November 2


Getting to the Root Causes of Chronic Illness

By Sue Ingebretson

November 2, 2010

health clues, root causes, self-awareness, self-discovery, symptom management

Are you addressing the symptoms of your illness, or actually tackling the root causes? Living with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Lyme Disease, etc. provides you with a plethora of symptoms. Knowing the difference between symptoms and causes is a great place to begin your wellness journey. Let’s take a look at what tackling the roots is all about.

Imagine you have a small herb garden. You’re growing fragrant herbs such as cilantro and basil, to use in the kitchen. You’re also growing something you didn’t purposely cultivate – dandelions. Before long, your garden is dotted with yellow and you wonder how it got out of control so quickly. You consider your options.

You could:

A) Spray chemicals that will definitely kill the dandelions, (and likely the herbs, too).

B) Search for chemicals that are supposed to kill only the weeds (and risk consuming toxins as you eat the herbs).

C) Cut off the tops of the dandelions, so you’re no longer bothered by the yellow.

D) Spray paint the dandelions green so you don’t have to bother snipping off the buds.

E) Pull the dandelions out of the ground — root and all.

Using the above scenario, examples A-D provide illustrations of treating the symptom rather than the root cause of the problem. Using option D (removing the dandelion completely), you have a garden that is dandelion-free. Once tackled, the problem needs minor maintenance thereafter.

Taking example E a step further – you look for dandelions in areas surrounding your herb garden. You begin to weed them out there as well.

You may have noticed that tackling the problem at the root isn’t usually the easiest option. Naturally, we all gravitate toward shortcut solutions, but when it comes to health issues, take heart and tackle wisely! Tackling health challenges at the root provides us with opportunities to become our own truth sleuths. We search for clues by putting on our own Team Captain hats and choosing what’s best for us. Through self-discovery and personal investigation, we discover (and uproot) the causes of our own illness.

Want to know more about how to search for your health clues?

Learn about uncovering the root causes of chronic illness in my book, FibroWHYalgia: Why Rebuilding the Ten Root Causes of Chronic Illness Restores Chronic Wellness.

Self-discovery is a great opportunity!

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  2. This is a great post – with note that ” You may have noticed that tackling the problem at the root isn’t usually the easiest option.” And of course we want the easiest and fastest solution.

    Also remember that we are not made from the same cookie cutter, so root problem not same for each of us, and therefore neither is the solution the same.

  3. i Think Stress bad past have alot to play with illness as many fibros that i have meet and there are many most 90% have had a bad past!! i belive my past has caused my fibromylagia as ive been though hell and back over the last 30 years

    1. Nicole — yes, you’re definitely correct. Emotional traumas play a very large role in creating chronic illnesses. Our thoughts have a huge affect on how we feel. Understanding that is a great first step toward healing. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with past emotional traumas that can help us live for today instead of in the past.

  4. Sue, I like the garden analogy; so easy to understand. I agree too with the emotional trauma having an effect on Fibro and other chronic illnesses. I have been healing this year through prayer, yoga, talking out my trauma with others who knew of my situation as a child and finally figuring out that I’M not the one with the problem, very liberating!

  5. Great post, points to the problem with the medical treatments. This is the whole person approach that seems to be missing in modern care. We are not parts, but a whole and that has to be the new way to view healing. The past, and present will present itself in the now.

    I am glad to have found this blog.

  6. i agree with you Sue!! i know that fibromyalgia is a Root of Fear!! thoughts have a big Root! childhood have a big root!! our thoughts cause our bodies to become unwell ive learn the hard way and long way i wasnt ready to hear this 5 years ago! my heart has become sofen if someone told me this 5 years ago i would tell them to F OFF! and that they are being out of order but now i belive that in order to heal from sickness we need to heal within our lives and take a good look at our minds Thoughts are real What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. It’s an epidemic of toxic emotions. which makes our bodies toxic
    you must read this ladies book!! its very good!! there are Real photos of our good thoughts and bad thoughts they destory our insides!! i aINT JOKING!

  7. Hi Sue: I wish the answer to my chronic pain was that simple. I started with mild pain 26 years ago, first dx was MS, then fibromyalgia, Ruled out MS, peripheral neuropathy confirmed, now ad 2 herniated disc in my back. I was so believing that my tramatic childhood was to blame for fibro (PTSD). The neuroapthy does not come with diabetes, its ideopathic. I have two unusual brain lesions, perhaps there since birth; doctors dont know for sure. I have very little stress in my life now than I did even a year ago (I went back to school to finish my degree). My husband is the most wonderful man…neither of us drink, fight physically, and argue rarely. After 28 years of marriage you pick your battles. what is the root to my pain if all the doctors I have seen cannot find it what do I do. There is no D but certainly a lot of B meaning pain management. I appreciate your post but for a lot of it, there is no root just a combination of conditions that feed off each other and confused the crap out of the doctors and me. Many Blessing.

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson