Why do my symptoms keep coming back?
I get a treatment and feel good for a short time – then the old stuff comes back and I feel bad again. I'm frustrated. Why does this keep happening?
Thanks, Diane P., for reminding me to answer this one. Often, your frustration comes from 2 basic unfulfilled expectations:
Unfulfilled expectation #1 is about what the patient or client expects it should take to resolve a problem. What should it take? How many visits to the chiropractor, how many blood pressure pills, how many minutes per day on the treadmill, etc? Sometimes it's hard to know.
One thing we know for sure is this. Your body really doesn't care how many visits you make to the chiropractor, massage therapist, psychologist, acupuncturist, or any other treatment-oriented practitioner if you aren't getting to the root of the problem. You don't "deserve" to be symptom-free simply because you were reliable about showing up for your appointments, even though they may have been immensely helpful as part of your wellness program.
This would be somewhat like expecting your boat to be dry because you'd bailed out a certain number of buckets-full of water, yet not grasping that there's a gaping hole in the floor. No matter how many buckets you bail, the boat isn't going to be dry until you deal with that hole. Similarly, if you're still doing the thing that created your symptom, you'll still have it — no many how many treatments you've had.
Your goal should be to identify the relationship between what's going in in your body and what's going on in your life — and then address both aspects of the pattern. Addressing only the physical symptom, and not the lifestyle factor, will result in an incomplete healing experience at best. Sort of like bailing and bailing that boat without ever plugging the leak.
Unfulfilled expectation #2 is about what you think it should take to keep you feeling good. There seems to be a common myth in the community at large that if you're doing your life "right," you'll feel good all the time without any effort or maintenance.
Where do you suppose that came from? Our bodies are dynamic systems (they have moving parts). Any dynamic system has the potential for mechanical wear and tear and requires maintenance in order to continue working properly. Your mind is also dynamic and requires regular infusions of support in order to perform well.
Compare the care you give your body and mind with the care you give your car. You feed your car gas and your mind grounded positive thoughts. You change the oil in your car; you stretch and exercise. You get your car's alignment checked; you pay a visit to the chiropractor or massage therapist.
Your body, mind, and spirit all require care and attention in order to be healthy. Isn't that just common sense?
What to do: Explore your expectations for what you think it should take to consistently feel good. Write them down. Then explore how well your expectations match holistic reality in terms of the three fundamental characteristics of healthy living: honor, knowledge, and attention. Apply them across the board in each and every nook and cranny of your life — from relationships — to your job — to the back yard — and so on.
When you notice a conflict, resolve it. Here's where our wellness resources have the potential to really come in handy.