I often suggest that you consider seeking out a good functional medicine, chinese medicine, or biodynamic osteopathic physician. This isn’t just a sales pitch. I keep my practice small so I can dedicate a large amount of time to my patients, I spend a good deal of time teaching. I’m not here to sell myself. But I do care about educating people. I want you to know your options. I want you to understand Health.
In the same posts, when I suggest you get this kind of health care, I often caution that your primary care doctor or conventional medicine docs are unlikely have much to offer you. I always suggest starting with your regular doc – especially because you are probably insured to see them and might as well use the service. And because the training doctors receive to be your primary care doctor is important. Your regular doc is important for preventative health testing and often for ruling out scary health problems. A well-trained doctor is looking for things like life-threatening illnesses, surgical conditions, bacterial infections and so on. We have tools to handle these conditions and you don’t want to miss them! I read an insightful article years ago… I’m not remembering where but I’ll post it if I find it. It basically said, after that long work-up, if you still don’t have a diagnosis, what you’ve had is good medical care. Once the surgical issue is ruled out, the infection we can treat, the hidden hormone or immune problem and so on, your doctor has really done their job. They may also offer you some symptomatic care. I understand why this is frustrating – they aren’t telling you what is wrong. But they are telling you what’s not wrong and that’s important.
Unfortunately, more and more people are finding themselves with concerns that don’t seem to fit either the symptom care or the diagnoses they’ve been given. This is especially egregious when the diagnosis is “psychiatric” and the symptoms are not.
Perhaps you’ve got allergies or headaches or back pain or a rash and they’ve given you medicines and physical therapy and referrals to a dermatologist and things just aren’t getting better. Or maybe they tell you, this is an autoimmune condition and there’s nothing to be done about it. Or maybe you had COVID and now you are experiencing nausea or restlessness, or joint pain or….whatever it is on your list of concerns, the medicines aren’t working, you have a gnawing feeling something is wrong and your doctor is telling you there is no test that makes sense, or the test they did is negative. They have nothing more to offer. It’s time for a paradigm shift, but don’t ask your primary care doctor to make it.
When you seek out functional medicine, Chinese medicine, or biodynamic osteopathy, the paradigm is different. The goal is to restore balance, or health within as many body systems as possible so that the body can heal itself. Each of these models goes about that balancing act in very different ways, but done well, they all have the same goal – find the health, get your body working how it was designed to – whether that’s balancing the energy flow to the various organs, giving you the right combination of B vitamins and magnesium, or working with your fluids and autonomic systems and regenerative healing forces, the goal is not that I heal you, but that I get you to where you can heal.
Conventional medicine will try to root out the cause – for example, a lab test that shows a bacterial infection. But most of the treatments prescribed are lifelong management medications. Think blood sugar control with metformin, and blood pressure control with an ACE inhibitor. Integrative medicine might be a step in the right direction, using herbs and considering more lifestyle changes, looking at stressors in your life and so on. But there are only a few modalities, and within those only a select group of practitioners, who are focused on your underlying health and your capacity to heal.
There’s a lot you can do on your own – meditate, eat moderately, get sleep, exercise… but sometimes — often, it helps to have someone supporting your body, mind and spirit in overcoming the challenges of living incarnate. It’s worth the time, the money and the effort to get the right kind of help so that you can get on the road to actual healing. Don’t settle for less.