Are you stuck between wanting to help kids be symptom free but wanting to talk about wellness and long-term health? Do you want to build your paediatric practice by improving kids bodies to work better, as well as helping kids with back pain and headaches?
Symptoms vs Function – What parents care about
In this video I have a look into the mind of the parent. What they think is important and what are some of the points you need to discuss when working with parents of young children.
There is something that makes your tummy turn when you see a child in pain. Pain is such a scary thing for a child and a parent. The parents can’t feel it, but they see the result. Their child, their baby, is unhappy.
From a young age we are taught that pain is bad. That we should try to get rid of pain at any cost. Luckily many parents are uncomfortable with giving their child pain medication, and seek out for practitioners to help.
Somewhere along the path of trying to find alternatives, they end up at your practice. Keeping in mind that this child is in pain, mum or dad is determined to get them out of pain and back to being the happy child they know. And they want to do this quickly.
Does that parent worry about long term health? Of course – all parents want to do the best for their children. Is it their priority right now? No.
So how do we work with the parents goals AND shift from focusing on symptoms to function?
What about when a child is brought in for a health check-up? What are the parent’s priorities then? When they think about a health check-up what does that mean?
Here are three things you need to cover to answer the most pertinent questions parents have.
What is going on?
The first point you need to explain is that symptoms, particularly pain, are the result of dysfunction. The body isn’t working as well as it should, their system is under stress and they are now seeing the result of the chronic build-up of that stress. For example – headaches and neck pain may be due to postural imbalances that have led to chronic dysfunction of the spine, particularly the neck.
It is important to go into details about why the pain is there and what the global picture is.
When and why this happened?
The symptoms do not necessarily show up at the first sign of imbalance or dysfunction. When did this happen. Unless there was an obvious trauma, these changes have happened over time. The Chiropractors Association of Australia released research that demonstrated that young spines are unhealthier than ever before. Taking care of the body is a life long journey. The causes of pain or discomfort have come about because of general life. Therefore monitoring the integrity of the body is crucial to preventing problems like this in the future.
Did we do something wrong? Why did my child get this – is their body not strong?
Another fallacy that is ingrained into our culture is that when a pain or symptom comes up it’s because something went wrong. Something that was weak broke.
As chiropractors we know that pain and symptoms means that something has gone right – the bodies alarm system is working properly because it tells us that something needs to change for the body to get back to being healthy. The body knows how to heal and resolve issues, but if the frame in not intact and the nervous system is under stress then the body is unable to do its job to optimally heal and repair.
We could go into more detail and be here for hours, but with those three points you will be able to really cover the questions parents have straight away. Will it completely change their way of thinking long-term? Perhaps not. So taking them through this sequence each time their child experiences an ache or pain will help that process along.
How do you word your responses to these questions? Do you have particular questions that pop up straight away?
I would love to hear your comments below.