Have you ever looked up a particular medical condition or treatment online, only to discover that every website you read recommends the same thing? It is no coincidence. Western medicine, and American medicine in particular, has tended toward a one-size-fits-all approach for as long as I have been alive. To me, that’s a non-starter.

Being in my late 50s, I have had my fair share of experiences with GPs, specialists, hospitals, and emergency departments. I have seen ENTs and cardiologists. I have sought treatment from audiologists and physical therapists. If I have learned anything, it is this: one-size-fits-all treatments are a bad idea.

At Lone Star Pain Medicine in Weatherford, TX, the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for clinicians or patients. Lone Star practitioners believe in developing individualized treatment plans for every patient. Here’s why:

1. Interindividual Variability

Lone Star clinicians are cognizant of interindividual variability. In simple terms, interindividual variability dictates that people respond differently to the exact same treatments. You might respond positively to an over-the-counter pain reliever while another patient experiences no relief at all. That is the way it is throughout all of medicine.

Plenty of factors contribute to this variability. They run the gamut from age to lifestyle to genetics. No two people are identical. Therefore, no two people respond to the same treatment in exactly the same way.

2. The Existence of Comorbidities

Two medical conditions existing simultaneously are known in medical science as comorbid conditions. Comorbidities can make it difficult for doctors to understand true cause and effect. They can also make treating one condition or the other extremely difficult. The existence of comorbidities makes one-size-fits-all treatments impractical.

3. Combined Therapies May Be Necessary

Common sense suggests that combined therapies may be necessary to effectively treat a patient. Given that Lone Star Pain Medicine specializes in pain management, the example of chronic pain works well here.

Consider a patient suffering extreme pain due to osteoarthritis in the knees and hips. The patient has elected to forgo surgery. Instead, he feels that prolotherapy is a better option. His doctors suggest combining prolotherapy with PRP injections and physical therapy to strengthen his weak joints.

Based on their knowledge, his doctors believe that combining all three therapies gives the patient the best chance at significant pain relief without having to undergo invasive surgery. But the amount of each therapy required may have to be adjusted over time.

4. Curative and Non-Curative Treatment Options

Another consideration is the existence of both curative and non-curative treatment options. The former are treatments designed to cure the disease or medical condition. The latter are intended to relieve symptoms.

Where cancer is concerned, a curative therapy would be something like radiation or chemotherapy. Meanwhile, non-curative medications can help relieve nausea and pain.

5. Patients Have Their Own Preferences

Lastly, one-size-fits-all treatments are a non-starter for the simple fact that patients have their own preferences. Those preferences should never be ignored. Ultimately, patients should always be in control of their own healthcare decisions. They should get the final say.

A primary care doctor or orthopedist might tell an osteoarthritis patient that knee replacement surgery is the only option for relieving pain. Yet that patient may prefer to avoid going under the knife. That is her choice. But does that mean she should be given no other options? Absolutely not. There are other ways to treat her pain.

One-size-fits-all might be appropriate for cheap rain ponchos and hospital gowns, but it is wholly inappropriate for developing patient treatment plans. Patients deserve and need customize treatment plans based on current health, physical need, and other factors.