Your Health Depends On The Sum of the Parts

I am proud to state that for all the patients that have visited and have received chiropractic care at the Downtown Wellness Centre (Vancouver Chiropractor), each one has been assessed individually and as such, has received a personalized treatment plan that served to successfully achieve his or her treatment goal. That goal being to eliminate the pain or discomfort the patient is currently suffering and furthermore, to facilitate their journey to a more healthy and wellness lifestyle for the future. The long term goal is simple; make this individual as healthy as possible and keep them healthy! The question then is: how do we successfully and efficiently achieve this health goal?

The answer lies in the manner in which the individual is assessed from the initial contact by the Doctor. Does the doctor view the patient as a simple pain/discomfort case, execute a direct care plan that addresses and mitigates the pain/discomfort, and then discharges the patient under the prevalent assumption that since the symptoms have disappeared, everything is ok and health has reappeared? Or does the doctor assess the patient from a holistic perspective in which the individual is considered the sum of the precious parts, each of these parts being vital to the optimal functioning of the whole? The short term results of the two forms of care are similar as the patient's pain/discomfort is relieved. The significant difference is of course is what surfaces in the longer term.

Maintaining health and wellness in the absence of disease requires that we as health care providers go above and beyond treating symptoms but rather treating the cause(s). In order to discover the causes(s) we must assess all of the factors that may contribute to causing and perpetuating the complaint. Poor health is seldom due to one cause and many aspects of one's life contribute to well-being. Thus, the individual must be viewed as sophisticated organism that is a sum of the parts. In order to achieve optimal body wellness, we have to ensure that each of the vital parts of the whole have been taken care of.

Some of the Parts:

Structure: As Doctors of Chiropractic this part is our specialty and is covered quite easily. If there is an imbalance in bone, muscle or nervous system structure, hands on spinal adjustments, and soft tissue therapy is easily instituted to fix the problem. Further steps such as exercise, posture and stretching education can avoid similar problems from arising again.

Exercise: Regular exercise is fundamental to one's health. It ensures cardiovascular and structural fitness. It is an effective manner to release stress and maintain optimal body weight. Patients must be educated to ensure that they are engaging in an enjoyable, appropriate exercise activity at a consistent frequency.

Diet: Food is the fuel that powers the body. It is important to ensure that the patient eats a balanced diet and takes adequate fluids. Equally as important is determining which areas of the diet require change and/or supplementation in the way of food and vitamin/mineral supplementation.

Emotional/Psychological/Relationships: The brain can not be separated from the body. If there are psychological, emotional and/or relationship issues in one's life, the physiology of the body will change and result in a dis-ease state. This state will lead to sickness and/or failure in prescribed treatment plans.

Lifestyle: Is the patient engaging in behaviours that are confounding the body's health. Drug use, alcoholism, and irregular sleep patterns are a few examples of lifestyle factors that may need to be changed to achieve health.

Environment: Living organisms flourish or fail depending on the environment in which they reside. Are there environmental issues (i.e. home or workplace) that can be remedied that are leading to the health failure?

Medication: Are prescription drugs appropriate? Are they being taken as prescribed? Is the medication working or does the patient require a re-evaluation? Is the medication contributing to the problem? Questions that need to answered and thus close follow up is required with the prescribing Doctor.

Partnership/Teamwork: Achieving a health goal requires the active participation of the two players. It requires the professional knowledge of the Doctor and the active involvement of the patient. The responsibility for a patient's health equally lies squarely in the hands of the patient. The Doctor merely facilitates the journey. Good partnerships lead to success!

Achieving health and wellness requires that we pay special attention to the specific parts that make the whole tick. In the wise words of Professor Benjamin Miller, "Your body is the one machine that is unconditionally guaranteed to last a lifetime. How long and good a life this will be depends a great deal on you, whether you neglect and abuse your body out of carelessness and ignorance or whether you treat it with the respect so wonderful and complicated an organism deserves."