Health Quiz #1November 16, 2010 • By John Olsen
Here’s a multiple-choice question for you.
What do these things have in common?:
A runny nose, fever, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, vomiting, pain, and inflammation (swelling).
A. They are all physical abnormalities
B. They are all normal responses to things that irritate the body
C. The lack of these means that one is healthy
D. (Insert your own ridiculous wrong answer here)
The answer is B. These are perfectly healthy responses to things that irritate the body.
Coughs and runny noses help to get rid of germs and foreign particles that enter our airways. Diarrhea and vomiting help the body to rid itself of germs or other foreign things that enter the digestive system. Fever indicates that your body is working pretty hard to rid itself of certain germs. Pain warns you that there is a problem somewhere in the body. Inflammation forms a natural barrier to stop the spread of an infection and in some cases forms a natural “splint” for injured ligaments, bones, or muscles.
Healthy people experience these things. In fact, if your body is not able to do these things, that’s when there is a huge problem at hand! How long would you last without the ability to feel pain? What if you couldn’t cough/sneeze and you encountered a really dusty dirt road?
The key is to ask WHY you have these symptoms, and not to just automatically counteract them with with a drug. I’m not totally against symptomatic pain relief. When I had a kidney stone 3 years ago, an IV dose of morphine was a very welcomed thing. However, the morphine did not get rid of the kidney stone (nor should I have expected it to). It simply made life livable until I could get rid of the stone.
Some of the treatments we perform in our office are aimed directly at reducing pain, particularly in the back and joints. The goal of chiropractic, though, is to restore proper function to the back, neck, and joints. By doing this, the pain just tends to go away without needing to rely on pain-relieving drugs to make life livable.