Functional medicine and changing the "F-word"
Now that I have your attention, let me explain. Many people go to their healthcare providers with general complaints of not feeling well, low energy, frequent headaches, poor sleep, and aches and pains. After running some lab work, a possible X-ray, and a basic physical exam the provider then does it - they say the "F-word" - they say everything looks FINE.
The Dreaded Word
While no one wants to receive news that something is wrong, hearing the statement "everything looks fine" is also challenging to grasp. If everything is "fine" then why are you having these troubles? What was the point of having the appointment in the first place? It feels as though your feelings and troubles fall on deaf ears when the words "you are fine" are heard.
In our current culture, feeling only fine has become the standard. I'm sure you, like many others, have had these thoughts. Everyone has aches and pains, right? Most people have headaches in the morning, right? It can't just be me. Or, I have less energy because I am getting older. These are all common misconceptions that have been told to us for years, but it's not the case!
The Problem with "Fine"
Conventional medicine is fantastic for emergencies. If I get into a car accident I want to be taken to the emergency room because they will know how to best care for me. However, the problem lies in the fact that chronic conditions are treated the same as acute ones. So when you go to the doctor's office with aches and pains but all your testing comes back "fine", you are sent on your merry way. It isn't until you have had these symptoms for a few years, and now you have fully developed arthritis that your doctor will see it as an actual problem.
The issue with this mindset is that we are losing a lot of opportunities to help someone not only feel better immediately, but prevent them from developing a chronic disease in the first place. Your aches and pains, low energy, and poor sleep are signs that something is going on in your body! Your body is sending you SOS signals in the way of symptoms, but you're told you're "fine" because everything looked normal. You need someone who will listen to the SOS signals with you to decipher what is being communicated.
Where Functional Medicine Shines
This is where functional medicine makes the most impact. You don't have to have a diagnosis of something to feel bad. If we are lucky, we listen to the signals your body is providing and correct the underlying problem BEFORE it is ever able to become a diagnosis. By focusing on the symptom and going upstream to find what is causing the symptom we can extinguish the fire at the source. If we add medication or blatantly ignore the symptom, it's no surprise that the fire spreads and gets out of control.
Every person is unique, and while yes; some dynamics are common to see, people can have the same symptoms for different reasons. Suppose you have joint pain. You don't want to move around as much because it hurts so you take medication for the pain. What you don't know is the medication can then cause damage to your GI tract, which then impairs your absorption of nutrients (like calcium) and you wind up with bone loss, which increases the likelihood of breaking a bone. It could be, the cause of your joint pain was as simple as having a wheat intolerance, that you weren't aware of because you didn't have GI symptoms.
This is how functional medicine looks at every individual. You are not seen as a diagnosis or a symptom, but as a unique individual. By working together in partnership we discover the unique cause of YOUR symptoms.
The New "F-word"
Now that you know the "F-word", I hope that next time you hear it you realize you don't just have to feel "fine". Functional medicine is working to change the word "fine" into "fantastic!" Everyone deserves to feel as best as they can; next time you hear your doctor say you are fine, you tell them you don't want to be "fine" you want to be "fantastic!"
If you are interested in learning more about functional medicine or working with me personally, head over to the Services tab and book your free 20 minute consultation now!