Have you ever gone to the doctor with a symptom or perhaps a handful of symptoms only to be told after a review of your normal lab results, “ But you are healthy, there is nothing wrong with you.” To some, this news may be a relief. To others, it can be very frustrating. To me, it empowers me everyday to do what I do as a Naturopathic Doctor. As an ND, my medical training was based on the treatment of the root cause for the proper healing of all of my patients.
The body has three levels of communicating to you when something is out of balance. First, it whispers to you. Then it talks to you. And finally it screams at you. At the last stage, you are in extreme pain or discomfort and most likely will find yourself either in the hospital or taking pharmaceutical medications. With the busy lifestyle that most people lead, it is often difficult to find time to go to the doctor. So, in the beginning stages, when the body is whispering or talking to you, health can often be put on the back burner. Our society has grown to fear the doctor for a variety of reasons. Doctors can be condescending, you feel unheard during the appointment, you fear learning that you may have a disease, the office is dreary, and the list goes on and on. It is unfortunate that our society has created this outlook towards healthcare.
Now is the time to change that perspective. People should be empowered to take charge of their health. Going to the doctor should be as routine as a teeth cleaning at your dentist once a year. In actuality, paying a visit to your healthcare practitioner on a regular basis should be encouraged and also something that patients want to do. We are not simply reflections of our lab results. If your labs are fine, but you have the feeling that something is wrong, I want people to know that they can search for doctors out there that will listen and help you to figure out how you can help yourself feel better again. Healers can come in all forms: NDs, DOs, MDs, acupuncturists, chiropractors, craniosacral therapists, massage therapists, social workers, reiki practitioners, etc.
Subclinical conditions should not be taken lightly. It is precisely at that time when action towards health needs to be made. Intervention is key. Finding a practitioner that will listen and help is the way to go. Here’s the typical scenario: A patient’s labwork shows no abnormal findings. Yet their symptoms are affecting their daily life and they are unwell. But their doctor insists that there is nothing wrong with them. The reality is: Their body is telling them to pay attention, slow down and assess their health. Naturopathic medicine can help.
It could be a myriad of factors affecting one’s health. It is important to take a detailed medical history and assess their nutrition, stress levels, exercise habits, and other lifestyle choices. Something as simple as adding himalayan sea salt to one’s diet for orthostatic hypotension can make dizziness and brain fog disappear in days. Or perhaps, throwing away that stash of chocolate bars can help alleviate migraines. For the most part, patients that search for naturopathic care are at the first or second stages of their bodies in distress. However, we do have patients at the third stage. No matter what stage you are at, NDs will help in whatever way we can. If patients are in our office, they are looking for our help and they are asking for guidance.
Patients are people, not a diagnosis. As NDs we treat patients, not diseases. We are all unique in our own way which means that we respond to the stressors of life differently. Just like babies do not come with a manual of how to raise a human, a patient’s problem has not necessarily already been identified as an ICD-10 code with a standardized treatment plan. We need to deal with patients just as they come which means to listen to them and create a treatment plan which suits just them. If labs fail to prove a diagnosis, then the goal is to reverse their symptoms before a diagnosis arises. Patients do not need a diagnosis in order to receive medical attention, they simply need the desire to feel well again plus have the effort necessary to get them back on the path to wellness. An ND will get to the root cause of your symptoms and will aid the body to bring it back to its vital state of health.
Have you ever not felt well, but when you went to your doctor they told you there was nothing wrong with you? How did that impact your healing journey?