|Photo by Alex Askew on Flickr.com
Generally what this means is that during the time of the original exposure your body became weakened and developed sensitivities to other substances--ones that are probably common in your environment. This is what happened to me. The original trigger of my arthritis was bacterial. However, the combined effects of the bacteria, the wearing effects of the arthritis, and the negative effects on my intestines caused by the arthritis drugs I was prescribed put my body into a much more generally weakened state--and that is when I developed the food sensitivities that extended my experience with arthritis for years.
A friend of mine had her own experience with this same principle. After months of abdominal cramping and a low grade fever, she was finally hospitalized when they discovered a hole in her intestinal wall which was leaking fecal material into her abdomen. This diagnosis process involved a CAT scan which included an injection of iodine.
Although she had never been allergic to shellfish in her life (in fact, she was a native of Maine and grew up with it as a regular part of her diet), she responded allergically to the iodine and has not been able to eat shellfish since that time.
These stories illustrate just how complex healing our bodies can be. We sometimes take an action we think will help us (taking prescription arthritis medicine, having a diagnostic scan) that in our weakened state inadvertently triggers other problems.
Even after the original problem has been corrected (bacterial infection in my case), these other 'secondary' problems can keep going on year after year. In my case, my arthritis didn't go away until I was able to correct these other 'secondary' problems.
Conserving and Building Vitality
So many people tell me that their arthritis started after a stressful period in their life (divorce, losing a job, death in the family, getting sick while traveling abroad). They generally were quite healthy beforehand and are still shocked and dismayed that their general vitality has never returned to what it was.
When we are sick, tired, hurt, or otherwise weakened or compromised, it is especially important to take extra care with ourselves. It is not a time to push. It is a time to recover. Don't make things any worse than they already are. Conserve what vitality you still have.
And when you are feeling better, continue to choose things that build your vitality--getting enough sleep, eating well, getting the kind and amount of exercise that works for you, taking time to smell the flowers and be with loved ones, and doing whatever else you know feeds you body, mind and soul.
Taking steps that specifically correct underlying causes of your arthritis are also critical in regaining your health and vitality.
Ultimately, it is what will allow you to heal and stay healed.