When it comes to health problems, we have 4 ways in which we can approach them. All four have their own benefits and are appropriate at different times. Which we choose for a given situation is not only important in having short term success, it is also paramount to achieving the health we want long term.
Let us take a look at each of Patch, Fix, Protect and Optimize.
Patching is what we do when we know there is a larger problem, but we need to buy ourselves some time in the short term. Your old springs a leak and you know it will need to be replaced, but you need to finish watering the garden. So, you wrap some duct tape around the hole, so the flowers don’t die today.
The Patch strategy is a great one when we are in crisis and if something is not done immediately, disability and even death may result. If someone were shot with a bullet inside them, yes, the bullet will eventually need to come out. However, in the short term, compressing the wound with a bandage will keep them alive long enough to be properly fixed.
Antibiotics can be a great patch when faced with an infection that may kill you. They buy you the time (save your life) so that you can make changes that will strengthen your health and immune system in the future.
Patches can become a problem when they are used as fixes. Antibiotics used unnecessarily will harm your long-term health. Pain medication used simply to cover up a secondary condition(symptom) actually allow people to continue to damage their bodies without knowing it – leading to more serious problems down the road.
Most people truly only need patches (hopefully) a few times during their lives when in serious crisis. When we need them, they are wonderful. When we over use them, we suffer needlessly.
The Fix strategy is one that looks to get to the cause of the problem. It looks to correct the primary condition leading to the secondary effects. If faulty electrical was leading to burned out light bulbs and malfunctioning appliances the patch solution would be to replace them. The Fix solution would be to hire an electrician to correct the wiring.
When we Fix something we typically gain parallel benefits as well. Corrected wiring improves the function of EVERYTHING requiring electricity. Perhaps the electrical bill goes down as efficiency increases. Safety also improves as the chance of a devastating electrical fire decreases.
The Fix approach works the same way with our health. Taking a pain pill may make us feel better for awhile but correcting abnormal spine structure and nervous system function is not only more sustainable but leads to a myriad of health benefits besides.
The Protect strategy begins to move beyond being focused on problems or symptoms. Once we have corrected what was abnormal we have a choice to do some regular work to keep it that way. Protect recognizes that maintaining proper function is better than waiting for the next crisis. Once we get the old piano in tune, it is much less work more enjoyable to have it retuned on a regular schedule than to let it get back to it’s previous state and start over again.
A health crisis can be a time, energy and resource draining thing to face. They are certainly not convenient. Some attention to Protection is a great way to stay healthy long term and avoid future problems.
Finally, we come to the Optimization strategy. This is where exceptionally healthy people spend most of their energy and attention. Instead of focusing on patching, fixing and preventing problems, they look to optimize and improve their health, function and performance regardless of problems.
They know that the best way to be healthy is to continually improve their adaptability and efficiency. Does it mean they will never have a crisis or problems? Of course not, but they will sure be better equipped to handle them when they occur.
Unfortunately, most people spend most of their lives in Patch, and Fix modes when what they truly want are the benefits of Protect and Optimize. Fortunately, changing that only requires a few simple decisions.
At Nexus Chiropractic we are not interested in patching people up. Very few people entering our office truly need patching and if they do, a trip to the ER is probably in order.
We begin seeing most people from a Fix perspective, which is what we do during the Initial Phase of Care (IPC). By addressing abnormalities in the spine and nervous system (Neurospinal Shift) and objectively measuring those changes we know our patients are going back into life healthier.
Once the system is normalized, people may now choose to enter either a Protection or Optimization program. This is where we see people really create long term health strategies that spill over into not only physical benefits, but mental/emotional well-being, greater energy and vitality and an over all greater quality of life.
After reading this article, take some time to look at where you are perhaps frustrated with your health, or not getting the results you would like. Maybe a small shift in your approach is all you need to get what you want?
Thorin Gault, D.C.
April 17, 2018