WHAT IS A SYMPTOM? …and what does if have to do with Jim’s old MGB?

Here at Kuma we often discuss the difference between the Symptoms of a health issue and the Cause of a health issue.

A symptom is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong.  Headaches, neck and back pain, and weight gain are example of common symptoms.  But just because a symptom is common does not mean that it is normal.  A symptom is NEVER normal.

Sometimes we feel that when we relieve or eliminate the symptom, than that health issue is “cured”.  For example we take aspirin for our headache, but even if the headache disappears, the “cause” of the headache remains.

When I was in college I needed a car to get to my summer job and I bought a beat up MGB.  It never ran well, but it always ran.  One day the check engine light went on and I could not figure out what was wrong.  Of course being in school I could not afford a real mechanic, but I checked out everything I could and had friends look it over, and still the light stayed on.

Now let me mention that this was no ordinary check engine light.  This was a blinding bright red spotlight.  On many a beautiful summer night as I drove with the top down my red face could be seen for miles.

Finally I became so frustrated that I took a piece of duct tape and slapped it over the light.  Presto! All fixed!  Since the issue that was really bothering me was the bright light shining in my face, I had eliminated my problem.  Looking back of course that was a silly solution.  Although the “symptom” of the bright light was fixed, the unknown “cause” of whatever problem was causing that light to go on was still there.

When our health has been suffering from a symptom and that symptom gets relieved or eliminated, it is tempting to declare victory and move on.  However, just like the duct tape on the light, if we don’t address the Cause of the problem, that Symptom will keep coming back.

Of course we always want to address the symptom first since no one wants to be in pain, but we always recommend completing the treatment plan until that the cause of the issue is addressed.  After that, monthly maintenance or daily therapeutic exercise is usually sufficient to maintain wellness.

By the way, at the end of that summer I was fortunate find a gentleman who wanted to buy and restore my MGB, so I was able to sell it before the cause of the problem caused me to walk to my job.

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