You have this pain whether it be neck pain, back pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain, and you’re wondering what the best form of treatment is. Maybe you’ve tried a few different things and nothing really seems to keep the pain away, or perhaps you’ve found something that seems to work but it’s becoming expensive with consistency. Another common scenario is that you’ve been told you should have surgery and you think that’s the quick, easy, and not-cost-effective choice. This blog will address all of these questions and provide you with some insight and clarification.
The Cost of Being Sick
Musculoskeletal (affecting the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves) injuries are the most commonly sought after cases leading to doctor visits every day. While you may not know the exact structure that is giving you the pain you are familiar with one or more of the following:
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- pain between shoulder blades
- Hip Pain
- Knee pain
- Piriformis Syndrome
The number one problem with the treatment of these types of conditions is that most people don’t seek care until their symptoms are so severe that they just can’t take it anymore. At this point they’ve missed work, are no longer able to do the things they enjoy, and are living with the effects of being in routine pain. Being sick not only has a financial cost in terms of the inability to work and afford treatment with or without insurance, but it also has a psychological cost that is often overlooked.
Just the thought of being stuck with a pain that you don’t believe you’ll ever be able to get rid of really affects your mindset and attitude. When you can’t do the things you enjoy without pain, that can be depressing. Sadly enough, commonly there are more meds for depression than addressing the cause. Go figure! This is the cost of being sick, along with the doctor’s visits, specialists, MRI scans, X-rays, missing work, injections, and surgery.
In California, imaging alone can add up to the following, according to https://calrads.org/pricing/ :
- X-Ray: $250
- CT (with or without contrast): $1,523
- MRI (with or without contrast): $3,200
- Ultrasound: $400
Forget about how much it costs to get surgery because you have to consider the procedure as well as the recovery time, physical therapy, follow-up visits, and the scary possibility of still ending up with the same pain. This is why the best way to avoid the cost of being sick is to avoid getting sick and injured, which also comes with a financial price minus the negative psychological and emotional factors.
With that being said, check out my blog on How to Maintain Overall Health and Wellness. When you work on being the healthier version of yourself, in posture, mobility, nutrition, and emotional balance your recovery from injury is much different than the alternative. Bear in mind, we all go through life and at times injure ourselves. Just because you learn the do’s and don’ts of health does not mean you will be invincible.
Why Do Treatments Fail?
If you go see your primary care physician for a musculoskeletal issue, and they refer you to an orthopedist and the first line of care is surgery, RUN! Of course, this statement is not referring to broken bones, fully torn ligaments and muscles, or any other obvious case in need of surgery. Any chronically developed pain, repetitive use injury, or pain that has no distinct cause should always be handled with a conservative approach first.
What surgeons can do nowadays is beautiful and mind-blowing! It’s really a wonderful gift, but it may not always be the best solution in non-life-threatening cases. Surgery comes with the risks that we are all aware of such as anesthesia and infection, but what about the damage done to the body to accomplish it, such as scar tissue. Scar tissue is a natural development in healing after the body has been opened in any scenario, but there is significant clinical evidence, including within my own practice, that the scar tissue later becomes a whole other issue itself resulting in pain and dysfunction again. Let’s also take note that there is always a chance that the surgery does not relieve symptoms or only does so for a short amount of time and I’ll tell you why that is.
You have a pain or injury, with no obvious cause, they want to cut to just fix the problem, without addressing what caused the issue in the first place. This is not just the case with surgery, but physical therapy and chiropractic. If you don’t remove what caused the issue within the lifestyle, even if the structural damage is cut away, that lifestyle factor still exists, and therefore, the pain will return. The lifestyle factor can be many things like:
- How you hold your cellphone
- Bad ergonomics at work
- The way you drive
- Working out with bad form
- Too much typing
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Improper support for the head
- Sleeping positions
The truth is that as a society we are sitting now more than ever which is why, according to the American Chiropractic Association, “ More than 50% of U.S. adults, that is, approximately 125 million Americans, suffer from one or more musculoskeletal pain disorders.”
This is why until the root cause of the issue and lifestyle is addressed, no form of treatment will be truly successful. True treatment will address the root cause.
The Missing Link in Musculoskeletal Treatments
After almost a decade of practice, I realized that while most of my patients have a remarkable recovery, their issues would return and there were a few that simply did not respond well to care. It finally occurred to me that as a chiropractor, we focus on the spine while the essence of chiropractic is on the spine and nervous system. The Nervous System includes the BRAIN!!!! When doing physical therapy, we focus on the body part and its rehabilitation and NO focus on the nervous system.
The Nervous System is the first system that is developed in a fetus and is the controlling system until we die. If we ‘malfunction’ why is the nervous system including the brain and how it does things are not looked at?!!! I am not talking about disease of the brain. I am talking about what it does in order to adapt to what we wish to do. You see, we are the ‘wishers’ and the brain somehow has to make the ‘wish’ happen. I always tell my patients: ” be careful what you wish for ” and I mean that by every sense of the word!
That is when I understood Postural Neurology. Through Brain Based Neurology and Posture Exam, the parts of the brain that are in charge of balancing and posture are assessed. You see, there is a map of the movement and sensation in the brain called Homunculus. If we can see what that map looks like, then we should be able to see where the malfunction begins. We can in other words trace the movement and posture back to the point of origin. The parts of the brain that are under-activated in regards to posture and movement can then strategically be positively activated to resume their designed function.
Your body functions together as a whole system so you are never using just one muscle to accomplish a movement yet we isolate the area to rehab the pained body part!! THAT IS A MISTAKE. Through Developmental Kinesiology methods such as Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) we, as babies learn how to move automatically. THAT must be how we are designed to move- a default program of a kind. Well, why don’t we go through the SAME movement patterns and specifics to rehab what is malfunctioning then? Right?
The longer you’ve been moving dysfunctionally, the deeper the root and typically the longer the correction takes. I have no desire to see my patients for the rest of their lives, regardless of how pleasant they may be. My goal is to help them get out of pain and apply the things I guide them through so they stay out of pain. How long this process takes depends on the condition and mindset of the patient.
How Much Does it Cost to Get Healthy?
Having insurance or not, is not the deciding factor in being healthy. It’s a matter of priority. Let’s be real, your health insurance is a sick insurance in reality or they would have reimbursed you for your supplements, your organic food, yoga, pilate, and gym classes, right? When you see your doctor, including me, we have to give you a diagnosis or they won’t pay for your treatment. Your health is of no value to them.
Is your health a priority? If so, then plan your life accordingly. The best definition of health I have ever heard came from my sickest patients because they knew what they were missing!
Be careful what you wish for and remember that you ARE the designer and the director of your life.; planning to live life the better way may start with a price tag now but the dividend is very handsome in the long run.