5 Steps To Solving A Chronic Health Problem

Dr. Jamie Richards's picture
on April 4, 2019 - 1:10pm
Life By Design

Is there anything more frustrating than dealing with the same health problem over and over again?

If that’s an experience you know all too well and you haven’t made a single change to what you’re doing…well, that’s what Einstein called insanity.

Here are the first 5 steps to solving a chronic health problem.

1. Accept That A Problem Exists

The results of a 2013 study that analyzed data from over 300 diseases and conditions across 188 countries, uncovered that less 5% of the world’s population had no “health problems”. 

Compare this with one of many studies that show one’s perceived health is far different from the actual prevalence of ill health.  In Canada for example, 3 of 5 adults considered themselves in good or excellent health

This disparity highlights the most common challenge in overcoming a chronic health problem…the acceptance that one even exists!

Our body does such a fantastic job at adapting, that even when we are losing health, much of the experience occurs without symptoms. When symptoms do finally arise, we tend to accept them (like headaches or back pain for example) as a normal part of life.

Unfortunately, that couldn’t be any further from the truth.

Symptoms are most often the final stage of health loss, as much of the decline happens without being fully aware of the negative impact. 

2. Get a Second (& Third) Opinion

Diagnosis is a fundamental part of solving any problem, whether be a chronic health challenge or an engineering problem.

However, when the complexity of the human body is involved, the difficulty of diagnosis in that context is exposed.

Even the best diagnosticians recognize the inaccuracy of identifying the cause of a health problem when it’s more likely there are many factors contributing to each situation. 

What are the lifestyle components?

Is it genetic in nature and if so, how much of it is influenced and altered by outside factors vs. predetermined?

Acquiring information from more than one expert with unique perspectives is helpful in getting to the root of a chronic health condition and formulating a plan to start solving it.

3. Using Tests to Determine A Core Problem

Clinical experience is invaluable and should never be discounted as a contributor to the solution. 

Yet, with more objective testing easily accessible, we no long need to rely on symptoms as the sole determinant of health or illness.

As discussed previously, waiting for symptoms to occur generally means you’ve waited to reach a level of dysfunction that the body can no longer manage subconsciously.

Wouldn’t it make far more sense to identify objective criteria of a functional problem and test to find abnormalities…even when symptoms aren’t present?

I think most would agree, even if they didn’t feel poorly, knowing there was a blockage in an artery would be valuable information that would benefit them J 

4. Have a Clear Blueprint to Follow 

Even when someone feels positive about a diagnosis, encouraged that themselves or a provider has given them valuable information about their condition…it’s more rare that they feel the same confidence about their plan.

Not knowing exactly what to do, not having the encouragement to do it consistently and not having an infrastructure to support accountability, are 3 reasons why a blueprint is absolutely necessary for success.

The blueprint should:

  • be comprehensive, but simple to action
  • be logical and make sense
  • have resources for enhance knowlegde
  • include regular assessment

5. Time 

Even if everything else comes together perfectly, the missing link to solving a chronic health problem is time.

We live in fix it now, fix it fast and fix it for good, society. That might work fine with a car but it’s an epic fail when it comes to the body and it’s health.

Have you seen the comic strip depicting miner’s digging for diamonds and stopping just short because they finally got tired of pushing forward without success?

The number of times I’ve witnessed someone accomplish the first 4 steps, followed by failing to fulfill the 5th, is frustrating to say the least.

All I can say is “don’t give up”! You’re probably closer to solving the problem than you think.

Did this template work for your chronic health problem? We’d love to know.

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