What has been a buzz-word in nerdy medical circles for a while?
What does it mean? The short answer is – treating a patient as a whole person not as a body part. Its important because for a long time us medical types have been managing problems primarily by reducing it down to a specific problem – for example – osteo-arthritis. Osteoarthritis (OA) has traditionally been talked about and treated as a cartilage and bone problem however, current research has been placing a bigger emphasis on your mental/emotional health as major contributors to this medical issue. So essentially, if you’ve got lots of stress in your life, your OA is likely to be worse.
All well and good, so what’s the issue?
I’m glad you asked! The issue is that in focussing more on the ‘psycho’ and the ‘social’ we have neglected the ‘bio’. To return to the arthritis example above – as therapists we need to try and use every tool and trick to reduce arthritic pain so that we can help manage it. Taping the knee and mobilising the front of the hip or the ankle might be a good way of reducing short-term pain and this will lead to better muscle recruitment which will then lead to better outcomes! We should be wary of therapists who have lost the art of manual therapy and focus their attention solely on talking lots and giving painful exercises.
The pendulum has swung too far. We can find the balance here at McConnell Physiotherapy: