A doctors journey from disease mind set to health guru; a healthy return from the ravages of MS.
Most of us pay little attention to our health unless we one day find ourselves with a life threatening illness or some other malady that prevents us from living the way we want to. Lets face it, we often take health for granted until we have a problem that prevents us from doing what we want to do including interacting with our family and friends or living life to the fullest. Sometimes health problems can turn our lives upside down, preventing us from working and earning a living, something many of us hope never happens to us, yet one disease can change the course of our lives.
Even with what chiropractors help patients deal with on a daily basis with conditions such as back or neck problems, most patients ignore many of the signs of ill health or function until it stopped them from going on vacation, going to work or just getting our of their beds. Busy is good however, there are certain things you must do to stay healthy, whether it is from a mechanical and functional perspective or from an overall health perspective.
Years of abusing ourselves without caring for the machine (our body is a machine) will show up years later, and while some of us learn from our experiences, others are undoubtedly never going to change and are going to pay the price years later either with chronic pain, bad joints or in one doctors case, MS which is a systemic disease process that destroys your ability to live and thrive.
Is it the way we eat, the way we live (active vs. sedentary), dealing with stress appropriately or perhaps, just recognizing who we are mechanically and functionally and taking the proper steps early on to improve the way we are going to feel in our later years. If you are surrounded with family members with knee or hip replacements or other physical or systemic ailments; unless you are adopted, your gene pool can seal your fate however, there are things you can be doing now to avoid the same fate as your uncles, parents or siblings may be suffering from. The key is to act and do things differently. Why make the same mistakes your parents and other family members are making with their bodies, when you can improve the way you play the game of life?
One example of what not to do was a new patient who visited us a few weeks before the holidays last December. She had a very badly damaged knee, hip pain, chronic pain all over her body and other joints that were in horrible shape. She wanted to be able to go on vacation with her family to Cancun and wanted to be able to walk and function better. I worked intensively with her to help her walk better and reduce her level of pain which was challenging, since her knee really required replacement (which may not have been necessary had she done the right things for herself years before). Before she left on vacation, she was in less pain, and was able to move about much better however, her left knee which was functioning better, was still unacceptable functionally from damage due to years of neglect. She was advised to return after she came back from vacation.
I did not see her again until just recently when she came in with her husband who had an auto accident and I had asked her why she never returned, even though she was obviously walking better than before. She said she was scared to have her damaged knee worked on, even though she was scheduled to have it replaced in the early autumn of this year. I had reminded her that her knee was damaged beyond repair due to years if ignorance and medication usage, and that it was her decision to wait until just before vacation to seek the help she so badly needed. While we most certainly do what is necessary to help, a two week window of time is unrealistic, considering the condition of her body.
Perhaps, those priorities would have changed if she had experienced what Dr. Terry Wahls (most physicians are horrible patients, even though they want us to be good compliant patients; so much for leading by example) discovered when she was faced with a diagnosis of MS which is immune disorder described as follows;
“Multiple sclerosis (MS), also known as disseminated sclerosis or encephalomyelitis disseminata, is an inflammatory disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged. This damage disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental, and sometimes psychiatric problems. MS takes several forms, with new symptoms either occurring in isolated attacks (relapsing forms) or building up over time (progressive forms). Between attacks, symptoms may disappear completely; however, permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances.” read more here.
While a knee problem and chronic pain may be debilitating, the body destroying and attacking itself from the inside with a condition such as MS leaves you with a horrible ending, and an awful quality of life. Sure, this doctor had drugs at her disposal which offered little in the way of improvement, with huge side effects and of course a huge expense. She also knew the course of the disease and was determined to do something about it, which surprised and wowed her own doctors at the time.
She took matters into her own hands and did some research, began to avoid inflammatory foods, sugars and other things that were causing her body to destroy itself, and then began to get the exercise her body needed and a year later finally realized that once she got out of her own way and changed her lifestyle and habits, she fully recovered.
She now lectures to other physicians to help them wake up to the fact that medications, while they can be helpful are no substitute for eating right, exercising and leading by example. Are you likely to follow someone’s advice even if they do not practice what they preach or would you follow someone who lives and breaths what they ask us to follow?
Check out her video on youtube and let me know what you think.
Dr. Wahls decided to change her ways and live a healthier life and now she advises others to do the same. No matter what your age, it is never too late to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Whether that includes eating better, wearing inserts in your shoes to protect your knees and back or seeing your chiropractor to help you function better, if you are a parent, you owe it to your children to practice what you preach since they are likely to learn and follow, and if you have bad joints because you ignored your body, shouldn’t you advise your children to do things a little differently so when they get older, perhaps their later and earlier years can be more productive and pain free?
Let me know what you think? As always, I value your opinion.
You can find out more about Dr. Wahls here