It's best to follow your doctor's advice when it comes to physical well being

Most of you have seen a doctor for medical advice and ignored it. And some of you have paid for medication that is still in the bathroom cabinet. A survey done recently regarding the nonuse of medication and medical advice had some interesting results.

A test group of people were given medications and instructions to follow for a two-week period. They had monitoring devices attached to their medication. When the test results were in, 80 percent of the people did not follow the dosage given and in most cases did not use the medicine at all after the first few days.

Take a look in your own medicine cabinet. Do you seldom finish medication when the symptom is gone? Worse yet, do you seldom follow medical advice when it comes to your physical well being?

When medical advice involves physical therapy for structural injuries, the problem is even greater. When slight twinges begin, they are easily overlooked. When those twinges get a little worse your body adjusts to the feeling and gradually learns to live through the pain. Gradually increasing problems are harder to notice than those that create instant pain. You seek the help of a doctor when in pain, but once healed, the injury sometimes requires continued rehabilitation. That's when medicine, common sense, and medical advice is forgotten. With no continued rehabilitation the injury can come back with regularity, and it isn't uncommon to re-injure the same area again, or to revive that constant pain.

Physical therapy is given for a reason, just as medication is, for the maintenance of physical health. Both are to be used to prevent future health problems. When a set of exercises is given to you by your doctor or therapist for rehabilitation, they may have to be continued forever. In most cases the exercises are graduated and increased to build strength in the injured area.

As you age it isn't unusual to suffer an injury or illness that requires the attention of a doctor. Look in your medicine cabinet and count all the medication you have paid for in the last five years. Think about the medical advice given to you in those five years and how much you have used or followed that advice. From now on, when you are given medication or instructions for an illness or injury, use it.

• Jerry Vance is the owner of Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through the Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.

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