The 5 Wrong Medical Questions Patients Ask Doctors

Patients are characteristically curious, and often have a variety of questions to ask their practitioner before, during and after their appointments. However, in our conventionally-inclined world, patients have been ingrained with questions that don’t necessarily prompt the answers they should be looking for – answers that will truly help them get to the bottom of what is causing them to feel sick, and the steps they need to take to regain health. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 wrong medical questions patients ask their doctors, along with the questions they should be asking.

The 5 Wrong Questions Patients Ask Doctors

1. What’s My Diagnosis?

While this isn’t necessarily a bad question, it isn’t the best one either. When a patient asks this question, it prompts a practitioner to note the one disease or the one condition that groups them into a category along with everyone else with the same diagnosis. To group large amounts of patients into a particular diagnosis without addressing the multitude of differences of why they have their respective health issues is not only shortsighted, but extremely limiting in terms of the results each patient will experience. While one patient’s Diabetes may be caused by stress, another patient’s Diabetes may be caused by diet and genetics. To prescribe the exact same treatment protocol does virtually nothing to address their underlying causes and unique circumstances.

“A diagnosis is a name given to a constellation of symptoms that present themselves in unhealthy individuals. While a diagnosis can be critical in many acute conditions where life or death decisions need to be made based on correctly identifying the causative agent, it proves less valuable in chronic illness where the causes are multifactorial and multidimensional, and where a diagnosis often can blind the practitioner to addressing all the underlying root factors that lead to chronic illness. This is where a truly powerful integrative approach that addresses the myriad of factors that underlie our long term health needs to be employed in order to heal chronic illness and truly bring back balance and wellbeing.”

Mark Iwanicki, ND

Another reason this question is essentially irrelevant is that a patient may be diagnosed with a disease that turns out to be completely inaccurate. Misdiagnosis is an unfortunate reality that both practitioners and patients face on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, according to a recent study published in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety, it was determined that each year, approximately 12 million U.S. adults who seek outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed (source). This figure amounts to 1 out of 20 patients!

Therefore, the right question patients should be asking is “Why do I have these health issues?”

Focusing on what is causing a particular disease or condition is far more important than the actual diagnosis itself. Understanding the underlying dysfunction(s), which may range from deep-seeded emotional trauma to geopathic stress to heavy metal toxicity and beyond, is a critical preliminary component to medical treatment. Only when underlying causes and a patients unique needs are taken into consideration is it possible to formulate a treatment plan that can address the heart of the condition, and ultimately reverse it for good.

2. What’s the General Treatment Protocol for {Insert Diagnosis}?

This is a common one that so many patients get wrong, but the good news is that the days of blanket protocols and generalized treatment plans based on diagnosis alone are coming to an end. With the spread of complex conditions such as Lyme disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia, a more holistic and personalized approach is absolutely necessary over a generalized protocol. Providing each and every patient with the same treatment plan based on diagnosis becomes a bit of a guessing game, and fails to account for the individual’s underlying conditions, whether it be their environment, toxic exposures, spiritual state, etc.

To provide an example, consider two patients suffering from Lyme disease. The conventional approach would be to provide both patients with the same treatment protocol, which disregards all aspects of the patient beyond the diagnosis. One patient may get better, while the other may experience no increase whatsoever in their state of health. This is because no two patients are the same, and the reason they each have Lyme Disease is far more important than the diagnosis itself. This vast fluctuation in results happens all too often, and is due to the fact that generalized treatment protocols based on diagnosis alone are tremendously ineffective.

The question patients should be asking is “What’s my personalized treatment plan to restore health?”

As we mentioned previously, every patient is incredibly unique, and this simple fact is rarely taken into account. From genetics, to emotional traumas, diet and lifestyle, and so on and so forth, no two people are the same – regardless of diagnosis. To elaborate on the Lyme Disease example above, with the Innovative Medicine approach, each patient would be specially evaluated to uncover the root cause of their dysfunction, which may be anything from multiple co-infections, to heavy metal toxicity or a compromised immune system. Upon identifying these unique underlying factors, each patient would be provided a completely personalized treatment plan – no two the same – incorporating a very comprehensive suite of therapies and medicines best suited for the individual patient. No more guessing, no more failed attempts at treatment. Specific and tailored treatment protocols are the way of the future.

3. How Can I Manage my Symptoms/Disease?

The goal of any medical treatment should not be management or lifelong intervention, but to fully restore self-healing mechanisms that are innate in each of us. To compare this to another real world experience, managing a disease would be like managing debt. While taking loans and transferring funds between accounts may keep you afloat for a little while, without fundamentally changing spending habits and sources of income, debt will never go away.

Think of it this way – how many times have you gone to the Doctor exhibiting a certain symptom – a migraine for example – where a prescription provided a seemingly effective and immediate solution? However, days or months later, there you are again, suffering from the same exact complaint. When a patient’s symptoms are the only aspect being addressed, while this may serve as a short-term fix, the underlying causes are not being acknowledged. While a quick fix may seem appealing at the time, in reality, this temporary method of symptom management is simply not conducive to sustainable health, and leads to a lifelong reliance on medication or intervention.

To prompt an advantageous answer, patients should really ask their Doctor “How can I restore health and self manage myself?”

One of the first steps in being able to unleash the self-healing potential that every patient is capable of is to go beyond the surface-level symptoms, and take a deep dive into the human body to uncover where the distress is actually coming from. By targeting systems and organs where underlying dysfunctions first occur, rather than surface-level individual symptoms, practitioners and patients have found greater long-term results with a systemic approach to healing. This simplified, logical manner of treatment not only regulates and restores proper functioning of systems/organs of the body, but simultaneously relieves symptoms that are exhibiting because of underlying dysfunctions.

4. What’s the Fastest Way to Relieve My Symptoms?

In the fast-paced society we live in, countless people rely on fast internet, fast cars, fast food, fast service, and fast results. However, health does not fit into this fast-paced model. Again, the quickest way to “feel better” would be to suppress symptoms, which should not be the goal. Rather, treatment and complete restoration of health should be a long-term investment. What is the point of quickly suppressing a symptom that is really just an out-cause of a deeper underlying issue, if that issue is still there and will most likely resurface at a later time as something potentially much worse?

In actuality, a chronic disease may have taken many, many years to form – maybe even decades. To restore health properly, it would take more than one dose of medication or a single treatment to reverse a downward spiral that has been in motion for years.

The question patients should be asking is “What is the best, most effective and sustainable way to relieve my symptoms?”

To realistically reverse a chronic condition that a patient may have been suffering from for many years takes time, and sometimes a complete overhaul of body, mind and spirit. As we’ve explained, we need not to fixate on the short term alleviation of symptoms, but the long term aspect of sustainable health, which requires patience and perseverance.

In an article by Michael Finkelstein, MD, in which he interviews Kenneth R. Pelletier, Ph.D., M.D. (clinical professor at the University of Arizona School of Medicine), the importance of a systematic -albeit slower- approach to healing is discussed:

“We need to realize that we need a longer-term view. We need a slower model of healing, because systems don’t change overnight. You don’t take an aspirin and get rid of your headache within 30 minutes. Headaches are persistent. It may take weeks of changes that take place. So it’s a slower, more systemic approach, but the result is a healthy system.
The objective is not an end to a particular symptom, although that symptom will resolve in process. Instead, the approach is to modify the entire system, not just to address a particular symptom.”

Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, MD

5. What Specialty is Right for Me?

Western medicine has taken a reductionist approach. Specialties have been devised, not only by system, but by organ, function, body part, cellular activity, and just about every other way one could think about dividing up the body and its functions. While this has enabled us to make great advances in specific areas, something critical has been lost – the true holistic perspective of how these parts fit together and work as a whole.

Consequently, with separation of the body’s systems and specialties that enable expertise in smaller and smaller areas, patients are often offered a very limited scope of treatment options. One specialist might recommend a specific, compelling treatment, but what about the full array of options the world has to offer?

The right question patients should ask is “What combined specialties are right for me?”

The Innovative Medicine way is to combine the most effective treatments and medicines from the complete medical spectrum and tailor administration to each individual patient. To put this into simpler terms, think of a philharmonic orchestra. Consisting of 20-40 different instruments, an orchestra utilizes a comprehensive approach that is skillfully organized. And while any one instrument is capable of playing music on its own, it is the combined and carefully guided approach that allows for a beautiful symphony to shine. Medical treatments can be viewed in a similar fashion – why limit patients to just one or a few treatment options?

An integrated approach, one that combines all viable medical options from around the world – from spiritual, conventional, biological and beyond – paves the way for limitless healing opportunity.

What are the Benefits of Asking the Right Questions?

When patients are equipped with the right questions, they will receive the right answers. Answers that will pave the way for unleashing self-healing capabilities, and ultimately long-term, sustainable results. The Innovative Medicine way requires a certain level of personalization and specificity, with the understanding that a deeper analysis of underlying dysfunction is the key to success. By replacing generalized protocols, searching for root cause dysfunctions, and utilizing an array of advanced, sophisticated therapies, optimal health is able to be restored and sustained. Clinically applied at the New York Center for Innovative Medicine, this approach to healing has achieved stellar results.

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