From time to time, Check Your Head publishes blog posts from guest contributors. If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact us, we would love to hear from you!
CYH Note: In our Health Care workshop and through other initiatives within the Check Up Health Care project, young people often describe their experiences with the health care system as going beyond just doctors and hospitals and always share experiences that involve a wide range of people and activities, from practicing self-care at home with chicken soup for a cold or seeing massage therapists or acupuncturists for preventive care. To add a new perspective to that discussion, we are publishing a guest post from Nevin Thompson, who writes for Diversified Health Clinic in Victoria, focusing on one part of the health care system – chiropractors.
Preventative health care may help provide solution of problem of rising health care costs
How can we continue to fund our accessible universal healthcare system?
This is one of the biggest questions facing our society as our population continues to age and healthcare expenditures continue to increase, leaving less money for education and social programs. Preventative care may become a powerful tool to help people stay healthy, avoid going to the hospital to receive specialized and often expensive treatment, and alleviate the strain on our healthcare system.
Currently, healthcare accounts for more than 40% of British Columbia’s government spending, and the amount of spending continues to grow from year to year, outpacing even inflation. And, given that the proposed 2014 Health Accord will likely result in a funding model that will put a financial squeeze on BC, with its relatively elderly population, as a society we’re going to be looking at ways to innovate, reduce costs, while actually continuing to improve the overall health of the population.
Preventative care may play a leading role in keeping our healthcare system affordable. As its name suggests, preventative care is focused on preventing health care problems before they start, rather than treating disease after the fact.
By helping avoid visits to the doctor or the hospital, preventative care can help keep health costs down, and this approach to healthcare can actually empower patients to become more engaged with managing their own health. It’s a more personal form of health care.
An emphasis on following a healthy diet, exercise, positive mental attitude, and a healthy lifestyle are all cornerstones of preventative care.
Who practices preventative care?
Massage therapists, naturopaths and chiropractors are all included under the preventative care umbrella to help manage or prevent a number of conditions For example, about 80 percent of working-age adults can expect to have at least one bout of back trouble during their lifetime, and doctors don’t always find it easy to successfully treat these sorts of “soft tissue” injuries.
Chiropractors, of course, specialize in helping treat back problems, and also help their patients make changes to their lifestyle in order to prevent back problems from recurring, which preserves mobility and quality of life in later years, and ultimately helps prevent costly specialized medical care.
There’s an old analogy: there is a hill, dangerous in its height. With no protection, people could fall down the hill, and need an ambulance to take them away. Or the alternative would be to place a fence at the top of the hill to prevent the damaging falls.
In a nutshell, it’s said chiropractors and other practitioners of preventative medicine are an effective “fence at the top of the hill”, rather than the “ambulance at the bottom” – conventional and costly healthcare.
How to become a chiropractor and practice preventative medicine?
Doctors of Chiropractic are trained with similar educational requirements as medical schools and are now accepted as primary health care professionals; giving special attention to the structural, spinal, musculoskeletal, and neurological relationships. The BC College of Chiropractors has information about how to become a chiropractor.
Nevin Thompson writes for Diversified Health Clinic in Victoria, BC.