The health industry is an interesting and sometimes confusing space. I’m referring to the physical health world that spans from treatment of injury all the way up to the enhancement of peak human performance in whatever movement specialty. It can seem like a pretty big and complex world really. A world that you are introduced to in day 1 of health pro school (as a professional) or day one as a client going to visit a health pro. I should mention here that health isn’t exclusive to the health industry, and it is possible for people to be healthy without the help of anyone else. However, It’s an industry that exists to help people be healthy. It’s a service industry, accessible to anyone who wants it. It should be as user friendly as possible, like a well organised home that has been ‘Marie Kondo’ed’ (not entirely sure if this is the right use of the term).
What I mean is, the health industry should be organised. It should be user friendly, clean and make sense. It should smell good and not have any unneeded things around. Get rid of anything that ‘does not spark joy’ as Marie Kondo would say. If we as the health professionals profess to know health, we better know health. Then we better give it to the people that want it. Efficiently and effectively and all of that.
Why am I suggesting that the health industry is in any kind of position to need a Marie Kondo tidy up? Or that is could spark more joy than it currently does? This comes down to the way we understand and manage pain and injury. Our understanding is overly complicated, and it often doesn’t ‘spark joy’ in people who need our help.
The World Health Organisation recognises multi thousands of musculoskeletal conditions of disease that can affect the human body. Gosh, that’s a lot of information to get across. We could memorise risk factors, pathology, signs and symptoms and special tests (I’m being brief here) for every single one of these. In the end the information this gives us would help us to understand disease more than it helps us to understand health.
Here’s my point, in the old messy and pre-‘Marie Kondoe’d’ health industry we didn’t recognise the clutter as clutter. We kept working with the clutter. See if our understanding of pain and injury is complex then so are our treatments. This is a problem because remember the health industry should be user friendly. Do each of those multi-thousands of disease conditions have a specific best practice treatment protocol? Well with the ‘messy house’ logic, yes… it should. We just need to do the studies and gather enough information to identify that protocol. This means more clutter and more complexity.
A diagnosis gives us great information about what not to do, but it doesn’t provide direction for treatment and it doesn’t help us understand the human movement system as a whole. The condition is often there because you weren’t operating your machine very well. Knowing about the complications that occur when done poorly doesn’t suffice in learning to operate a machine the right way.
How about some Marie Kondo magic? What if there were a few basic principles, which when adhered too helped people to move well, move often, perform well and prevent injury in the first place. Wouldn’t these principles be good for both rehabilitation (treatment) and for improving performance? Wouldn’t this help to organise the seemingly separate worlds of rehab and performance? Would this get some people out of an endless rehab journey, fixing aches and pains on the way to moving better? Would this make ‘health’ (as far as physical therapy can grasp it) more apprehendable and accessible to the general public?
Would it spark joy? I think it would. And the especially joyous thing is that basic first principles of movement exist and are quite simple. Moving well is the most important thing you can do for your own physical health. Leave your house smelling fresh zesty, colour coded and labelled and all of that. So what are the principles and how do you move well? It basically boils down to awareness, learning, play and appropriate stress. But I will get into that at another time. Come and see one of our physios for a movement improvement.