18 Wheels, 23 Discs: No Symptoms, No Problems?

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Have you ever gone to the dentist, medical doctor, chiropractor or other health practitioners on a regular basis, because you were feeling well? If you have, congratulations! You are a minority. Most North-Americans go to the doctor when they are sick or in pain. There is nothing wrong with this, and in this issue of 18 Wheels, 23 Discs we will look at prevention through regular check-ups, be it medical, dental or chiropractic.

In the past few years, the wellness revolution has begun, and people are becoming aware of their health. People are exercising more, eating better using nutritional supports and following advice from their healthcare team. This is only occurring in a minority of individuals though. Unfortunately, statistics show that people in labour intensive industries and jobs and those who do not have ready access to this support are not likely to seek it. So, in this month’s column I will try to give some tips and resources for those readers who want to live healthier, but don’t think that they have the time or resources at their disposal. Of course, we can’t just give you the goods without telling you a little story, which I am certain will sound familiar. The main point being that we need to change the way you view your personal health care.

Imagine this scenario, you are 12-years-old, and bouncing around on your neighbour’s trampoline (or riding your bicycle…you know where I’m going…), when you fall, and land on your upper-back/neck. It hurts for a few minutes, and later that day you feel fine, so no reason to tell mom or dad, and even if you did, would they have taken you to see the doctor?

Fast forward 20 years. You wake up one morning and can’t move your neck. You take some ibuprofen, wait a few days and the pain goes away…no problems, right?

Fast forward another 20 years. You are trying to reach something on the top shelf of your garage, and snap…pop…your low-back has instant pain and you crumble into a little ball. You finally go to see the chiropractor or medical doctor, because you have tried the medicine and tried the hot-tub, but the pain is relentless and you can’t afford to be out of commission, your job depends on you being strong, alert and safe.

Could this final straw on the camel’s back (slight pun…sorry) have been avoided? Possibly, and more studies are showing that regular and ongoing health care exams and healthier lifestyle changes are resulting in fewer injuries, and less time spent away from work after being injured. The other plus, is that your long-term outlook on health will likely be better.

Now here is where I confirm everything with a great study in a distinguished scientific journal, right? Not really. The study took participants from a group of workers with occupational back pain. They took measures to see how they were injured, what treatments were attempted, and what factors came into play if there was a transition during their recovery, where they went from acute back pain to chronic back pain. The study shows that with occupational back pain there is no good primary predictor of back pain injury. However, the factors that contributed to changes from acute back pain to chronic back pain over time were found to be more related to personal health, psychosocial and lifestyle factors.

The bottom line here is that we may not be able to predict when or how we get injured, but we can assert some control over our recovery and healing. This can be done by living healthier, getting checked for injury regularly and being healthy socially, spiritually and physically.

The place to start the change towards a healthier lifestyle is with a health care practitioner, generally a chiropractor, naturopath or family physician. These people can of course help you with many of your symptoms or ailments, but they can also look past your symptoms to check the state of your “true” health. They can assess and monitor your lifestyle and current health condition, and give advice on how you can fulfill your health goals, or even just find out what your health goals are.

So, when you or your children or grandchildren take a bad fall or get “jarred,” think about your youth and the times you fell, then take your thoughts to the present and your current state of health. Brush aside the “what if…” or “yeah but…” and go and get checked. It will be a small price and a little bit of time well spent to help you find out the status of your health or those that you love. Perhaps the next time you have an accident that leaves you feeling “okay” afterwards, may really be affecting your overall health and causing micro-injuries that will accumulate over time. This may put you in a state of ill-health that may go undetected, until you are chronically injured and your body cannot heal itself effectively because it is broken down.

Remember the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We can see the truth in this saying from what I have presented in this month’s column.

– Dr. Marc Blackstone is a chiropractor at City Health Chiropractic & Massage located in the RoadKing Truck Stop in Calgary, Alberta. Send questions or comments to: info@cityhealthchiropractic.com or call 888-765-0099. (local: 403-301-3344). You may also view this article and others on the clinic website: www.cityhealthchiropractic.com

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