Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fixing the Health Care System

By Dr. Tim Maggs

I was recently on a flight, and next to me sat a 40 some year old fellow. I usually avoid conversation with people who sit next to me, as I hate to sit with my head turned for long periods of time participating in conversations I’d rather not be in.

“So, where you heading?”, he asks.
“ I’m off to a seminar in Omaha” I tell him.
“Really, what’s it on?”.
“Sports biomechanics”.

His eyes light up. People love talking about themselves.

He’s a tennis player, and about 2 months ago, he pulled a calf muscle. He’s been to multiple docs and therapists, and he’s still injured, and doesn’t know how to fix it, or who to go to. Well, not only do I know how to fix it, but I also know that I must be the leading authority in the country on calf pulls, not because I’m smart, but because I had an 8 year period in my life where I couldn’t run beyond 3 miles without pulling a calf. I estimate I pulled my calf muscles 60-70 times over that period. Ultimately (after figuring out the answer), I made it back to marathoning, a mere 14 years after my prior marathon. So I was intimately aware of the emotionally frustrating journey this poor guy was on.

But, the clincher was this, and even he was upset over it; his primary took his blood pressure as part of the exam on his calf (I guess you always revert back to what you know), and found his blood pressure was a tad high. The guy tells me it’s high because he’s gained 15 pounds in the past 2 months since he can’t exercise. So, the primary writes a prescription for high blood pressure medication and sends him on his way. Not wanting to waste any more of my valuable word allotment for this article, I’ll assume you see the problem here.

Other Broken Industries

The auto industry collapsed. New laws have been created to demand better gas mileage and less pollution. The energy crisis continues to look for more efficient, alternative, re-usable energy sources. The healthcare system, which is leading all the crises in this country, is seeking alternative payment
responsibility, without any effort to fix this incredibly broken system.

If you think about it, the laws for good health have never, ever changed. We know what it takes to stay healthy. So why on earth are we in any kind of crisis? Well, the most obvious reason is that we have become a totally “reactive” system. We do nothing until we break, then we go through unlimited
tests, we’re referred to many specialists, and in the end, never learn how to “fix” our problem. We get a prescription to block our body’s warning signals (some call them symptoms) or ultimately have surgery to remove such a troublesome organ, gland or joint. And we ask, “Why didn’t anyone ever teach me how to keep my gall bladder healthy?”. We’re not a healthcare industry that teaches and educates, we’re a healthcare business that profits from society’s illnesses and maladies. And, reacting produces higher profits than acting. It’s called managed care.

The Fix

We know the obvious ways to stay healthier; eat better, exercise more, have a good spirit towards ourselves and others, get a good night’s sleep, and do whatever is necessary to have good energy (like running). But, that’s too easy. To get out of this crisis, here is my prescription;

It all falls under the word “MOTION”. As in, moving. If all of us were in training for a marathon, the healthcare debt would go down. Motion, or daily exercise, keeps your weight down, your anxieties down, your blood pressure down, your cholesterol down, as well as the need to continue buying bigger clothes. All runners have learned this.

But, many people will respond, “Yes, but every time I try to exercise, my hip/back/knee/or whatever goes out, and I’m injured. It’s just too frustrating. And, I don’t know how to get over that hump”.

In response to that issue, I’ll once again say, it’s all about “MOTION”. But, in this case, we’re talking, motion of the joints. When you have joints that have full mobility, particularly in the spine and pelvis, there is an increased tolerance to stress, as compared to a joint that has lost mobility. As we age, we lose mobility. When we’re injured, we lose mobility. As we gain weight, we lose mobility. So, how do we keep mobility, or get back mobility in all of our joints? See your chiropractor on a regular basis. Or, your osteopath, if they will adjust you that frequently. Every American should be adjusted (have joints mobilized) head to toe at least once a week throughout their lifetime in an effort to allow their body to tolerate the stresses of motion/exercise/life in order to keep their structures as healthy as possible. This will allow people to move, which is the key. Maybe then, you won’t need to see your primary who thinks the answer is a high blood pressure prescription.

Have a great month.

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