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How many of you have ever been to an Arcade and played the Whack-a-mole game?

It’s where you stand with a big rubber mallet and there are a bunch of holes where little furry critters randomly pop up at different times. The objective is to whack as many moles back into the hole as possible. The challenge is that there is no way of telling where the next little mole is going to pop up.

This is basically how modern medicine is practiced! Each new symptom that “pops up” is whacked down with a drug.

Now, before I get accused of being unfair by those of you who have had your lives saved by modern medicine, let me just say that I am NOT against modern medicine. In fact, when it comes to acute problems, saving lives, trauma, and advances in surgical techniques and procedures, I am always amazed by the innovative, forward thinking and professional manner by which the medical profession conducts it’s business. At the right time, and for the right thing, no one does a better job!

When is comes to the chronic, degenerative conditions, however, which is the majority of the cases treated by primary care physicians, the medical model fails…miserably! The problem is not in the intention or intelligence of the doctors. It’s in the training!

Medical training is focused on treating symptoms, quickly and efficiently. If a patient comes in with high blood pressure, the doctor is taught to prescribe a drug that will bring the blood pressure down. If there is pain, the doctor is trained to prescribe a pain medication. When a patient presents with heart-burn, again…another medication. In fact, the medical profession is so reliant on using drugs to prescribe, that many times, they are prescribing additional medications for symptoms, which are side-effects of the original medication they prescribed. After some time, new symptoms crop up and even more medication is prescribed. This is how we end up with patients in our office who ore on over 10 different medications!

Since my wife, Dr. Lolin and I are chiropractic physicians and not medical doctors, and making any recommendations about medications is out of our scope of practice, we never tell a patient to stop, modify or otherwise change their prescriptions. We DO, however, encourage them to go back to their M.D. and have a conversation about the medications they are on and to discuss the details about the side effects and interactions with other drugs. In some cases, we have had patients on multiple drugs, prescribed by multiple doctors, and no one doctor has ever looked at ALL the medications they are on.

We recently met with my father-in-laws new gerontologist (a Dr. for old people) and did just that. After looking at all the different medications he was on, some of which he had been on for YEARS, we ended up taking him off 9 of the 13 medications he was on! With in days, he had more energy, was speaking more clearly, had a better mood and attitude and his appetite returned. ALL positives!

What doctors need to be trained in is how to ask the question, “Why!”

“Why does my patient have high blood pressure? What is happening to their physiology that is making their body compensate by increasing their blood pressure? It the pressure high because the kidneys are blocked and the heart has to pump harder to move things through the kidney filters? Is it high because the artery walls have lost their flexibility? If that’s the case, why did that happen? What things in their life have caused their body to respond this way? Diet? Lack of exercise? Are they stuck in a ‘fight/flight’ mode due to stress? What’s happening in their life that is making their body respond this way?”

This is called root cause-based medicine. Doctors trained in Functional Medicine, Environmental medicine, Naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine and most other alternative, holistic modalities, including most Chiropractors, are trained to think this way. We are trained to listen to the list of symptoms and look for the root cause, or causes for the myriad of symptoms the person is dealing with.

We operate with the understanding that the body NEVER does anything wrong! Whatever changes to normal physiology a patient is experiencing, is in response to something. That something is usually a physical, chemical, emotional, spiritual stressor, or a combination of all, that the body can’t deal with appropriately so it has to shift things in order to compensate. This is actually a very intelligent thing that happens because the body will make the changes it needs to immediately, in order to increase its ability to survive.

So, the next time you experience symptoms of any sort, ask yourself, “What am I eating, drinking, exposing myself to, putting on me, allowing in my life, etc. that is making my body respond this way?”

You can take a drug. But no drug has every cured a problem. How do we know? Stop the drug and find out! Drugs WILL help manage symptoms, but only by altering biochemical pathways. THIS alters physiology, forcing the body to react to those changes…which typically leads to more symptoms…and to more drugs.

If you don’t want to keep playing Whack-A-Mole medicine, start asking your doctor different questions or find on who already does.

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