Do You Need A New Doctor?
Be forewarned, this blog is going to be a therapeutic venting session about a how medical doctors often fail to help my patients. I know it well because it is an image I am often exposed to. I admit that my frustration may come out on this blog but it’s important to understand something. This is not just a smear piece where I’m complaining about this one situation because my feelings were hurt or because I want the respect as a physician that I believe I’ve earned. This and many other situations like it are a regular occurrence and need to be addressed. Let me paint you a picture.
Our country is lacking in basic common sense and nutritional knowledge. This is often even truer in the medical community because medical doctors are taught that the answer to all problems is drugs and surgery. They fail to understand or even grasp the most basic concepts of life and health. The foundation of which is that your body functions optimally with whole foods and whole food nutrition and a normal spine. It’s no wonder medical doctors are unaware of these things when you consider that their model for treatment, symptom-based drugs, and surgery, is so far removed from these concepts. It’s not uncommon for me to encounter medical professionals who do not understand what a normal curve in your neck looks like.
This particular blog, however, focuses on the nutritional needs of patients and the failure to identify its importance when confronted with it. Why? Let me explain. I have a patient with a history of and strong family history of breast cancer. She’s had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy. This patient, let’s call her Ann (because is quick to type), came to my office self-medicating with a bottle of wine a night and taking Adderall regularly, often in a recreational manner. She was feeling very anxious and wound up, to say the least. Her goal when coming in my office was to get off of her drugs and just feel better. Overall she felt extremely stressed and described herself as feeling incompetent and unable to focus.
Fast forward beyond her initial nutritional consult and neuro-lingual testing to three months of taking her whole food supplement Rx which consisted entirely of Standard Process and Medi-herb supplements. This is the ONLY thing that we did for her. She didn’t change her diet or start exercising. She didn’t even want chiropractic care, even though she very much is in need of it.
As always, I NEVER recommended for her to stop taking her medications. Despite the fact that I know that Adderall is highly addictive and dangerous and related to meth in its actions within the human body, it is not the practice of a chiropractor to prescribe or un-prescribe drugs. Chiropractors have education in pharmacology, but it is limited. We do have education in nutrition whereas medical doctors often have ZERO nutritional education.
Upon returning to her oncologist for a regular checkup, Ann told her doctor about the whole food supplements she was prescribed. That doctor’s first and only response was to question this nutritional approach and assume that it would somehow interfere with and elevate Ann’s estrogen levels, thereby causing here to be a higher risk for a reoccurrence of cancer. This is where I get frustrated.
I have no problem asking questions about another providers treatments. You should always want what’s best for your patient and do your best to make sure that they are getting the best care possible. Here’s where Ann’s oncologist failed.
- Ann was so afraid that the whole food supplements I prescribed her three months ago could cause her estrogen levels to increase that she stopped taking the immediately.
- Ann’s oncologist failed to recognize or maybe even ask about the changes in Ann’s health since beginning these supplements.
- Had he/she done this, he/she would have learned that Ann’s alcohol use drastically shifted from a bottle of wine (equivalent to 5 glasses of wine or 5 shots or 5 beers) a day to one bottle a week. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines heavy drinking as drinking 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days. Ann changed her drinking habits from a heavy drinker to “low risk for developing an Alcohol Use Disorder. This is important because alcohol can increase levels of estrogen because it can change the way women metabolize estrogen. So even if you have zero understanding of the whole food supplements I prescribed it should have been easy to make a fairly educated assumption that this change in drinking habits alone is likely to result in her estrogen levels not rising.
- The solution to a problem that did not even exist was to immediately question my competence and capability as a physician.
- Ann’s oncologist does not understand the difference between whole food supplements, and drug based or even pharmacologically based vitamin therapy.
- To be fair, patients are notorious for not being able to accurately describe their treatment. As a result, Ann may not have been able to give her oncologist all the information needed.
- This problem could have EASILY been solved by asking for my number and calling me to make sure that Ann’s treatment at my office was not going to put her at risk for higher estrogen levels.
- This is the one that really gets me. If you are truly concerned with the well-being of your patient why would you not call the chiropractor who is prescribing her whole-food supplements? If you have any experience with patients you should know that they don’t always describe their treatment with the accuracy necessary for a physician.
The lesson in all of this isn’t that you should trust your medical doctor. It’s that, as a patient, you should consider asking all of your healthcare providers for a reason for their prescribed treatment or why they feel it necessary to not trust another provider. I would be wary of any doctor that tells you, without hesitation, that another provider is not capable of making safe treatment decisions. If he/she is concerned then encourage them to work together with your other provider and to communicate with him/her. If they refuse then you may want to ask yourself why. If your doctor doesn’t have five minutes to confer with another doctor about your care they may have more patients than they can handle effectively or they not have your best interests at their top priority.
I’ll be honest and say that those who are willing to talk to me are usually very understanding and appreciate of the work we do. Those who do not, often say undermining and negative things about chiropractic and natural health care options as a whole. In fact, more often than not, these type of medical doctors are more than willing to talk to other medical physicians about your care but anything outside of their understanding is often something they refuse to take the time for.
In the end, YOU are the only one responsible for your health. Medical doctors are not the only ones guilty of trying to position themselves and the superior healthcare professional. Ask questions of ALL of your doctors and find medical doctors and chiropractors who are willing to work with each other. Two heads are better than one, so long as they are dedicated to giving you the best care possible. If your medical doctor or doctor of chiropractic is more interested in winning a pissing contest or belittling the treatment of another doctor that he/she may not even be knowledgeable about, it may be time to find another doctor.