The final article in this series that applies business principles to personal health care will address trouble-shooting. One of the most prominent lessons I learned when in business management was to look at a perceived problem and determine its root cause. This skill is even more useful in my role as a Structural Integration practitioner, as the problem (low back pain for example) is often a symptom of a larger disorder (perhaps limited hip range of motion).
It’s natural to focus on symptoms like stiffness, aches, and pains, because they demand attention. In term of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, addressing symptoms is an Urgent and Important (Quadrant 1) activity. Even though many people ignore their pain, it eventually gets to a point where effectiveness or quality of life suffers so bad that it can’t wait any longer.
Here’s a small example. When I have a headache, my husband usually suggests, “Take an ibu.” (He likes ibuprofen so much that he’s given it an affectionate nickname.) It’s typical to think a headache is the problem. Just take the right type of medicine and move on.
However, I want to know the source of my headache. Am I dehydrated? Overworking my shoulders? Or do I have inflamed sinuses or even a brain tumor? Why take ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin if my body is asking for a glass of water or a back rub? This type of investigation and prevention is Important, but not Urgent (Quadrant 2). Dr. Covey teaches that more attention to this quadrant improves effectiveness and gives you more control over your life, in this case your health.
Let me give you another example from my practice. Many people have low back pain and seek treatment that addresses only the back, with no results. The source of some people’s back dysfunction is tight hips as mentioned before, or weak hamstrings, or even feet that don’t push off the ground correctly. That’s why orthotics can sometimes help back pain. Conversely, some people with plantar fasciitis (persistent pain and inflammation in the bottom of the foot) find relief from lengthening their hamstrings and back muscles.
Many people think that the source of low back pain is a bulging disc. But what is causing the disc to bulge?
All health conditions benefit from Quadrant 2 activity. A heart attack demands immediate attention; nothing is more Urgent and Important than that! But after stabilization, the patient is set on a course of prevention, with diet and exercise changes, beta blockers, and a new schedule of physical exams.
In business life and with your health, if you spend more time treating and preventing the root cause, you’ll eventually need to spend less time managing painful and stressful emergencies.
Franklin Covey, http://www.franklincovey.com/fc/library_and_resources
7 Habit of Highly Effective People, http://www.amazon.com/Habits-Highly-Effective-People/dp/0743269519
First Things First (Wikipedia), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Things_First_(book)