What are symptoms telling us

What are symptoms telling us

Sue Brown
Sue Brown's picture

Last week in the office I happen to have more people than usual coming in with symptoms and a thought occurred to me.  We ride such a fine line when it comes to symptoms.  On one hand we don’t technically treat symptoms and so don’t want to focus on them.  On the other hand they are telling us something and so should not be ignored.  We want to honor the people we serve and listening to what they have going on is part of that.  We also want to serve them by empowering them to see their symptoms in a different light, and communicate it in a way that is real for them.  It’s a slippery slope to navigate, one that often leads to confusion.  There are many who say that chiropractic is not about symptoms, it’s about releasing the interference to the infinite potential within each being and so are adamant about not hearing anything about the person’s concerns.  Can healing happen when we disregard and don’t listen?  There are chiropractors who say that chiropractic is not about symptoms, but then every form that is filled out, every question that is asked, every procedure that is performed is about where, when, and under what conditions it hurts, giving very mixed messages.  Then there are those who elegantly flow between listening to what the symptoms are saying and not becoming distracted by trying to get rid of them.

I think this is the key, listen but don’t become distracted.  When someone comes in to my office expressing a symptom, my internal conversation is: “huh, what’s up with that?”.  When I palpate their system does what I feel make sense in relation to what they are feeling?  If it makes sense, are the patterns coming from there or pulling through there?  Does it feel like the patterns are ones that are ready to be released or are they layers deep in the system that will unravel over time?

If what they are feeling doesn’t seem to make sense, then look a little deeper.  Every time I have had a “complicated” case it has ended up being a source of great learning and an opportunity to travel further along the path of mastery.  What they are feeling always makes sense to their body.  Sometimes we just have to evolve our ability to listen and see all that is there.

The symptoms people present with are great sources of learning for both you and the person you are serving.  It is possible to navigate the sometimes chaotic waters of them with clarity of purpose, honoring the expression and hearing the message without feeling the need to silence the messenger.