The biopsychosocial combination

May 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Spinewave Bulletin 

combination lock health

For some people, solving their health problems is like opening a combination lock. Why do some people get relief and stay well easily, while others suffer despite seeing everyone, and trying everything?

Sometimes the answer comes down to not treating the whole person, but instead treating the parts, one by one. Physiology is complex and comprises multiple, inter-related systems. Oftentimes symptoms are interconnected and related by two or three systems in the body simultaneously. For example, a hangover is an immune-mediated inflammatory response from the gut, manifesting as head pain.

A combination lock requires three or more digits that must be entered in the correct sequence in order for the lock to open. Applying this analogy to the human body, some people who experience a health issue have only one digit to solve. They are fortunate – and the exception to the rule. They see their primary physician, chiropractor or other health provider, who correctly identifies the problem, provides appropriate care, and the person gets well.

This doesn’t happen for everyone though.

  • What if the health provider doesn’t correctly identify the problem (wrong digit)?
  • What if the person has more than one contributing factor toward the problem (two or three digits in combination)?
  • What if the health provider has correctly identified the problem, and all contributing variables, but applied them in the wrong sequence?

biopsychosocial modelInvariably symptoms arise from multiple sources, or systems, within the body, which all need to be treated simultaneously. This is the essence of the biopsychosocial model: how structure, neurochemistry and environment are all related to each other.

Without recognising the circle and the person, progress will be limited. Add into the mix the element of time (healing takes time), limitations of matter (some damage cannot be undone), plus limitations of human knowledge (for all advances in research, there are still many mysteries), not every person gets well with every form of health care.

Some people are a combination lock requiring vigilance and persistence in searching for the right sequence.

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