Since I last wrote a column we’ve moved closer to Brexit and as it stands it is still anyone’s guess as to when it will happen. As you read this article the chances are we’ll be out of the world cup (although there is a slim, a very slim chance we will win) long before we’re out of Europe. Results and the timing of events are often uncertain. Life after all is full of uncertainties. We plough through life never knowing what’s around the corner. The news has it that Robbie Williams has just had to leave a burning hotel. I’m sure he didn’t see that coming, although he probably had a good idea his last album was going to bomb.
We have long lived in a binary world full of polarised choices. Good and evil, right and wrong, short and tall, Cagey or Lacey, Ant or Dec. The problem of such black and white thinking is that it can inhibit or blinker our thought processes. It begs the question: Why do binaries rule in a relative world? Is someone totally evil and if so can anyone be totally good? And so it is with backs neither are they totally good or totally bad. Your spine (along with the rest of your body) is the result of everything that has happened to you throughout your life, good, bad and indifferent. This intermingling of events leads to high levels of uncertainty and varied outcomes and as chiropractors we’re often trying to read between the lines. When a patient enters the room in pain you could say they they’re the end of the story or the closing credits to a movie. What we have to do is rewind the film to piece together the rest, the what happened before. To try to understand the root of the problem the causal factors, the hidden bit. We then have to frame that in the context of the individuals body and their own individual physiological quirks. Everyone’s similar but different. People can be stressed in many different ways and it’s the effect of those stressors on their body that creates disease. The body’s way of telling you this could be anything from raised blood pressure to back pain or headaches.
Just as a starting point try to reduce your intake of sugar; aim to eat nutrient dense foods (i.e. unprocessed); exercise; don’t smoke and reduce your alcohol consumption. Cutting down rid on the biggest environmental stressors on the body, you’ll be surprised how much better your body performs and feels.
Now a quick quiz question. Name 11 body parts only three letters long . Go!
It never fails to amaze me how much time, energy and money we devote to our earthly possessions whether it is our house, car or garden, and how little attention we pay to our health. Asked by a journalist what the most important thing in life was, a well-known French writer answered: “The silence of our body”. By that he meant that we can only enjoy life if our body remains our most discreet servant. The problem is that to allow our body to perform in this way, we have to keep it in good shape and this is not something we are taught to do.
What happens to most of us is that after years of abuse, something in our body “gives way” and with the help of conventional medicine, we try to fix it. Wouldn’t it be better to slow down the deterioration of our body by treating it with a bit more respect rather than waiting until it breaks down?
It does not make a lot of sense to me to spend vast sums of money on research and treatments of diseases that could be prevented in the first place. Of course, for political leaders, this presents a financial conundrum because if, on the one hand encouraging healthy habits eventually eases the pressure on national health systems, on the other hand it will jeopardise the lucrative financial arrangements between governmental institutions and the food, drug and drink multinationals.
So, what can we do to retain our body as a silent and faithful servant or to lead it back to this desired state when we are ill? For a start we need to provide our body with good “fuel” for a number of reasons including to boost our immune system. This generally means consuming less sugar (especially of the refined kind), fewer meat products, less dairy and possibly alcohol but we are all different and what suits one person may not suit another. It also generally means plenty of vegetables, grains, pulses and water. Nowadays, even if we eat “organic” products we are likely to lack certain vitamins and trace elements. So, here is something that each of us may want to investigate with or without the help of a nutritionist.
Furthermore, to keep our body fit, regular physical activity is a necessity. For that we need our musculoskeletal system to remain in good shape. If we are in pain or overweight, it will be difficult – if not impossible – to run, cycle or swim. So, look after your muscles, joints and bones. Chiropractors, or other physical therapists can help you maintain a healthy musculoskeletal system.
Last but not least, a good functioning body also means a healthy mind. Try to deepen your spiritual connections whatever your beliefs are and find strong reasons for living. Perhaps practising a new hobby such as yoga or mindfulness and meditation might enhance your inner wellbeing.
Nevertheless, in conclusion and above all do not completely entrust your health to others but take control of it yourself – after all, you are the major stakeholder.