Next month marks my 30th year of practice in Old Town. When I started reflecting about the changes in health care over the last 30 years, I realized the biggest change has been within me.
Before I started care with a doctor of chiropractic, I had the idea that most health problems should be treated with medications, and natural care should be limited to relatively simple problems such as back pain. It was not appropriate for serious problems. Like most people, I had a strong medical orientation.
My thinking in this area has changed dramatically.
Like many doctors of chiropractic, I got my start as a patient. As a college student, I had a very physical summer job at a brickyard, which led to some low back and leg pain. My interest in chiropractic started when it helped my back and leg pain, but what really caught my attention was when the treatment stopped one of my recurrent ear infections cold in its tracks, without the usual course of antibiotics.
Since starting practice, I have seen the power of chiropractic healing over and over again, with relief from problems such as back pain, sciatica, even disc ruptures, but also including allergies, migraine headache, digestive problems, asthma and more.
Of course, every treatment approach has its limits, and chiropractic is no exception. When patients were not responding to treatment, or had conditions that prevented me from treating them, I tried sending them for acupuncture. Acupuncture was new to me, but I was amazed with the results it could produce, in cases I thought could not be helped. I continue to be amazed at how simple and effective this approach is. There is still a lot of skepticism from my patients, but not from me. I found that combining acupuncture with chiropractic treatment improved my results with complex cases.
But even these two powerful treatments don’t resolve every problem. This is true even for myself. Despite all my training, I could not control my own sleep apnea. Over time, it interfered more and more with my life; it got to the point where I could not drive more than 30 minutes without pulling over to take a nap. I turned to medical treatment and had surgery to open up my nasal passages and the back of my throat. This treatment gave great relief, but it only lasted a few months. It wasn’t until I went to a course on applied nutrition that I got some answers. I was exposed to the idea of gluten sensitivity, when our bodies react to the proteins in wheat, short of a full-blown allergy but serious nonetheless. Eliminating gluten from my diet, and using some natural supplements, has nearly eliminated the problem.
Of course, I use applied nutrition with my patients, along with chiropractic and acupuncture. This combination has allowed me to treat a full range of health problems, conditions I would not have thought appropriate for natural health care at all.
If a patient is skeptical when I mention that perhaps their blood pressure or diabetes would respond to natural health care, I understand where they are coming from. It took me years to grasp the power behind unleashing the body’s own healing, without drugs or surgery. I have hope that over my next 30 years of practice, there will be true health care reform, where natural health care is the first kind of treatment we go to, not the last.
Dr. Michael Noonan practices chiropractic, chiropractic acupuncture and other wellness therapies in Old Town. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.