This article was written before the rise of COVID-19 in the US, but over the last three months, we’ve seen how the state of America’s health has left us particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus.We have been duped into believing that America actually has a system of healthcare. The United States spends more on health care than any other nation, and yet we rank 27th in life expectancy and 11th in health care system performance.¹
Despite all our healthcare spending, it is not translating into a healthy population. Why? Because what we have been calling healthcare is actually sick care. And the systems we have developed only serve to promote it. Think about it. When do we seek medical attention? When we are sick, injured or have been suffering with a chronic issue that isn’t going away or is getting worse. And how do we generally treat it? Overwhelmingly, with medications and other costly medical procedures that may treat the symptoms but do not usually treat the underlying cause. If you don’t treat the cause, you’re more likely to suffer a relapse. Thus, continues the cycle of sick care.
In 2017, 63% of healthcare costs were spent on hospital care, physician services and prescription drugs. Only 3% were spent on other professional services which included physical therapy and chiropractic care.² If the United States was truly interested in health care, we would reform the healthcare system to actually encourage people to maintain their health to better stave off illness and injury, not just mask it with costly services.
We need to take our health into our own hands and make healthier choices every day. We all know what that means: eat healthier, move and exercise regularly, reduce stress, maintain our mental health, etc. But our healthcare system also needs to support these habits. Perhaps by providing coverage for conservative forms of care, which overall, cost much less than emergency care.
We also need to stop letting for-profit corporations control the narrative on what is “healthy.” Meat and fat (and other whole foods) are not unhealthy, if it’s from a good quality source. You know what IS unhealthy? Processed foods and sugars, which have been subsidized and heavily pushed by lobbyists from companies which stand to make huge profits off a misinformed public. Additionally, the United States’ mindset that you have to work yourself ragged to be successful is counterproductive to health. Everyone requires time to recover and destress.
This model of healthcare is the niche we try to fill, in part, at Premiere Spine & Sport. Most people come to us when they’ve suffered an injury or a chronic condition that developed slowly and hasn’t gone away. They come to us for sick care. But through treatment and education, we work to resolve their pain, rehab their injury and give them the tools to promote healthy movement and activity going forward.
Our aim is to educate everyone about the importance of movement and physical activity to their health and longevity. And while this is only one piece of the healthcare puzzle, it is an important one for strengthening your body to help you improve your health and wellbeing and to reduce your risk of illness and injury…true health care.
Don’t wait until your symptoms get worse. If you feel something is off, overly tight, stiff or occasionally painful, schedule an appointment for an assessment. Ignoring these symptoms leaves you vulnerable to more severe symptoms or injuries in the future, which could cost you more than just money to treat, but lost time and quality of life as well. I can’t tell you how many patients have said they wish they came to see us sooner. Let’s nip it in the bud before something worse rears its ugly head!
¹ The Diabetes Council. 50 Alarming Statistics on the Healthcare System of the United States. https://www.thediabetescouncil.com/50-alarming-statistics-on-the-healthcare-system-of-the-united-states/
² Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. National Health Expenditures 2017 Highlights. https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/Downloads/highlights.pdf