Older patient discussing integrative healthcare with his doctor.

What Is Integrative Healthcare and Why Should I Care?

Does your doctor belittle all types of alternative medicine when discussing your back pain? Does she seem unable to relate to you as a whole person? Have you ever wished he would be as responsive to your back pain as the random person who stood next to you in the elevator? Then it’s quite possible that you’re ready to consider changing to a spine specialist who understands and practices integrative care. 

What is integrative healthcare?

Integrative healthcare takes an inclusive approach to medicine, combining the best of modern Western medicine with the broader-based understanding of the nature of healing that comes to us from Eastern cultures and from indigenous peoples all over the world. The goal of integrative care is not to disregard any of the marvels of medical science, but rather to recognize that there are worthy components to complementary treatments like acupuncture, yoga, pilates, meditative therapies and Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy as well. 

More and more controlled studies point to advantages of combining methods of treatment for diseases, disorders, and injuries; nowhere is this more evident than in the management of spine and musculoskeletal pain. 

Why not contact one of the five accessible offices of Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine where you will be treated as the complex individual you are, not just as a conglomeration of bones, muscles and nerves? Our superior physiatrists specialize in rehabilitation and pain management. We are not surgeons and always try noninvasive treatment procedures first.

Integrative Care Makes You the Center of Attention

Medical professionals who practice integrative care make you (the patient) the central focus. We take into account the full range of physical, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental factors that influence your well-being. We recognize that you, like each of us, are at the hub of relationships, work and home life responsibilities, and have a history that is unique. 

If we want you to heal and stay well, we do not have to know you on all levels, but we have to be acutely aware that all these levels exist and that each impacts your immune system, your energy level, your resilience, and your ability to heal.

What principles define integrative medicine?

While no two practitioners of integrative medicine have identical outlooks, most agree on the following principles:

  • Doctors and patients work collaboratively in the healing process
  • All factors that influence a patient’s health and wellness must be considered relevant
  • All safe and approved healing processes should be used to facilitate healing
  • More natural, less invasive effective treatments should be used whenever possible
  • Integrative medicine, like all true medical science, is based on curiosity, investigation and proven data
  • Practitioners of integrative care focus as much on promoting health as on healing the ill
  • Every element of integrative care is customized to meet the patient’s individual needs

Advantages of Integrative Care for the Patient

The principles of integrative care lead a more realistic, as well as more holistic,  relationship between the doctor and patient.

Clearly, the recognition that they both have the same goal — to heal the patient and keep him/her well — is reassuring to both parties. This is no longer a hierarchical relationship. The interaction is taking place between one person who knows more about medicine and another who knows more about the person being treated. Without mutual cooperation, the goal will not be realized.

Another advantage of integrative care is that the patient’s symptoms and reactions will be taken seriously.

The doctor needs personal input from the patient in order to develop a treatment plan, and the patient is the only one who can report whether the treatment plan is successful. Though it’s true that the absence of certain symptoms may be observable or palpable by the doctor, it is only the patient who can report energy level, physical side effects, such as changes in mood, appetite or sleeping patterns. 

Integrative care physicians are much more likely to take notice of patient responses that are atypical.

It is of great benefit to the patient that the doctor is not likely to dismiss a side effect of treatment because it has not been previously seen. Those who practice integrative care are open-minded and have intellectual curiosity.

Trust, such a necessary component of patient care, is made a priority by doctors who are committed to integrative care.

Because the patient knows she is the focus of treatment and that the doctor, rather than wanting to be right or to self-aggrandize, wants what’s best for her, she will feel free to be open and frank about her circumstances, her habits, and the times she may have forgotten to take (or taken too much of) her medication.

Do you wish your spinal specialist viewed you as more than a sum of your body parts? 

Then it’s time to contact Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine where we are dedicated to working with you in a collaborative alliance. We are here during the pandemic to meet with you via Virtual Telehealth Visits and look forward to meeting with you in person as soon as it becomes safe to do so.