Here at Tulsa Spine and Rehab, we have three pillars that we focus on while treating our patients. As a group, we collectively adhere to these pillars to make sure we provide the best care possible. We’ll go over the pillars each time a new provider joins our team and when a patient first visits our office. You might choose to call them a practice philosophy or a set of principles. The first one hinges upon the reason many patients seek care: pain.
- Determine the contributing factor of pain.
Most medical facilities (hopefully) include this pillar as a principle of their care. Pain is what brings patients into our office. It’s important that we pay attention throughout our examination to learn about the patient’s pain generators. Is it an inflammatory response? Is it a mechanical issue? Is it something a little more serious?
We have to be careful not to just chase the pain. In other words, the patient comes in with a chief complaint where they’re experiencing an issue. Chasing the pain means that the doctor just goes straight to that area and gets completely locked in. In many cases, there could be contributing factors in other parts of the body. For example, a patient’s two-week long bout of low back pain may be the result of a problem in the hip or upper back. It’s extremely important for us to look at the problem comprehensively.
- Increase quality of life and ability to perform functional activities.
During intake, patients sometimes get a glazed look in their eyes because we ask them so many different questions. We’re trying to find out if there are activities that they have difficulty performing. It might be a challenge to bend over and put socks and shoes on. Maybe there’s some low back pain while bending over to pick up a grandchild. It’s important that we get a grasp of any functional challenges the patient may have. These are the simple mundane activities we focus on that everyone should be able to perform relatively pain-free.
Quality of life and functional activities can be objectively measured. After a week of treatment, for example, we can determine that someone was able to sit for 25 minutes without feeling pain. We can establish clear goals, such as having the ability to put your shoes on or play with your grandchildren. This leads directly to our third and final focus.
- Get the patient back to normal activity.
Many times with an acute injury or chronic low back pain, you’re unable to perform the simple activities we discussed in the second pillar. That’s why we make an assessment of your normal activity level. We have patients visit us who were relatively active in terms of yoga, stretching, gym, cardio, or other activities. Once we take a general assessment, we’ll be able to make some recommendations about modifying those activities. We’ll provide some self-management strategies on how patients can start to reactivate themselves and get back to performing normal activities in a timely manner.
These three pillars are a very important focus for all of us here at Tulsa Spine and Rehab. To learn more, contact us online or give us a call at (918) 743-3737.