I was pleased to come across A Country Doctor writing about the interface (or lack thereof) between traditional-othodox-allopathic medicine, and complementary medicine:
When patients ask me if they should see a chiropractor, I usually answer their question this way:
“You wouldn’t ask your rabbi how often you should go to confession, would you? Chiropractic and allopathic medicine are like two religions. We don’t speak the same language and we use different tools. But even though our practices are different, we ultimately work for the same higher purpose, and it may be that our differences are smaller than we were taught. We don’t know enough about each other’s practices to make specific recommendations, but support you, our patients, in your pursuit of better health and wellbeing.”
My patients are often suprised when I can’t advise on whether to see a chiropracter or not. I think chiropractic has an “orthodox” feel to it amongst patients – they are very often suprised when I tell them that it’s not considered part of mainstream medical practice. I have always said something similar (but not as eloquent) as A Country Doctor – it might help, it might not, there may be risks that we don’t know of, it might give you some relief, it’s your choice and your money, etc etc. I am more uncomfortable when asked for a private referral under private medical insurance that covers complementary therapies, so my referral letter is always carefully worded so that I am not seen to be endorsing an unproven practice.
I have suffered with back pain in the past so I do have great sympathy with patients who are desperate and in pain and looking for someone to cure them, but I think I’m too much of a traditionalist to suspend that disbelief and allow the placebo effect to take hold. I’m sure HRH The Prince of Wales would be disappointed in me.