Is Health Measured By How We Feel?
There has never been a better time to be thankful for good health.
With so much uncertainty around the COVID 19 pandemic I wanted to help answer this question.
The World Health Organisation predicts that between 5-80% of people infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms at all. Yet many people suffer a high temperature, a persistent cough and fatigue, and sometimes worse. Why is this? Are symptoms a sign of good or bad health?
Let’s look at back pain as an example, back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Although it can be very unpleasant and distressing, initially it is there to protect us. The pain we feel is the brain telling our body to avoid doing anything that may cause further damage. If we didn’t feel it, we wouldn’t know when to stop damaging ourselves and let our body repair itself. In addition, roughly 30% of people have asymptomatic disc bulges, meaning they walk, sit, exercise and more, without even knowing they have a structural issue in their spines.
What about when you are fighting a cold or a virus? A high temperature and cough may make you feel terrible but we know that these are ways our immune system is cleansing our bodies and fighting off the virus! Without these mechanisms we would be in big trouble.
SYMPTOMS ARE A HEALTHY RESPONSE TO YOUR BODY RESPONDING TO AN INJURY OR THREAT FROM INFECTION
The definition of health according to most medical textbooks is a ‘state of physical, mental and social wellbeing without merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. In laymen’s terms – health is more than just not being unwell, health is thriving in all of the aspects of your life.
Our bodies have the ability to heal and regulate themselves. Symptoms are the language of the body and are not a good measure of how healthy we are. In fact they can be very useful in updating us with information about the state of our bodies. So if you don’t feel good it can often be a sign that your body is trying to repair itself or fight something off. The more our bodies are able to sense problems and respond effectively the more healthy we are.
So…health is not defined by how we feel. It is about how we are functioning. Here are some of the best ways to enhance how we function:
- A regular, consistent sleep pattern 7-8 hrs
- Exercising 3x a week at a moderate intensity
- Eating natural foods, with plenty of plants and remember not put too much on the plate
- Talking with friends and especially (where possible) a good hug
- 10-20 minutes of mindfulness a day
- Ensuring your nervous system is working at its best, and there’s no better way than through Chiropractic
Dr Mark Fairclough