Your head is pounding…your lower back is throbbing…your stomach aches…your wrists are killing you from typing away at the computer all day. Pain can attack day or night and, if you’re like most of us, your first reaction is to reach for the pain meds. Advil, Tylenol or bypass the Over-The-Counter stuff altogether and go straight for the prescription drugs and wash it down with a shot or two of whiskey. Numb the pain and get on with life.
But by masking the underlying reason for your pain – especially recurring and/or chronic symptoms – you may be doing more harm than good. It is equivalent to silencing the whistleblower. Your body is sending out signals all day more frequently than a teen age girl posting status updates on Facebook. Only these are important updates that we need to pay attention to and take seriously. If you tear down the communication lines from your body to your brain, you cannot treat the root cause of the problem and therefore only mitigating the symptoms without identifying the source of your pain.
The human body is a perfectly designed system able to self-balance and self-repair when it functions normally. But life happens, and when these healing mechanisms are challenged, the symptoms we experience are a message from our body that something is wrong. It’s basically sounding the alarms and seeking help. When your body is ringing the bell, take time to reflect on the potential cause(s) on why you are symptomatic, especially if the same pain surfaces frequently. Assess your current lifestyle including diet, stress, sleep, anxiety, exercise, posture, etc. Look inward with an open curiosity, make an effort to delve deeper than what lies on the surface. This, of course, may not be comfortable but may shed light on the true cause of your symptoms. It may be a worthwhile exercise that can offer profound changes. Seek to uncover the true source of your pain so you don’t abuse your body; after all, it’s the only one you’ve got.
Treat symptoms as your friends, not your enemies. Do not ignore them by trying to silence them without first trying to understand what you are doing to aggravate your body. They are trying to give you important messages so respect and listen to them. We then can make changes in our lifestyles, treat the root causes of problems rather than masking the symptoms, and live longer, healthier, and happier lives.