Help patients reach their wellness and healthcare goals
As we’re into a new year and as we’re adapting to the “new normal,” some things are not going to be all that new. Studies have shown that about 60% of Americans will have made a New Year’s resolution. However, only a third of that population thinks achieving their goal, including healthcare goals, will be an actual reality. Their honesty is appreciated … but why go into anything with the mindset of failure?
History shows that by February, 80% will have given up on their resolution. Congratulations are in order for the 8% who actually achieve their goal of maintaining their New Year’s resolution. Finances and health are the top two categories for New Year’s resolutions. The top New Year’s resolutions for health are exercising, eating better and losing weight. Many will fail at achieving their healthcare goals, no matter what they may be.
Take this time to be the pillar of strength and accountability for your patients to help them achieve their goals. Tell your patients to be S.M.A.R.T. when goal-setting and with your assis- tance, they can be even S.M.A.R.T.E.R.:
Many patients will seek the guidance of a personal trainer at some type of exercise facility so that their healthcare goals will be overlapping. A trainer is a great resource of accountability, as well as instruction. However, you, the chiropractor, are more vital.
Healthcare goals vs. wellness
It’s also important to help patients understand the difference between health and wellness. In short, health is a state of being, whereas wellness is the state of living a healthy lifestyle. Health refers to physical, mental and social well-being; wellness aims to enhance all those aspects. Wellness is an all-encompassing journey, not so much a fixed destination.
Today’s society yearns for wellness. The very foundation of chiropractic is of a complete wellness mindset. We are the only profession truly grounded in this principle. However, many patients will seek their new healthcare goals without our guidance. Speak up and inform patients you can help them actually achieve their goals by being S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
Linking the kinetic chain
What if you told your patients that every step and move they make could be helping their physical condition by activating their kinetic chain optimally? What if you told them that every step and move they make would be active rehab toward better posture, and every step and move they make would be fighting the constant impact of gravity; that with every step and move they make, they can overcome the negative impact of their physical repetitive stressors, whatever they may be, whether caused by work and/or their personal life?
Adding onto this, what if you told your patients from the very beginning with complete confidence that with every step and move they make, they could have better balance, fewer injuries, improved strength, quicker healing time, more flexibility, and enhanced performance with an accelerated recovery?
After hearing these profound and powerful statements of truth, most patients are intrigued, to say the least. Now you can educate them on how this is attainable. Share with them, “The goal of the body is to keep your head straight.” As we view our surroundings, more specifically the event horizon, we see straight lines. With that being said, we are typically standing and/or walking on an evenly balanced flat surface. Ideally, the feet and head are even, which means something in the middle has to give and will act/react to balance an imbalance.
The feet are the foundation of the body. Negative effects of repetitive stress on the body are something everyone encounters. If deemed necessary, custom orthotics allow you to achieve a healthier gait by activating the kinetic chain properly. Even though custom orthotics are placed into your shoes, they actually influence all of the moving parts in your body; when your feet are properly stabilized, the rest of your body moves with greater ease and harmony.
Orthotics greatly assist posture. If you are someone who slumps a great deal or favors one side over another, wearing orthotics with three-arch support will help correct your posture and movements. In our technological society, being able to assess dysfunction qualitatively and quantitatively is powerful.
Scanning the entire foot
3-D foot scanning technology allows patients to understand the imbalances they may have and the impact those imbalances have on their body. Over- the-counter insoles initially cost less, but they only support one arch in the foot. If dysfunction is noted in either of the two remaining arches, over-the-counter insoles could actually cause more harm than good.
Certain digital foot scanning technologies allow patients to immediately see their imbalances. You can build on that by educating them on how those imbalances affect their kinetic chain.
Institute a program to educate your patients to be S.M.A.R.T.E.R. with their New Year’s resolutions.
Now is the time for you to develop relationships with as many personal trainers as you can. Recently, this industry has been hit hard. I recommend a three-month “jump-start” program.
A unified front will make your patients feel more secure, as well as value your efforts for their care. The benefits are exponential for your practice. Your patients will appreciate you.
Help patients jump back in
Remember, the majority of the population who actually made a New Year’s resolution is about to give up or already has. Now is the time to be proactive.
Create a program after the fact, so they can jump right back in, but this time with your guidance. This will empower you and your office. Your patients will appreciate your active role in their care. Developing a program does not have to be difficult, especially if you have already established sound relationships with your local trainers.
Provide weekly adjustments to make sure the patient’s body is in line for the exercise program they’re starting. Weekly adjustments will help their body adapt to new orthotics that much faster. Also, you can answer any questions they may have on diet modifications and make recommendations for supplementation.
This can be something fun that you and your office develop, and it is very easy to implement. Your patients are already looking for this and just need your help so that they can achieve their goals by being S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
Alan Smith, DC, is a 2001 graduate of Parker University and practices in Jacksonville, Fla.