The current US healthcare model for the musculoskeletal system is inefficient, ineffective and fundamentally has the wrong focus. With the exception of a few serious diseases like multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy or rheumatoid arthritis, the majority of musculoskeletal conditions ARE NOT diseases or pathological conditions at all.
Yet the current US healthcare model for the musculoskeletal system erroneously attempts to “label” each musculoskeletal episode as a disease or pathological condition and then proceeds to treat the individual acute episode with “tools” designed for diseases and pathological conditions, medication and surgery. Medications used for musculoskeletal complaints are typically aimed at the symptoms (pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, etc.) and do little to address the cause of the problem.
“In spite of advances in technology, improved pharmacology and “technical” success rates of new surgical procedures, the cost and disability associated with musculoskeletal conditions in the United States continues to rise at an alarming rate”
(Richard Deyo, MD, PhD. J Am Board Fam Med 2009;22:62– 68.).
“Success” in the current system tends to be when a patient is out of pain, or is able to return to some acceptable level of function at work and/or home. This definition of success leaves the patient at risk of inappropriate tissue adaptations that can lead to reoccurrence or worsening of the problem.
Continued tissue degeneration will ultimately lead to tissue / structural failure and significant suffering and cost. Is it really the “tissue” that has failed this patient or the current model of addressing musculoskeletal complaints?