Have you ever felt sick for no reason? Whether you’re feeling chronic exhaustion, unexplained pain, or another symptom with no known cause, there are few feelings more isolated.
Maybe you’ve visited doctor after doctor, and each one was unable to find the cause of your symptoms. Then, when you seek out another doctor because you’re still in pain, the process just starts all over again. When doctors can’t find the answer, they might even start to shame you or suggest that the problems are “all in your head.”
Millions of patients are stuck in this frustrating cycle. They know they are not ok, even as their doctors tell them that there is nothing wrong. This all-too-common scenario can lead patients to give up, lose hope, and even fall into depression. As a medical professional myself, it’s no surprise to me that people who go through these types of experiences feel let down by the medical community. However, there is hope, if you believe you can thrive no matter your health situation. With a functional medicine approach to reading labs, you can find real answers to help you live the life you want and find happiness once again.
I’m a chiropractor and certified functional medicine specialist, and the scenario above is incredibly common with patients who feel abandoned by the traditional medical system.
Seeking alternative care can be a game-changer for patients whose symptoms present on the fringe of what the medical community recognizes and understands. That’s because modern medicine has a very narrow definition of what makes lab results normal, and practitioners often don’t take the time to look at the results holistically. This whole-body focus is where functional medicine and chiropractic care come into play.
Doctors who study chiropractic care and functional medicine are holistic by definition. These doctors can help in situations where the medical establishment turns a blind eye and fails the patients they are duty-bound to treat. The patients who most often fall through these cracks are patients with thyroid problems, infertility, hormone issues and chronic fatigue.
How can a holistic doctor treat these “untreatable” patients? Holistic doctors take the same “normal” results of a patient’s lab work profile and reanalyze them with a holistic lens, seeking patterns that explain a patient’s array of symptoms. In functional medicine, each patient is viewed and treated as an individual with their own optimal health patterns.
By contrast, diagnoses in the mainstream medical community are based on what is considered normal for a cross-section of society. Unfortunately for many, the test subjects used to decide on “normal values” frequently underrepresents the community’s most marginalized members.
Getting a Diagnosis vs. Experiencing Healing
Even if you have received a diagnosis, you may still feel like your doctors are not hearing your concerns. Are the treatments you are receiving helping you feel better? It’s essential to understand that receiving a diagnosis doesn’t always mean you will experience a reduction in symptoms. Healing comes from the inside out. Even if you have been diagnosed, there is still a plethora of information in your bloodwork to help you find recovery from your illness.
Diagnosis is just the first step – but I don’t mean that to discourage you. It just means that feeling better sometimes requires continuing to work closely after diagnosis with a caregiver who can help you analyze your bloodwork and results for solutions.
Finding Someone Who Cares
It’s frustrating to be consistently told that nothing is abnormal, and your symptoms are all in your head. There are few things more invalidating than being told your own pain or emotions aren’t “real.” As a mom of a young son, I always take care to let him know that his feelings are valid, and that he can always tell me what he’s going through. So why wouldn’t we apply those same values to adults? If a patient tells me something feels wrong, I trust that it feels wrong. Our job together is to find a solution, not to tell them that the problem doesn’t exist.
Patients who have been dealing with this lack of care from their physicians for a long time are often exhausted, distrustful, and experiencing additional unnecessary stress from the process of seeking help.
If you’re in this situation, consider booking an appointment with a functional medicine specialist to give your lab results a second look. You know when something is wrong and deserve to work with a doctor who listens to you and makes an honest effort to find the root of your health issues. You can find the answers you need by looking beyond the narrow-minded box of the medical community to the world of functional medicine.
About Dr. Kylie Burton:
Doctor Kylie Burton is the Author of the book “Why Are My Labs Normal?” and a podcast host of Beyond the Diagnosis. Dr. Burton offers mentorship to physicians, health coaches, and practitioners on her website here, and helps patients through her website.