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How to Conquer Pain with Your Integrative Healthcare Team

How to Conquer Pain with Your Integrative Healthcare Team

Integrative healthcare is something that’s gaining more and more support in recent years, and rightfully so. The goal of integrative healthcare is to have a more holistic and collaborative approach to each individual’s health, resulting in better overall care. This approach can be beneficial for general health as well as better management of certain conditions such as pain.

Who Should You Have On Your Healthcare Team?

The various types of doctors in healthcare

Who you have on your healthcare team is completely up to you, and will depend on a number of factors – access, underlying health, and goals to name a few. Not everyone has access to every type of healthcare practitioner, and that’s okay, the point is not to have EVERYONE, it’s to build the most supportive and knowledgeable team for your specific needs.

Your team can consist of any number of practitioners but the most widely available and beneficial for overall health include – your primary care physician, a naturopathic doctor, a chiropractor, a physiotherapist, a massage therapist and/or a therapist or psychologist.

If your main concern is pain and pain management you may want to consider any or all of the above practitioners when building your team, and here’s why:

Primary Care Physician

A patient is talking with his family doctor

Your family doctor is an important part of your health and should be included when seeking the help of other practitioners. In fact, many family doctors are happy to refer to alternative healthcare practitioners especially when it comes to exploring conservative pain management options. Your primary care physician is who should be involved in any decision to explore medications, surgery or other more invasive options.

Naturopathic Doctor

A naturopathic doctor is giving advice to her patient

Naturopathic Doctors like those at Yaletown Integrative tend to take more preventative and holistic approaches to health, often looking at how certain factors throughout your life play into what you’re experiencing with your health at the present moment. This is extremely beneficial when addressing pain (as well as other health conditions) as they are dedicated to finding out what factors have the biggest effect on your experience of pain and overall health and work to address them. Sometimes this means a Naturopathic Doctor may think to test for things that your doctor may not have thought of or connect certain symptoms (such as your mental health) to your current health that may have been previously overlooked.

Chiropractor & Physiotherapist

A chiropractor is treting his patient

Chiropractors and physiotherapists like those at Tread Well can help alleviate acute and chronic pain symptoms as well as evaluate and treat any dysfunction or underlying issues with your joints and muscles that may be contributing to your pain. In addition to using manual therapy, acupuncture, laser, or other common modalities they both often prescribe exercise as a targeted and effective way to build strength and flexibility which is a common factor keeping pain at bay.

Massage Therapist

Massage therapy addresses soft tissue dysfunction. A lot of pain can stem from tense muscles, pinched nerves, etc and massage is highly effective in addressing those issues. It also has many other benefits including mental health benefits which play a role in our experience of pain. 

Psychologist/Therapist

Pain can have many contributing factors including those connected to trauma, depression and anxiety. A psychologist or therapist can help address and mental health concerns that may be contributing and exacerbating your experience of pain and hindering your recovery.

How Can A Collaborative Approach Better Manage My Pain?

The various types of doctors are managing pain

As you can see, each healthcare practitioner specializes in a different area, all of which target a different factor in our experience with pain. For instance, depression can magnify our experience of pain, in which case the combined efforts of a psychologist for therapy, our primary care doctor for medication and a naturopathic doctor for lifestyle support may improve our pain management outcomes compared to seeking help from our primary care doctor alone.

Whatever your unique experience is with pain, there are practitioners suited to your needs and enlisting the help of a variety of well-trained practitioners can make the world of difference in managing your pain and potentially even resolving the issue entirely. If you’re interested in creating your own healthcare team, talk to your doctor or get in touch with your local integrative health clinic for more information or finding the right treatment options for you.

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