Did you know, Americans spend a staggering 3 trillion dollars on reactive medical treatments each year?
Think about it: when do you typically go to the doctor? For most, it’s likely when you’re feeling unwell or injured. In fact, it’s not uncommon for families to have emergency health plans, but too often, preventive treatment plans get neglected. Sadly, only 8% of adults age 35 and older report receiving recommended preventive services, despite this care helping to avoid later health conditions or detecting problem areas earlier.
Preventive services offer a host of health benefits— they not only improve your day-to-day well being, but can keep your medical bills in check as well. Afterall, if you’re focused on wellness and your body is functioning optimally, you’re better equipped to ward off illness or catch a condition earlier. So why don’t more Americans seek out preventive medicine? Simple. Our healthcare system is primarily focused on reactive medicine. However, you can take a more proactive— and natural— approach to managing your health. Here’s how.
Selecting A Primary Care Physician
First things first: select a primary care physician— and what exactly should you expect from them? In short, your primary care physician is the first line of defense for health. You want to find a physician who will be an important advocate for your personal health– both in preventive measures and during more dire times of need. Should you come across anything concerning or oddly different in your health, you need someone with whom you can discuss your concerns, will listen, and will follow-up on your feedback.
Over time, you should build a relationship with this physician. You’ll see them for routine check-ups throughout the years, and they’ll work to understand your baseline health. They will learn more about your general lifestyle and personal or family health concerns, so that they can offer valuable advice and guidance to help keep you feeling and functioning well. And, should something out of the ordinary pop-up, they are better equipped to know if it’s truly concerning or not that big of a deal. Additionally, as you age and move through life, this physician can help prepare and guide you through any new stage and the changes that come along with it.
If a lot of this sounds deeply personal– that’s because it is! Your primary care physician will likely see you through a couple ups and downs in your life, and is thus a crucial part of your support team over the years. It’s important to choose someone whose healthcare philosophy you trust and aligns with yours.
Traditional Versus Conservative Care
OK, let’s be honest. How do most Americans select a primary care physician? The average adult does not know the credentials of one physician over another, so many times ends up searching the insurance directory for the male/female doctor closest to their home. Or, some may go the extra step and ask friends for referrals.
Additionally, most people who automatically select an MD (general medical doctor) as their primary physician don’t know they have options. For example, a chiropractor can actually serve in this role as well— and, more patients are choosing chiropractors as their primary care providers because of their more natural and comprehensive approach to healthcare.
Natural Health Treatment Regimens
If you’re not familiar with chiropractic treatment, it’s an effective non-invasive form of conservative care that assesses and treats the entire body. In particular, a chiropractic practitioner uses gentle adjustments of the spine, neck, and extremities to help to realign your body, decrease pressure, and provide real relief to allow your system to restore proper function. This care has also been shown to boost immune function.
However, chiropractic treatment is so much more than just adjustments. The various techniques that a chiropractic physician uses can treat everything from migraines, back pain, seasonal allergies, neck strain, tendon injuries, arthritis, incontinence, and more. Additionally, it’s important to note that this care can be utilized at both the preventive and critical stages of illness or injury. Chiropractic practitioners can support your specific needs by taking a personalized approach to each session, and meet you at your unique starting point, making them incredible candidates as primary care physicians (PCP) who truly prioritize a natural health approach.
On the other hand, a general MD (the default option for many seeking a PCP) is usually used as a reference point or consult when there is an immediate health concern, not necessarily as a treatment in itself. Their philosophy is based more strongly in Western medicine, and as such, the prescription of medication is much more prevalent among these physicians from early on in the health concern stage. Though there is certainly a time and place for medication, because of this strong Western influence on the general MD, it is oftentimes brought in earlier to the healing process– many times before any conservative care methods are even explored.
The Wide Scope Of Chiropractic Medicine
As you explore your primary care provider options, a common question asked about going the chiropractic route is what happens if you need more traditional treatments than can be done during a typical chiropractic appointment?
Keep in mind, chiropractors are doctors and can also refer for x-ray, ultrasound, and MRI imaging should you need it for any injury concerns. They can also write referrals for blood work panels to check on various important health indicators. These diagnostic tools give your practitioner a more rounded picture of your health, and can help them understand how to better form a natural treatment plan. This may be a blend of in-office treatment, at-home exercise and diet instruction, and potentially even natural supplement recommendations. It’s important to note that it is always best to begin with the least invasive forms of treatment before escalating to more extreme measures (like medication or surgery)– and the chiropractic philosophy makes it a fantastic conservative care option.
Of course, should a health concern arise that is out of their immediate area of expertise, your practitioner can refer you to a specialist that they see as a good fit for your case. In this way, your care will continue to be individualized on a deeper level because of the specific recommendation that they’ll be able to make.
The Cost Of Care
One key hurdle that holds many people back from seeking out preventive care is the high cost associated with medical care. As a result, many people put off booking an appointment until they are in a much more dire place of health. This approach ultimately backfires for many– meaning that in waiting until things get bad, the care required may be more severe or expensive than if they had addressed the health issue from an earlier stage.
Here again, chiropractic treatment emerges as a winner, as it’s an extremely cost-effective option to receiving truly individualized care. Additionally, chiropractic explores all natural, conservative care options first, before even bringing medication into the conversation— which can substantially cut down on the cost of overall care while increasing the quality of life.
Chiropractic practitioners are excellent resources for preventive care, injury or illness, with a wealth of knowledge on how to keep the body functioning optimally. As you search for the right physician to entrust with your health, take the time to consider all your options. Begin your quest to find the best primary care physician for you– starting today.
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This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for in-person advice or care from a medical professional.