The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet, and the cause and prevention of disease.
The human body is a miraculous thing. We are made to adapt to our surroundings and changes in our bodies.
We can adapt to losing a limb or one of our senses, such as sight or hearing.
We also know how to adapt to pain.
Adapting to pain comes in handy when we are in a stressful situation. For example, if we sprained an ankle while on a hike in the middle of the forest and need to get back to our car before night falls, our ability to ignore the pain is a good thing. It’s a survival instinct that keeps us perservering.
Unfortunately, we have learned in our stress-filled daily lives to ignore pain, mask it with pain relievers such as aspirin, or develop adaptive behaviors that lead to permanent damage or keep us from a healthy lifestyle.
People who have neck pain, for example, often adapt to it by simply limiting their range of motion so they can go about their daily routine. Limiting range of motion is a way to avoid pain, but it doesn’t heal what causes the pain.
You may have decided you need to stop exercising because of knee pain. You adapt by deciding to stop doing something that keeps you otherwise healthy and well.
Adaptation is fine for the short run. But when the adaptation becomes the solution, you might be in for more problems.
We are assaulted by pharmaceutical ads that offer the promise of symptom relief. But relieving the symptom does just that — relieves the symptom. It does not solve the underlying problem The longer you ignore a symptom, adapt to pain, the greater the risk of permanent damage. Eventually, the body can no longer heal the damage, because it has become permanent.
Our bodies have an innate intelligence, a unique ability to heal themselves. Think about how quickly a paper cut, that annoyingly painful small injury, disappears. That is evidence of your body healing itself.
What if we learned to trust our body? What if we were able to listen to its innate intelligence? What if we decided that wellness, not simply the absence of pain or illness, was the standard? What if instead of ignoring pain, we listened to it, understood that our body is telling us we need to pay attention to it, that we need to take the time to return it to a state of wellness?
That’s what I would encourage you to do. Listen to your body. If you are in pain, don’t ignore it and don’t simply mask it with a pain reliever or other pharmaceutical. If you have a chronic illness, don’t just accept it as inevitable. Look for the underlying cause and how to treat it.
When I treat patients, I listen to the call of the body — how has it adapted and what does it need to heal itself.
Its ability to adapt and heal is evidence of our body’s innate intelligence. Trust that. Listen to how your body calls to you to take care of it, and take the time to do what you need to get back on the wellness path.