How one clinic is transforming the rehabilitation mindset in Moldova
In 2014, Dumitru Sufrai, Executive Director, opened a private rehabilitation clinic in Chisinau, Moldova and became the first in the country to provide the David Spine Concept to locals. In this article he explains the challenges in introducing a new active therapy model in a country where quick fixes are too common.
Five years ago we opened our clinic, Neokinetica, and from the start have utilized the David Spine Concept. We have all 6 spine devices and we use this system in almost all cases of back and spine-related treatment. Most of our patients find our clinic through word-of-mouth or through recommendations by other patients. We also have a referral system through local doctors who refer their patients to our clinic for treatment. The Republic of Moldova does not have a reimbursement program so the patients pay out of pocket.
Because the system was new to the market, many did not understand how active-therapy can be useful. People were used to getting medicine prescriptions or using gels as a “quick fix” to ease back pain. It took about 2 years for this mentality to really change.
Nowadays, about 70% of our back-pain patients are treated with the David devices. When we introduce David to a patient, we talk about a long-term treatment plan, but not all patients have the time or dedication to go through the process. Some just want quick fixes. We treat these cases by giving pharmaceuticals but this only solves the symptoms. To solve the problem, we definitely use David.
Our clients are pleased with the system, and the outcomes even surprise doctors.
When first introduced to the David system, every new client is excited because it is a new approach, something they haven’t tried before. They are even more inspired at the end of the program because they feel a real improvement in pain scores and strength. Our clients say they feel new muscles they haven’t felt before and an overall improvement in back functionality. It is rewarding to see how we can help these people achieve positive results.
They are even more inspired at the end of the program because they feel a real improvement in pain scores and strength.
One of our most memorable success stories was a woman with several spine problems. She had immobility and spine instability due to herniations in the cervical and lumbar sections. After having an MRI scan, her doctor said the only way to fix her problem was with surgery, but the woman wasn’t convinced and decided to look for alternatives. When she found our clinic, she was already on a wait list to have the spinal surgery. We knew her case would be difficult, but we told her we would do our best.
After 6 months of training on the David program, her condition had improved significantly. In fact, when she went to have a second MRI scan, the doctor did not believe the scan was hers. Comparing the two MRI scans it became clear that the herniated disc had healed, and the spine was correctly aligned. By showing courage and persistence, this woman was able to correct her spine problems with just three visits a week.
Moldova is a tough market due to its small size but people still need solutions like David to help relieve back pain. It is clear that the pressures put on our spine and joints are mainly due to bad habits such as constant sitting. I hope to see that the rehabilitation market will grow in Moldova and that even our competitors would start using David. This will help to reduce the use of “quick fixes” which will only hurt people in the long-run.
We cannot guarantee results if we do not educate our clients.
The most important part of our treatment program is education. We cannot guarantee results if we do not educate our clients. This is where we put a lot of our effort into. By educating people how to properly lift heavy things without harming their backs and what exercises they can do at home, they are more conscious of their own health. We try to provide as many tools to our clients as possible because this will lead them to live long, healthy lives.