Integrative medicine takes into account the whole person when addressing a specific health condition or chronic pain. As the name implies, this approach integrates different modalities, with the result being a more comprehensive (and effective) way of achieving the healing and relief each patient needs. Read on to learn about five primary principles associated with integrative medicine.
Principle 1: Collaboration And Integration
Integrative medicine is not about simply putting a bandaid on a symptom, nor is it about trying to treat symptoms in a vacuum. Every system in your body is interconnected. It’s possible that your headaches are coming from issues in your stomach, or that your mysterious symptoms of random pain result from a deficit of a particular mineral in your brain, for example.
Within the practice of integrative medicine, the true source of the pain or health condition is sought. This takes a multidisciplinary approach, and it involves health professionals with different backgrounds collaborating to find both the cause of discomfort or disease AND the solution.
Through collaboration and an integrated approach, a number of evidence-based therapies can be used by highly trained health professionals from a range of disciplines. This comprehensive, in-depth approach gets to the root of the problem and treats it through a collection of therapies for a truly holistic approach that achieves results, even where other medical approaches have failed! The goal is improved health, achieved step by step, for sustained healing results.
This collaborative method applies to a wide range of issues, including the following:
- Upper and lower back pain
- Neck and shoulder issues
- Repetitive use syndromes, including carpal tunnel syndrome
- Inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Injuries, both new and old, that get in the way of daily life or certain activities
- Headaches and other chronic pain symptoms
In fact, there are countless conditions that integrative medicine can successfully address for improved health and decreased pain. Let’s go over some of the other principles inherent in treating patients through integrative medicine approaches.
Principle 2: Access To Full-Spectrum Care
Integrative medicine doesn’t stop at simply filling a prescription. It considers and utilizes full-spectrum care, making the most of all available therapies and applying them, as needed, on a case-by-case basis.
Full-spectrum care considers past issues and injuries as well as current health challenges to put together a more complete medical history for the patient. This care makes use of numerous evidence-based therapies and healing philosophies for a whole-body, whole-system approach to tackling the issue. Remedies can take on many different forms, including preventive and rehabilitative. Many conditions can be treated this way, including issues related to the arms, hands, legs, feet, hips, neck, upper back, lower back, and other regions of the body.
Principle 3: Incorporating Alternative Therapies
Many therapies are available to the practitioner beyond traditional Western medicine approaches. There’s no reason to go with pharmaceuticals exclusively. There is a place for therapeutic drugs and surgical procedures, but these are not the only options. Alternative therapies can include any of the following effective, non-invasive or minimally invasive modalities:
- Chiropractic care
- Medical acupuncture
- Plant-based natural supplements
- Rehabilitation medicine
- Therapeutic exercise
- Assistive devices
Principle 4: Illness Prevention And Health Promotion Are Encouraged
As we mentioned earlier, it’s not about blindly treating a single symptom. Integrative medicine constantly seeks to promote health and prevent illness in the first place. When you seek care at an integrative medicine clinic, expect to be informed! You may receive instructions on improving your diet, or you may be given specific exercises to practice at home.
Principle 5: The Patient Is A Powerful Partner In The Healing Process
Integrative medicine views the patient as a powerful partner with the practitioner in the healing process. Each one is an active participant, and each brings his or her own expertise and wisdom to the table. Each patient owns a wealth of knowledge about his or her own body, health challenges, and healing modality preferences, and this information can help immensely in everything from determining which therapy will be most effective, to figuring out what conditions the patient needs for improved health. In integrative medicine, the practitioner is a receptive listener to what the patient has to offer.
To Learn More
This article barely touches the surface of what integrative medicine is and how it can help, even when other treatments may have brought less-than-ideal results. To learn more about what integrative medicine is and how it can help you, contact Advanced Integrative Rehabilitation And Pain Center. We have two locations to serve you, one in Washington, DC and the other in McLean, VA.
Bring us your questions; we’ll be happy to answer them and share with you why we’re firm believers that integrative care is one of the best options available for treating chronic pain and resolving persistent health issues. Contact us today to get started on a journey to your optimum health and wellness!