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Risk/Cost To Reward Ratios

We consciously or subconsciously calculate risk or cost to reward ratios in a lot of our decision making. What are the risks? What are the rewards? Is it worth the risk? A common example is when we choose to risk j-walking on the street to get to work on time. Is it worth the risk? Depends on the consequences of being late and the value to getting there on time. Maybe you’ll miss a call worth a lot of money? Maybe I’ll be late for a patient who will, in turn, never return due to the doctor’s tardiness. How about the risk/cost to reward ratio of choosing to be an amateur Luger, or Snow Board Aerialist? High reward: Huge achievements of athletic proficiency, maybe fame, an olympic medal, perhaps. High risk: Very sad story involving Canadian Sarah Burke who died in a training run when she fell and hit her head on the ground. My deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Risk/cost to reward is calculated in a more direct manner as it pertains to our health all of the time. Is the reward of ordering bacon worth the risk of heart disease today, any day, everyday? Should I do a certain back strengthening exercise in order to prevent low back pain? Maybe the exercise will be performed wrong causing back pain?!

The motivation for this blog began the other day when I was discussing long term chiropractic care with a patient. I was explaining the value of ongoing care: maintaining healthy spinal joint motion, a healthy nervous system, loose muscles and decreased stress. The risk or cost to reward ratio here seems to focus more on the perceived value of reward compared with the cost to gain such reward. The cost includes a financial and scheduling commitment. The scheduling commitment can be overcome: We are creatures of habit. If we build one early morning, or one lunch-time, or one after-work treatment into our schedule, the reward will be enormous. Regarding the financial cost, I will say this: The cost of maintaining a healthy spine now will be far outweighed by the cost of pain control and arthritis treatment later in life, not to mention the improved quality of life now.

From my perspective, the reward far outweighs the risk or cost.

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