If you feel fine, you must be healthy… right?

That seems right, doesn’t it? If I feel good, I must be healthy, right?

It is true that you may be healthy if you have no symptoms. But it is also true that your body may be reacting perfectly to a situation even in the presence of a symptom. It might be helpful not to look at things in absolutes, like healthy or ill, but rather in terms of what is actually happening in your body.

For example, let’s say that two people both eat a bit of spoiled food. One of them doesn’t throw up. Rather, they have a bit of indigestion, maybe a lot, take some antacids, struggle with their pain for some time, but ultimately it goes away. The other has some severe cramping, throws up, and then recovers. Who is healthier? The person who threw up, or the person who didn’t?

sick symptom

Do you feel like this guy?

I would argue that the person who threw up is actually the healthier of the two, all else being equal, because their body had the wherewithal to identify the spoiled food, decide it didn’t need or want that, and expel it immediately. The other had a subdued reaction to the toxin, and didn’t manage to expel it. Worse, they suppressed what symptoms they did have by taking drugs to ignore their body’s reaction, compounding the overall problem and dealing with the side effects.

We have been taught by medicine that any symptom is a bad one, and must be managed (suppressed, usually). But this misses the essential point that symptoms are messages from the body, designed to inform us as to our condition. Taking medication to block a symptom does not make you healthier (like cough syrup). It makes you sicker. It suppresses your body’s ability to fight and to keep you informed. Then you may make choices that no longer support your health, which will only make it harder for you to stay healthy. Constant reliance on outside drugs to manage symptoms also makes it more difficult when those aren’t around, and pretty soon, you need them. Your body is eminently capable of healing you, and simply needs no interference.

I hear people in our society talking about the drugs they use to administer to their symptoms, often quite casually. These include cold medications, sinus relief drugs, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, or heartburn medications. These symptoms are your body telling you to adjust your lifestyle, or they are your body dealing with your illness or injury. Listen to them, nurture them, and don’t simply ignore them or wish them away. It is always a choice, whether you choose to allow your body to heal, or suppress a symptom to get on with what you know you have to do. Mothers often have to make that choice, and it doesn’t always include the health of the mother.

Before I workout at Tacoma Strength, I like to take some time to feel how my body is doing that day, to assess it and adjust my workout if necessary for any odd little pains or aches that don’t quite alleviate during my warmup. Always warmup, that’s for sure, and then use that information to adjust as needed. Are your shoulders a little tight? Can you do a bit more to warm them up? Is that lower back pain showing up again? Maybe you shouldn’t be doing deadlifts that day. How are your knees? Your neck? Your energy level?

Remember, listen to your body, and you too, can live a Brilliant Life. If you’d like more information about that, call Brilliant Life Chiropractic today.

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