Back Behind the Wheel: Lack of pain doesn’t mean good health
March 1, 2003
Everyone has heard that to be healthy you have to exercise, eat well, get a good night's sleep and just as importantly be happy. These are four cornerstones of good health.The lifestyle of a truck dri...
Everyone has heard that to be healthy you have to exercise, eat well, get a good night’s sleep and just as importantly be happy. These are four cornerstones of good health.
The lifestyle of a truck driver is not always conducive to being healthy. Truckers wake up early, eat, drive, eat, drive some more, then sleep for a few hours and start all over again – not necessarily the healthiest lifestyle! Many prevalent health problems in the general population include heart disease, cancer, diabetes, back pain, depression and fatigue, which are influenced by our lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce these problems.
In order to understand the importance of good health, it is first essential to have a proper definition of health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” There are many people who believe that if they are not sick or in pain, then they are healthy – but considering the WHO’s definition of health, this is not necessarily true. Being healthy is a state in which everything (physical, mental and social) is in sync and the body is functioning to its optimum potential.
Good health allows us to enjoy life to the fullest. Some of the important benefits of being healthy include, increased energy, less stress, less fatigue, the ability to fight off infections and generally feeling physically stronger and happier. The daily stresses of the trucking lifestyle can at times be overwhelming. The healthier you are, the better you will be able to cope with the daily grind of life on the road. That sounds good to me! So the next time that car cuts you off, think about your health, take a few deep breaths and think positively, your body will thank you.
It is never too late to start making changes to become healthier. Small changes, for example, such as eating a salad instead of french fries; having water instead of Coke and a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a burger a couple of times a week; are a great start. Walk a bit more, sleep a bit more and smile a bit more. These are small changes that are easy to make and that will have a huge impact on your overall health and well being. The good news is that once you start you won’t be able to stop, because you will feel so good!
Too many people make the mistake of thinking they are healthy, when actually they are not. Pain, is what most people consider when evaluating their health. Unfortunately, pain is not the best indicator of your health. Pain is a symptom, and a warning signal from your body letting you know that something is wrong. But prior to this pain signal, damage can be occurring without you even knowing.
For example, suppose you wake up one morning with a toothache. You go to the dentist and are told you have a cavity. Do you think that cavity just occurred that morning? No. It has likely taken months or even years for the cavity to gradually grow to the point where you will begin to experience some discomfort. For the past couple of months, although you felt no pain, the health of your tooth was poor.
The same is true for the rest of your body. How healthy do you think the person’s heart was the day before a heart attack? Probably not very healthy. So, pain is really not always the best indicator of health. Regular visits to your eye doctor, dentist, medical doctor and regular chiropractic care are great ways to stay healthy and catch small problems before they become big ones. Prevention is the name of the game!
Remember that pain is a symptom; it is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. It is not always the first symptom to appear, but when it does appear it is a definite indication that there is a problem and should not be ignored. Imagine driving down the road and the engine warning light on your dashboard comes on. This is a good indication that there might be a problem. Now imagine ignoring this light for days, weeks or even years because your truck is still running so you figure it must be okay. Imagine what kind of damage is being done to your engine if you simply decide to wait and see if it will go away. Even worse, imagine sticking a piece of tape over the light so you can no longer see it. Would this solve your problem?
Definitely not, but believe it or not, this is how some people choose to respond to the pain signals from their body. They experience back pain, headaches, leg pain, toothaches and they simply take painkillers that work by blocking the pain signals. These medications do nothing to correct the underlying problem, but simply mask the pain symptom.
As with a truck it is easier, quicker and less expensive to fix small problems in your body before they become big problems. Better yet, it’s much easier to take proper care of your body to prevent these problems from developing (regular oil changes and tune ups). Some live in pain every day and think it is normal – but it’s not. Take care of your body and pay attention to warning signals. Unlike a truck, your body cannot be replaced when it breaks down!
– Dr. Jerry Singh, B. Kin., D.C., runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at 888-252-7327, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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