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To Your Health

Chasing the Brass Ring

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05/01/2009 - A few weeks ago I awakened early and decided after spending some time reading that I would turn on the TV and atrophy some brain cells. I'm sure many of you have done this also and discovered that the TV stations are riddled with infomercials in the early morning.

To my surprise, a majority of these programs that day dealt with health. Now I'm not making this up -- one was advertising a bed, another foot orthotics, another was an electronic gadget to strap on your waist, another was a device to end (yes folks, end) back pain. There were exercise DVD's, and food supplements to resolve all your problems. This was all on one spin of the dial and I don't have a lot of channels.

So I decided to listen to the "important message regarding my health". Now I am not being critical of the products. I'm sure they have some validity but what I concluded was that all the schooling that all the health care people have done was for not. You can order one of each of these products and never see a doctor again, because you were "cured". You don't need to see health care professionals or do what is asked because their product will take care of whatever ails you. I thought, do these advertiser's really think that people are Bozo's? (Yes they think that.)

I can tell you that I am not alone. I'm sure that other health professionals would agree that 1) Your condition may not be cured because of the nature of the condition, but you may get pain relief, a big difference from the word "cured".

2) "Curing" problems will involve more than just a gadget. IIt may involve a multi-faceted approach in dealing with the problem that in the long run will help you deal with not only the problem but total body health.

3) Can it really be that easy? Can lying on my back with my legs propped up resolve a herniating disc? Lumbar disc degeneration? I don't know but I would have to ask some of my elderly patients whether after the usage they were improved enough that they could get up from the floor. Can using this electronic gizmo flatten my stomach and strengthen my back muscles while typing this article at the same time? (Hmmm?)

Folks, I am not saying that you shouldn't buy it, but if you're not sure or it sounds too good to be true, it most likely it is. I had a patient come into my office years ago -- check that statement -- the man was helped into my office by my neighbor and myself with a messed up lower back from a gadget that was invented to strengthen his abs with a simple rocking motion. Upon our evaluation we found that this exercise would not be a good idea because of the existing problems in his back. We suggested some modified home exercise that would strengthen his abs without the stress to his lower back (saved him some significant grief). I did not have him "act now" and give him a set of steak knives.

Conclusion: I recommend changing the channel to a western or, better yet, put on a good pair of shoes with support, stretch out really well, grab an apple and go for a walk. Until next time, see ya!

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