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Preventing injury without pulling teeth.

20 June 2014

A stitch in time saves nine.

The old adage really holds true when it comes to health care and I’ve got the perfect example to illustrate this. A few months ago I became aware of a dull sensation in my jaw. At first I thought it might be the jaw joint: the Tempero-mandibular joint, but a bit of diagnostic testing ruled that out. I’d never had a tooth cavity before so I wasn’t really sure what that felt like.

My teeth looked fine, and I was flossing regularly so I thought nothing of it and continued about my business. But the sensation got worse. Over the next 3 weeks it got steadily more persistent, but for some reason I put off the trip to the dentist. I was too busy; it was an inconvenience; it might go away; there were no appointment on the day I had free. All the old excuses got a working over.

By the time I finally got to the dentist I was predictably in trouble. I did have a cavity in a hidden spot between the teeth. The Dentist needed an X-Ray to find it and that confirmed the infection had almost progressed to the tooth pulp- the part that contains the nerve. It was a close call over whether root canal or a standard filing was the best way to treat the issue. I was so annoyed with myself. Id potentially caused myself much more suffering just by procrastinating about something that was going to need a visit to a health professional anyway. Not to mention added trips to the dentist and the potential cost of the extra procedures.

So what’s all this got to do with Osteopathy? Everything. We see many people who’ve suffered pain or injury for months and months before making an appointment with us. By this time their issues and injuries have often become entrenched and complicated. An earlier intervention would have prevented much pain and suffering on their part and made our job easier.

My episode with the Dentist was a wakeup call for me. I used this episode to remind myself of one thing that is really important in life: your health and the absence of suffering. It was my motivation to change the way I think about caring for myself. My own self care is not an inconvenience. It’s a necessity. And the sooner I do something about any problem I’m having the better. Better yet is if I can do something about it before it’s a problem.

So I’ve created this article and this list of my 5 tips to help you save yourself unnecessary suffering, time and money too.

1. Dont kid yourself

If you know you have pain- some problem that’s not gone away in a day or two, or is recurring. Book in to see us or someone you trust and don’t kid yourself like I did. If you truly listen to your body, it will tell you if it needs some attention. Take action. Whether you need a dentist, an osteopath, a good sleep or just a day off. Take it. You deserve it.

2. Do something- Now!

If you need help don’t procrastinate any longer. Get on the phone or web and book something in now. You’ll feel better immediately knowing you’ve done something about it.

3. Make a commitment to your health: Prioritise. 

This one features highly on every list of New Year’s resolutions. At some stage in your life you’re going to have to make your own health your number one priority. All you have to do is take the initiative. If you ignore it long enough, your body has ways of making it your number one priority. Don’t wait until then.

4. We are all fallible.

If you are guilty of taking your health and your body for granted- like I was- don’t wallow in guilt. I’ve treated enough people to know that even athletes and exceptionally healthy people occasionally drop their bundle, health wise. What they are really very good at is picking themselves back up again with a minimum of fuss. Don’t wallow in guilt. Forgive yourself, move on and do something productive.

5. It’s never too late.

The notion of “it’s too late for me to do anything about my problems” is particularly difficult for people with chronic problems to get away from. Trust me- it’s never too late to do something useful and therapeutic, even with people suffering from degenerative diseases. Half of the battle anybody really faces is in their mind- and you can always feel better about yourself. Get up, get moving and consult a professional if you need help. It’s our job. To book in with an Osteopath at St George Osteopathy click here, or call 95539823

Edward Clark - post author

With extensive practical experience from working both in Australia and in the UK. Dr Eddie Clark has a strong interest in providing the best in Osteopathic clinical care for a range of conditions, from common office and workplace related problems through to sports injuries and post surgical rehabilitation

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