Health Misconception #1: If I Know The Cause Of The Pain, Then Avoiding It Will Prevent It
Contributed by Dr Gary Tho November 22, 2017
Tony was a successful athlete in his younger years, and three years ago he was hiking in the Himalayas.
Then his pain began to hinder both his social and physical activity. He believed that if he knew the cause of his pain, he could prevent it.
Dr. Gary addresses your body’s pain points in his new book The Pain Free Desk Warrior – Free Yourself From Aches And Pains.
Here he shares an excerpt in hopes that you can start living your life free of pain, fatigue, and illness!
Tony stopped by our clinic at the recommendation of his friend and spent 45 minutes recalling all the possible reasons for his foot pain and hip pain.
Even after I acknowledged his stories and completed the clinical examination, he kept talking about all the falls, accidents and adventures he had. I told him it was great that he was able to talk out loud and think about the possible causes of the injury, however, he would be much better off discussing:
1. What went wrong in the body (diagnosis of the injury); and
2. What we need to do to get him out of pain, and keep him out of pain.
Unfortunately for Tony, he could not see past the why. He wanted to know what event caused his pain. It took a week for his friend to tell him to not worry about the past, and get on with treating his hip and foot injury.
Focusing On The Cause Won’t Help
Too often I find people searching and searching for the one thing that caused their pain. Why do I have pain? What caused it? They spend all their efforts and energy looking for the why. Their argument: “If I know what caused the pain, I can stop doing it and prevent the pain from reoccurring.”
Sounds logical. However, in reality, it doesn’t work.
It’s not that knowing the cause isn’t relevant; it’s that people make the mistake of assuming there is only one cause. The assumption is, avoiding that one thing will miraculously fix everything. But unless you experienced frank trauma, like an accident or fall that you can explicitly attribute to the pain, it’s likely the pain was due to stressors and strains that have accumulated from multiple sources.
Once you have accepted that there may be more than one thing or event that caused your pain, the next realisation is that prevention can only happen if you are well.
The Truth About Prevention
When I run corporate health programs, there will always be questions on how to prevent back pain, neck pain, or headaches. I usually reply with “there are lots of ways; however, do you currently experience back pain?” The answer is a “yes” 90 percent of the time. That is the problem: You can only prevent pain when you don’t have it.
Prevention involves taking action to stop something from occurring in the future. As mentioned, the majority of people did not meet the most important criteria for prevention – being pain-free.
If you experience pain, you first must treat it at the root cause. Only once you have fully recovered can you prevent the relapse or recurrence.
The best question Tony asked after he eventually completed his recommended treatment program was: “What can I do to prevent it?”
Get a copy of Dr. Gary’s book ‘The Pain-Free Desk Warrior’ by visiting his shop!