Have you ever wondered how you got your condition or health problem? Have you felt like you hadn’t been doing anything wrong but still ended up with a problem? Patients will say stuff like this:
“I wasn’t doing anything. My back just started hurting for no reason when I bent down to pick up my socks off the floor.”
“I’ve just been gradually losing energy. I’ve noticed by noon, I’m basically shot. I can’t get much done for the rest of the day.”
So what’s wrong? Do they have a serious, debilitating condition? Is it a disease they can’t recover from?
The solutions to your health problems are typically very simple and a matter of changing your lifestyle or just some of your daily habits.
You just have to become your own “health detective.”
I’ve solved recurring neck problems by having someone adjust their monitor height and back problems by moving where they have their printer located. One patient did great after switching from a manual to an automatic transmission on her car.
Patients will typically come into our office in pain after dealing with a traumatic event like a fall or a car accident. More often, however, they arrive in pain from a “build up” of offending activities. Bad posture, poor exercise habits, no stretching, not enough water, etc.
Then they try to undo months or years of bad habits in just a day. Many times we can make a difference in how someone feels very quickly, but getting that change to stay is what takes time. The change takes even longer when you continue to do the activity that’s causing the problem in the first place.
So how do you become a health detective? How can you look for clues as to what is causing your pain or problem?
If dealing with a pain problem like neck or back pain, you’ll want to look for which activities you do in a typical day may be leading to bad posture or a repetitive movement that is being done less than ergonomically correct. You may be surprised at how the smallest poor movement or position can lead to pain and problems down the road.
If your symptoms are more systemic (all over your body), you’ll want to look at diet and lifestyle. What are you eating on a regular basis? Are you getting exercise? Enough sleep? Are you overly stressed?
Weight gain can begin when a new restaurant opens down the street that you start indulging in more often than you should, or a change in schedule makes exercise less convenient. A new pair of shoes may alter how you run, leading to calf pain or shin splints.
When being a health detective, look at your regular activities, but also scrutinize more closely any recent changes in what you’ve been doing or eating.
This is not to say that you shouldn’t consult with your trusted health care provider to rule out more serious possibilities, but you may be surprised at how many “ailments” you can eliminate when you look for the right clues.