Root Cause Medicine
(Please note that this post is not pointed at any one specific person, but rather of generalizations that I have observed).
When it comes to "healing" or "getting better" in conventional medicine, I've found that it is basically just symptom management rather than root cause medicine. This can get us into trouble quickly, as we simply take one pill to "fix" a particular symptom, only to have five more symptoms pop up as a result. This basically just leads to a vicious cycle of pills, symptoms, and symptom management.
But, aren't we made to thrive and heal? Instead of just masking over the symptoms, what would happen if we actually got to the root cause of our ailments and worked on healing from there? Can you imagine the results that we would have?
This is the focus of functional or holistic medicine - taking a step back to see the big picture. Our body doesn't work in a vacuum, so when we are able to start connecting the dots from one symptom to another, patterns develop that will lead us to the root cause. This is where magic and healing can happen!
For instance, if you have unstable blood sugar levels because of your diet, you might have trouble sleeping at night because blood sugar disturbances cause you to wake up frequently through the night. In addition to sleep issues, your erratic blood sugar levels also cause you to crave sugary foods, so you start to gain weight - especially around your midsection. Couple this with not getting decent sleep, and your body isn't able to properly handle the stress in your life from work. So, you continue to stress eat, develop migraines when you are overworked and without sugar for too long, and start to have joint pain and inflammation from the food and lack of sleep as well. Oh - and you develop anxiety and depression as well.
Can you see how things can spiral out of control quickly?
Conventional medicine would most likely say in this scenario to simply start taking a sleeping pill to improve your sleep or an anti-depressant, but is that actually fixing the problem? The problem is erratic blood sugar levels from the foods you are eating. But, when does anyone in conventional medicine ever spend a decent amount of time discussing nutrition OR if they do, it's to quickly mention that red meat will kill you and to eat margarine and grains.
This is why I do what I do - to help spread the awareness about how getting to the root cause of our issues can help us to truly heal from the inside out. Usually, I start with what foods are going in your body. After assessing that situation, we look at stress, sleep, exercise, and mindset.
Root cause medicine isn't always easy - a lot of times it's like the chicken and the egg to determine which symptom or ailment came first. This is where I also find it helpful to write out a timeline of symptoms and events in your life starting a few years prior to when you started having problems. This will help you start to see what might have triggered certain things to happen in your body.
It's also important to do certain testing as well; however, conventional blood tests are usually not as comprehensive as functional tests prove to be. I prefer saliva and urine tests over blood tests every time. They are more accurate and able to get the full story and big picture, which is exactly what is required in root cause medicine.
For all these reasons, as well as my own health struggles over the past 10 years, I'm excited to start the Nutritional Therapy Consultant course this coming February, as well as complete the Restorative Wellness Solutions class. The former will deepen my knowledge of the body and how each system works, while the latter will allow me to dive deeper into individualized testing! I know what it's like to be at a loss with trying to figure out exactly what's causing your issues, and I want to be able to help those that are struggling as well. I'll keep you updated as I go along through the courses over the next year or so!
Otherwise, I encourage you to seek out a functional medicine doctor if you are struggling with conventional medicine and not seeing results. They aren't as common in Nebraska, but they are still available! Or, you can also work with someone online (which is what I'm currently doing). Here are a few places to check out:
Kelsey Kinney is the specialist I'm currently working with.
Healing is never easy, but with the right people on your team, you can start to see improvements slowly but surely!