More is better… isn’t it? Sometimes it is, but often, it is not. When we experience failure, we tend to try harder, to do more of what we have been doing, thinking that will solve the problem. But when we continue to fail over and over again, it warrants digging in, taking a closer look, and usually coming at the problem from a different angle.
I have been intrigued for decades at the continued failure of our healthcare system. How is it that we have more medicines, more hospitals, and more doctors than ever before, yet continue to get sicker and sicker? How is it that we spend more on healthcare in this country than any other, yet often land at the bottom of the list in terms of overall health outcomes?
Here is a case when we think more is better. More hospitals should lead to healthier communities, right? Stronger medications should eliminate the conditions that they are designed to treat, right? More advanced medical diagnostics and procedures should reduce the amount of chronic illness, right? Unfortunately, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding NO.
While I recognize the need for medicine, advanced procedures, hospitals, and doctors, no one can say that these are the answers to the biggest health issues of our time… chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, autoimmune issues, depression, and cancer. And you might think the first step is figuring out why we are failing, but we already know why we are failing.
The foundational reason that we have had such pathetic outcomes to all of the time, money, and research spent on trying to improve health is because we don’t address the cause of these issues. Our modern healthcare system is reactive instead of proactive. This means that we tend to treat the condition, but fail to address the cause. We have a symptom-based healthcare system.
Why is this a problem? Because treating symptoms is futile if the underlying cause is never addressed. Let’s look at lower back pain. A patient goes to the doctor and tells him or her that he has pain in his back and that he feels muscle spasms. The doctor often never even looks at the back, let alone touches the back with his or her hands. Based on the type and severity of pain, the doctor prescribes a pain medication. And because the patient has muscle spasms, he is also prescribed a muscle relaxer. Inflammation is often a part of this complex, so anti-inflammatories are also prescribed.
The patient takes these medications and may feel less pain and less spasms. But far too often, these medications stop working, requiring stronger or different medications. And even if the patient does get pain relief and reduced muscle spasms, if the underlying cause of the pain and spasms is not addressed, the problem often returns. And when it returns, it is often more severe.
Why? Because pain and spasms are not conditions, they are symptoms. Pain and spasms are the body telling you something is wrong, much like a smoke detector is telling you there is a fire. Taking medications, or even natural remedies, to reduce pain, is like turning off the smoke detector without finding, and putting out, the actual fire.
Think about your most recent doctoring experiences. Was there any effort to get to the root cause of your problem? Or were you merely given medication to mask your symptoms? You may have had headaches, sinus problems, allergies, acid reflux, back and neck pain, tingling or numbness in your hands or feet, constipation, irritable bowel issues, menstrual issues, depression, anxiety, etc. My guess is you were given a medication to cover up the symptoms, or manage the symptom, but little was done to address the root cause of those symptoms.
Think about it… if these medications fixed the problem, then why would you have to take them continuously? Most of these medications are to be taken for the rest of your life. Of course, there is a time for medications, but they should be used to manage the symptoms to buy you time to address the underlying cause. Start thinking in terms of fixing your health problems instead of simply managing the symptoms associated with these problems. We have a symptom managing healthcare system, not a disease fixing system. Think I’m wrong? Look at how sick we have become over the past few decades.