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What Is Functional Medicine?

If you’ve ever been examined by a doctor, you’ve probably experienced the conventional approach to health care. And for many acute conditions, this tried-and-true method is very effective. But, when it comes to chronic conditions, the traditional approach often falls short. 

Our team at Alpha Care Medical embraces a more comprehensive health care philosophy called functional medicine, which builds upon conventional practices but also looks beyond your symptoms to the cause. Although the term functional medicine may not seem familiar yet — even though many of the country’s top hospitals are adopting the philosophy — we think you’ll come to see it as just as we do — the best way to get to the bottom of your medical issues and resolve them for good.

Comparing functional medicine and conventional medicine

Sometimes, the best way to understand a new concept is to compare it to something you already know. In this case, you’re likely familiar with the routine at a traditional doctor’s office. And this is a good place to start, because conventional and functional medicine share many of the same attributes. Both approaches:

If you fell and broke your arm, conventional and functional medicine professionals would both treat it the same way. Similarly, if you have any other acute injury or illness, especially if it was an emergency, we would all treat your life-threatening symptoms immediately. 

The difference between the two types of practices comes when you have ongoing chronic conditions, such as digestive problems, persistent pain, recurring rashes, unexplained fatigue and the like. This is where conventional and functional medicine part ways.

Conventional medicine treats your symptoms. Do you have constipation? Here’s a pill for that. Diarrhea? Here’s a different pill. Do you have pain? Here’s a drug so you won’t feel it anymore. But your symptoms will likely come right back ― and possibly get worse ― if you keep masking the real problem.

Functional medicine looks at your symptoms differently. At Alpha Care Medical, we see your symptoms as clues to the underlying condition. Although our team includes pain management specialists, and we can help you manage and reduce your pain, we also know that your pain can tell us something important. Our goal is to get to the bottom of your symptoms so we can stop them from happening in the first place. 

What sets functional medicine apart

Now that you know how functional and conventional medicine are the same and where they begin to diverge, here are a few key areas that really set functional medicine apart from what you might be used to.

Searching for the root cause

Traditional medicine tends to look for what the symptom is, rather than why it’s there in the first place. Functional medicine does just the opposite. 

Our team uses functional medicine to ferret out the root cause of your symptoms, because we know that addressing only the symptoms with a drug is a temporary fix that won’t solve your problem. The only thing that will resolve your condition is to treat the root cause. But that takes time and patience.

Looking at the big picture

Although you may be accustomed to answering a long list of questions when you fill out paperwork at a conventional doctor’s office, we take that investigation to the next level. We understand that your body is a complex network of systems that impact one another. Here are some of your body’s main systems:

While a traditional doctor may specialize in a certain area, we take all systems into account as well as your state of mind, your environment, your personal and family history, and your personal account of your own health journey.

Detailed diagnostics

One of the main differences between conventional medicine and functional medicine is in the area of diagnostics. At Alpha Care Medical, we may employ more tests than you’re used to, but that’s how we can identify the root cause of your chronic symptoms. Not all tests are necessary for all patients, but here are a few that we use to help us get to the bottom of various health conditions:

These tests are just a few we may use to discover the connections between your body’s systems and where there might be damage or deficiencies.

When you’re ready to try the functional medicine approach and experience the future of health care, book an appointment over the phone with Alpha Care Medical. We’re ready to team up with you for the good of your health.

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