What exactly is a functional medicine doctor? How will that benefit me?
Functional medicine doctors are trained like any other doctor, but with added training in holistic medicine. One of their goals is to get to the root of the issue — what’s causing the disease — and not just treat the symptoms.
These doctors are patient-oriented and spend a good amount of time with their patients. They actually take the time to listen and gather information about a patient’s history, including genetic predispositions, environmental factors and lifestyle, all of which can influence long-term health. They take each person as an individual, not a disease.
I want to be seen as a whole person, not just a set of symptoms, don’t you?
Most doctors are just not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of chronic diseases such as fibromyalgia, and how to apply life-altering strategies like nutrition, supplementation and exercise to treat and improve these illnesses in their patients.
Unfortunately, mainstream doctors get very little training in medical school regarding nutrition. This is regrettable because what you eat really does matter. In my experience, they also don’t run enough of the right kinds of tests. For example, to determine thyroid health a doctor typically tests your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. Functional medicine doctors will check that plus t3 and t4, and more. Their goal is to get a more complete picture so that they can determine the best course of treatment. We are not cookie-cutter patients. Our symptoms, history, etc., are very different.
My experience has been amazing and I know it will change things for me. I will always have fibromyalgia, but some of the suggested modalities and changes in my diet will improve my quality of life. My first visit to a functional medicine doctor was an hour long. She was thorough with my history and answered all my questions. She ordered about a dozen blood tests. She picked up on things that my previous doctor missed. You can do only so much in a 15-minute doctor visit, which is typical of mainstream doctors in my experience.
I am currently doing an elimination diet to find out what foods are triggers for me. No sugar, although I can have raw honey, pure maple syrup and agave. The only grains I can have are quinoa and rice. Lots of veggies, fruit and wild-caught fish. Clean meat, but no red meat. No eggs or soy and no dairy. I use almond milk. This is a 21-day diet, and then we will slowly add back in foods to see how my body reacts.
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.