Are You Simply Treating Your Symptoms?
Why it is important to treat the cause, not just the symptom.
Updated June 15, 2023
People normally treat the symptom, not the cause. Take a runny nose, for example. If you have a runny nose, that is a symptom of an irritant to your nasal cavity. While it is important to take something to stop your runny nose, if you also don’t treat the cause, you will continue to have a runny nose. A runny nose can be caused by allergies, a bacterial or viral infection, and a host of other reasons. If you only take something for the runny nose, without treating the cause, you will have a runny nose indefinitely. If you treat the cause, the symptom will eventually stop.
Lots of people turn to the internet to research help and solutions for many conditions such as headache, sleep issues, anxiety, fatigue, and/or memory problems. Recently, I was reading on one of the many social media pages on brain injury and various people were giving advice on how to treat headache… from using Botox to cannabis. Now I’m not going to say this may not work for the pain symptom of a headache, however if you do not address the cause, you will be using these methods for your pain for the rest of your life.
If you want your headache to diminish, you must address what is occurring in your neck, muscles, nerves, and vascular system that is causing the headache. A brain tumor can also cause symptoms of a throbbing headache. If you used just Botox or cannabis and ignored the brain tumor, this may cause seizures or even death.
Symptom of Fatigue
Lots of people complain of fatigue and feel it is a result of being overworked or having a hectic life and busy schedule. While this certainly could contribute to fatigue there are other causes including an improper diet, heart issues, hormonal issues, bio-chemical issues, or concussion that you were not aware of. It can also be a result of adrenal exhaustion caused by chronic stress or anxiety. Many of my patients suffer from repressed emotions of trauma and/or abuse causing the fear-driven brain, thus resulting in symptom of chronic fatigue. How often do you have your cellphone next to your bed playing music when you can’t sleep? Did you know the EMF waves from your cellphone interfere with your brain’s ability to sleep?
Symptom of Anxiety
I have previously written about anxiety and how it is not a cause. It is clearly a symptom, and the causes can be from a wide variety of individual or combined causes. For example, if you were in an automobile accident your body has experienced a trauma, causing the reactive brain (limbic system) to activate your adrenal gland propelling you into a fight/flight mode. If the cause is successfully treated, your body will become more reactive, living in chronic fear as seen in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The treatments for both the overactive limbic system and injured frontal lobe includes changing to a Brain Healthy diet, neurofeedback, and psychotherapy.
The treatment plan above is also effective for treating memory problems. Recommended in my book, Coping with Concussion and Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, is a product you now see advertised on TV, called Prevagen, and another product called EHT. These help treat the memory issues. But what is the cause? It could be from ongoing stress, dementia, a brain injury, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and more. Lack of restorative sleep can also affect your memory. Restorative sleep is critical to treating symptoms as well. That means 8 hours of sleep that includes alternating between rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and Non-REM. This allows the brain and body to repair itself.
Symptom of Headache
If you are having bad headaches, you probably are not sleeping well. Lack of sleep can result in fatigue and even memory problems. The cause may be your inability to control the over-reactive limbic system which also controls your autonomic system. This is the area that controls the heart and vascular system, which might be causing your headache. If you ever had a brain injury, headache is the number one symptom, followed by sleep problems. Thus, to correct the symptoms of your headache and sleep problems, you absolutely need to address the cause, your brain injury.
It Can Be Harmful to Treat the Symptom Alone
I can’t emphasize enough that your symptoms are an indication that something significant is not right. Pain is a useful tool indicating there is injury. It is sending a signal that something is wrong. Just like a warning light on your vehicle’s dashboard letting you know that something in your car is not functioning properly or needs attention. You wouldn’t just turn off the indication and ignore what is wrong. Yet, this is what many people do daily by taking medication, food or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms.
Conventional Medical Treatments Are Commonly Symptom-Centric
Treating the symptom not the cause is all too common in conventional medicine. You could see many doctors and specialists and be treated with an array of medications to alleviate your various symptoms. Yet, these symptoms could all be brought on from the same root cause. Each of these doctors prescribes the right medication for each problem, but no one is considering how all these symptoms may be related. The doctor or specialist you see for headaches, will very unlikely ask you about your eczema. Without anyone managing all of your symptoms and digger deeper to understand the underlying causes of these symptoms, you could end up taking many medications and still not feel well.
A 5-Prong Approach
At Dr. Diane Brain Health, regardless of the presenting problem or situation, we view each client and patient from the five distinct views that make up Dr. Diane’s 5-Prong Approach physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual and energy. This helps us get to the root cause of the problem so we can not only treat the symptoms, but eliminate them all together.
Investigating ALL of someone’s symptoms helps to shed light on deeper imbalances and the root cause of the symptoms. In addition to looking at lifestyle, diet, family history, background, and other unique aspects to treat sleep issues, headaches, anxiety, fatigue, memory problems and other health issues.
It can sometimes take a while to uncover the true cause of your symptoms. But it is worthwhile to keep on pressing and not give up in order to restore health.
Copyright © Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler, December 2017.