Normal vs Common

This week I’m participating in The Rx Fitness Lady’s Mini Blog Challenge where I’ll be posting daily for 7 days (hopefully :) ) with prompts or topics presented in this challenge. Today’s topic: Solve a problem for my readers.

Since I began blogging, I’ve received email messages requesting additional resources on a variety of blog topics, ideas for things I should blog about, prayer requests or words of encouragements. But by far, the most frequent email I received asked about specific “health related” issues. I generally answer the email as it relates to the e-mailer’s situation, but the question that I encounter the most it “Is this normal?” Fortunately for me, I’ve written about this exact issue when I first started blogging and have decided to resurrect and tweak my previous post.

normal vs common One of the questions that I often get asked concerning people’s aches and pain is, “Doc, is this normal?”  Some may argue that there is no such thing as normal, but I beg to defer.

We often use the words “normal” and “common” interchangeably. Common tends to refer to those things that are widespread or frequent. While similar aches and pains may be common, it doesn’t necessarily have to be normal. Normal implies natural or adhering to a standard.

Back pain, for example, can be a “normal” (standard) sign of strain or injury if :

  • You’re sleeping on a non supportive or 10+ year old mattress
  • You’ve experienced a recent or significant trauma
  • You have poor posture (among other things)

But just because back pain is very common, it is rarely normal. It is usually related to some underlying cause. This is also true for many conditions that have plagued our society such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and obesity. While they have become more and more common, these conditions are not normal.

Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of caring for people well in to their 70’s and 80’s who come for periodic spinal maintenance. Many are still cycling or running 5 miles a day and do not experience common so-called age related pains. While it may be common to have “minor” health issues, it is not necessarily normal. 

Normal doesn’t have to be whatever is common. The key is recognizing that if your normal isn’t allowing you to enjoy a healthy, prosperous and fulfilled life, you have the ability to create a new normal. You don’t have to be common.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.3John v2.”  

Is there something that you’ve deemed normal because of it’s common occurrence?


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39 thoughts on “Normal vs Common

  1. Rum Punch Drunk

    It is very hard to define normal when it comes to health. A pain may seem normal for one person simply (even if they want to get rid of the pain) because they have had if for such a very long time, and can’t in fact remember when they didn’t have that pain. But to someone else, it’s not normal to have any pain. I guess it really boils down to how the individual person feels about their ailment.

    For example, I get headaches quite a lot and have had it for a few years. Although I now see this as normal to me, I also understand that it’s common to many people and not normal to have headaches in the everyday sense. I hope you understand what I’m trying to say, because I’m starting to confuse myself in getting my point across.

  2. Nellie

    Fantastic post! I think some of intend to justify abnormal aches and pains as normal especially if we just don’t want to deal with the real issues involved. Especially with self diagnoses on the rise thanks to the Internet I think we are quicker to brush it off than pay closer attention.

  3. Joi

    Thank you for tweaking this awesome message. So many people end up in worse shape than necessary for brushing off “common” pains. So thrilled you used your common emails to resurrect a common question. You are taking my little challenge seriously :) Thank you so much for linking up my friend!
    Joi recently posted…Problem Solved: ATTAIN & MAINTAINMy Profile

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Thanks Joi. I had to get serious cause this challenge. It forced me to think about ways to utilize your prompts for posting. It’s also making me exercise more time management…whew. But love a challenge :)

  4. Yum Yucky

    Gotta be honest with ya. I suffer from a common pain in the neck known as my husband (hehe). But I’ve learned to accept some normalcy with this for the sake of a good marriage. It took me a long time to learn to accept his faults (even has he has to deal with mine). I know this isn’t bodily health, and is sidetracking from your post a bit, but this is what comes to mind. :)
    Yum Yucky recently posted…Greedy Recipe! Eggs on the Green with Crumbled FetaMy Profile

  5. Michell

    Hey Hope! This was so informative, as I am prone to aches and pains in my back. Perhaps it could be the over sized purses I carry on my 4’11” frame or my 9+ year old mattress…IKR! Hey, this is a good excuse as ever to get my husband to purchase us one of those Tempurpedic mattresses! Lol! Thanks for the info Hope…have a wonderful week!!
    Michell recently posted…Michell’s Weekly Pearl…My Profile

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Hahaha! I love how you were able to identify the possible causes of your back pains. lol…and love the solution…Tempurpedic :) Thanks for the laugh. Have a great week.

  6. veronica watts

    Thank you so much for this post. I never really put thought into the difference between the two. Now, I will be sure to look at any symptoms with much more attention as to whether it is a common issue or a normal one. What a great verse! I do want to be prosperous in spirit and health.

  7. Chris Carter

    I experience pain almost every single day… from so many issues- mainly neck pain from bulging discs and sinuses and grinding. I consider it “normal” for me- but “abnormal” for anyone else…because of how chronic it is! I also have pursued so many physicians I stopped counting to heal it all. I continue to try to treat all of these ailments (Chiro, Mouthguard, jaw specialist,sinus rinse, good bed, rest, exercise, ETC) but quite frankly, I am still in pain and therefore consider it all just simply what it is and try to live with it. I wish I had YOU for a Chiro Hope!! :)
    Chris Carter recently posted…Devotional Diaries: The Good SamaritanMy Profile

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Oh Chris! So sorry you have to endure that on a daily basis. That is such a kind and wonderful thing to say. I really wish that I could be your chiro. I love treating people who no one else seems to be able to help…and I have a great track record for doing just that. (patient education, excellent adjusting technique and anointed hands :) seems to do the trick.

  8. Sherelle

    I love this breakdown of normal versus common. My past pains were always abnormal, so I instantly felt it was uncommon. I take my proper vitamins, and try to keep myself stress fee as to keep stress -related illness away! Great post!
    Sherelle recently posted…Mini Blog Challenge Party Day 1My Profile

  9. Trinity

    Thanks , Hope, for this advice. After the birth of my older sons, I had to stop wearing heels. I noticed that when I wore them, I would get a terrible backache. I love that scripture! (3 John 2)! #MBC

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Thanks Trinity. SO glad you were able to make the correlation between your heels and back pain. You got rid of the cause, and the problem resolved. Many people would’ve kept wearing high heels, kept having back pains and then say their back pain is normal. btw, one of my favorite scriptures

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Thanks Whitney. As long as your mattress offers good support without pressure points, you should be able to get a restful night’s sleep…you don’t always need expensive brand names. I hope you’re able to get something soon

  10. Georgina

    I love that you’re participating in a much more manageable blog challenge, blogging every durn day is just not in the cards for me xo

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Haha! Girl. And I don’t say this lightly, it is a challenge. Thank God it’s only 7 days, but I’m enjoying it. Thanks for stopping by Georgina!

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  12. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} This is very timely for me! I am in a regimen of treatment with my chiropractor for back pain. I have aches and pain, which are not normal, but are common for me. I’ve learned I have to live with some of them or manage them. (related to my autoimmune conditions). But back pain is something I can do something about. After five treatments, I am feeling so much better!
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted…when loving our kids doesn’t feel goodMy Profile

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Sorry that there are some pains you have to live with or manage Melinda. It’s great that you’re able to recognize what’s common for you. But I’m so excited that you’re feeling better after those treatments.

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  14. Jennice

    I’m so glad I ran across this post on #SITSsharefest. I have two mothers(I’m adopted) and they are 52 and 51. They constantly complain of various aches and pains and attribute it to “getting older after you’ve spent your youth partying”. I hate when they say that because I’m 24 and I don’t want to have the ailments they have just because I party once in awhile,lol. Whenever I have any aches and pains, they say “You’re too young to have any pains”. I hate that too because it’s like they dismiss the idea that a 24yo can not feel well. I will be SURE to show them this post!!! Thanks!

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting Jennice. Most aches and pain doesn’t just happen because you’re getting older, otherwise EVERYONE would experience it. Most times, there is an underlying cause that should be evaluated and considered. It’s also important to take the steps necessary to remain healthy both inside and out.

  15. Laura

    I often wonder if my aches and pains are normal. (Luckily, I don’t get them often.) I usually chalk it up to getting older. (I turned 50 this year!!) Or I have a tendency to self-diagnose, which I know I shouldn’t, but…

    It’s good that you clarified normal & common. Stopping by from SITS ShareFest!
    Laura recently posted…TEEN TRENDS: GO AHEAD…TALK TO YOUR TEENAGER!My Profile

    1. Hope@DefiningHope Post author

      Hi Laura. Thanks for stopping by. You are a beautiful 50 years young. With the internet and commercial, many of us tend to self diagnose. Most time it’s a miss :)

  16. Rachel Cotterill

    For me it’s normal to be asthmatic, to have a visual impairment, to have back pain and easily-injured joints. I can work around some of these things (daily physio exercises and inhalers) but I don’t think I can change them. I’m not unhealthy but I think most people would be pretty unhappy with “my normal”!

    Visiting from SITS sharefest – thanks for a thought-provoking post :)
    Rachel Cotterill recently posted…Pinterest launches in the UKMy Profile

  17. Kammie @ Sensual Appeal

    Great and thorough post! Thankfully I don’t use the two terms interchangeably becuase, like you, I know there is a big difference between the two. Hopefully more people realize this too.

    Hopping over from SITS sharefest! :) Great blog!
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal recently posted…Is the “Social Academy” worth it? My review of the program – the ending might surprise you! (Sweaty Betties & BexLife)My Profile

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