One of my early mentors in school had a mantra: “Wellness must be objective!” This stuck with me and impacted my entire career. And in keeping with that standard, it is important that we have an objective way of evaluating the health and the health risks of our patients.
Your patients are not coming to you saying, “I believe my current lifestyle is leading me to heart disease and cancer.” But more than likely their lifestyles are leading to degenerative disease. Currently five out of six Americans will be diagnosed with heart disease or cancer before they die. Five out of six! People who are diagnosed with chronic diseases sometimes don’t even have any symptoms until their diagnosis. Thus, most patients aren’t motivated to make any changes until they are diagnosed with a catastrophic disease.
How, then, can we help more people understand where their current lifestyle is leading them? The answer is, OBJECTIVE testing!!
Blood work is very black and white. Traditional blood tests limit our ability to monitor adaptive changes in the physiology before disease sets in, because the goal of homeostasis is to keep the blood very stable. For example, blood pH should be 7.35-7.45. But a drop in blood pH to 7.1 means you are dead or in a coma. So how can we monitor how the body handles extra acid before it is too late? The answer is that we assess other fluids such as saliva and urine, as they provide clues as to how the body is responding to nutritional and chemical stresses.
It is important to understand that there are two things that create and maintain health.
First, we must have adequate delivery of nutrients in sufficient amounts, and we must have adequate removal of waste. To summarize, disease is caused by deficiencies and/or toxicities. As chiropractors, we have focused in the past on the deficiency side of the equation by looking to detect and correct vertebral subluxations, which cause deficient or inadequate nerve supply. The problem with relegating dysfunction to inadequate nerve supply is that our patient’s lifestyles are causing many other serious issues to occur that have nothing to do with nerve supply.
For example, most chiropractic physicians have seen more than their share of patients who have a host of health issues; they present with hip pain, neck pain, headaches, insomnia, acid reflux and menstrual problems. And very often chiropractic care by itself will produce some changes and improvements in almost all of these conditions, but yet it’s also quite common for the patient to improve in all of these areas but never experience total healing in any of them. The reason more patients aren’t experiencing total healing from many of these chronic problems with chiropractic care is because they are not healthy enough overall to get to that point. However, when chiropractic is combined with an objective method of identifying biochemical barriers, and then aiding the body in helping to remove and resolve those barriers through supportive therapeutic nutrition, massive changes often occur.
An X-Ray, for example, is a powerful tool for chiropractors to identify degenerative changes in the spine. Now, imagine a tool that can measure numerous biochemical burdens that have nothing to do with the spine. The result is having leverage similar to X-Ray when it comes to maximizing patient compliance on health issues not having to do with the spine. That kind of information makes you the expert!
So how are you assessing your patients’ health? If you are relying only on symptoms instead of a concrete method of analysis, it will be difficult to know what the real underlying problem is and nearly impossible for your patients to understand the need for the necessary changes that you recommend in order to improve their health.
A massive amount of people are diagnosed with cancer and die from heart attacks every day without ever presenting with symptoms beforehand. But if your patients could be shown objective data identifying problems in their physiology BEFORE something catastrophic happens, then catastrophe can be avoided if measures are taken to correct the underlying physiology. And that’s powerful!
You can play the “Pill for an Ill” game with supplements and still never reach your patients’ state of optimal health. The supplement is safer (usually), but often it does not address underlying physiology.
So before you make any further recommendations for your patients, ask yourself these two questions: “What objective criteria am I basing my recommendations on?” And, “If symptoms are the last to show and the first to go, then what criteria am I basing my wellness recommendations on, and how do I know if wellness has been achieved?” If you answered “not sure,” then you are probably basing your recommendations and protocols on symptoms (subjective data). If you are using other analysis, such as lab testing, then you are probably still looking for the one supplement or one recommendation to help address a result of something that may still be hidden.
For example, if a lab test shows a calcium deficiency, one might give a calcium supplement and think that he/she is doing functional medicine. But the lab test does not show why the patient is calcium deficient. Is the cause of deficiency merely a dietary issue, or is there a reason why the body might not be absorbing and/or metabolizing dietary calcium? Objective testing of the physiology, however, can help answer those types of questions.
If you would like to distance yourself from other practitioners who still adhere to the “pill for an ill” method of treatment, and if you would like to learn more about the objective testing I recommend and how you can become an expert in successfully addressing today’s chronic lifestyle diseases, please join us for a FREE Chirotouch Webinar on July 26th, 2011 at 10:30AM PDT - Registration. The information in this webinar could revolutionize your practice!
Dr. Bentley is the co-founder and CEO of The Wellness Prescription, a company created to educate practitioners on how to construct proven, objective, and quantifiable systems and protocols to help their patients reach optimal health. Dr. Bentley has a private practice and is hired to speak nationally to Chiropractic and Medical Physicians to aide in the care of their patients. Dr. Bentley works with professional and Olympic athletes and has worked as a team physician with Indiana University’s track and field team.