Defining health can be difficult. To one person, a sore lower back may be “just their luck” and something they’re prepared to put up with, while another may view it as a dent in their health. Wikipedia defines health as: The level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person’s mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain.
I like that definition, as it strongly tells us that the general pains or illness we have come to accept as “normal” are anything but.
As hard as it may be to swallow, most of us are not operating at optimal health, our niggles and sniffles, weight and digestive issues, mental and circadian disturbances are all part of a body that is not, by definition, healthy.
You can eat a so-called healthy diet and still be unhealthy by measure of this definition.
Let’s assume you have accepted that those “normal” niggles aren’t normal at all and you’d like to get to the bottom of them after all. Who do you turn to? There are hundreds of different options to choose from and you could spend a small fortune using the trial and error method. Frustration will meet you at many turns and you may be inclined to slump back and again say “I just have to put up with it”.
This is where your timeline becomes important. I’ll bet no one has sat down with you and asked about your timeline from birth. If they have, then they are worth their weight in gold. Your personal timeline helps to unravel the “source code” so to speak, the origins of where your health issue has come from.
Health conditions morph through time. A stressful event 5 years ago may have brought on depression and then lower back pain along with constipation within the 5 year period. A food intolerance that you knew about (but ignored) may have exacerbated the situation. By the time you hit the Doctors office you’ll probably end up with a laxative and maybe some anti-inflammatory for your back, when really you may just need a little bodywork, corrective exercise and nutrition and stress management.
If you can start to trace your timeline, then you can start to see the origins of events.
So how do we trace our timeline?
- You will need a piece of paper and pen
- Handy to have, will also be medical records from birth along with any diaries, journals or blogs you may have kept. In fact anything at all that helps to remind you about your life up until this point will be useful
- The knowledge of friends, family and colleagues about you as a person – which is very important when deciding whether stress is a factor in your health
One you have all this you start plotting backwards from the current health concern, list all other things that don’t fit the definition of what a healthy body should represent. So let’s say your unknown ailment is chronic lower back pain that you are trying to timeline, you may also want to consider painful menstrual cycles or abdominal bloating etc. The last two things you may have thought were “normal”, but they’re not part of the definition of “health”, therefore they need to go on the timeline.
What do we do with our completed timeline? My personal advice is to discuss it with a Naturopath or Integerated Doctor (nutritional medicine). You could also take it to a chiropractor, osteopath or nutritionist who specialises in holistic health.
Or option B. You could start to work through it yourself. If you can clearly see that you had zero health issues prior to the death of a loved one, and then after that you ended up with compounding health issues, you may want to ask yourself if you have completely healed from the grief, or if you still have an underlying stress or burnout state that is creating these issues.
A special note. There is nothing wrong with our medical doctors, you MAY just have a serious condition that needs medical treatment. This health detective and timeline tool is for you to track a clear path through your health forest so you can help your chosen professional unravel your mystery. There’s no point rocking up to your doctors office complaining of a sore back when you’ve forgotten to mention that you also have a bloated stomach (they share the same nerve pathways).
Remember folks, it’s a timeline. That means it’s year by year or month by month – not a higgledy-piggledy brainstorm of symptoms. Lots of things may overlap, but that’s ok. Don’t make any judgements or diagnoses, just plot a timeline of suboptimal health for now – and let nature take its course as you journey back to health.
Best of luck and happy time lining!