Preventive health is sometimes an underexposed aspect of the healthcare system. Any program or intervention that can improve our current physical and emotional health will in the long run decrease the possibility of incurring an injury or illness. Many aspects of today’s society are detrimental to our physical health. We live in communities where we drive rather than walk or cycle. We spend increasing hours at sedentary jobs operating computers or automated equipment. Our food is increasingly processed and preserved.
Overall, this leaves Australian residents in poorer physical health. As well, our children are demonstrating shocking trends toward increasing levels of obesity with time spent at televisions and computer screens, rather than participating in healthy levels of physical activity. As a result, diseases of lifestyle such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension are also on the rise.
However, the solution to these problems is within our grasp.
As osteopaths we understand the mechanisms of injury, whether its sports related, neuropathy, overuse or anything else. We can offer advice and guidance on how to avoid these root causes to injury and impairment, osteopaths can be leaders in injury prevention.
Individuals who hope to improve their level of physical health can make very large improvements from very small changes to their lifestyle. For instance, research suggests that for overweight individuals, a decrease in body mass as small as 5-10 per cent can significantly improve blood pressure, blood glucose, levels of pain and cardiac function.
Increased physical activity levels in conjunction with proper nutrition are the recurring themes in both management and prevention of these “lifestyle-related” ailments. By incorporating an appropriate level of physical activity into your lifestyle, you can avert the problem before it occurs
The key to preventative health care and developing long-term solutions is to give patients the knowledge of how these health problems potentially occur, and thereby empowering them to manage their own health. This can include:
- Fitness testing and exercise program design
- Weight/diabetes management programs
- Sport specific conditioning
- Injury prevention
- Falls prevention
- Identifying the causative factors, such as overuse or workplace ergonomics
- Advising on exercise programs both for rehabilitation and prevention
- Teaching more efficient body usage in actions at home or at work
- Teaching relaxation techniques to reduce stress
- Working in conjunction with other practitioners where necessary
- General lifestyle advice
The secret to a healthy physical state is in prevention, and everyone knows prevention is better than cure. Have a chat with your friendly osteopath about what you can do to prevent a variety of health problems before they happen!