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Being Your Own Advocate When It Comes to Your Health

By Inside Columbia
doctor and patient

As a nervous-system centered chiropractor in our community, one of the things I hear on a daily basis is, “Well, my doctor said…” “My doctor prescribed…” “My doctor…”

While I definitely believe you should seek medical advice when it comes to your health, I also believe you should be your own health advocate.

What does that look like? For a lot of people, especially if you do not have a medical background, it comes down to not knowing the right questions to ask or the right information needed for you and your body. More so, you may not know a specialist who is right for you, and you don’t want to keep paying money to be told the same information.

This becomes especially prevalent when you are bounced around from specialist to specialist with nothing more than another copay, more uncertainty and no change in your symptoms. Over time, this can become very disheartening and the last thing anyone should want is to not feel seen, heard or cared for and to lose hope.

Whether you are looking to get off medications due to fertility concerns, women’s health issues or musculoskeletal concerns — from aches and pains to even more complex such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia —, I want to provide you with a few ideas that can help guide you or your family member to become healthier and to be your own advocate. This way, you feel empowered to make the right choices for you.

1. Ask questions. Like I mentioned above, sometimes we don’t know what to ask in appointments and trust our primary care or medical providers on their recommendations, as most should. However, when it comes to medications, know that medications are not healing your body. They are suppressing your symptoms, and the goal of most medications is to get you out of an emergency state. Then, you can develop a plan with your provider to get you off of that particular medication.

However, in today’s society this generally is not the case. Most physicians can keep you on medications until you max out of a dosage prescribed or you are having an adverse reaction. So #1: Ask how long you should be on a medication, what it looks like to get off of it, and what the overall goal is by being on this medication. Additionally, ask what symptoms you might experience, as well as when to reduce frequency to eventually get off it.  Also, you could ask is if more natural options would help heal your particular symptom and why is your body expressing it in the way that it is. Is there a supplement that would be as effective as well? Many times, the answer should be yes, with proper diet, exercise and water intake assisting as well.

2. If you are a candidate for surgery, I urge you to try natural options first. This starts with consistent chiropractic care (not just for pain reduction), physical therapy and massages. Surgery should be a last resort, not a first. Often, I see many individuals that will go to a few adjustments without being on a corrective care plan. They get adjusted for pain only. Then, for example, when pain comes back, they move to physical therapy, then steroid injections, and eventually, surgery.

3. Seek care providers that truly will put your concerns and your health as a top priority. Search for someone who is well versed in a natural approach as well as medical if needed. Plus, find someone that educates you along the way so you are a part of your own health journey. There are plenty of physicians that do incredible work in our community. Additionally, there are plenty of providers who will seek a more natural approach first, but who can dive deeper without being under the microscope of policies that majority hospital providers have to follow.

4. Check in with your own health and be honest with where you are. It is common to only seek medical advice when we are sick, but what are you also doing to keep you and your family well? A few things that will help is eating a primary diet consisting of 80% local fruits, veggies, greens and meat. If it doesn’t grow from the ground? Simple. Don’t eat it… or at least limit it. If at the grocery store, only shop the outer rim of the store. Here you will mostly find fruits, veggies, meat and cheese. Columbia’s Farmers Market is also the best when it comes to the accessibility of local fresh items. Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day. This includes a walk before or after work or on your lunch break. Moving your body is crucial not only for your lymphatic system, but for your heart, lungs, digestive tract, and activates your muscle tone. Drink water. I know we hear this all the time, but drinking your weight in water each day is so beneficial. Lastly, get a good night of sleep and limit screen time. Your body can not heal and be stressed at the same time. It will always pick stress or “fight or flight” as we call it. Seven to eight hours of sleep watching the TV or scrolling on Instagram is crucial to fully allow your body to rest.

5. Lastly, remember you deserve to be healthy. And, you deserve to have good care when it comes to your health.

dr. amanda alcamo


Dr. Amanda Alcamo is a Chiropractor in Columbia at Restoration Chiropractic. She is very passionate about people not being lied too when it comes to their health, as someone that has had three spinal surgeries by the time she was 22 years old with the end result of her spine being fused from T3-L4.  She lives in Columbia with her golden-doodle Sonny. She loves cycling, hiking & remaining active and healthy.  You can follow her at @One_Restoring_Lives or @restorationchiropractic on Instagram.

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