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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm probably preaching to the choir, but I have something I need to get off my chest. I came across this blog titled "Science Based Medicine" the other day and it really pissed me off. This group of writers believes that only medical practices that are proven should be used - all other forms of medical treatment including acupuncture, chiropractics, and herbal supplements should be done away with. I don't want to give the impression that I am against medical treatment that is shown to work through scientific studies because I believe there is a place for this. I had some serious illnesses when I was a child so if it weren't for science based medicine, I'm not so sure I would have survived. However, my rant is related to this one question. What has science based medicine ever done for my IBS? I started my quest for answers at least 10 years ago, starting with my MD. Every year or so I'd go back and get told the same thing: You look perfectly healthy on paper. You probably have IBS. Eat more fiber. I've sat in my doctor's office and cried, begging for help. I've gone through a barrage of tests and finally I am confirmed to have IBS, offered a generic treatment which doesn't take into consideration my individual situation and sent on my way. I took different kinds of medications for acid reflux, all of them making my reflux worse. The other medications I've been offered have horrendous side effects. And always this piece of advice. "Eat more fiber." No delineation between soluble and insoluble fiber. No other dietary suggestions. I've turned to alternative treatments because science based medicine has failed me. It has failed to look at me holistically, as an individual. So where has help come from? Herbal supplements, chiropractics, acupuncture, hypnosis, meditation, and yoga. At least these practitioners spend more time with me and understand my entire medical history. My acupuncturist is the one who realized that I have a serious magnesium deficiency. Taking a magnesium supplement has reduced my tension headaches, migraines, relaxed the cramping in my gut, and makes my BMs easier to pass. Why doesn't science based medicine recognize vitamin and mineral deficiencies? Maybe these treatments aren't "proven" to work in scientific studies, but that doesn't mean they don't have value to their patients. Okay, rant over. Thanks for listening.
 

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I have mixed feelings. Adding in alternatives can often enhance health and a lot of what would be called theraputic lifestyle changes can often do a lot more than some doctors want to admit (although to be fair it is usually a lot easier to get someone to take a pill once a day than change their whole diet, cut back their work hours, increase their sleep, follow good sleeping habits so it is good sleep, go on vacations, do stress reduction techniques, and start or revamp their exercise routine).For something like IBS where the stakes are relatively low, or for something high stakes where you see alternatives as and addition to medicine rather than a replacement for medicine I'm all for alternatives.However, too many people die because of the divide between the two and alternative practitioners who are against their clients doing anything from science based medicine and too often people turn to proven remedies only after everything else has failed them and it can be too late.Often the doctors who are very much against any alternative practices are the ones that get the patients that tried for way too long to avoid all science based medicine and ended up being too far gone to be helped.There are a lot of things science based medicine doesn't always do well, although my IBS "cure" is science based and the clinical trial I was in turned out to show it was a good treatment it is one many patients reject and one a lot of doctors won't recommend. Anyway, I do think for the things that are not immediately life threatening or maiming using lifestyle or alternative choices first is reasonable, particularly for the ones that actually do have some evidence they may do some good. But I wouldn't risk my life trying an herb or diet for 6 months if the disease when untreated likely will kill me before the year is out. I want the best science has to offer as quickly as possible. Just because it didn't help one disease in one person doesn't mean it can never do anything for anyone ever no matter what. Unfortunately too many people reject everything they think is on the "wrong" side of the divide between "science" and "artful healing".As for deficiencies, they do recognize them, but they often draw the lines in different places and often they won't recommend anything in the squishy could be may not be we can't really tell reliably it means anything or when it might and when it is meaningless because half the people just like that have zero symptoms of anything. Alternative practitioners usually will recommend something if there is any reason to think it might be an issue and sometimes they are right and sometimes it happens to be the right thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think we both agree that there is a place for different kinds of medical treatment, depending on the situation. If I have strep throat or a broken leg, I will be sure to see my medical doctor immediately.But for chronic illness such as IBS, which is so poorly understood by science and the treatment varies so widely from patient to patient, we have to be advocates for ourselves to find our own path to healing.
 

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It was interesting to see the posting Patman put up about Resveratrol (IBD Board). If I was waiting any of my doctors to have discovered this, I imagine I would just be drying myself up with Immodium or Calcium, rather than actually getting at the root of my problem. Resveratrol is a flavonoid laden extract from red wine, similar to the extracts I have successfully used for over 10 years. There are lots of approaches that won't be listed in the pharmacopeia. I am not sure if your doctor is even allowed to recommend these kinds of treatments. It is our problem. Since there is no one cause or treatment that can be pointed to, in lots of ways it's up to us to find our own ways out.Mark
 

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Well I know plenty of MDs in the USA that are "holistic" and both use a lot of supplements from all sorts of sources and do a lot of alternative medicine things in their office, I've never heard of one having a license pulled for that, unless they do something dangerous that would get them in trouble even if they were doing it as a healer rather than a doctor.I have seen a few listings for holistic doctors in Canada who are physicians (MDs), so I think it can be done.
 
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