For many years, I have been feeling like there is so much more to the body and our experience of pain than muscles, ligaments and bones. For most of my patients, I feel silly treating them musculoskeletally when I know that their pain is just one symptom among many and only a sign of a much bigger problem. Sure, there are musculoskeletal impairments to be addressed and that is what I continue to treat but I feel as though I’m managing their pain, managing a symptom, and never actually addressing the root cause.
I first turned toward pain neuroscience. Knowing that our brain determines our experience of pain, I thought all answers would lie there but once I started asking questions about all the other systems, it became obvious that pain, even if construed by the brain, wasn’t the whole picture and definitely wasn’t the most significant symptom. Gut problems, thyroid issues, sleep disturbances, autoimmune diseases, chronic stress, mood disorders, miserable peri-menopause…all of my patients have at least one, if not all of these. It makes their low back pain seem almost insignificant within the bigger picture.
But I didn’t have the tools to address the big picture. I started to attend functional medicine conferences, read textbooks on sleep and hormones but mostly search for a functional medicine practitioner who was invested in figuring out the true cause of my patients’ symptoms. After more than a year of searching, I decided to become the person I have been looking for. In October of 2019, I enrolled in the Functional Medicine University and aim to attain my certification as a Functional Medicine Practitioner by July 2020. I cannot wait to have the knowledge to get my patients over the plateau of chronic pain and into a life full of wellness and absence of disease. All disease.
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“Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.” – http://www.ifm.org In non-scientific terms, functional medicine is the practice of figuring out the…