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The Value of Reflection

- Dr. Andrew St. Bernard

I always find it funny when I get to remind my patients of the reason why they started care. One would naturally think (as I once did), “how do you forget THAT?”, but it’s true and happens more often than you’d think. They don’t remember how bad things were when they started care because of how slowly and gradually their progress was.

What most people fail to recognize is that the same can often be said about how they got into their health crisis to begin with. There were other signs and symptoms that came along like mild chronic neck and back pain, or infrequent but regular headaches. Maybe it has been a loss of energy that we pass off as work related. None of these symptoms were enough cause for alarm for us though, because why?

They weren’t bad enough. It wasn’t intense enough or brought enough discomfort and interruption to our daily living yet, so we chose to ignore it. Maybe even our healthcare provider has told us to come back when it gets worse, and we decided to do nothing in the meantime, just waiting and hoping for it to go away on its own.

The reality is that when a problem lasts long enough, it’s already showing signs that it’s not getting better, it’s getting what? That’s right - worse. If the problem gets worse enough, is it going to be easier or harder to correct? You got it - much harder.

Here’s what I hope you take away from this message today. The title is “The Value of Reflection”, because when we fail to notice and take heed to the subtle changes in our health, we don’t give ourselves the best chance at recovery. So how do we do this? Here’s a general rule of thumb: Don’t ever get into the habit of ignoring symptoms.

For signs and symptoms without any known cause or when we notice a symptom that has persisted longer than 6 months, it’s time to dig deeper, regardless of how badly it is affecting the quality of our lives. It could mean the difference between not only life and death, but worse yet would be a life lived in pain and suffering.

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