When a patient comes in, they often have symptoms they want to address. They might be surprised that we suggest an allergy test when they are experiencing hormone problems. They just want to get rid of the symptoms! I want to find out how the body is functioning first, which can be frustrating to patients who are used to conventional thinking. They don’t realize that sometimes your symptoms are wrong.
Symptoms are your body’s way of telling you that your body needs help, but they don’t necessarily tell you what is going on in the body. That’s why sometimes symptoms are wrong, and it’s important to test because the body is like a Swiss watch.
The problem with looking at just the symptoms is that the patient has probably been sick for some time. They might be coming in because now their symptoms have been getting in the way of their life. Others have symptoms that have been disrupting their life for some time. Many have had the heartache of visiting doctor after doctor with no relief. Some have been prescribed medications that have only made them feel worse. Why does this happen? It’s because conventional thinking looks at the symptoms and tries to treat them when we should be looking at the function of the body.
When Your Symptoms Are Wrong
Let’s look at a simple example. You have a headache and you take an aspirin to get rid of it. Without looking at the context of your day and how you are treating your body you made the symptom go away. Perhaps you had a headache because you were dehydrated. Your headache is now gone but your body is still dehydrated. If you don’t address the dehydration this could lead to other problems. I love analogies that help our patients understand how the body works and the best one is how the body like a Swiss watch.
If you take the back off of a Swiss watch, you see a bunch of gears. Some of them are large and some are small. Some move really fast while others move slowly. They all have a specific action they need to do for the time to keep properly. Imagine that the smallest or slowest gear stops working, or it breaks a tooth and doesn’t work correctly. What happens? Well that’s easy, right? It stops working or doesn’t keep time accurately. Even the smallest gear affects how it keeps time. Each and every gear is needed.
Your Body is like a Swiss Watch
The body is just like that. It is very complex and composed of many, many parts. Did you know your big toe controls your heart? Yes, really. If I smash your toe what happens to your heart rate? It goes up. Why? Because even that little gear can affect everything from your heart rate to your cholesterol. That’s why it is important to not look at just one gear. If you have symptoms happening with your heart, they might be coming from one of the other gears. You can’t just treat the heart with medication. It most likely could be a whole different gear that is making that symptom happen, and those medications have side effects.
Has anyone ever taken a medication for heart issues and later discovered the medication damaged their liver? The human body is like a Swiss watch with many gears all working together in harmony. You cannot treat one system (gear) without affecting them all.
For example, detoxification is a very important gear; but it is only one gear. There are others: the gear of proper nutrition, the gear of chiropractic care, the gear of proper mental health (such as the proper handling of stress), and the gear of proper hormone function and so on. If you have even one gear not working properly, you cannot be healthy.
If a person receives regular chiropractic care but eats fast food all the time and handles his/her stress poorly, this person will not be able to achieve true and complete health. Likewise, if a person takes care of proper nutrition and proper detoxification but neglects the gear of proper care of the nervous system, he or she will never achieve true health. We must have all the gears working together in harmony—this is true health.
Each Gear is Important to Your Health
To sum up, it’s important to look at each individual as unique. Clinically, we have to look at all the gears as a whole. That’s how conventional thinking can fail us, and our symptoms can be wrong. We have to find out what gear is being stressed and how. The gear can be the GI. As we know the GI can affect a lot of things; but so can the liver, the pancreas, the heart and so many other gears. We look for which organ is being stressed to see how it could be causing a cascade of problems throughout the body.
It’s important to look at the whole “watch” not just a part of it. You want to address the cause (or causes) of ill health, not just the symptoms. Being tested by a proficient provider is key to understanding how the body is functioning. Sometimes your symptoms are wrong and by understanding the body then you can back to your best function faster.
Written by Dr. Patrick Flynn