What is Holistic Health?
Holistic Health is best defined as an approach to medicine that treats the entire person, not a particular organ system. In chronic pain management, for example, we deal with chronic pain. Chronic pain has a cause, it has a character (dull, burning, tearing), it has a modality- never pain vs mechanical pain. Each in turn needs to be addressed. But what is the difference between pain and suffering? Pain is the result of the disease process itself, the damaged disk or the compressed sciatic nerve. It can be acute, chronic or more commonly chronic with flares of acute pain. Suffering involves the response of the patient to the pain. Constant pain in a young person, one that reasonably expects to be active and pain free, is very depressing. Their activities are limited more than their peers, and emotionally they suffer. There is a psychological aspect to their pain, we refer to that as suffering.
The Holistic Approach to Chronic Pain
To treat chronic pain holistically, we first address the cause, then the specific type of pain- tailoring our management to deal with inflammation, pressure, or nerve pain for example, using a variety of traditional medications such as NSAID (motrin like medicines), long acting narcotics (methadone is one), short acting narcotics (norco is an example). To address nerve related pain, we may add a medication such as neurontin (which is used for seizures) or elavil (an antidepressant). We also may use non-traditional medications such as cannabis to help with chronic pain, and the combination we develop for each patient is designed to control their pain with the lowest dose of medication needed, counting on synergistic effects between each medication to potentiate the relief. This is the Denali Way of Pain Management.
The Psychology of Pain
The psychological aspect of suffering is also something that needs to be addressed. We work with our patients to make sure they understand what medications can and cannot do, what a reasonable expectation is from those medications, and how to take them properly. We also make frequent referrals to address the psychologic aspects of their suffering- evaluation of their stressors and coping mechanisms are very helpful. We call this addressing the ‘Psychology of Pain’.
Denali Healthcare Recommends these services for Holistic Health
- Chiropractic Care
- Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
- Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
- Acupuncture is a component of the health care system of China that can be traced back at least 2,500 years. The general theory of acupuncture is based on the premise that there are patterns of energy flow (Qi) through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for disease. Acupuncture may, it has been theorized, correct imbalances of flow at identifiable points close to the skin
- Michigan Addiction Therapy is an excellent resource
- Effective pain management now comes from multidisciplinary care teams that look at the whole “person with pain” rather than the pain itself. Two decades of studies now confirm the value of psychological interventions in reducing self-reported pain, pain-related interference, depression and disability, while increasing health-related quality of life. Not only do these outcomes help people feel better and cope better, but they also reduce dependence on potentially addictive pain medications and lower the burden on the health-care system.