Just Take Two

(Image not mine)

There’s something about our “health care” system that really bothers me. It’s how  many doctors aren’t into taking care of your health as much as they’re into symptom care or sick care. Many times I hear stories of how doctors merely push pills at patients to take care of their symptoms (“Just take two of these and call me in the morning…or actually, don’t call me“) without really listening to the patient or probing to root out the source of the symptoms. Or to suggest alternate treatments through changes in diet and life that could also address the symptom without jumping straight for the Rx pad to scribble something off for you. For this latter point I understand many doctors are bound to only suggest what has been proven in clinical trials and that many alternate health treatments haven’t been “proven”.

What I really appreciate about these alternate health routes (the legit ones) however is that they really do look at health care. Not just treating the symptom, but also how to maintain your health so that the symptom would have less reoccurrences. These kinds of benefits are reaped over YEARs instead of the short term clinical trials that pharmaceutical meds go through. It’s actually kind of scary to consider that some medications are considered “safe” after a “successful” 90 day trial. Sure there may be retroactive studies to see if any longer term effects crept in later, but what if the effects come in 30 YEARS later? Do we just sweep it all under the rug of “well, it could’ve been any number of factors” and ignore it?

I’m on the brink of a massive can of worms around medication…which I’m not going to dive into. Please note I’m not saying you shouldn’t take medicine or that it’s bad. But I think we need to think twice before reaching for that pill bottle and listen to what our body is saying instead. Many symptoms will go away as we improve our health…and take care of our health. Drugs may cover the symptom which then allows us to do things that are unhealthy for us…and this all compounds over time into bigger problems needing more drastic treatment.

So….start small…when you have:

  • Indigestion or heartburn from eating too much or too close to bed or from a really greasy meal — don’t just take antacids so you can keep eating this way; eat less, eat earlier, eat more veggies and less deep fried foods
  • Muscle pain from trying to lift too much at once — don’t just pop pain killers or a muscle relaxant so you can keep straining your muscles; try using heat or cold packs to increase circulation or reduce inflammation and give muscles rest, and learn how to lift without hurting yourself
  • Joint pain from long distance running or pounding back and forth in a sport court — don’t just take pain killers or non-steroidal drugs so you can keep pounding your joints; ice them and give your body rest
  • A headache after a party and are on your second cup of coffee — don’t just pop another pain killer; rehydrate with lots of water, use a heat pack on your neck and/or temples, massage tight neck and shoulder muscles, turn off the TV, get some rest
  • Constipation after eating out all week — don’t just pop a laxative; increase water intake and get more fibre from vegetables and whole grains into your diet


A man’s health can be judged by what he takes two at a time — stairs or pills.

– Joan Welsh

4 responses

  1. Reblogged this on Luke Chang Physiotherapy and commented:
    Some great thoughts on why automatically reaching for the pill bottle isn’t always a good idea. Your body knows when it’s hurt and pain is a signal for you to let it rest so it can heal itself. It’s good to pay attention to that instead of numbing the symptom so that you can keep hurting yourself.

  2. Pingback: How will I get through it | Life of HeArt

  3. North American health care is pretty atrocious overall. Doctors/hospitals don’t take a holistic view of your health, just focusing on their narrow specialty, and care more about “processing” you than healing you. Why is this?

    Because their economic incentives are to “process” you, and not to heal you. Their economic incentives ARE NOT ALIGNED with the interests of your health. There are a ton of reasons why, but the biggest is that lack of competition for health care jobs and care itself promote inferior service and care.

    My waitress is more economically incentivized to give me good service than my doctor. If she gives me good service, I’ll leave her a nice tip. But my doctor gets paid regardless of whether I get healed, or I die.

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