It's an all too common story. People suffer from long-term pain and illness, so they go see a doctor or healer for help and then expect the problem to somehow magically disappear without any great effort on their part.
The problem is most health issues - especially chronic ones almost always demand time and patient-effort to correct. Some of you may disagree, as one of my patients let's call her Laura recently did.
She was excited about the program I put her on and was garnering results for the first two weeks. Then she started to slip back into her old symptoms. I asked her if she was doing exactly what I asked of her, every day. She said that no, her schedule did not permit her to do everything I asked. I told her we are partners in her health. I am the director and she is the doer. She disagreed. Here's how part of the conversation went.
"As a healer, Laura, it is my job to educate you about your health concerns. It is my job to instruct you as to how lifestyle modifications including diet, exercise, sleep and work habits can affect your health for better or worse. It is my job to do whatever I can manually to your body and energy to assist in the healing process.
"However, it is your job to help yourself. Eighty-percent of this corrective effort and healing process is in your hands. You are responsible on a daily basis for doing what needs to be done to change your cycle of pain into a cycle of happiness."
Her reply: "I disagree with you, Dr. Wiley! How can you expect a patient who is in pain to be able to do what you ask? We come to you for help, and we expect you to make us better. It is your job, not ours."
Wow! Her last comment leads me to the point of this article. Non-compliance is not only a big issue, for some it is also a symptom.
When you are dealing with hardcore powerful pharma drugs, generally your pain or health issue will go away as long as you take the meds. The pain or issue may return, but if you take another pill, it again will disappear. And since it shows faster results, you would think that patient compliance with Western medicine should be better than that of alternative therapies. But, no, the FDA reports that billions of dollars per year are lost in the health industry due to patients not filling their prescriptions.
But for those individuals seeking alternative methods of treatment for their health concerns, compliance plays an even more central role.
For starters, remember, the money you spend may be your own. Most alternative medicine practitioners do not accept insurance. So patient compliance involves hard-earned out-of-pocket cash being spent on treatment, herbs, supplements, gym memberships, etc. What's more, most alternative practices view the body as a whole system; and, as such, bringing the body back to wellness, back to wholeness, requires a synergistic approach. And this approach includes hands-on treatments be they massage, acupuncture, rolfing and also modifications of daily lifestyle and activities, as well as diet and herbal or supplemental requirements, and the carrying out of mind and/or body exercises.
And this wide range of procedures is the central theme of the choice of an alternative treatment and the treatment method. One would think the person choosing natural methods of correcting imbalances in the body is ready and willing to do whatever they need to carry out the wellness protocol. But unfortunately, this is not always the case.
I can't tell you how many hundreds of times patients say to me, "I've tried everything, and no one can help me. I did acupuncture a few times, and it didn't work. I changed my diet, and that didn't work...", etc. Yet after questioning, I find that they only attended three acupuncture treatments when the course of treatment was a minimum of 10. And that they "watched" their diet and decided they could just eat what they wanted "within reason," when in fact the dietitian was clear that specific foods be avoided and others should be added.
If a person is not willing or able to carry out the directed healing approach, then how can they expect to get better from that approach?
If a patient requires a strengthening of their core muscles (abdomen, hips, low back) and are told that they absolutely must refrain from drinking caffeine and consuming dairy products. . . .there is nothing in the world I or any healer can do to make this happen.
When chronic back pain is due to weak muscles or a muscle imbalance, it is only the patient who can strengthen those muscles. If the headaches are caused by too much caffeine and nitrates in the diet, it is the patient alone who must remove those substances from her diet. Not going to the gym or having "just one" cup of coffee every day is not okay. IT'S CAUSING YOUR PAIN AND MAKING YOU SICK!
It couldn't possibly be more obvious. Many health problems are partly (and often mostly) self-induced. This means that people cause their own problems, or at least aggravate them or do things to prevent them from being corrected.
So I'm afraid I found it difficult to sympathize with Laura. She refused to do what was asked of her, yet complained she was not seeing the results she expected, despite the fact, for the first few weeks, she did most of what was asked of her and had experienced definite relief.
With this in mind, I have learned to ask patients a new question when I conduct their initial examination: "Will you do what is asked of you to help yourself correct your problem?" If not, then non-compliance becomes one of the symptoms I try to correctmostly through patient education.
In closing, let me offer this advice to people seeking alternative therapies. If you are willing to try something different, then be just as willing to take personal responsibility for your own health and wellness. When you are instructed to do certain things, please, do them. If you don't take the advice of the wellness practitioner, how can you expect to get any better? If you don't feel better, and you have not done what is asked of you, don't blame the practitioner or the wellness modality. You can only hold yourself responsible for letting yourself down.
Nobody cares about your health and wellbeing more than you do. You are the one who must live with your health issues every day. Therefore, it is only you who can "fix" them. The acupuncturist, chiropractor, massage therapist, personal trainer and dietitian are simply offering assessment and guidance. It falls on your shoulders to put that knowledge and those programs into practice to make a difference in your life.
50 Years of Back Pain Gone in Just Days!
Jerry Talisman had suffered from chronic back pain on and off for over 50 years. Like most people, he had tried it all... chiropractors, physical therapy, he even overdosed on tylenol but nothing gave him lasting relief until he discovered muscle balance therapy.
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