21 Apr How Biases Are Affecting Your Healthcare
6 minute read Audience: For everyone that seeks healthcare advice
I am a biased practitioner. Heck we all are
Whether you are a medical doctor, chiropractor, physiotherapist or some other practitioner, you are going to be so biased when you make recommendations to patients. Patients, when you get a recommendation from me or someone else in your life you have to know that you are never going to get an unfiltered and unbiased recommendation. It is impossible because we are all greatly shaped by the events in our lives, which have led to who we are, what we know, what we believe, our values and are virtues. Most recommendations come from the fact that we have seen it work for us or for our patients in the past – hopefully good evidence backs up those recommendations. But even consider that we are even biased in the studies that we choose to read to support the recommendations me make to you and it is impossible to read everything in the manual medicine / chiropractic world. It is literally impossible to remove all bias.
So what are my biases? Integrity, altruism, leadership, love, adventure, health, mastery. These are the values that I hold most dearly and that I try to live everyday by. When it comes to health, I put a lot of time, energy and money into doing things for my body and mind that will improve how I move, think and feel. It takes a lot of energy to make the choices throughout a week the enable better health and even more energy to build the routines that make those decisions easier
When I make recommendations to patients, to help them improve their wellbeing, I am biased by what I think health is. I will be biased towards a certain decision by the positive and negative things I have read, been taught, personally experience, and believe. I have some physiotherapists and massage therapists that I refer to all the time because my experience with them has been amazing. It is not for a lack of research that most medical doctors do not refer to chiropractors because there is no shortage of proof that chiropractic helps, but rather that they have not personally had an amazing experience yet.
I am going to forever be looking for more patients and practice members that share a similar vision to mine. The best doctor-patient relationships happen when our values most closely align and I always let patients know where my biases lie.
So what are my biases?
I hold my health to be really important because I do want there to be anything to hold me back from achieving what I set out for myself. Whether it is climbing up Machu Picchu (check!), feeling great energy everyday, having great posture, or being able to do at 60 what I can now, I do not want to be limited. As a result I think that everyone else should hold their health to as high of a standard, and should value it as such. Obviously this is not a reality but I know that everyone has a little more room for improvement.
Movement is mandatory. The body and brain love movement. The brain literally shrinks if you do not move and there are entire courses in university dedicated to the health benefits of movement. To benefit your body and brain, movement does not have to be “gym based exercise” in the traditional sense, but movement in most any more. Everyone I work with is recommended to walk more daily, given a posture and core exercise plan that is specific to him or her, and encouraged to get out of that chair as much as possible. I exercise 7 days a week; it would be weird if I did not recommend my patients do the same.
I also realize that practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect and exercise alone is not enough to heal the body if all you are doing is practicing broken movement patterns.
As much time should be spent on mental and spiritual health as chemical (food) and physical. If you are 90% healthy physically and chemically but spend no time on your mindset or psychological wellbeing, you are not reaching your full potential. Spending a little bit of time to better handle the stressors of life with meditation, better sleep and learning more about yourself, can be just as healthy as going for a run. I recommend that all my patients take some time to unwind each day with meditation because I do and, I know it works for me. Wouldn’t it be weird if I didn’t recommend something that works so well for me?
I hate band-aid fixes. I am not comfortable with taking prolonged medication for pain because I know it is just masking an underlying issue that has to be fixed and corrected eventually. In most cases, it will get worse if not addressed. Pain from repetitive strain is always an indication of poor function at some point in the body and I would want to correct it before it get’s worse. I also want to correct things before they become a huge issue.
For these reasons, when I recommend care to patients, the focus is not just to get them out of pain, which is easy. I want patients to realize that unless the underlying issue can be corrected together, it is going to come back; but again I am biased.
I am never satisfied with the status quo and want to continually improve my efficiency, performance, and rituals. Along the same lines, I believe that health is not the absence of disease and there is an untapped potential for personal health and performance if you put the work in. That being said, I know the machinery has to work well and that is why…
Finally, I love chiropractic. I have seen a chiropractor for 17 years now after an initial neck injury and now get adjusted at least every two weeks. I ask a lot of my body and my job is physically demanding. I know I need to take care of it. I have seen chiropractic work wonders for me and do amazing things for other people.
It is the best thing since sliced bread and I truly believe that if you are not seeing a chiropractor and having your spine adjusted, and nervous system checked, you are not as healthy as you could be. I also love that there is no shortage of research that should make me question my biases. I have dedicated my life to date, and spend most of my spare time improving my skills as a chiropractor.
If you could choose between a healthy nervous system and one that doesn’t function optimally, which would you choose?
I think that chiropractic care can benefit everyone but I know I am not the chiropractor for everyone. I give my patients the resources and means to improve their health and achieve better for themselves than just be back-pain free. I treat others how I want to be treated, but heck, I am biased.