By Deborah Rothman
I can pretty much guarantee that if I try on an article of clothing that is marked “One Size Fits All,” it is not going to fit. I am not sure what model or proportions they base this on, but the idea that every person, of every size and stature, can fit into the same thing is laughable. By height discrepancy alone, it is hard to imagine that what would fit someone who is 5’10” would also fit me at 5’3Â½” (please notice the Â½). I think it would have made a great Seinfeld routine.
Unfortunately, the same seems to be applied in medicine today. Medical providers are so understaffed and have allocated such a short time with patients that a one-size-fits-all approach seems to be taken more often. Doctors are forced to diagnose and provide a quick solution for pain. The patient’s health concerns are assessed in mere minutes, in order to get the patient out the door in record speed. The patient must undergo bloodwork and extensive testing to rule out any grave issues. It is no small wonder that so many people’s medicine cabinets have the same prescription medications.
Have you ever Googled “Top prescribed medications in the US”? How many of these are in your medicine cabinet? Healthcare providers are given a bunch of medications in their arsenal to try for a patient who suffers from pain, arthritis, headaches, etc. They begin with their favorite which works for most people. It is a one-size-fits-all approach. If it doesn’t work for you, or you seem to suffer from every side effect listed on the PPI (patient package insert), you are then shifted to the second-most-popular prescription in the one-size-fits-all approach, and it goes on and on. If you don’t have improvement, you are sent for further testing or advised to make an appointment with a specialist, for which you need a referral and perhaps a six-month wait.
I don’t blame our physicians. They are merely doing their best within the guidelines and limitations of our current healthcare system. But when it comes to healthcare, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work and should not be tolerated! Neither does a “one size fits most” approach. Just as the same article of clothing cannot fit different people who have completely different proportions, a medication does not work for everyone with the same illness or pain. Nor do the side effects influence them in the same manner.
A holistic approach is entirely different. There are many different causes of the same illness or presentation of pain. Questioning patients when reviewing their medical history is essential in properly determining the root cause of the illness. Various individuals presenting with similar health concerns may each have a completely different diagnosis. Distinctions that can be made only by extensive and repeated review with the patients themselves allow us to properly identify the key components needed for proper treatment and amelioration of symptoms.
We have been brought up to believe that our healthcare system works. If we are in pain, we take a prescription medication and, just like that, we should be out of pain. It is unfortunate that in the United States this is our norm. In many other countries around the world, holistic medicine is the primary accepted method of treating disease and maintaining optimal health. It is only as an extreme measure that prescription medications are taken, and with reluctance. But in the U.S., we want quick fixes. We expect everything to happen instantly. We do not have the patience to let our bodies heal themselves with proper guidance, as it may take a bit longer. We want to pop a pill and instantly feel better.
Look in your medicine cabinet and think about it. How often are you popping over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol or Advil or a stronger prescription medication for the same symptoms that are recurring? It is time for you to decide, “I want a better way to find optimal health and stop having the issue all together.” When you are able to do this and welcome the changes that your body will make, you have agreed that you don’t want a one-size-fits-all approach but are seeking a custom-tailored medical plan that will suit you perfectly.
Deborah Rothman is a licensed acupuncturist and a Diplomate of Acupuncture with a private practice in Woodmere. Comments and questions are welcome. She can be reached at 516-203-4500 or deborah@AcuZen.com. Please visit www.AcuZen.com and follow Acuâ€‘Zen on Facebook.