The path to wellness

My GP gave me the results of the MRI on my dodgy back on Friday. Basically, he said I have an old person’s body. He said one of my vertebrae has arthritis which is irritating some nerves and causing the tingling and numbness. Oh, the indignity! He tried to make me feel better by saying every person 30 and above has arthritis. Gotta be honest, it didn’t help at all. He’s got a shocking bedside manner.

His advive on managing it was to rest, but not too much. And to be active, but not too active. Oh, and to keep taking the anti-inflamatories he prescribed even though they made me feel nauseous and worse. Let’s just say I didn’t get a lot of nutrution from the food I consumed while I was taking those drugs. So, in all, an unsatisfactory set of recomendations.

Fortunately, my trainer (who has a degree in biomedical science) has also seen the MRI and his view on the situation and how to manage it are very different to my GP’s. So while I may have an old lady’s body, with his support I now also know how to make sure it doesn’t get worse. I will be adding some extra stretches to my training regimen and having regular acupuncture apointments. I’ll try to incorporate more movement into my daily life which has become sedentary now I’m a desk jockey again. And I’ll be better at listening to my body.

This whole experience has made me think about the difference between traditional medicine (ie, my GP) and progressive, or holistic, medicine (ie, my trainer, acupuncturist etc). The traditionalists are focused on fixing illness. And the progressives are more interested in enhacing wellness. I absoutely believe there’s a place for both practices, particularly for people who are suffering from chronic conditions.

But here’s the thing: I am well. Sure, my body isn’t as robust as it used to be thanks to the reality of ageing rather than a major health problem. And I want to stay well. That’s part of the reason I’m religious about going to the gym and why I changed my diet. I’m learning how to manage the niggles in my body and my mind. I’m learning what I need to do – and not do – to be happy and healthy. I’ve been fortunate enough to discover some fantastic health practitioners who I turn to when I need a boost.

But I also regularly work with them to improve my wellness. The only limits to my capacity to be well are the ones which I choose to impose. I think some limiting factors are completely acceptable, like having the odd glass of wine after work. And others are just poor excuses, like working such long hours I neglect my diet and exercise.

So my mid-year resolution is to cut out the excuses that compromise my health. I want to stop doing the things that empty my wellness cup and do more of the things that fill it. And, as time goes by, I’ll make my wellness cup larger. Because I believe wellness is infinite.

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