Multimodality treatment – what does it mean?
To treat a single complaint, a doctor may usually recommend several different treatments. This may involve different modalities. For example, medication, physiotherapy treatments, possibly surgery, as well as dietary advice and exercise guidance. Each of these will have a different effect on your body and your recovery. Some are stronger, some are milder. Used together, they work better than just one of them. Multimodality treatment is given to you to ensure that the different methods work together to complement each other and produce better results.
You probably already know that as many people as there are different cases. Even between identical twins there are differences. In addition, everyone lives differently, eats differently, moves differently, etc.
Because everyone is different, there is no single “magic bullet” for treating illness. There is currently no single medical method that works in the same way for all patients and leads to a complete cure.
All patients have different needs and different symptoms.
This is why everyone needs personalised treatment. It is impossible to predict which treatment will be best for a particular individual. For example, two patients with the same complaint may respond differently to the same drug or treatment. One may get relief after the first one, while the other may get worse.
Multimodality treatment – more effective together
Today, the treatment of certain diseases is mostly multimodal. The doctor does not recommend just one method, but several at the same time. Well “mixed” treatments reinforce each other’s beneficial effects and speed up recovery.
A simple example. If you want to make a birdhouse but you only have a hammer, it will never be finished. You need a saw to cut the boards to size. You need a drill to make a hole. A hammer and nails to fasten the boards together. A hook to hang it on a branch. With these you can assemble the birdhouse. However….. you have all the tools, but you use them incorrectly – the hammer to cut, the saw to drill – the result will not be good.
The emphasis is on using the right tools in the right way and in the right order! That’s the only way to get it done.
Sickness management is the same. The point of treatment is to “mix the right tools” and methods in the light of the complaints, symptoms, co-morbidities and test results.
With no way of predicting how the patient will react, there is the potential for error! They may not find the most optimal combination for you the first time. Once a treatment has started, monitoring is very important. On the basis of experience, the doctor may suggest changing some methods or changing the dosage.
This way, the most optimal treatment “package” can be found in a few “steps”
For each condition, there may be differences in what to use first and which can be used together.
Thousands of possible combinations
Guiding treatment is a medical responsibility, but you have a role to play too. It’s not enough to just sit in your armchair and take your pills. Only you can implement the diet and exercise recommendations. If you rely only on pills or surgery and “do not do your bit”, you are less likely to succeed.
The success of multimodality treatment depends heavily on whether you do the parts that apply to you. For your own good…
Example of multimodality management
If you spend all day hunched over in front of monitor, by the end of the day your neck and back will start to burn and ache.
If you take a painkiller pill, it may have a momentary effect, but it will hurt again tomorrow. After all, symptomatic treatment does not eliminate the cause of the pain.
Your complaints are caused by poor posture throughout the day. Your back isn’t properly supported by the chair, the monitor is in too low a position – so you sit in a hunched position for prolonged periods. Your neck, shoulders and upper back muscles are therefore constantly strained, while your pectoral muscles stiffen. This makes your neck arch forward, your back hunch and your shoulders slump. You feel a tensing pain in your muscles.
But you can be sure that painkillers won’t do much for you. The multimodality approach suggests that you need to do several things to get your symptoms to go away completely.
- Replace your chair with one that supports your back.
- Lift the monitor up – the centre of the monitor should be at eye level
- Take a break for a few minutes every hour and move your pecs and back muscles through some exercises
- Occasional massage will speed up the resolution of complaints
- Use therapeutic ultrasound to relax stiff muscles
- Use muscle stimulation to speed up muscle recovery
- Exercise daily to strengthen your neck, back and pectoral muscles
If you don’t do it, your complaints will be constant and plague you every day. If you apply them all at once, the beneficial effects add up and together they produce a rapid – and lasting – improvement.
The options for treating diseases at home are expanding rapidly and their effectiveness is increasing. However, it is not easy to know which tools are right for what, how to use them safely or when not to use them.
I write my articles based on decades of experience in medicine and medical technology.
I hope you find them useful.