You Can’t Hammer A Nail With A Screwdriver

by Dr. Christopher on August 15, 2011

If your problem is a nail, what would you grab?

A screwdriver?  A wrench?  Or a hammer?

We can all agree that the solution to the nail problem is a hammer.

No reasonable person would disagree.

Why is your health any different?

The Proper Health Hammer for Your Symptoms

One of the most common conditions I treat is plantar fasciosis.

Not one of the patients I’ve ever treated with this condition has come to me as the first doctor she has seen.

I’m often the fourth or fifth practitioner down the line, after the podiatrists, physical therapists, and orthopedic doctors have had their shot.

When I mention the scar tissue and why I wouldn’t expect anyone with this condition to get results without addressing the scar tissue, patients often act surprised.

In reality, on planet Earth, scar tissue causes most of the plantar fasciosis cases I’ve seen.  Only hitting the scar tissue nail with an Active Release Technique hammer will fix it.  Any other tool can potentially bend the nail in the wrong direction.

Here are some other sweet spot tools for your tool-belt:

Systemic inflammation: an anti-inflammatory diet, preferably a paleo-like diet, complete with omega-3 fats, anti-oxidants, curcumin, and other substances to put out this silent fire that causes heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Scar tissue: Graston, ROLFing, or my favorite, Active Release Technique .  This problem causes 80% (in my experience) of all acute and chronic pain.

Joint Dysfunction (specifically a meniscoid entrapment): chiropractic adjustment.

Specific Weakness: strengthening, usually through isolated, rehabilitative exercises.

General Weakness: strengthening, beginning with deadlifts, then squats and lunges.

Stress: confront it and deal with it.

Fatigue: go to sleep.

You Need More Than A Hammer To Build a House

If you need to nail something when putting two-by-fours together, get a hammer.

But you’ll need more than a hammer to build a house.

You’ll need a screwdriver, a saw, a wrench, a level, a measuring tape, among other tools (ie. anti-inflammatory diet, A.R.T., exercise, stress management, adjustments, etc.).

You may even need other people, such as a carpenter, a mason, a roofer, a plumber, an electrician, among other professionals (ie. personal trainer, medical doctor, nutritionist, massage therapist, psychologist, chiropractor, etc.).

Using a sweet-spot solution is a start to your problem.  But like building a house, your health is dependent on multiple factors. You can’t just take your omega-3 fish oil supplements and expect to be fine.  You need to move, exercise, eat well, sleep well, do meaningful work, manage your stress, stay away from toxins, and spend time with others he or she loves.

It can take 4 months to build a 2800 square-foot house.

Your health does not have a definite timeline like building a house.  However, progress should still be noticeable. 

Whatever tools or health-building helpers you reach out to help build your house, be sure there is progress in the process.

And that your general contractor doesn’t go to hammer any nails with a screwdriver.

What is your experience with different healthcare practitioners/treatments for your different healthcare problems?

Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Morristown, NJ.  He practices out of Crossfit Morristown.
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