The internet has greatly enhanced individuals power of self-determination in their health journey. That’s great, it really is, the challenge is determining what is reliable and how it applies to you!
There is a tsunami of health information on the internet – such as this article – and access is open to anyone with a device connected to the web. Authors of health articles are mostly well qualified and experts in their field, particularly if they introduce themselves with their qualifications, so I believe you can trust most of what you read – that’s great!
Therefore the challenge is not the reliability of the information rather how does it relate to you. Enter the professional. The role of your health professional is to assess you as a complete human being (physically, psychologically, and socially), listen to the chief compliant or the reason for your being in their office, and to apply a treatment or series of treatments that meets your expectations. For this service you pay a fee.
Success is measured by outcomes being achieved. These may be: pain reduction or absence; reduced intensity and better management of pain; or to maintain an optimum level of health. To achieve success requires a collaboration between practitioner and client. You only get half a choice here because you’re the client, however how do you know if you have selected the best practitioner for you.
Here are some traits of great health practitioners:
- They are client centric. These practitioners give you a sense that they are only focussed on you, are making a treatment plan that sensibly fits into your lifestyle, additionally you feel respected and cared for through the whole health experience – in the treatment and reception rooms.
- They are fantastic communicators. Practitioners that listen, that enquire, and who can describe the causes for the presenting compliant are able to do so because they get the required information to start with. If you understand the “what” you are more likely to find the “why”. Understand the why and you are more likely to identify the cause and do something about it.
- They are educators. A vital component to your care-plan is the actions you take to get better outside of the clinic. This follows the previous point where an accurate explanation of the cause (EG. poor posture, lack of exercise) will logically lead to effective strategies to help get better and stay better. A good practitioner will always have practical advice on how to look after yourself. A great practitioner will offer advice that: fits sensibly into your work and home life; is illustrated; and, should you forget, you can resource from printouts or the internet.
In summary, information is great however if it comes from the internet, magazine, or group lecture, it is unlikely to be specific to your needs. Health practitioners have a key role in optimising your health outcomes from your health investment. Finally, choose a great practitioner by looking for the traits mentioned above.
I hope you find this article helpful. You are welcome to see me at ‘The Life Clinic’ by clicking here.
Yours in health
Dr Matt Short
Doctor of Chiropractic, PG. Dip (Musculoskeletal Management), Masters Student, Otago University.