Have you ever gone into a doctor’s office, waited for 30 minutes, spent 10 minutes with the doctor, then came out with no solutions? There are many, many reasons why this happens—mostly time restraints, cost and politics of the entire medical system. What I hate hearing, and I hear it often, is: “My doctor doesn’t know anything!” I am here today to tell you, you are wrong, but I can help you find what you are looking for. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t medical doctors because, well, it takes a very special person to be one. A very smart, dedicated, motivated, compassionate person. Doctors aren’t these evil, conniving villains we can make them out to be. And yes, some of us have amazing doctors. Doctors go through a minimum of eight years of formal education—grueling, exhausting, rack- your- brain learning—and are pushed further than most higher education grads. Why? For you. To help you.
The system is broken. Doctors have an allotted amount of time to spend with you, which most of the time they cannot dictate. They spend hours going over files, finished scripts and orders after-hours. And sometimes they can’t find out what is wrong with you because of these problems. As silly as they are, they are real world problems that everyone in the healthcare field faces. Medical doctors, physical therapists, psychologists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors and all other physicians go through this challenge. We all go through immense grueling programs. And trust me, we know ‘stuff,’ and we WANT to help you. But we are not Gods, nor psychics, nor clairvoyant-ants. We are people. Really dedicated, hardworking people who care about the well being of people.
But how do we make ‘people’ better? You. You are the key—the patient. Over and over I tell my patients that the person who knows his body the best is himself. The one who is your biggest health advocate is you. Even though we are in 2015, we still don’t know a lot of things when it comes to the body and medicine. We have come a long way, and we can say with certainty that A plus B equals C. However, we do not know what B plus C equals. We have pieces of the puzzle, and we are constantly learning about the mechanisms of our vehicles.
The best chance for you to find the best possible care for you, your unique body and your unique condition is to find what works for you. I suggest doing as much research and asking as many questions as possible. And when it comes to medical professionals, we do not all have the same credentials. Our own life experiences often guide us to niches and down certain paths. Going to just anyone can be a risk. First, find out what you need. Find out if the therapy you are looking for fits your goals and meshes with your values on how you’d like to take care of your body. Second, look into each practitioner. Do they have the credentials, do they understand your disease, and do you feel comfortable when around that practitioner? The ultimate goal is to find a true professional, someone who is an expert at their trade. Someone who knows their medicine inside and out. Because, truly, all these forms of medicine are extremely powerful. They all contribute immensely to the health and well being of our societies, and they are no dummies! But if you want that magical experience with a doctor—if you want to truly get well—you must find someone who is a master of their trade.
I also talk to my patients about the ‘threshold potential.’ It is a well-known law of physiology that states unless you have a certain percent, a movement will not be achieved. In other words, you can have a stack of quarters 10 high, but the 11th will knock the stack over. We see this in health and in medicine. You can eat McDonald's for breakfast lunch and dinner, never work out and rarely sleep, but once you add stress to the equation,all of a sudden your health goes down the plumbing pipes. That, my friends, is a threshold. One doctor is not always enough.
You might need to get your spine aligned from a chiropractor, have a naturopath help you with homeopathic supplements and nutrition, have a PT correct your structural imbalances, get an acupuncturists to turn off pain signals and decrease your stress and have a medical doctor do blood analysis and scans to determine location and origin of disease. Once you start chopping down the layers, you can then go down below the threshold into the‘happy’ zone again. I chose to move my practice from Denver back to my hometown, Evergreen, because I wanted to give back to this community. In high school, I was treated with acupuncture by Roxanne Nelson, a true expert in the field. It helped and inspired me so much that I remember tirelessly studying through acupuncture school thinking, “If I could make an impact on one person like Roxanne did for me, I would be satisfied.” Evergreen is a small town, and I run a small business. I work with many other outstanding medical professionals in this town. We do care, and we can help you, but we need your help too. Medicine is a powerful thing. It has morphed a beautiful shape over the history of our ancestors and will continue to do so. Be patient, be kind to your body, and the answer will come.“Primum non nocere: First, do no harm."
Dr. Christina Fick is an integrative health physician specializing in medical acupuncture and functional medicine in Evergreen, Colorado.