Chronic pain and illness, takes a lot of trial and error. It can be exhausting and frustrating to find the right practitioner at the right time. What I ask is that you bring an open mind but also practice caution, if it is not working for you move on. In moving on, remember that although that method didn't work for you this time it may for somebody else, or for you in the future.
One of the simplest pieces of advice I received was to take magnesium. I remember at the time I was having pretty severe muscle cramping, mostly at night, and my physiotherapist recommended magnesium. I remember thinking magnesium is not going to work for me, she has no idea how bad these leg cramps are. During one of my visits to the rehab hospital, the doctor also suggested I take magnesium. He gave me the scientific proof that magnesium has been studied for muscle cramping and in some cases actually help you sleep better. It was what he said next that was my real motivator for taking the magnesium. He said if the magnesium didn't work that our next step would be injections of Botox into my legs on a regular basis. Suddenly the idea of taking magnesium sounded a whole lot better to me. I started taking it and it worked. Is not a perfect solution and it doesn't take the pain away but it does help relax the muscles. It is a lot easier and less invasive then injections of Botox.
That's just one example of how a closed mind can hurt you in cases where you're not willing to try something. I have to say I'm much more open-minded now. I'm willing to try just about anything. I'm a lot more intelligent and intuitive at finding out what is a good fit for me and what is not.
I feel frustrated by practitioners who won't be clear and honest with the patient. Most are so committed to their own way of doing things that they are not willing to see they can't help everyone with everything.
I went to many doctors before I found out I had a spinal cord injury. I was looking for a solution to the pain and its cause. Almost all of them were quite confident that they had the solution.
I remember one particularly disappointing encounter I had with a naturopath. At first he thought that I had an overgrowth of yeast and I went on the commonly used diet and took quite a number of supplements. With so much eliminated from my diet I did lose weight, therefore I felt better. But the only thing that changed about my pain was it actually had gotten worse. I went back for a follow up appointment and instead of saying I'm not sure what's happening here he proceeded to offer more supplements. He was so convinced that he would be able to cure me that I felt convinced. Moving along to a couple of months later none of the supplements made any difference at all to me and my pain was at an all-time high. The naturopath was clearly frustrated that there was no change in me. So the next line of attack was to ask me to go on another elimination diet. Thankfully shortly thereafter, the medical doctors found that there was a structural problem. I was diagnosed as an incomplete paraplegic with a spinal cord injury. There wasn't anything any doctor could give me to cure that situation. I did, however, go back to the naturopath because I felt it was important for him to know the outcome. I had followed all of his suggestions in the past, I thought I would get a much different response than I did. I was told that there wasn't anything further that he could do to help me and perhaps since I was in the
medical situation that they could help me. I certainly felt disillusioned, but it was an excellent lesson for me to learn; that is trust your gut. What I continue to know for sure is food was not the cause of my pain and I can eliminate anything I want to my diet and it was going to change the amount of pain I have. That's why I feel so frustrated when people connect serious medical situation to what people are eating. I eat a healthy, balanced diet and careful not to jump on any bandwagon with that latest food craze. If my pain was digestive I'm sure I would feel differently about it.
I do want to say here that I'm not speaking generally about naturopathic medicine, because I believe in it. I am speaking more specifically to my situation with this particular naturopath and that time. I have been to naturopaths, and they have been excellent. Let me just say though that I make it perfectly clear that when I am being treated for a condition by naturopath, or any other type of natural practitioner, that is a two way conversation. I will not go on indefinitely while they experiment with many different things. I'm willing to give it an honest effort if it makes sense to me.
Let me tell you a very different story about an naturopath. I met Diana about nine years ago. I went into see her and told her my condition. I was honest about my reservations about naturopaths. I'm not quite sure what she thought about me on her first visit together. I made it clear that I would not be giving up flour, sugar, salt, yeast etc. just to see how it affects me. I asked her to tell me what how she felt she could help me.We had the usual first consultation, and then set an appointment for the next visit. I was very surprised at our next visit that the very first solution she came up with was something I agreed with totally; Chinese acupuncture.
I had had experience with acupuncture in the past. Many of the physiotherapists had used it as part of their treatment with me. I told her that I found it somewhat helpful but it didn't last. She explained the difference between acupuncture used in Physio and acupuncture as used in Chinese medicine. I was going to give it a try. With an open mind, and a caution for knowing when to stop if it wasn't working. That day was the beginning of a very long term relationship. After my first visit, I was a little leery, but in my mind I had committed to at least four treatments before I made a decision. I continued once a week having acupuncture and began to like it more each time. Not only did I feel some pain relief, I felt a sense of well-being that I didn't experience with any other treatment. I'm not really sure when the meditative part of the acupuncture started but it certainly became a big part of my treatment. Diana inserted the needles, dimmed the lights and made sure I was comfortable. When she came back 20 to 25 minutes later she would find me in a complete relaxed state. Many times I went into her office not knowing that I was feeling high strung or stressed and I walked out of there relaxed and able to face the rehabilitation that I was going through.
My relationship with this naturopath is about 10 years right now. I continued with the acupuncture treatments for almost 9 years. She is a very skilled acupuncturist, as I have tried others and have never gotten the same result.
Obviously, we have developed relationship of trust and mutual respect. Over the years I've asked for her treatment for many things. Most of them have been very successful. I'm happy to say that while we discussed dietary options, she never suggested that I do any form of elimination diet.
There have been times over the years when a medical doctor has not been able to solve a problem but my naturopath has. I'll give you one example, my daughter had a tremendous rash it was all over her chest and was creeping up her neck, about to reach her face. We went to our
family doctor and he knew exactly what it was but there was no cure for it. I brought her to the naturopath and with a series of treatments it was completely clear in a week. We were told by our medical doctor the previous week that the rash could last up to three months. She was in grade 3 at the time, you can imagine her embarrassment . She was eternally grateful for the treatment she received and so was I. So I'm not saying medical doctors know everythIng; I am saying I like the term complementary medicine. I feel it's very important to look at all aspects of the self when you're treating a condition. I always talk to my doctor about any other form of treatment. He doesn't always agree but we have intelligent conversation about it. He has seen the benefit of acupuncture through my experience and we learn from each other.
This is a tough subject. I think it's unfair for anybody to say that they can categorically cure somebody if there is no cure for the diagnosis. Number one is buyer beware, even if it's your insurance money be careful that you're not being taken advantage of. We must take full responsibility for our health, and that usually means educating yourself about your disease or condition, without obsessing about it. Choose your practitioners carefully, go in with an open mind, but always remember that trust and respect must be mutual.
So let's talk about some of the other crazy stuff I've tried along the way in my next post.