True Integrative Medicine
I will express some frustration with the medical system based on my personal experience, with anecdotes from friends and clients included as well.
As a junior in H/S I was in a moderate to severe motor vehicle accident, and began having bad symptoms not long after. Chiropractic and massage, once symptoms finally culminated enough to be un-ignorable, was a huge help. However, the treatments were incomplete and had a gaping hole in them in the sense that they were improving some of my symptoms (to which much gratitude is due), but not others.
I saw a number of chiropractors for years. I don't expect a massage therapist, with as little as 500 hrs training, to necessarily know when to refer out to other specialists, or to who specifically, but chiropractors with their bachelor degrees, plus 4 years of chiropractic training, should know better in my opinion. Never was I recommended to PT for strengthening/rehabilitative exercises (and specific body work therapy), but somehow after several years of treatments I finally found my way over to some good ones and they were a big help on my journey back to health.
Just as importantly, my other major symptoms, brain fog and chronic fatigue, seemed to stay with me no matter what, and no one seeing me even bothered to recommend I see a physician for blood testing, evaluation and further diagnosis.
When I finally did find a good one (at a conference I learned about through a monthly newsletter called Second Opinion, written by a physician), he helped a lot, but not completely. He was unconventional. He used applied kinesiology and some blood tests, and determined that I was sensitive to certain foods, and was lacking in methylated folic acid (and at the time, my body's seeming ability to methylate--a very important function!). Correcting these issues helped a notch or two. Fast forward several years and I find another physician who, after a series of blood tests, determines I have low thyroid function and am deficient in vitamin B12, which are two factors that can play a major role in fatigue, brain fog, and other problems. I corrected that and saw additional major improvements, but even then, still had some problems.
By this point I have medical insurance. I enroll to be a human guinea pig for new drugs being developed in exchange for several thousand dollars, a deal I took due to poverty from many years of chronic poor health, low energy, brain fog, etc.
So after these studies my health completely plummeted for months and months, over a year, and I developed new symptoms, in addition to a relapse of some of the old (not all are mentioned here).
Now I was so tired I was sleeping longer than normal and sometimes barely had the energy to do much at all when I was awake. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with my heart racing and pounding hard in my chest. When I'd stand and walk I'd often feel dizzy and lightheaded, and I had other symptoms.
For all these years I'd been looking at research, reading health newsletters, books, watching lectures, taking nutrition and science classes, experimenting with diet, supplements, etc, trying to learn how to overcome these challenges.
I went back to my doctor (3rd now. This one accepted my insurance.) requesting test after test. She was surprisingly accommodating, and suggested her own as well. Finally I discovered new issues in the lab work due to testing that had probably been there for years, maybe even decades, unseen despite all my interfacing with the medical community as a patient in the years prior. I also ruled out a lot of stuff.
My health feels like it's finally making a massive turn around. I'm feeling more focused and energetic than I have in years --- due to treatment based on proper testing and diagnosis. Now, not all of this treatment is recommended by my doctor, in fact, most of it isn't. All my years of independent studying into health, and self-experimentation, is finally paying off big time. But without those key tests I'd never have known what to do.
So I get slightly annoyed these days by anyone touting some miracle treatment or miracle cure when what people need most is to understand the root cause of their dysfunction as well as the nutrient and hormone imbalances and other issues it likely lead to. These all must be addressed and corrected. But this strategy and mindset is sorely lacking, I'd say in almost the entirety of all fields falling under the category of healing arts and medicine. I'm talking the spiritual/guru and psychological route (which I also explored), chiropractic, massage, and amongst physicians (MD's and DO's). There are some rare exceptions. But this mindset should not be the exception, but a rule of thumb, and I wish it were moreso.
I am a massage therapist by trade. My primary mentor in school always mentioned the benefits of referring out when appropriate, but we did not study enough pathology outside of the field of myoskeletal and lymphatic dysfunction in order to do that nearly as effectively as many patients need in order to optimize their health. Apparently, most people among most healing professions also have not. I hope this changes for the better.
Now, on to the anecdotes. My friends and clients tell a similar tale. The surgeons tend to want to do surgery. Most physicians want to prescribe an antidepressant, or legal meth, or pain killers, instead of doing proper blood testing, or sending their patients to massage therapists and physical therapists for the myoskeletal pain that's causing them to seek help.
I've seen and heard of a number of unsuccessful carpal tunnel surgeries which could have been effectively treated by well-trained massage therapists and physical therapists, and I've seen and heard carpal tunnel surgery and other surgery candidates cancel (not just delay, cancel) their surgeries when they were properly treated by massage therapists and physical therapists.
I've successfully treated patients with chronic, and sometimes crippling pain, when other treatment modalities had failed them.
All these modalities, when applied by skilled and caring practitioners, have their unique value in the healing arts and medical fields. I hope all who practice the healing arts will learn the value of health disciplines outside their main area of focus. It is superior for a physician to send their patient to an MT or PT and/or chiropractor who will treat and help correct their myoskeletal dysfunction rather than having the patient become dependent on opioids, or to undergo a potentially unsuccessful surgery when other treatment options have not been thoroughly explored first. At the same time, there is also an appropriate time and place to use opioids, and perform surgeries.
A psychologist may help with depression and a number of other factors. As can correcting gut and nutrient issues.
Chiropractic has, in my experience, tremendous value under certain circumstances, but it’s not everything. Not by a long shot. Sorry to break it to all the overly self-assured chiro's out there.
In closing, if anyone out there is struggling with their health -- don't give up. There really are miracle cures out there. But the best are based on proper treatment based on proper, thorough and complete diagnosis.
And if you're reading this and are one of those people that are still searching and still struggling but haven't yet found the answers you seek, number one, don't give up. Number two, pray. Humble yourself before your maker and believe, for the grace and beauty of God waits upon our welcome.