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Functional medicine needs functional medicine chiropractors

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Holistic, evidence-based approach involves functional medicine chiropractors

Chiropractors go beyond symptom assessment and treatment disease. Trying to find the source of the problem, or the root cause, places functional medicine chiropractors as one of the four types of medical providers who are considered functional medicine physicians.

They understand:

  • Doctors of Chiropractic (DC)
  • Naturopathic Doctors
  • Integrative MD and OD

Qualified and trained healthcare professionals who relieve pain in the spine and other parts of the body using manual manipulation techniques, chiropractors use functional medicine, defined by the Institute for Functional Medicine.1 as “a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and treating the root cause of disease”.

Chiropractors already have the experience and existing mindset that plays to the rhythm of functional medicine. Chiropractors have extensive training and education in a variety of areas including biochemistry, nutrition, laboratory testing, and clinical skills, all of which are highly relevant to functional medicine. In today’s world, chiropractors are among the most comprehensive and qualified healthcare providers to provide functional medicine services to their patients.

Contribution of chiropractic to functional medicine

When considering the basis of what functional medicine encompasses, it makes sense that the incorporation of standard chiropractic or musculoskeletal treatment as part of functional medicine is an additional and innovative way to treat disease. .

It takes a holistic approach to treat the whole body, not just the specific pain. This is essential because the world is facing more health problems today than ever before. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, there are “369 illnesses and injuries with 87 risk factors in 204 countries and territories.”2 With so many potential diseases that can torment us, one thing is clear: disease prevention must become the goal of both patients and physicians.3

Chiropractors are trained to provide conservative, evidence-based treatment to the body. They understand the relationships between biomechanics, nutrition, health and disease, which are key components of the functional medicine model.

The need

Whether a chiropractor chooses to adopt a functional medicine framework into their practice or simply to work alongside a functional medicine physician and provide musculoskeletal support, there is a vast need in the world and in the market. .

Six in 10 Americans have at least one chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer. Many of these conditions are caused by preventable behaviors, but ultimately require medical attention. These conditions then develop into chronic illness, often the result of inflammation in the body, stress, or lack of exercise, among other root causes. One of the most popular approaches in functional medicine and for chiropractors is to identify and relieve stress as part of a patient-centered approach.

To dig deeper, if a patient presents to a chiropractic clinic with a complaint of chronic back pain, in addition to providing palliative and corrective care to the patient, the chiropractor may also refer or refer the patient to be evaluated for d other causes of systemic disorders. inflammation that can perpetuate the patient’s chronic back pain.

Chiropractors in Functional Medicine: Providing Patient-Centered Care

As is evident, functional medicine and chiropractic are individualized, meaning that patients have choices and decision-making opportunities that increase their involvement in their health care plan. Additionally, they are both intentionally aware of their patients as human beings and recognize that diet, lifestyle, and emotional and social behavior affect health and disease.4

Chronic diseases are the new normal among the population and patients are looking for answers to their health problems. Patients prefer to meet face to face, full treatment education, and appropriate time for consultations – all of which chiropractors can provide in their current practice and are often lacking in the conventional model of care.5

As the growing population continues to seek a treatment different from the acute care model of symptom management, chiropractors should be on the front lines, ready to help their patients. Integrating a functional medicine model into a current chiropractic practice can be a straightforward process that allows for a smooth transition and increased patient referrals and practice income for functional medicine chiropractors. Taking a more complete history, ordering more comprehensive diagnostic tests such as lab markers, and digging deeper into the root causes of patient complaints are all simple strategies to start delivering more to patients and helping with the root cause model of patients. health care.6

Whether a chiropractor is new to functional medicine or has already adopted a model of functional medicine in their practice, there are great places to get additional training and information on how to implement functional medicine.7 in practice and keep abreast of information and research. Some educational institutions and groups that provide this information are:

  • The Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM): One of the oldest programs for students of functional medicine. The IFM offers different levels of certification as well as training modules on various health topics.
  • University of Functional Medicine (FMU): One of the leaders in online continuing education for functional medicine. FMU offers a certification course that allows you to become a Certified Practitioner in Functional Medicine (CFMP) .®
  • College of Integrative Medicine (CIM): Dedicated to providing only the highest quality postgraduate training and resources available to today’s busy integrative healthcare practitioners. CIM offers a certification course that allows you to become a Certified Integrative Health Care Practitioner (CIHP).

Examples in clinical practice

One of the main causes of chronic pain is directly related to stress. According to the American Psychological Association, “Many people report having experienced physical (77%) and psychological (73%) stress-related symptoms in the past month.8

If a patient presents to a chiropractor’s office with the primary complaint of “stress,” further research by asking questions through a functional medicine model may provide answers. Discussing the patient’s lifestyle and stress triggers may reveal previously unknown and undisclosed root causes.9

In addition, comprehensive clinical biomechanics chiropractic plans are enhanced by the addition of nutritional counseling, lifestyle counseling and exercise rehabilitation. For example, chiropractors have long known that chronic illnesses are often the result of lifestyle choices. Functional medicine chiropractors can uncover these unhealthy lifestyles through a detailed and insightful assessment during the first visit. In other words, identify the causes such as stress. Alleviating these problems is essential, as chronic diseases are expected to lead to more deaths over the next decade than infectious diseases.

Raise your level of care

Overall, functional medicine is about understanding and achieving integrative care and a comprehensive understanding of the functions of the human body. The resulting level of care is a blend of patient-centered and science-based approaches to tackling the causes of chronic disease.

As the opportunities to provide more comprehensive treatment to patients continue to grow, there is no better time than now for chiropractors to begin providing functional medicine services in their practice as functional medicine chiropractors. .

ANTHONY CRIFASE, DC, CNS, DACBN, LDN, is the professional relations manager of DocShop Pro. He is dual certified in Clinical Nutrition and maintains an active chiropractic practice in Denver, Co. With experience in several different industries and as a seasoned chiropractor who understands the ins and outs of practice management, his mission is to help other practitioners maximize their time, income and systems. Learn more about docshoppro.com.


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