Improving compliance through spine patient education.
Communication is very important. We all know that. In any relationship, communication seems to be the key element in making sure a common goal is delivered. This is especially important when doctors connect with patients about spinal problems. Spine patient education is imperative in a patient centered model. It also seems helpful in reducing fear avoidance behaviours. 1
Doctor-patient communication is critical when relaying information about what the spinal diagnosis is. Effective communication is also important when relaying the best options for treatment. Doctors and therapists will use their skills to connect with patients. Making reference to the experience they have had with the condition with some offering of favourable outcomes.
What is important is that the patient feels ‘listened to’ and that the doctor can relate their symptoms with the spinal movements that seem to aggravate or miminize the problem.
For example, if a patient exhibits pain bending forward, it can be very helpful to have a dynamic spine model that bulges under flexion load. If a patient can physically see and understand that bending forward can compress the discs (or squeeze on the nerves), this can be very effective in communicating the disc is the likely culprit in the case of sciatica.
Conversely, if a patient demonstrates pain while bending backwards, a dynamic model can show how the facets rub together into extension.
A doctor unequipped for spine patient education is like a mechanic without its tools. Patients are usually very curious about the internal workings of their own bodies. When a doctor or therapist can clearly demonstrate where and why it hurts, often they will be a patient for life.
Spinal pain frequently relates to the spacing of the vertebrae, or lack thereof. Dynamic disc height loss, for example, can now be shown with a model both a doctor and patient can hold and manipulate.