Musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions are the largest burden of illness on the economy in Canada and the second largest source of workplace absenteeism in North America. 85% of Canadians have experienced some level of back pain. Worldwide, it’s an epidemic that affects millions according to the World Health Organization.
The musculature, spine and neural network are complicated to say the least. There aren’t as many definitive answers as there are MSK ailments. Back pain sufferers may try many different modalities and continue to struggle with spinal difficulties.
Every case is different and it is unlikely that one single healthcare provider can find a solution. MSK health depends on more than just good bone structure; it needs to be maintained through good posture, rest and exercise. For someone who feels crippled by pain, however, it can feel like climbing a mountain just to do a few stretches every morning.
This is where a good health team that communicates – with each other and with the patient – is key. The right combination of expertise can help someone suffering with chronic pain bridge the gap between mind and body, and empower that person to take an active role in his or her own healing.
Integrative healthcare is patient-centred healthcare. The integrative healthcare clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto is a great example of this. A partnership between the hospital’s Academic Family Health Team (AFHT) and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College has resulted in a clinic that brings together varied healthcare professionals who provide treatments such as spinal and joint manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapies, modalities, active rehabilitation and exercise programs.