Health Care Vs Disease Care
When I was 16 I started running long distance and was suffering from searing pain in my shins a few minutes after starting a run. So I made an appointment and met with my doctor for shin splints. I explained as best I could what was going on and he suggested that I take two Tylenol before I run. At this point in time, I was running almost 4-5 times a week, meaning over the course of one year I would have taken almost 500 tylenol!
I remember - even at 16 - feeling like this assessment was wrong. How could this be the only answer? I realize now that I was going to him for a solution and he provided me one. It likely would have helped, but at what cost? What side effects would I have experienced?
Our bodies are smart. If something is wrong, you best believe your body will tell you one way or another! My body was telling me something, but what?
Long story, short - I never learned how to run properly. I was 16, running as fast as I could around my hometown. As it turns out, my strides were quite short therefore I was creating extra impact on the cement, which was causing the shin pain. My solution: take longer strides and run on the gravel and grass when possible.
IT WAS THAT SIMPLE!! I couldn't believe how fast my shin splints disappeared and my running became more fluid. I ran farther, faster, and most importantly PAIN FREE.
I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I took my doctors advice.
You may be thinking: What the heck does this have to do with health care vs disease care?
Our health care system is amazing for dealing with emergency situations. If your arm breaks, or you have a heart attack and need surgery, you see a doctor. They can take immediate action to save your life, reset your bones, and make an immediate positive difference in your health.
Health care in this instance is defined as preventative care that promotes an individuals everyday health, and maintains optimal health throughout the lifespan.
Disease care in this instance is defined as medical intervention that maintains or band-aids those who are currently suffering from health issues or chronic diseases. Unfortunately, most of our medical system is based on this disease care model.
Often, we go to the doctor when we have health complaints that are a direct result of our diet, lifestyle, stress levels, sleep patterns, etc. The response from a doctor usually is to pull out the prescription pad and band-aid the symptoms. Unfortunately this is the system we have created as a society. We have given up personal responsibility of our health to medical professionals. A large portion of patients expect their doctors to fix their problems.
The "cure" is often prevention. It's hard for us to think ahead about our health. Making choices that affect our day to day life - as well as the long term - requires a monumental shift in mindset. Our health is in OUR hands. Improving the diet, increasing exercise, reducing stress, and cleaning up our personal environment are all ways that we can take personal responsibility and ownership of our situations.
You deserve to take care of yourself. It is of vital importance that you take the steps now to ease your pain and ensure optimal health for the future.
"But I don't know how to heal myself, I'm not a doctor!"
"I need help but how do I start? Dr. Google can only take me so far."
"There is too much conflicting information out there. How do I know whats right for me?"
These are all valid questions. Remember all hope is not lost! It is important that you seek out professionals with whom you resonate; those who focus on you as an individual, and take the time to understand and ask the right questions. There are Functional and Naturopathic Doctors, Holistic Nutritionists, Acupuncturists, Chiropractors, and many more professionals who are invested in helping you discover the root of your health issues and help guide you on a journey to wellness.
Most importantly, it all starts with YOU. You can do this and we are here to help.