Holistic Approach

Clinicians can become so embroiled in addressing a shoulder restriction or low back pain that they forget that it is a small part as opposed to the body as a whole. Often, they may refer to the person as “the shoulder patient” or “the low back patient”, especially if there is something unique to the case. This serves as a way of categorizing the patient when discussing the case while also staying within HIPAA guidelines.

The problem with this is that the patient as a person may be forgotten:

The shoulder or spine is attached to the rest of the body. The painful area may be the problem or it may be the compensation for a dysfunction elsewhere in the body. Many insurances will not pay for treatments outside of the area of subjective complaints even though documentation has been provided linking it to the symptoms. However, without addressing the other dysfunctions, the area of pain may never fully resolve.

The body is a fine instrument of movement capable, under the right circumstances, of healing itself. This requires the skilled interventions provided by a clinician but also encompasses other requirements such as nutrition. Several studies reference poor dietary habits with delayed healing time. Sprains and strains require extra protein to provide the amino acids necessary for recovery; something very difficult for many vegetarians or vegans. Other injury types may require an increase intake of different vitamins, such as vitamin C for collagenous injuries, or minerals, such as calcium in the presence of a fracture, to aid in recovery.

Moreover, by addressing just the body part, the patient’s mental state will be forgotten. Pain, especially chronic pain, can have drastic psychological implications including insomnia, anxiety and depression. A person’s mental state can have positive or negative impacts on their recovery from injury.

A true holistic approach should also encompass each of these aspects.