Thomas Edison : “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”
Hippocrates : “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
I’ve been a long time sceptic on the use of medicine to ‘cure’ disease and am of the opinion that fixing the symptoms is pointless without fixing the underlying cause. The human body has evolved over many millennia to get everything it needs from the natural sources available and by giving the body the foods it is designed to consume it will know how to fix itself more often than not. An example – Drew Carey recently disturbed by his inability to keep up with his fiancés 5yo son decided to look at diet and exercise to help. Not only is he running races, he has also lost 80lbs in weight from eating real foods and treating his body to exercise. The most amazing part though is that he has not only reversed his diabetes but has also reversed eyesight problems without laser surgery or cures for the symptoms. I rarely take medication – with the rare exception of NSAIDs in periods of intense activity.
I’ll talk more about food in future articles. The reason for this post, though, is a reminder of how we are not always learning but also how we need to draw on parallels elsewhere in life.
I recently developed a severe knee injury during a fall in a training session in VT – the worst and most persistent pain I ever remember feeling that appeared the day after the actual event. Trying to resolve the pain involved many attempts at fixing the symptoms.
I went through various self diagnosis while waiting for the medical industry to go through the test and refer cycle. From the beginning I went through the RICE protocol, resting as much as I could mentally stand. Fixing the symptoms.
A few x-rays later and about two weeks later, no visible problems – nothing broken. Kept up with RICE. Rest helped, but the problem immediately flared up when I left rest. Fixing the symptoms.
An MRI and a few more weeks later, no visible problems – no tears or tissue damage was apparent. Was diagnosed with Illiotibial Band Syndrome. got a referral to a PT, started foam rolling and continuing with RICE. Starting to resolve the problem while also tackling the symptoms.
A few MORE weeks later and a trip to the PT, and it was finally diagnosed that my initial injury caused the ligaments to stretch. This in turns makes my fibula loose causing inflammation where the end of the fibula grinds away when the motion is just right (or wrong).
The resultant PT surprised me though. Rather than touching the knee, it concentrate entirely on strengthening the hips and ankle which caused me to question, think and read. It dawned on me quickly. The symptom was the result of a problem somewhere else entirely!
My symptom was the effect of a problem somewhere completely different. Weakness in the hips and ankle was causing undue stress on my knee which not only caused the problem in the first place, but is also exacerbating it now.
The following recent T-Nation article also brought this idea home : Straightforward Knee Rehab
So what next? My knee is never going to heel but I can get some positives from this situation
- Fixing the cause will prevent things from getting worse
- I can use the info to evaluate the remainder of my body for weak spots or imbalances that need to be fixed
- My knowledge of the physiology of the lower body and the interactions is much improved
Coming forth from this is the new understanding that I have many imbalances that need to be corrected to prevent further injury elsewhere. As always, the body and mind are works in progress.