According to our current medical model I am a CAM provider. I’m not partial to the label. I’ve found that most people think that CAM treatments are what you try when the traditional western medical model has failed you. I reject that understanding of the term, and would like to change it.
CAM stands for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. That means that the treatment I provide can be complementary or an alternative to that of your medical doctor, or vise versa. When I come across a low back that is in such spasm that I cannot adjust it without injuring my patient, I may refer the patient to an MD for muscle relaxants, or a massage therapist. That prescription or massage compliments my treatment. When providers from different specialties work together for the benefit of the patient, it is always complementary.
Alternatives are important, and options improve care. PAR-Q conversations are a tool used after making a differential diagnosis that gives the patient power over their own health. PAR-Q stands for Procedures, Alternatives, Risks and Questions. The idea is that a health care provider, after giving a diagnosis, should then explain the procedures they recommend, any alternative treatments (including doing nothing, at times that is less risky than the treatment), and the risks of each option. They should then answer any questions the patient may have. After being given all the information a patient may then make an informed decision regarding their care. Taking the time to explain the alternatives opens the door for discussion, allows better control of negative interactions, and the recognition of new possibilities that may benefit patient care.
I work with many doctors who understand CAM and take advantage of it. However, not all doctors know or believe that there may be a complementary treatment or an alternative to their care. Patients are discovering it whether it be through their doctor or on their own. The most recent statistics just released show nearly 40% of all adults in the U.S. use some form of CAM.
Chiropractors are the most often used CAM provider. Licensed to perscribe or utilize most forms of CAM your chiropractor can guide you to the treatment that is best for you. They may even recommend a medical doctor.