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Managing Your Symptoms

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What Problems Need Attention?

In sports injuries there's a very good rule of thumb - a relative scale by which to grade the severity of an injury. Here it is from least to worst.

Least bad is an injury that hurts only when you're doing your sport. If you're a football player, your recently sustained injury only hurts when you get tackled, for instance.

Next is an injury that hurts when you're doing your sport or another type of exercise. The football injury also hurts when you're doing aerobics on the elliptical machine, for example.

Next in severity is an injury that also hurts when you're doing regular physical activity, such as walking to the store.

Worst of all is an injury that hurts not only when you're active but also when you're resting. Pain at rest is usually an indication that the injury needs to be evaluated by your chiropractor or your family doctor. Other levels of injuries may need to be seen by your chiropractor or family doctor, but when you have pain at rest, pick up the phone right away.

Most of us are procrastinators. We let things go until the last minute. Papers, magazines, and books pile up on the desk until the process of finding what we're looking for resembles an archeological dig. Our garages look like our desks. Stuff fills the garage just like stuff covers the desk. Eventually, finding things resembles exploring for treasure in a dark, long-abandoned cave. We're motivated to clean our desks and garages only by the impossibility of adding any more stuff to the clutter and the piles.

Sometimes it seems as if procrastinating is hard-wired into our DNA. This is particularly true when it comes to our health. No one wants to go to the doctor, so it becomes even easier to put off the needed checkup. Whether it's our chiropractor, our dentist, or our family physician, nobody seems to want to pick up the phone, go to the office, and take care of business. Of course, procrastination in relation to our health can lead to some big problems. Tooth pain that comes and goes doesn't seem like such a big deal. But if the coming and going is fairly consistent, then there's probably a cavity that needs filling. You keep putting it off and when you finally get around to going to our dentist, you learn you need an expensive root canal and a crown. That's not good.

Or you're playing pickup basketball on the weekend. You go up for a rebound and get shoved in the back. The next day you have lower back pain. You keep thinking it'll go away, but it's now four weeks later and your back is still stiff and sore. Had you seen your chiropractor the first week, after the pain had persisted for four or five days, treatment might have been pretty straightforward. Now you learn it's going to take at least several weeks of treatment before you can play ball again. Not good. Diabetes is the same thing. 1High blood pressure is the same thing.2 Overweight is the same thing. 3Procrastination with your health always costs more time and more money in the end. Prevention and, if necessary, early detection, are the keys.

When it comes to your health, the opposite of procrastination is managing your symptoms. It's not necessary to run to your chiropractor for every ache and pain or to run to your family physician for every sniffle or low-grade fever. It is important and necessary to pay attention to what's going on with you. Symptoms that linger mean something is wrong and your body needs help in getting better. Once you begin paying attention a learning curve will kick in. You'll develop skill in identifying problems that need attention. The next step, of course, is to pick up the phone, make an appointment, and arrive at the appointment on time. Your chiropractor or family physician will be glad to be of service in identifying the problem and providing appropriate treatment.


1Bo S, et al: Prevalence of undiagnosed metabolic syndrome in a population of adult asymptomatic subjects. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 75(3):362-365, 2007
2Guyomard V, Myint PK: Optimum control of blood glucose for prevention and treatment of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Curr Treat Options Cardiovasc Med 11(3):201-211, 2009
3Anderson AS, Caswell S: Obesity management--an opportunity for cancer prevention. Surgeon 7(5):282-285, 2009



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