We human beings are beautiful, complex creatures, and our medical care shouldn’t be reduced to one-size-fits-all, cookie-cutter solutions.
Today’s patients are more health-conscious and forward thinking than ever before. More and more patients are participants in the medical care they receive, and are ready to see their treatment serve all of them. In other words, there is a shift to more complete treatment, that doesn’t just focus on symptoms but the entire picture.
This type of treatment, called whole person care, means giving each person tailored therapy specific to their lifestyle, condition, genetics, nutrition, physical ability, and so forth. Again, it’s not just a set of instructions to follow.
What does it mean to treat the whole person?
Whole person healthcare—that treats more than just physical symptoms—goes by a few different names: integrative medicine, functional medicine, holistic care, and whole-person treatment. Whichever name you prefer, this inclusive, well-rounded therapy combines ancient medicine, proven alternative treatments, and the best that modern science has to offer.
To get a better understanding of a patient’s condition, it’s necessary to consider various aspects of their life circumstances, which might need to be addressed before or during treatment.
For example, if a person is suffering from joint pain due to arthritis or an injury, any extra weight can become burdensome and make it more difficult to reduce inflammation.
For every extra pound of weight you carry, it adds four pounds of pressure on your joints – especially your knees. Just think; 5 extra pounds can put 20 pounds of added pressure on your joints!
In the case mentioned above, addressing the excess weight first would likely make a significant impact on the patient’s ability to reduce pain and heal more efficiently.
What other important health factors are addressed in whole-person treatment?
In the real world there are often other factors that contribute to joint pain and injury. This is the exact reason why it’s imperative that our healthcare system treats the whole person rather than only one area of the body. You’re so much more than just a body part.
An integrative care team takes these things into consideration:
- Home and work environment
- Amount of daily activity
- Social relationships
- Emotional well-being
- Lifestyle choices
- Physical limitations or excess weight
The science behind whole person care
Research has proven that chronic pain requires a multidisciplinary approach in order to better address the root cause of a condition.
In a study conducted in 2014, it was determined that taking into consideration a person’s psychological distress plays an integral role in addressing painful conditions.
In another, more recent scientific publication from 2021, it was found that for the best patient outcomes regarding musculoskeletal pain, care teams should work together to treat the patient as a whole by:
- Addressing pain
- Providing education and empowerment
- Offering support to enable patients to set and achieve meaningful goals
“chronic pain is a multifactorial experience and treatment requires an integrated, multidisciplinary approach from a range of healthcare providers.”
What is whole-person treatment in relation to physical therapy?
Using a whole-person approach attempts to address the root cause of your pain or injury, rather than just treating the symptoms. The end goal of this type of next-level care is not only to help your body heal correctly, decrease pain and increase mobility, but to give you a better understanding of your condition and how to prevent or manage it moving forward.
In contrast, traditional joint care usually consists of just physical therapy, which usually means exercise, medicine and sometimes surgery. This conventional style of treatment plays a key role in recovery, but can potentially leave a lot of underlying, contributing factors of your pain unaddressed.
Why is whole-person care important for joint pain and how does it benefit you?
Joint care has traditionally centered around the physical aspects of injury and recovery. But, there’s growing evidence that treating the whole person, including mental, emotional and physical health is crucial to achieving optimal healing outcomes. Whole person is interdisciplinary in nature, taking knowledge from a variety of doctor and experts.
Integrating these different aspects of care into a customized treatment program designed with you in mind, as a whole person, can also benefit overall and long-term wellbeing.
Here are a some reasons why:
- You’re empowered to increase your knowledge about your physical condition, giving you a greater sense of control over your body.
- You get the opportunity to understand your thoughts and feelings surrounding your pain and how to better deal with it on your road to recovery.
- You’re guided towards having a healthier, more positive mindset around pain and healing.
- You’re better prepared for a healthy lifestyle after treatment.
- You’re less likely to re-aggravate an old injury.
What does whole-person digital treatment look like with PeerWell Health?
With PeerHealth, you have access to a digital care team, who work together to simplify and manage your care – all from the convenience of your own home, by simply using a smart device like your phone or tablet.
We understand that the best health outcomes come from diverse, expert healthcare resources and we deliver care which treats the mind, body and spirit – not just one part of your body!
You’ll find a patient-centered approach to care that includes:
- Live 1:1 doctor appointments
- A choice of physicians from a variety of specialties
- A friendly, Dedicated Care Coordinator to guide you through the process
- Faster and easier communication with your care team
- Saving time and money on unnecessary expenses like transportation
- PeerWell Health’s customized-just-for-you daily digital program
What is PeerWell Health’s daily digital program?
You’ll have an easy-to-use daily digital program at your fingertips, helping you stay on course, that includes:
- Physical therapy: With access to on-demand, digital physical therapy exercises customized for your unique condition – meant to decrease pain and increase strength, range of motion and flexibility.
- Health literacy – With bite-sized daily tidbits of useful information to help you understand your pain, injury or condition better.
- Nutrition education – With an aim to help you calm inflammation, reduce pain and promote healing, you’ll learn about various foods, spices, supplements and meal prep techniques to guide you in the kitchen. Also, providing you with fun, wholesome and delicious recipes.
- Lifestyle management – For easy-to-use tools to help you keep track of your progress and give you extra motivation to keep it up.
- Pain and wellness – For opioid-free pain management techniques, which aim to reduce pain, stress and anxiety.
If you’ve been suffering from painful joints, whether it’s from a recent injury or a chronic condition, and you’d like to learn more about getting whole-person treatment with PeerWell Health, schedule an appointment today!