If you were to make a list of the things you know you are doing that are not in your best interest I bet you could immediately begin moving closer to improvements in your health. In almost all cases patients bring these things up in clinical conversations. They say things like, “I bet now you are going to tell me to stop drinking alcohol or soda, stop eating gluten, and lose weight, aren’t you doc?” Oh, I do want to say all of those things, but more importantly I want patients to search their personal lives and come up with their own priority list (best interest list).
In my last blog post I wrote about 9 recommendations for “holding” an adjustment. I want to continue that idea with more ways to bring you into further alignment with suggestions for additional health practices. And, yes, that will include diet and exercise….and more importantly the BIG stealers of alignment and true wellness.
A broader view includes looking at all of the things that potentially influence health. Good and bad. When we take a bigger view of wellness we are able to identify the things that are poor influences on health, independent of good intentions and the best medical care. By identifying and eliminating the things that are interfering or degrading our quality of health and life and changing them, our bodies have a higher possibility of healing, rather than stagnating.
Many of the things that can be done to improve health and healing are the obvious things; lose weight, improve posture, stop anti-inflammatory foods, exercise and sleep more. I consider those fundamental priorities. If those things need addressed, they could easily be in the top 3 things worth doing. However, a layer deeper, are some questions that are worth addressing with regards to fundamental priorities. Why are you staying up late anyway? Why are you 15 pounds overweight? What are the truths behind those things that are bringing your health down a notch? If we consider the body, mind, spirit reasons we may find that we have the power to change other things in order to feel better and take our health beyond mediocre.
For example, my physician priority list of things to address would be weight, deconditioning, inflexibility, inflammatory diet, posture and stress. Beyond that list, I would consider whether or not there are other complicating features of arthritis, hereditary diseases, current medical conditions (diabetes, autoimmune diseases, skeletal deformities or anomalies). And, the most obvious and under-rated stealer of health is STRESS. Stress and stressors is the big, broad category where more attention can and should be directed. Where the mind, body, spirit approach and personal interpretation of life can be taken into consideration in order to direct your personal needs and direction for individual care. Addressing health beyond symptoms and diagnosis to eliminate the continual degradation of most conditions is really where the possibility for healing has a potential of gaining ground.
If you are overeating or drinking because of stress, then we must address that behavior or a disciplined diet approach won’t be effective in the long term. If your relationship is wreaking havoc on your sleep then your body won’t have a good balance of biochemistry to aid the healing process. If work is too demanding and you are grinding your teeth at night, it is best to address the cause of work stress rather than the symptom with a night splint. And, sometimes we do need an emergency measure, or band aid to stop the bleeding of a stressful situation, but our real commitment should be to the long term desired outcome. If you really want to feel better and get better, do the things you know you should do and then get real about stress and stressor elimination or improvement. If elimination isn’t an option, inclusion of things on this list might be.
I challenge you to consider 3 things you could commit to that could move your health towards not only spinal alignment but life alignment. Beyond the previously mentioned, consider including these items in your pursuit to FEEL BETTER and also improve your health.
• Friendships/social time
• Family relationships
• Personal self-care
• Adjunct treatment: acupuncture, massage, physical therapy
• Fun, Pleasure, Satisfaction
• Take a class, explore creative endeavors and learning
• Unburden by clearing clutter, clean, out with the old
Align the spine, align the mind, align the feelings and behaviors to improve overall mobility, stability, function and happiness. Alignment requires conscious commitment to shift into a healthy, stress free environment. It can be done. Consider a more expansive approach and making time to integrate some healthy practices to help your adjustments “hold” and to support and improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Dr. Erika Putnam