In my book, WHY? The Question That Could Save Your Life, some of the many factors faced by those practicing alternative medicine are explained. I have been treating TMD, temporomandibular dysfunction, some call it TMJ, for over 35 years. Over those years I have found that by not using drugs, but by changing lifestyles and diets, the results are infinitely more rewarding.
When I began this practice, dentistry placed almost all of the blame for TMD on the teeth and spent multiple appointments studying the occlusion and “correcting” it. There was some work on reducing stress and learning what drugs could be prescribed to lessen symptoms, but little or no time was spent studying the whole patient.
I have had patients referred to me that were taking as many as 25 different prescriptive drugs and were worse off than ever. For patients such as these, I refer them to a professor of pharmacology who reviews the medicines and often finds several to be interfering with one another, and others given only to counteract the side effects of another. In one case a woman in her 60s was on 25 medications. It took us over two years to get her off several of the medications. Upon completion of her treatment, she looked at least ten years younger and returned to a vital, active lifestyle.
Though this number of medications for one person is not the norm, I do regularly see patients with five to eight prescriptions, many of which could have been avoided. In some cases these drugs can be responsible for side effects that can take months or even years to repair. Just yesterday, a new patient related that his doctor told him that his x-rays revealed he had arthritis, but not to be concerned. It’s just part of aging and there are medications that can help a lot.
This is where I become frustrated! Many drugs can be avoided with diet and lifestyle changes. When I treat a patient, I consider the whole person, I don’t just give them a mail order “night guard” and send them on their way. One of the challenges that I face when discussing diet or habit changes is that “it’s too hard to do.” The poisons found in processed foods are going to guarantee misery in the future. The medical and the pharmaceutical industry have them convinced they can make up for their abuse with an easy-to-take, little pill.
In my book I use the example of Dickens’s, “A Christmas Carol,” changing the ghost into ‘The Ghost of a Bad Diet Future.’ Have you ever wondered why some elder people are bedridden while other people the same age and even older, are still working, enjoying golf, travelling and their grandkids? With that in mind, what is harder; living a shorter life with a miserable end, or eating healthy food and getting exercise?
Often the anti-inflammatory drugs used for arthritis and many other types of inflammation can be replaced with an anti-inflammatory diet, which not only takes away the inflammation, but supplies the body with nutrients that prevent other serious diseases, aids in faster healing, and prevents dementia.