If you suffer from chronic pain or fibromyalgia, it’s time to get proactive when it comes to your health. When I was dealing with my chronic back and neck pain and fibromyalgia that occurred from a car accident in 2006 I took everything my doctors said as gospel, but after years of listening and following their instructions, my pain was still not improving. That is until I started to take things in to my own hands.
Let me preface by saying this – modern medicine and technology are amazing, but so is nature. I think you need to embrace both to get results, but in order to do this you need to start paying attention and being proactive.
How can you be proactive?
Get Clear On Your Goals. What do you want your health to look like in 5, 10 and 20+ years from now? Do you want to be able to do yoga without any pain? Do you want to be able to pick up something that weighs more than 15 pounds? Think this through and get clear on your goals.
Listen Actively. As a society, we have a tendency when someone is talking to think ahead about how we will reply rather than listening to what is being said. When you go to see your doctor, take the time to explain what is going on and then listen to your doctor. Take notes on what he or she says with your phone or pen and paper as this will help you with the rest of these steps.
Ask Questions. You are paying your healthcare professional a fee so don’t be shy and ask those questions. If you can’t think of anything while you are in their office, call back and leave a message with their nurse. This happens all the time!
Do Your Own Research. Google is an amazing tool. Take the notes you wrote down from your doctor visit and start researching the diagnosis, treatment and other key words mentioned during your visit. See what is being said and what other people have gone through. This way you can gather up some questions to make sure the plan of action that your doctor has in mind is the right approach for you.
Is your doctor the expert on you or are you the expert on you? I think the answer is obvious. You know yourself far better than any doctor who spends on average 7 minutes per visit with you. This is your health we are talking about and we all need to start taking a PROACTIVE role instead of being reactive and sitting on the side lines.
Here are a few additional questions to have in your back pocket for your naturopath or healthcare professional.
- Why is this treatment being recommended?
- What should we expect the outcome to be from this medicine or treatment?
- What things can I do at home to help improve my health and pain on my own?
- If prescription drugs are offered immediately ask if there are alternative or natural treatment options available to try first?
If your doctor strongly recommends prescriptions ask these follow-up questions: How long will I have to take it? What’s the main purpose of this drug? What are the side effects? How long has this drug been on the market?
There is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion or going both to a modern medicine practitioner plus a naturopath to get more than one perspective.
This may be a bit of tough love, but your health is nothing to leave up to chance. Be proactive – we only get one body and one life.
Even if it is something small like eating more vegetables or going for a walk outside or making an appointment with your doctor, how are you going to be proactive when it comes to your health today?
Alison Brehme is a Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach (CTNC) and Certified Corporate Wellness Consultant. She spent years working stressful corporate jobs and during this time, had a serious car accident and was then diagnosed with chronic pain, fibromyalgia and migraines. She couldn’t accept the lack of information and advice she was getting from the medical community and started doing her own research. After lots of experimentation, she finally used nature and whole foods to heal her body, mind and spirit to overcome chronic pain and stress. It is now her mission to teach these techniques to others.