What is the difference between health care and sick care and why does it matter? In this post, I’m going to explain why there is a difference between the two and that it really does matter which perspective you align yourself with.
What we call “healthcare” in this country is really a sick care model. What I mean by that is we don’t think about our health until something goes wrong, we experience pain, get a runny nose or a cough. Then, we head to the doctor primarily in the search of some type of pill to make the symptoms that caused us to seek care in the first place to go away. This is a reactive style of care instead of a proactive style of care. We wait for something to go wrong and then we do something about it.
Healthcare, on the other hand, is a proactive style of care. Instead of waiting for something to go wrong, we receive preventative check-ups. We watch what eat, get plenty of exercise, and do our best to maintain a lower level of stress in our lives. Now you can see why most people take the sick care route. Much easier.
Chiropractic is based on this health care or preventative model. A central tenant of chiropractic is keeping the body functioning in an optimal state in order to prevent disease and premature degeneration. As chiropractors, we believe this is accomplished through keeping the nervous system functioning properly through adjustments, eating a healthy diet, staying active, and avoiding any unnecessary exposure to toxins or chemicals.
As I have a tendency to do, I’m going to relate this to a car. Which do you think is better; driving your car without changing the oil until something explodes in your engine (I’m not a car person so I don’t know if something actually explodes if you don’t change the oil, but it sounds good) or getting regular oil changes every 3-5,000 miles? For some reason, we as a society can wrap our head around the idea that regular maintenance on our vehicles makes sense, both economically and practically. Why do we have such a hard time understanding the same for our bodies?
For starters, the system is rigged against us. The insurance industry has long operated in the sick care model. When they only cover services that happen when you are sick, then, of course, most people are going to choose to spend their money on groceries instead of preventative care. That is understandable but the problem is that by the time a person is exhibiting severe enough symptoms that they seek care, they can be well on their way to a much more severe problem. One of the first, noticeable symptoms of heart disease is a heart attack. That’s not how you want to find out something is not right with your heart.
The second thing that promotes the sick care model is pharmaceutical companies. Big pharma is deeply entrenched in the “healthcare” system because it’s good business. Sick people make good customers and if you can keep them sick then they’ll be repeat customers. How successful would the pharmaceutical companies be if a majority of our society ate a healthy diet and exercised on a regular basis?
I’m not saying that all medications are all bad. In some instances, they are absolutely necessary for those that need them but that’s not most people. The United States makes up just a small portion of the world’s population and yet we consume the most prescription medications. That doesn’t seem right, does it?
So how do we transition from the sick care model to the health care model? That is primarily going to be up to you. You have to be proactive when it comes to your health. You can’t wait for something to go wrong with your body to decide to take care of it and when you do begin to experience some type of symptoms, you need correct the source of the problem and not just suppress the symptoms.
I don’t say these things lightly. I understand that it is much, much easier to say “eat right and exercise” than it is to actually put those things into practice. The average American lifestyle is not set up to make those things easy to accomplish but how many things that are worth doing are easy? Changing the way you look at health care and sick care and choosing to be more proactive in your health is a good first step in the right direction.
Stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for more information on how to keep moving in that direction. We’re here to help make you a healthier you.