Over the next several articles we will be exploring – in detail – the 4 Ways of Healthcare. Each Way has a different approach to how we treat our health, different outcomes or objectives, and different ways to measure success. Above all else, which Way we focus on will certainly determine how healthy we are – or are not.
We all spend at least some time using several of the Ways of healthcare, yet most of us do so unconsciously – unaware of exactly what we are doing and why. The unfortunate, yet all too common, impact of this lack of understanding and awareness is desiring one health related outcome and acting in a way that cannot produce it. This is not due to a lack of discipline or will power – it is due to an ineffective approach.
It is my experience and belief that the major cause of frustration with our own personal health, as well as the ‘healthcare system’ is this lack of understanding. We spend too much time, effort and resources on approaches that cannot create the result we desire.
The purpose of this series of articles is to help you to define PRECISELY what you want in regards to you and your family’s health and then to CONSCIOUSLY choose a Way to get there. Included in this will be some suggested practices and interventions in each of these ways.
Something very important to understand is that each of the 4 Ways are good and appropriate at specific times. Each is effective at producing its own result. I have seen some health ‘gurus’ promote one Way as the only way and I believe this to be folly.
Each has a time, each has a place. The key to great results is to apply the appropriate approach at the appropriate time. The only way to do this is to understand what you want and how to get it.
So without further delay, the 4 Ways of Healthcare are:
Symptom Treatment – This approach seeks relief from pain, symptoms, or crisis. I prefer the term secondary condition over pain or symptom because it more accurately reflects what is actually going on. Pain and symptoms don’t typically exist on their own – they are secondary to something more primary underlying the problem.
The Symptom Treatment Way of healthcare is considered successful if the immediate secondary condition is relieved – by any means possible. If a person with back pain or headache takes a narcotic and feels better, the treatment is deemed successful and we move on our way.
There are many treatments and practitioners who are very good at Symptom Treatment. This is NOT our focus at Nexus Chiropractic.
An easy to understand analogy is that of a lawn covered in dandelions (I kind of like dandelions but my neighbours do NOT). Using the first Way of healthcare we would simply chop the heads of the flowers off with a lawnmower and call it a day. Quick, easy, effective…..until?
The second Way of Healthcare goes a bit deeper than symptom treatment and Addresses the Primary Condition that may have led to the symptom. This is the baseline type of care we provide at Nexus and where most people start with us.
This Way of healthcare may monitor symptoms in the background but does not primarily use symptom relief as a measure of success.
Obviously this second Way of healthcare requires a bit more work than the first and absolutely requires baseline objective indicators (an examination beyond symptoms), a reasonable plan of correction (beyond symptom relief), and an objective follow up to determine whether the primary condition was handled.
To go back to our dandelion analogy, in this Way of healthcare, we have to get down on our hands and knees with a tool and start pulling weeds out by their roots. More work? Yes. More time? Yes. More sustainable and long lasting results? Absolutely.
The third Way of healthcare is Prevention/Adaptability. The focus here shifts away from fixing anything to preventing problems in the future. This includes tuning things up before they get turn into pain or disability as well as helping the body to be more adaptable to future stress and trauma.
At Nexus, people using this third Way of healthcare are what we call our protection patients. We have already done the work to normalize the primary condition and now do regular tune ups to keep things in tip top shape.
Going back to the dandelion story. Prevention may include pulling a few weeds from time to time or feeding the lawn special nutrients twice a year to prevent future dandelion overgrowth.
The fourth and final Way of healthcare is Optimization. Optimization goes beyond correction and prevention and focuses on making things better and more efficient over time. This Way is extremely rare in healthcare today.
The folks who use this Way of healthcare at Nexus are our optimization practice members – different from patients looking to treat or prevent something bad. These people desire continued improvement in spine and nervous system efficiency and evolving levels of health.
In our lawn analogy, the focus now turns on the health and beauty of not only the grass, but the entire grounds. Planning, time, and effort go into making the yard more functional and brilliant every season.
In the upcoming articles we will be digging deeper into each Way of Healthcare, the results they produce, and how you can choose which one is appropriate for you at any given time.