For the past couple of weeks, we have been examining a model of care that treats the patient as a partner within the healthcare team. In this model, the patient is seen as a whole person rather than focusing on the illness alone, which ultimately places the patient rather than the symptoms at the centre of care. The patient-centred model acknowledges and understands the experience and goals of the individual, and incorporates it into the treatment plan. This is perhaps best achieved through building a healthcare team with expertise from a wide range of disciplines.
For some who have had frustrating experiences navigating Canada’s healthcare system, this may well sound like a dream. Indeed, a 2009 study conducted by Public Health Agency of Canada that followed patients with chronic back and neck pain through the healthcare system showed that many of the subjects eventually surrendered to the notion that they just had to live with the pain. This seems dismal, but it’s worth noting that some of those whose perspectives changed from optimistic hope for a ‘cure’ to disillusionment, then acceptance of their situation didn’t just ‘give up’. In actuality, “becoming realistic” made them more self-reliant when it came to managing their symptoms, incorporating more education and therapies into a helpful self-directed regime.
Whether you are dealing with musculoskeletal (MSK) issues or wish to avoid them, taking an active role in your health and recovery is paramount. Your chiropractor can be part of your healthcare team in managing MSK conditions, but you also have the responsibility to be compliant with exercises and suggestions made. However, keeping communication open with your healthcare provider is critical to better understand your condition but also provide feedback on what is or is not working for you.
Your brain is your most powerful tool
Canadians are now more informed and curious about their health, thanks in large part to the internet. Patients can now research their symptoms and educate themselves on the options that are available to them. Consultations are now more informed by patients’ research findings and questions, and healthcare professionals can provide direction for navigating unreliable information. Most healthcare clinics and offices also have an assortment of reliable literature and diagrams to help you understand what’s going on with your body and to take steps to enhance treatment.
Taking an active role in your own health and wellness is powerful, and it starts with developing body awareness.
Practising good spine habits is easier than you think and it can safeguard you against developing an MSK condition. For example, many of us aren’t aware of when we are slouching, but with practice and a daily routine, it soon becomes second nature to stand tall and strong. Drink lots of water to keep the discs of your spine cushiony and take lots of stretch breaks to keep your spine limber. Click here to read more healthy tips for your back.
Straighten Up Canada
Take the first step toward being an active participant in your healthcare by incorporating simple stretches into your daily routine, such as the 12 simple movements in Straighten Up Canada, [link to app] the free app from Canada’s chiropractors.
Do you have a chiropractor on your healthcare team? Find a Chiro here.