When you have symptoms or when you get sick, what you might think is the problem isn’t actually the problem. For example, if you come into a clinic and you tell the doctor that you have pain in your low back and hip, that’s going down the back of your leg, you most likely will receive “sciatica” as the diagnosis. But “sciatica” is not the cause, it’s a label.
Underlying most if not all symptoms and diseases is an underlying condition. At the Happy Spine we refer to this underlying problem as Neuro-Structural Shift.
In the last year, I might have mentioned to some of you when I saw you at the clinic, that in my spare time I was renovating a camper trailer. It was a formative experience. I learned quite a bit about myself and I got to practice my handyman skills. The one skill that I practiced the most was measuring.
You might have heard the adage, ‘measure twice, cut once’. Measuring is that thing we do when we want to know what we’re dealing with. Whether it’s 2×4’s or blood oxygen, measuring helps us determine next steps.
This is why we measure various indicators of Neuro-Structural Shift during an examination. We want to know how much there is and where it is, in order to make sense of how far has a person’s condition deteriorated. How much work is needed to return to balance? Unless we measure, we won’t know.
Measuring gives us a baseline in the three dimensional world. Science has flourished over the centuries because it’s very good at measuring. Blood chemistry, imaging of the body through X-rays or MRI technology, basic measures such as pulse and respiration are all measures or indicators of life or the lack thereof, pulsing through our bodyminds.
What we’ve done with science though is a misstep of sorts. What we’ve done as a society is adopted science as a marker for what is real and what is not. In other words, if it’s not measurable using the technology we have, then it doesn’t exist or matter and is not valid.
During an examination, measuring is important. However, we don’t just pay attention to the numbers. What we can measure is not the whole story. A person’t subjective experience is just as valid as the numbers if not more. For example, in order to measure pain, we’ll ask a patient to rate their pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Science gets complicated by a person’s subjective experience.
Your subjective experience is unique and is informed by various filters of perception, feelings, emotions, thoughts, and the cultural field. The experiences of pain, fatigue, suffering or stress are just a few examples of real things that we can’t measure directly. Even if we were to try to capture a picture of neurotransmitter levels, blood oxygen, iron or inflammatory compounds like substance P, we won’t get the whole picture.
With all of our modern advances in society, we still struggle with the human condition. Even though we have air conditioning during times of hot weather, excavators to dig for a foundation, or pain medication so that we don’t need to feel pain, the human condition remains subjective and immeasurable and out of our collective control.
Some people believe that we can transcend the human condition through technology. “Better living through chemistry” as well as technological advances such as Virtual Reality are intended to remove us from our subjective experience to a “more immersive” one. But I think this approach is failing us quite badly.
Cases of cancer, heart disease and diabetes increase year after year. Mental health dysfunction (which includes emotional health) is becoming increasing prominent in our society, rampant even.
I think we need a different approach; different at least from what “Progress” and transhumanism is bringing us to. A path that incorporates all aspects of life: the seen, the unseen, the measurable and the immeasurable.
There is only one holistic way of transcending the human condition: It is to include the human condition in the process rather than trying to avoid it or deny it or to pretend that it doesn’t exist.