Musculoskeletal Pain: A Holistic Approach
It is logical, when we are in a pain state, to focus on the symptom, and think that the problem will be solved if the pain goes away. However, this hypothesis is often not functional and sometimes leads to a vicious circle.
A basic Law that governs our Health is that the root cause of a health problem is largely the result of our way of life, our daily habits, our thoughts and behaviors.
Most of the times, pain is an alarm. It is an alarm that fires, when our Nervous System detects a threatening disruption of our body’s balance. Acute pain is an alarm for an acute physical condition, while chronic pain is usually an alarm that indicates a dysfunction, which has to do with long-held habits, rather than isolated events.
When searching for effective treatment, in the face of a physician or a physiotherapist, let us first consider the following questions:
- Do I want to get rid of the “alarm” or the root-cause that sets off the alarm?
- Am I willing to make positive changes in my life? That is …
- Take an active role in restoring my health
- Reduce sedentary life to the best of my means, and adopt active and healthy habits that will restore balance
- Sleep well enough
- Make a conscious effort to reduce negative thoughts
- Improve my diet
- Reduce and eventually remove the toxic substances I put into my body
Also as therapists, let us consider the following:
- Did I listen carefully to my patient?
- Did I show the necessary attention and empathy to the concerns and fears she expressed in our meeting?
- Did I answer the questions she asked me, in a way to offer her understanding, hope, but also the choice to take an active role in the treatment process?
- Did I offer her the best treatment I could?
When we perceive treatment as a “pain-killer”, then the symptoms will appear again soon. However, when we change the causes that lead to the presentation of a symptom, then the problem ceases to exist.
Alex Karagiannidis, MSc., Dip.MDT., BSc(Hons) Physiotherapy