The biopsychosocial combination

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.

Can pain and wellness coexist?

The Wellness GuysPain is still part of wellness, right?

Is pain a good or bad thing? Often pain is left out of the conversation when it comes to helping people live incredible lives. Dr Neil Bossenger joins all 3 of the Wellness Guys in this absolutely fascinating dive into pain, its roles and messages.

Understanding Pain. Dr Neil interviewed by The Wellness Guys on pain. Understanding Pain


sickness chiropractic immuneResolution of life-long chronic illness in a 48-year old male following 1 year of chiropractic care.

Patient presented with frequent illness, vertigo, nausea, dry left eye, atrial fibrillation, gravelly voice, wheezing, anxiety, stomach cramps and reflux for ±15 years.

He is now training for marathons.

There is nothing more rewarding than science applied to real life and miracles becoming expected clinical outcomes.

Neuroimmunology studies the interaction between the nervous system and the immune system. Traditionally, it has been thought that the immune system is only controlled by hormones and cell proteins called cytokines.

A new understanding is that the brain directly influences the immune system by sending messages down nerve cells.

Networks of nerve fibres connect to the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes and bone marrow. Experiments show that immunity can be altered by changes in brain function.

neuroimmune neurotransmitters dendritic cells

Signals from the brain, called neurotransmitters, communicate to dendritic cells to recruit the best T cell for a foreign invader. Neurotransmitters come from other sources too, like the gut, which is why gut problems compound illness. The brain can also influence the immune system through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (stress) axis, suppressing immunity. Disruption of these complex interactions between the nervous system and immune system, altering release of neurotransmitters, contributes to inflammation and sickness1. Read more

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