Do I really need to fill out all those questions on the health history form? I’m just here for my…
￼It happens frequently. I look at a new client’s health history form to see large sections with no checkmarks or answers. When I still used paper, I would see either N/A or a line drawn through the section asking about previous injuries, accidents or illnesses.
When I dig a little deeper, I am often met with the response “nothing relevant”, “nothing major” or “not recently”. From my perspective, it’s all relevant.
Do I really need all that information on your intake form? Absolutely. Here are a few reasons why:
- to develop an understanding of both you and the problems you are experiencing
- to determine contributing factors, both past & present
- to alert me to any “red flags” which require further investigation or referral
As an osteopath, I view you not as a condition or pathology, but as a whole person. What you are experiencing today is the result of the stresses and strains you have sustained throughout your lifetime. Even minor problems can accumulate until your body is unable to adapt and compensate further. The more I know, the better treatment I can provide!
Here are some examples of things I look for and their potential impact:
Fractures or sprains create local soft-tissue restrictions and bony compactions, and can compromise vascular and lymphatic flow. They alter your biomechanics which creates compensations throughout your body. Without rehab, these patterns can become ingrained in your body and set you up for future dysfunction. The ankle sprain you sustained in grade school may have contributed to your low back pain today.
Surgeries, even laparoscopic, create scars. Scars create tension in the fascia (connective tissue) and can affect both local and distant structures. Imagine someone pulling on the sleeve of your sweater; you can feel it all the way to the neck. Scars also affect deeper layers of tissue as well. Post-surgical adhesions can affect both internal organ and musculoskeletal function. The scar from your gallbladder surgery might be contributing to your current digestive complaints or shoulder pain.
Respiratory conditions alter breathing patterns. Asthma, a severe cough or bout of bronchitis can create excessive tension in your diaphragm and rigidity in your ribcage. You adapt by taking more shallow breaths using the accessory muscles of respiration that attach to your cervical spine – leaving you with neck pain or headaches.
Digestive upsets anywhere along the system alter the physiology of other structures within the tract, affecting absorption or elimination. They can also create a pressure imbalance in your abdomen and pelvis, making your entire core less functional. This can lead to low back, sacroiliac, knee or even shoulder pain might occur.
Stress is another factor that plays a significant role in our health. But I think that deserves a post all of its own.
So remember, speak up; it’s all relevant. And I’m interested!
What’s your experience? Do you wonder how your body is affected by something in your past? I’m happy to help you figure it out.