Complementary medicine should be seen as complementary for mainstream modern medicine. For example, we often forget how many over the counter remedies and prescriptions were once herbal remedies. Aspirin, for example, is derived from the active pain-relieving ingredient in willow bark. The Pacific yew tree was an herbal remedy for female reproductive cancers, and it led to the breast cancer drug taxol.
This is why you may be able to manage inflammation, depression and other issues with complementary medical care. However, that isn’t always enough. Let’s discuss how to deal with conditions that don’t go away with complementary medical care.
Recognize When Complementary Medicine Isn’t Good Enough
There are herbal remedies suggested when you have gum inflammation or dental infections. While these remedies may reduce inflammation over the short-term, it isn’t going to cure the bacterial infection inflaming your gums, and something that stops the pain in your tooth isn’t going to prevent a cavity from becoming an abscess. Stop treating symptoms and see a doctor or dentist about treating the root cause.
Don’t spend years managing inflammation while the arthritis destroys your joints. Don’t manage aches and pains when it could be eliminated by the right treatment. And once you realize that complementary treatments aren’t working, don’t wait months to see an NHS GP and then several more months to get into a specialist you hope can diagnose the issue and treat it properly.
Talk to a Doctor about Everything
When you see the doctor or dentist, tell them everything. This includes but isn’t limited to the symptoms that brought you into their office, long term health conditions you have and the complementary medical treatments you use. Inform them of any supplements you take, too, since these can interact with prescription medications. Talk about your diet, too. For example, your morning glass of grapefruit juice could cause serious problems with cholesterol lowering drugs.
St. John’s Wort can amplify the effect of antidepressants and not in a good way. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, B12 deficits or anemia may be causing your fatigue, and these belief systems will affect the recommended treatment, too.
Coordinate the Complementary Medicine with Modern Medicine
If you’re dealing with stress or anxiety, bring up your desire to treat things with complementary medicine instead of drugs with the doctor. You might be able to get a prescription for massages and aromatherapy and a referral to a therapist instead of prescription medication. You could work with the doctor on physical therapy to restore range of motion instead of jumping straight to surgery and/or meds. If you use a chiropractor for pain relief, discuss this with your doctor so you don’t take strong pain pills that end up becoming habit forming because your pain level isn’t as high as expected.
When you’re making changes to your diet, discuss the matter with your doctor so you don’t end up taking supplements you don’t need anymore. For example, if you’ve started eating meat or dairy again to get enough iron and B12, you probably don’t need those injections anymore. If you’ve increased your fiber intake, laxatives are probably unnecessary.