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Knowing when or when not to treat symptoms

Chiropractic Thought for the Week:  Discussing the subject of symptoms can be a bit tricky for a chiropractor.  The medical perspective of symptoms is that the symptom must be treated or suppressed. Symptoms are what make a patient uncomfortable. And when the symptoms are caused by something obvious or mechanical, like trauma or a sports injury, the medical approach to treating the symptom, while the body does its healing, makes a lot of sense. Where the topic of symptoms can get tricky is when we are dealing with the bodies response to viruses, bacteria, toxins, stress and many other "internal" disruptions. For instance, when the body responds to bacteria by raising its core temperature into the fever zone, we know that the fever is trying to "burn" off the bacteria and rid the body of the infection. Is lowering the fever then a good thing for the body or a bad thing?  How about a viral infection that causes vomiting or diarrhea? The body's natural response to this type of infection is to expel and rid the body of the toxin. Do we suppress that with Pepto-bismal and prolong the illness or do we let the body express itself by doing what it is supposed to do?  Understanding symptoms and the body's response to internal disruptions and mechanical injuries is an important part of being a doctor. As a chiropractor, we have a more natural view of symptoms and body expression and with that comes an understanding that symptoms can be good and needed for proper health. That being said, knowing and understanding that too much of a symptom can be a bad thing and not "treating" the symptom could lead to a bigger problem is extremely important.  All doctors should be able to balance a vitalistic, natural approach to healing with a mechanical  approach to patient care. This can only lead to the best possible outcomes in health and healing.

Dr J. Zimmerman, Chiropractor Dr. Zimmerman is a practicing chiropractor from Galloway, NJ with 30 years of chiropractic practice.

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