELLNESS we are less concerned with your pain than you might expect. We are deeply concerned about you and your function. We take great confidence in your body’s ability to heal. We see your pain as a signal and a clue about what you might need to address, not as a sign that you need to keep taking drugs. We have considerable certainty that when we work together to restore function, alignment, and neurological integrity, that your signs of sickness will take care of themselves. Of course you will need to do your part. Begin eating the right stuff and make exercise a priority, and keep your appointments with us and we will see health manifest in you. You will be living away from the pain threshold and that mole problem you had will be a thing of the past.
Give us a call. Go to the contact tab on our website and reach out to us through email or call us directly. We have 3 locations. If you are in central Vermont, one of them is convenient to you. I look forward to working with you.
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I have started a new lifestyle, I have been eating really well, taking vitamins and being more active. Coming here as given me a new outlook on life. I'm pro-chiropractic for life!