It is very common for a new patient to be sitting in my office, hunched over, wincing in pain, explaining to me in disbelief what happened, and using the words “all I did was…” And what follows could be bending down to pick up a coin, leaning over to put on his or her sock, reaching out to grab a cup of coffee, or simply sneezing. They can’t believe that they could be suffering with such massive pain due to such a simple action or event.
Very bad outcomes often get attributed to simple, seemingly minuscule events. It seems impossible that such events can cause such severe consequences, and that is because it is almost ALWAYS just that… impossible. People do not herniate spinal discs by bending over to put their socks on. Spouses do not walk out because of one bad fight. People do not become overweight and out of shape by eating one bad meal or missing one workout. Bankruptcy does not usually occur because of one bad financial move. And… people do not die just because of a virus (I’ll elaborate on this one later).
The human brain tries to simplify, justify, and rationalize. In an effort to make sense of our surrounding world and what happens in it, we see events and outcomes and try to deduce how things work and how things come to be the way they are. We use the information that we have to come to a conclusion. In an effort to be quick and efficient, we use the most recent and most obvious data. This quick deductive reasoning helped us survive for so long as a species. It helped us make quick, life-saving decisions when needed most.
But oftentimes, this type of reasoning leads to inaccurate conclusions. And we can more accurately analyze a situation when we utilize as much information as possible. When we look at ALL the facts, we often see that events that occur, tragedy that strikes, and problems that arise, are NEVER the result of a single cause.
While someone could be perfectly healthy and be killed instantly if struck by a car, most deaths do not occur this way. Most deaths today are caused by chronic illness. Chronic illness can’t be attributed to a single cause. It is the result of living in an environment and having lifestyle choices that are incongruent with what is needed for optimal human health, function, and performance. It’s the food we eat, the amount we move, the quality of air and water we take in, the amount of stress we are exposed to, and quality of sleep we get.
This is particularly important to realize right now in regards to Covid-19. The virus is unable to kill a perfectly healthy human being. That does not happen. If someone dies from this virus, there absolutely, positively has to be underlying conditions. Even if the person appears to be healthy, or doctors are unable to determine any underlying contributing factor, there HAS TO BE one (or several) present.
The virus is a constant. It is a particular strain of coronavirus. If this virus is the same, then it should affect everyone the same. But it doesn’t! Then what is the variable? The host. It is the person that is exposed to the virus that determines the effect the virus will have.
Think of it like a seed and soil. The virus is the seed. Humans are the soil. The healthier a person is, the less likely the seed can thrive. The seed (the virus) thrives better in sick people. The lower the level of health, the greater chance for complications from this virus.
We are a sick society. We are overweight, eat terribly, move way too little, are over-stressed, and live incongruently with what our genes are designed for. This sets us up for the vulnerability that we are seeing with this virus. The virus is not the biggest issue… it is merely the straw that has broken the camel’s back in a society of not-well people.