What can I tell you as a revered reader, that you don’t already know?
In the storm of knowledge that’s available at the click of your fingertips, would you really want some more medical, nutritional or health information especially since we’re a good 24 months into the most life changing times of our lives. The plethora of knowledge that gets thrown at you at breakneck speed can tell you how drinking alcohol is bad, how processed food is detrimental and how not exercising can add to your woes, but one headache and you are clueless. All the articles that you have read, all the videos you might have watched or all the enlightening WhatsApp forwards that you would have gotten, don’t come in handy. So, you reach out to your trusted painkiller. Pop one, two, or a few and wait. Wait for the searing pain to subside so that you can go back to whatever that you were doing before it struck you. If the pain comes back, you pop another, and the saga continues unless it’s chronic and it starts worrying you to a point that you need to go see your trusted medical professional. Hoping that it’s not serious, your doctor may either hand you a prescription or may order a few tests. When the tests arrive, they may glance over what’s marked in bold and ignore the rest. Again, what might ensue is a prescription. Does the headache come back? My guess is, in most cases it does.
Now how many times are we told that, the incapacitating headache is actually a gift? That it is a sacred messenger, and our body is trying to communicate with us through it? Are we ready to pay attention after all’ cause our survival depends on it? We are taught to fear pain, despise it, not tolerate but suppress it, hate it and abhor it. But what if we embrace it, ask what it is trying to say, then maybe we won’t have such nagging pain in the first place. To understand the language our body communicates in, one needs to tune in, give it respect, time with quietude.Then the simmering messages will bubble up. You will be more attuned to thoughts like ‘was it the food from the restaurant?’ or ‘did I drink too much?’ or ‘I feel dehydrated’ or ‘I didn’t sleep too well’ or ‘my work stress is too much’ or ‘I probably need some fresh air and a break’. These are not mere thoughts; these are clues that the body is giving you. Most times we disregard these feelings. And if you heed or pay attention, you’ll realize that there is validity to it. If you medically explored it, you would find out that the root cause of headache or any other pain can be multifold- inflammation from infections, toxins, food sensitivities, temperature variances from sudden shift or long cell phone use, chemical stimulation, trauma, stress, irritation, pressure or damage to nerves themselves.
It might feel daunting to explore all those possibilities only to solve a pain riddle but the person enduring it definitely knows better. Root cause resolution along with rapid relief is what we all seek but few are ready or even aware to investigate because we have become lazy as a population. A population that relies their health on bad food, stress and toxins cannot and will not know better.
So where does functional medicine fit into this? Functional medicine stands for patient centric puzzle piecing and interconnectedness which might represent a dietary choice, a lab marker, a symptom, a drug, a prior procedure, a fear, a diagnosis, and biochemical dynamic, and intuition or a hypothesis based on a common pattern of interconnectedness. Every piece connects to something else, usually multiple things. The points of connection will vary from person to person since n=1.So, a concise integrative approach to solving chronic health issues is what functional medicine stands for. It’s not just about what disease dynamic a person has but rather who is this person who is struggling with these symptoms.Every small detail counts, from how you were born to how you are currently living your life.
For every person who has suffered the current virus or is in fear that they might have an adverse reaction to it when they face it, the most important thought to hold in their hearts would be: to go deeper, take active interest in their health, learn about what their body thrives on and what depletes them, what lights them up and what dims their light, which food feels nourishing and which triggers a reaction, how the body feels after a well-rested night of sleep, which days feel worthy of exercise and which days the energy is nonexistent, how many medications they are on and more.
One of my favorite quotes is “your biology lies in your biography”. The genes we were born with, our childhood growing up years, the food we were fed, the choices we made consciously or subconsciously, the places we resided in, the topography to the geography, who we date, who we marry, what profession we choose and how we juggle the work-life scale, everything becomes our epigenetic code to how sick or healthy our life is going to be. Yet somehow, we take it all for granted till we are hit with a boulder of diagnoses. We wait for some doctor in a cold room to announce that we have some ‘name your favorite family illness’ and how we have to take a medication to manage it for our entire lives. Why must we be this lazy, uninterested, ignorant? Why can’t one read one’s symptoms like you would read directions on a signboard? Your exterior is a juxtaposition of your interior.
With obesity rising across all age groups through this period of global crisis, metabolic issues will rise too and so will the comorbidities. If we want to leave this planet and the future generations worthy of a safe, healthy and prosperous future, can our status quo of how we approach health, help? How we do anything is how we do everything. It’s time to go back to the basics, take charge while we continue to enjoy the dance of new age scientific freedom. So, what can I tell you more of, my revered reader, that you don’t already know?