Concave and convex risk taking are concepts from quantitative finance, and are discussed throughout Nicolas Nassim Taleb’s books, his most recent being Antifragility. In essence a convex risk is one where the downside risks are limited and the upside benefits unlimited.Risks- Convex

Concave risk curves are ones where the potential benefit is limited but the downside risks are unlimited. Risks- Concave

In essence when it comes to risk taking, you want more convex risk profiles and less concave ones. In reality many decisions in life on a personal or on a larger institutional level are not 100% convex or concave, but the general trend and outlook should indicate whether the potential risks are large versus small, and whether the potential benefits are limited versus extensive.

So how does this apply to medicine and your own personal musculoskeletal health? For starters, when you decide on what course of care you will take for your arthritis, tendinitis, or other musculoskeletal issues, it is essential to understand the true risks and benefits involved in the course of care you chose. For example, if knee replacement surgery can provide a moderate degree of pain relief but has rare catastrophic risks associated with heart attacks, strokes, anesthsia complications, and other more common risks such as blood clots, metal allergic reactions, and limited pain relief, that would be classified as concave risk taking; the sort of option that while potentially helpful, has much greater risks than other options. Alternatively, using your own bone marrow aspirate concentrate stem cell treatment has limited risks based on multiple published studies including from the Regenexx network, and good benefit that is relatively equivalent to knee replacement surgery. In this case the biologic treatment has a relatively more convex risk profile compared to surgery, limited risk with good upside potential.

The treatment approach you take to your own health should fit with your own personal risk profile towards life. Assuming you prefer limited risks to high risks for conditions that are painful but not immediately life threatening, then you should choose treatment options that fit with that same approach. In other words, first off do everything you can with exercise therapy and healthy joint supplements to treat your arthritis and tendinitis. But if that is inadequate, then your next option should be a needle based biologic treatment with your own bone marrow aspirate concentrate stem cells and platelets rather than risky surgeries that require amputating your joint and other tissues. Be smart with your own health. Do your own reading into what works and choose the procedures that offer you the best potential results with the least risks. That’s being smart about your own health and risk taking.


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