I often hear from patients that they are skeptical about coming to me (a chiropractor) for something that doesn’t involve back or neck pain, but rather a chronic health condition they have been suffering from for years whether it be a thyroid disorder, weight loss, GI problems or any one of a myriad of chronic health conditions from which so many people suffer. So let me clear this up now since you may be having the same thoughts.
After graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1995, I began to practice chiropractic with a traditional chiropractic way of thinking, the thinking I was taught in school. I believed like so many others in my profession that a chiropractic adjustment would/could cure people of everything that ailed them: Neck pain…adjust, ear infections…adjust, bowel problems…adjust.
Well, guess what? A lot of people I treated over the years got better with chiropractic adjustments. However, quite a few didn’t. It didn’t matter how often I adjusted them, their symptoms didn’t improve.
I started to believe that there were other considerations which were important in helping heal people and went back to my roots in blood chemistry and lab testing. I realized that to get some of the more unhealthy patients better I needed, as some would say, “A Better Bag of Tools”, because when all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
So, I spent a lot of time traveling the country developing and building a better, more complete tool bag. My background in nutrition and blood chemistry was not enough knowledge to be the best doctor I could and wanted to be.
Therefore I studied extensively and incorporated Functional Neurology, Functional and Integrative Medicine, Immunology, Endocrinology, Methylation, Neurofeedback and lots of other “ologies.”
I did this because my mission is to, “Transform Lives”, and I knew (especially with my medical background) that the solution to improving someone’s health and ultimately transforming their life would not happen by giving them drugs. Drugs manage symptoms and disease, but they don’t restore health. Nearly every chronically ill person I’ve taken care of is already on 3, 6, 9 or more medications. So, while drugs can manage symptoms, they don’t truly restore health.
So, the focus in my office is on a few things.
What is wrong with the person who has come to see me?
Not what is their symptom or what is the diagnosis they have been given, but what is actually wrong with them?
It’s ok to diagnose a patient with migraines, but that is just a name for their symptoms. I need to figure out what is causing their migraines. The medicine approach may be to rule out a mass/tumor, but then medications are almost always prescribed to reduce or manage the symptoms (kind of like painting a moldy wall).
My approach is to say you have migraines, but let’s figure out why? Are your migraines caused by anemia, elevated homocysteine, inflammation, GI tract problems, dysregulated brain physiology from trauma, poor blood sugar regulation, etc?
This type of health care takes more than 5 minutes and doesn’t fit well within an insurance model of diagnose and medicate. This type of care requires a doctor and patient to work together to make changes in diet and lifestyle to restore health. It takes a person that can see that they are their most valuable asset and that they must invest time and money restoring and maintaining their health, instead of masking symptoms and managing disease with drugs and surgery.
What are the patient’s goals?
I need to understand what the patient is looking for; what are their goals? Are they just looking for a quick fix, “some medical duct tape”, or are they looking to get to the root of the problem? Do they want to manage where they are or regain their health?
I want to support the patient’s goals and objectives. It is my responsibility to make sure a patient understands what’s wrong with them and has clear goals to accomplish so that I can develop a care plan that is realistic for them to optimize their health.
Sometimes medications are the best answer for someone based on their goals and how much effort they are willing to commit to restoring a health issue. For most people that come to my office however, they’ve already been down that road. They have already tried conventional medicine which subscribes to, “You just have to take the drugs”, or “You just have to live with it”, they feel and they know there must be another way, a better way to address their health challenges. And they are right, and I provide that other way.
Robert Frost wrote a poem called “The Road Not Taken.” It is one of my all-time favorites. The last few lines really reflect what my practice is about.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
So many people follow the drugs/medicine path hoping it will solve their health problems. Unfortunately, statistics don’t show that drugs are the solution to improved health. The United States consumes over 60% of the world’s pharmaceuticals, yet is the 54th healthiest country in the world. If drugs were the solution to improved health, the United States should be the healthiest country in the world, hands down.
The last thing I focus on is results.
I want my patient’s to get the results they are looking for. While no doctor can guarantee results, what I can guarantee is that I will work my absolute hardest to find out what is wrong with my patients, so that I can provide them with answers and solutions to improve their health and quality of life.
If you resonate with what I’ve explained, my office is the right place for you. If not, then your quest to experience better health, to find the right health care office and the right doctor continues and I wish you the very best.
Dr. Eric Balcavage DC, CNS, BCIM, CFMP