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The quote: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” exemplifies the difficulty in knowledge translation within patient care. A patient has a problem, and they want a simple solution. Patient adherence to care is directly related to the SIMPLICITY of the solution you provide. For example, would your average patient wishing to lose weight prefer to:

(1) Diet and exercise for six months, or

(2) Buy a pill online to lose 20 pounds?

Today’s blog will explain how patient education, in-office treatment, and at-home rehabilitation can be simple for your patients to understand and implement.

The written and video portion of this blog is my opinion, however, rooted in evidence. Having operated a successful EB practice for over a decade, I can attest to the effectiveness of treating the physical and psychological aspects of any problem by answering the following three questions.  Every complex example in the following text is what I delivered in my first years of practice. These answers limited my practice growth and patient compliance to care.

Answer these three questions for each new presentation:

  1. What Can I Do For You?
  2. What Can You Do For Yourself?
  3. Why Should You Come Back?

How well can you relay your knowledge to the cognitive ability of your patient? From my experience, one reason clinically competent chiropractors fail in practice is because they fail to relate on a personal level to their patients. Each new presentation is a fresh relationship in your life.  Each participant in this relationship must understand their roles; otherwise, the relationship fails. 

1. What Can I Do For You?  (In-Office Care)

Complex Answer

Your body responds to repetitive activity that causes muscle overload, leading to local capillary constriction, ischemia, and hypoxia. The resultant depletion of energy results in sustained local muscle contraction. These hypertonic muscles are causing restrictions in normal biomechanical joint function, impairment of neurological function, and impairment of circulation and lymphatic flow. You also have segmental joint dysfunction leading to altered joint alignment, motion, and physiologic function. I can do some myofascial release and spinal manipulation to help elongate muscles and improve joint kinematics.

Simple Answer

Your body has some tight muscles & joints that cause discomfort and reduce your ability to function. We need to get things moving again. I’m going to stretch the muscles and loosen up your joints.

2. What Can You Do For Yourself?  (Out of Office Care)

Complex Answer

We need to start early rehab like sustained, low-intensity isometric contractions to provide analgesic benefit for your condition. While there is no standard isometric exercise protocol for your condition, there are eleven potent exercises from a recent randomized control study. Once you can tolerate isometric tensile loading, we will progress to eccentric exercises with low to moderate effort repetitions.

Simple Answer

It would be best if you kept things moving between visits. If I get things moving, but you don’t keep things moving, this pain will come back. These two exercises will help. We’ll show you how to do them properly, plus I’ll send you home with a video demonstration.

3. Why Should You Come Back? (Treatment Plan Adherence)

Complex Answer

You need to minimize the positions, activities, and exercises that result in sustained or repetitive compressive loading to the injured tissue. We will also train the diaphragm properly, so we progress with rehab to include other stability exercises. The ultimate goal is to re-train the CNS through repetitive training, thereby subconsciously maintaining optimal centration and mechanics throughout daily living activities. If we can do this, then we can reduce the risk of re-injury and improve performance.

Simple Answer

Today we’ll focus on eliminating what’s really causing your pain. Then, I’ll provide two exercises to help rebuild those tissues. It may take a little time, but together, we’ll develop the right rehabilitation program so you heal quickly and strengthen that tissue to prevent reinjury.

A simple litmus test to your patient education is to ask your patients to repeat back their responsibilities.

Are you looking for a simple and accurate way to educate your patients?  ChiroUp does this for thousands of clinics worldwide. Why repeat the same explanations multiple times in the same day? Automate many of the things you say and do with our condition reports.

Check out this sample ChiroUp report that empowers your patient and saves you time!

This style of communication may not be an all-inclusive method. It works on the vast majority of musculoskeletal pain patients. Effective clinical communication means that each patient clearly understands their responsibility toward achieving treatment goals. I would challenge every evidence-based chiropractor to continually ask, How can I simplify my message?   Improved patient communication will ultimately become the most potent marketing campaign for your practice.

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– Dr. Adam Habeck | ChiroUp Subscriber

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