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The Symptom Imperative

What is it?

Why is it?

Have you ever fixed one chronic pain condition only to have a new one sprout up? Ever had a knee replacement only to then need shoulder surgery? Ever cured your dizziness just in time for migraines to begin? Have you ever healed low back pain only to suffer mid back pain? Ever cured your stomach issues only to experience debilitating fatigue? Ever cured ALL your physical symptoms and then felt your anxiety ramp up? Congratulations. You have experienced the symptom imperative. A well documented condition where the symptoms bounce around keeping you fully engaged in the distraction of fear, doctor visits, physical treatments, more fear, and more confusion.

As annoying as the symptom imperative is, I must point out here that it IS A VERY VERY GOOD SIGN! Yes, you read correctly. Because every new symptom and every shift and every time you feel like your body is breaking is MORE evidence that you have only one diagnosis, not multiple issues. You have mind/body syndrome. Welcome to the team. I do too.

As I was healing, my symptoms went absolutely bonkers, hitting all the old pain pathways. Yes, it was aggravating, but I didn’t have the same level of fear as I had in the past, because this time, I knew that the symptom imperative was a good thing. And THAT made all the difference in getting to pain free living. I also had a patient and wonderful coach who kept cheering me on and keeping me focused. Fast forward to today. I still will occasionally feel old symptoms in a brief visit. Now I see them as messengers from my nervous system that something is amiss. Somewhere, I have squelched my emotions-usually anger, taking on too much, not being authentic to myself in an attempt to be “good,” placing too high of expectations on myself, or just in general forgetting to seek joy, and I can course correct. Today I am amazed and sometimes humored by the symptom imperative. My hope is to get you there too.


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