The primary focus on medicine in today’s society has been on the research and treatment of disease instead of the research and maintenance of health. It’s quite obvious that whatever you put your entire efforts to is what you get more of.
Health care or disease management? That’s the big question. My entire emphasis is focused on creating and maintaining optimal health. Most people have been conditioned into looking for symptoms before they seek health and the means of maintaining it.
Yesterday I got to go golfing and the person who joined us on the course noted he’s had joint replacement and looking to have another joint replaced. He noted that he was going to turn 69 this year and felt he was doing quite well. I informed him that I turn 70 this year and while he chooses to ride in a cart, I enjoyed walking the course.
Joints which are maintained in a healthy body rarely require replacement unless they’ve been physically damaged beyond their natural ability to heal.
From a health perspective, maintaining hydration, collagen availability through good digestive function, natural vitamin C, and minerals like manganese can keep these joints healthy and free of un-reparable damage.
Another potential cause of joint damage involves lack of use. The synovial fluid which nourishes these joints requires these joints to be used to insure synovial production. When immobilized for any extended period of time, these areas can dry out and allow deterioration to set in. This is quite often evidenced in the spine when not getting proper activity involving bending and stretching.
Injury to the body where there’s resultant muscular spasming can reduce production and circulation of synovial fluid. This is a major reason why proper treatment after an injury with modalities like therapeutic ultrasound, massage, and manipulation can prevent damage and eventual deterioration of joints.
Often times patients see my adjustment table in my back room and are surprised to find that I do this kind of treatment. As a naturopathic physician, we’re trained in articular manipulation much the same as the chiropractor. When I was in school, we had dual licensed physicians with both a DC and ND education teaching spinal manipulation. This is an essential component in restoring and maintaining health. Too often the patient waits too long and then tries to try and reverse the damage which has resulted by not addressing the injury when it has happened.
Most physicals are directed primarily as a means of finding disease. I’m looking for health and identifying any deviation from that. My intent is the restoration of natural processes without disruption of these rebuilding and restoration processes. Fever is one example of a very healthy and natural response of our body, intended to improve the function of our immune system. When we try to stop that fever, we’re really shutting down our body’s attempt to heal. I view fever as a healthy response. Those who view it as disease, tend to intervene with chemicals which in turn damage the body and its recuperative processes.
When we’ve torn tissue in tendons or ligaments, the body induces a fever in the area which acts to increase the production of fibroblasts which initiate repair at the site of damage. Taking aspirin or some other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory component shuts down the repair and starts a downward spiral when it comes to the potential of eventual repair.
The use of proliferative therapy, done by injection at the site of damage initiates a fever in the tissues which then allows repair, which should have happened at the time of injury. If you were to get treated with prolotherapy for damage to your rotator cuff or ACL, the greatest mistake you could make would be to go home and take an anti-inflammatory medication.
Although many natural elements have the ability to reduce inflammation, many of them do so by actually speeding up the restoration of the tissues damaged. This is true of herbs like turmeric or boswellia. These reduce the pain and inflammation, while at the same time provide nutrition required for the repair. Manganese is known to strengthen tendons, cartilage, and ligaments, and is critical for the repair process. This is what’s in Ligaplex I and Ligaplex II. Both favorites of mine.
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Dr Briggs is a 1980 graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and has been practicing naturopathic medicine in the northwest corner of Oregon since his graduation. His practice involves diagnostic and therapeutic modalities which have stood the test of time and the challenges of diverse disease. We believe that each person exists dynamically as a spirit being, possessing a soul made up of their mind, will, and emotions, living in a body which requires specific care and nutrition. To address only the physical needs is to ignore the real person, and frequently, the real issues. We strive to address all your issues (spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical) with compassion and wisdom.
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