Norton Shores Michigan Chiropractor - They are a fixture of the human condition. They prevent us from succeeding in our professional and personal lives. They keep us from being better parents, spouses, and friends. Every single day, I hear them keep people from looking, feeling, and performing at their best.
No, not the government! I'm talking about excuses.
Whether the goal is to lose weight, actually DO your prescribed spinal stability exercises, or make better food choices, excuses are the reason that most people fail to live up to their own expectations. Whether we’re in Muskegon or Minneapolis, chiropractors hear excuses from their patients all the time.
“I can’t afford it.”
“I’m too busy.”
“Everybody in my family has a bad back.”
“It’s my weight.”
“It’s my age.”
“It’s my stress.”
People use excuses to rationalize their destructive behavior. It allows them an “out.” If they have an excuse, they are “off the hook.” It’s not their fault. They’re just victims. This mentality is pervasive in health (and society/government at large, but I don’t want to open up THAT can of worms) and it has been put there in part by the pharmaceutical establishment through the mass media over the years. It is now part of the public consciousness. Mission accomplished.
We are told, in a nutshell, that human beings are broken by default. We are all either sick, weak, old, depressed or overweight. However, that which we were born with is not enough to overcome our problems. We need outside help. We can’t do it on our own.
Enter big pharma.
With medications, you can artificially boost your serotonin levels so you feel better (that is, if you don’t commit suicide first!). Through surgery, you can have your guts re-arranged so you can lose weight. You can take pills that will literally dumb down your nervous systems so you feel less pain. If you are a type 2 diabetic, you can inject insulin to help metabolize all that darn sugar in your blood (who cares how the sugar got there in the first place!?).
You don’t have to do a darn thing to fix the damage you caused by not exercising, making poor food choices, neglecting sleep, and failing to lift properly. Heck, they can even fix those who were unlucky enough to be “born with bad genes.” You don’t have to spend any time, expend any effort, or make ANY drastic changes to your lifestyle! These guys are geniuses! They have eliminated most of the excuses that keep people from dealing with their problems! (Except, of course, the money part...so make sure you either have a rich uncle or reallllly good insurance!)
Obviously, medical care is essential in acute life-threatening situations. It is with the chronic conditions where medicine fails, because the CAUSE of the problem never gets dealt with. So many people end up gaining every pound back after their bariatric surgery. Why? As one patient told me, “It didn’t fix this” she said, pointing to her head.
If you don’t change peoples’ mindsets, you will never change their outcomes. Patching up our problems through artificial means will do nothing to ensure life long health and vitality.
I meet people in my chiropractic practice all the time that fire those aforementioned excuses at me when they gripe about how they cannot follow through with my recommendations in regards to their spinal health. So, I’m going to take them apart, one by one.
1. “I can’t afford it.” Wow, I started out with the touchiest one, didn’t I? I often hear this from women who have to reach into their Coach bag to put their 300 dollar iPhone (which has a $100+ per month service plan) on “vibrate” during our initial consultation. Or the guy who needs help with his back because it’s affecting his golf game. If you can afford an iPhone or a golf habit, you can afford the care in our office, I guarantee.
For most people, it is a matter of priorities. A patient (who lives on a very modest income) once told me that they temporarily took the insurance off of their second vehicle so she could afford her care because “my health is more important right now.”
And let’s compare the alternatives. Sure, pills are cheap, but you know as well as I that they only mask the problem, which allows it to get worse over time (which means the problem will only get more expensive to fix...have you ever heard of Peter and Paul???) A spinal injection at your local “pain clinic” (aptly named) costs over $2,000. And they are only temporary, if they work at all, so you will likely need more than one. Of course, they have side effects and complications, as well, which is why they only allow you to have them periodically (hint: they destroy joint tissue). Back surgery costs over $100,000 once you add up all the imaging, follow up, and therapy. And there is not ONE shred of proof that fusion surgery works at all. Not to mention, you have to give up a few months of your life. What is THAT worth? When you compare the alternatives, chiropractic is a bargain.
2. “I’m too busy.” Really? Sure, the initial visits do take some time. In fact, most people actually appreciate it. It does take some time to figure out just exactly what is causing the problem and how we’re going to try to fix it. But follow up treatments do not take long at all (depending on what we find that day). I understand that the early stages of care require more frequent treatments and the travel back and forth can be a nuisance. But if you’ve ever had a migraine that wipes out an entire day or a back flare up that destroys an entire weekend, a trip to the chiropractor is nothing. Most chiropractic offices have morning and evening hours to fit most schedules. Most people just need to spend less time watching TV, updating their facebook, and gossiping about celebrities.
3. “Everybody in my family has a bad back.” This issue is not usually a matter of genetics, more of learned behavior. I understand that a lot of people in your family have had spinal troubles. But how many of them have ever done anything about it? If they all just made excuses and accepted it, that does not mean you have to do the same. Every “heavy” family has that one member who is fit and in shape because they made the CHOICE to do so. Get YOUR health fixed so you can be the exception to the “rule.”
4. “It’s my weight.” Okay, maybe I didn’t already cover the most touchy subject. Listen, I understand that obesity is the single biggest health concern our country faces. I know it affects people’s physical and mental well being and I know we’re all placed in a society that has us “doomed to fail” with all the added sugar and garbage in our food supply. I get it.
I myself lost 30 pounds 18 months ago and I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I was suffering from migraine headaches, lower back pain, neck pain, and sciatica.
Once you get your spinal health back on track, you will move easier, breathe easier, and sleep better. Improved posture and biomechanics will give you more energy. You will be more motivated then ever to get more exercise. That will also help motivate you to making better food choices. Good health choices can snowball!
5. “It’s my age.” At Zehr Chiropractic, we see patients from every age group, from newborns to the very...ummmmm....experienced. It’s usually not a matter of the age of the patient, but the age of the problem. Even so, we have had patients in their 80s with chronic back pain, neck pain, and headaches and they often respond very well. While other octogenarians are complaining that they can’t get out anymore, our patients are out walking, golfing, and traveling. If you want to age well, you want to make a chiropractor part of your health team!
6. “It’s my #$*@ stress!” Everybody has stress. Stress is a part of life. Stress can definitely push your body over the edge and trigger your symptoms. But triggers do nothing if there are no bullets in the gun. I have had dozens of patients who tell me that they (or their physician) has blamed their condition on their “stress.” I don’t go home and cook dinner for their families. I don’t balance their checkbooks. I don’t deal with their whiny neighbors. And I most certainly don’t fix the annoying habits of their spouses. Yet, they get well. Soooo, if stress was their problem, why did our treatment work? Hmmmm.
Once we are able to get a patient’s spine more stable, stress is taken OFF the nervous system. Many of our patients are amazed how much better they are able to relax once the muscles and joints of the spine and extremities are functioning better. Getting rid of stubborn back pain, headaches, and acid reflux will make you sleep better, too, which will greatly enhance your ability to deal with stress. If you are feeling stressed all the time, that is all the more reason to visit a chiropractor to see if nervous system dysfunction is partly to blame!
So stop making excuses. They derail your progress and prevent you from being the vibrant, healty the person you want to be. Instead, make choices and then stand by them. You’ve only got one spin on this merry go round. Why not be the best you can be?