I was sent an article recently about a novel treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, a potentially debilitating condition that involves an autoimmune inflammatory response. The immune cells of the body are “turned on” and attack joints, causing symptoms of pain that can lead to joint destruction.
The road leading to my discovery of integrative medicine started with a realization that there were tools missing in my “box.” Simply prescribing medications for diseases that clearly had multiple origins – physical, psychological, emotional and socioeconomic – was not adequate to address my patients’ needs.
I also felt I had to change some of my own health and wellness behaviors. So, I embarked on learning about new diets and ways to reduce stress.
As readers of my blog know, I’m an osteopathic physician (DO), and proud of it. This philosophy of medical practice began in the late 1800’s as a new idea of how to treat certain conditions without using harmful drugs or surgery. Since then, antibiotics and sterile surgical practice are regular parts of medical practice, but it remains relevant that patients can be partners, rather than simply receivers of care.
A common condition I encounter in medical practice is insomnia. Many patients struggle with sleep and many are prescribed hypnotics or sleeping medications. According to the website sleepeducation.com, 10% of adults have a chronic form of insomnia. This means they have problems sleeping 3 times per week for at least 3 months.
“What we have now is doctors who are actually better technically at what they’re doing in their specialty than 30 or 40 years ago, but we lost the relationship, when the doctor would look people in the eye and say ‘I care about you. We can do this together.'” Mehmet Oz