February Newsletter: Become a Non-Patient
At CTH Healthcare our aim with patients is to turn them into non-patients; to make ourselves redundant with people as quickly as possible – if you don’t need us any more, because you feel comfortable and confident, it means we are doing a good job. In our eyes that is good healthcare.
Part of this is helping people avoid becoming medicalised.
And the best consultants and practitioners I work with also have this goal with their patients, such as Dr Ben Huntley, Consultant in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia, and Dr Chatterjee, a GP who campaigns for lifestyle and behaviour medicine to be much more integrated into normal GP practice.
Medication and medical procedures aren’t the only option in most situations – if you’ve tried these things without lasting success it’s important to know there is more scope for improvement.
Lifestyle and behaviour medicine combined with medical/surgical options is the ultimate multidisciplinary approach; addressing problems in a 360 degree way, considering all aspects of the person, lends power and confidence back to them.
Sometimes it is incredibly helpful and necessary to work with medication, scans and other interventions, but sometimes not – it’s the job of skilled practitioners to know the difference (whether that’s your GP, orthopaedic consultant, osteopath/physio/chiro, or other).
It’s easy to assume that pain problems that are long-term and severe need the most invasive and extreme approaches, but lifestyle and behaviour changes can provide remarkable results – as long as you have the right tools to create real change.
I love creating practical, straightforward strategies that provide people with more control over their pain so they don’t have to think too hard about the how, and can avoid endless medication or treatment.
Stressed and in pain? Here is an experiment for you:
Something that people often don’t immediately associate with their pain (or other health issues) is stress, but it has been linked to 95% percent of all illness.
For some people stress has a huge bearing on their physical pain – that doesn’t mean it’s ‘all in their head’; stress is biology, as is pain.
Endorphin is our in-built painkiller and stress-buster – it literally means endogenous-morphine.
It’s “a morphine-like substance originating from within the body” which is released from the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and its principle function is to stop the communication of pain signals. It is involved in natural reward circuits such as feeding, drinking, and also affects mood, appetite, immune response and more.
What triggers one person to release endorphins is different to another. It’s often associated with exercise but we get it from much more than that. And as a matter of health it’s a good idea to really prioritise what triggers our own personal endorphin release:
Here’s the fun bit:
Compile a short term, medium term and long term endorphin list
If you are suffering with stress, pain or both, write your own endorphin list and make it a daily priority as a matter of health.
~ Short term endorphins: Things you can do immediately and regularly, like call a friend, buy flowers, read a good book, going for a run… whatever floats your boat
~ Medium term endorphins: Things that take a bit more planning, like training for a 5k running race, dance or language classes.
~ Longer term endorphins: Things to look forward to, like planning a holiday, a new project, long term goals.
We love feedback so if you give this a try, let us know how you get on.