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Best Medical Care in Canada

How to get the best medical care available

I find that many people are in opposing camps when it comes to health care. We have the group that hinges on every word their doctor says and will not make a move or do anything on their own without the OK from their physician. On the other hand we have another group, diametrically opposed, that refuses normal medical care and will only use alternative medicine. The fact is both these groups are wrong.
In order to receive the best medical outcome, you must use every available avenue that is open to you. Besides our family physicians, we can use chiropractors, naturopaths, osteopaths, homeopaths, registered massage therapists and licensed physiotherapists. The important thing is to learn how to use some or all of these professions in order that we get the best resolution possible to our problem.
Family physician
Whether you like it or not, this must be your starting point because you must have a definite diagnosis. You cannot start treating symptoms until you understand the cause of those symptoms. This may mean getting a complete checkup and getting a blood test to give your physician a picture of your existing condition of health.
If all tests show nothing and you still have the problem, or if the problem is beyond the scope of your family doctor, he or she must recommend a specialist that can determine the cause of whatever is ailing you. It is very important not to let your family physician dismiss your ailment and not recommend you to a specialist. You must insist on a cardiologist if it’s your heart, a neurologist if it’s strange muscle weakness or tremors, a dermatologist, if it’s a skin problem and so forth.
Once you have a definite diagnosis then you have the option of using Western medicine and taking the physicians advice and probably the prescribed medication or using alternative medicine. If you wound up at an orthopaedic specialist you will also decide if you are ready for the hip or knee replacement or if you want to try and use alternative medicine to solve the problem.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a definitive diagnosis before embarking on a course of treatment. If you diagnose yourself on WebMD or you run to a naturopath or homeopath that have zero knowledge of disease you could be in serious trouble. The two major causes of death in North America are cancer and heart disease. Make sure that you do not have either one of these conditions before looking at alternative medicine.
Chiropractor
These health professionals are for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of neuromuscular pain or illness. They use manual manipulation of the spine and joints to repair injuries and to alleviate pain. If you put your back out lifting patio stones, you can go directly to the chiropractor who may send you for an x-ray to diagnose your injury. After that, a course of treatment will be initiated to repair your back. On the other hand, you may just want to see your family physician and get drugs to alleviate the pain. You can do both if you like. These options are open to you. If nothing is working you may see a specialist in acupuncture that can take away pain or a naturopath, who is also trained in acupuncture. Many people do not want drugs for their injury so they go to the health food store for natural anti-inflammatories and pain relievers. If your physician decides you needed physiotherapy, you can get treatment but only with a note from your physician. No other health professionals can prescribe physiotherapy.
As you can see, there are many options and depending on your degree of discomfort, you may use a few of them or all of them.
Naturopath
If you feel that Western medicine is not solving your problem, you have the option of going to a naturopath for holistic healing. They are trained in homeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture so they may treat your problem with supplements and possibly acupuncture.
It is important to understand that a naturopath has no training in the diagnosis or treatment of disease unlike the chiropractor and the medical physician who are trained to diagnose ailments. They use diet and lifestyle changes to get you on the road to health. If you are basically healthy but need a life coach to keep you there, a naturopath is ideal. On the other hand do not let them do any of their office tests for diagnosing because they are not accurate. Only the real blood test from your physician can measure your red blood cells, white blood cells, blood sugar, cholesterol, thyroid function and many other things.
Although naturopaths and chiropractors have the designation, doctor, they are not allowed to order blood tests, prescribe drugs or do surgery. If you need any of those things you must stick with Western medicine.
Homeopath
The Ontario government has just passed legislation allowing homeopaths to form their own association and be recognized as health professionals. It is very important to understand that this profession, in particular, is only allowed to treat minor symptoms. In other words, they can use their homeopathic remedies for a headache, nausea, pain or inflammation of a joint, dizziness or upset stomach. They are absolutely forbidden from treating disease, let alone diagnosing it. When I attended the Faculty of Pharmacy, all pharmacists were trained in homeopathy and even how to manufacture those little pellets you put under your tongue. Some pharmacists are very proficient at prescribing these remedies for specific symptoms. However, it has been my experience that many homeopaths greatly outstep their bounds and diagnose ailments and even use homeopathy for diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and bipolar disorder. If you already have a diagnosis and Western medicine is not doing the job, then maybe the homeopath can help, but you must never start with this profession, only end up there if need be.
Osteopath
This is the profession that emphasizes the physical manipulation of muscle and bones. Once again these people cannot diagnose ailments or prescribe anything. They are usually a very last resort when the medical profession has failed to satisfy the patient. In spite of the official sound of their name, members of this profession are not doctors and in my opinion are much less qualified than chiropractors when it comes to manipulation. Their specialty is back pain and since this affects about 50 per cent of our population, they will never be at a loss for patients. Once again, make sure you know exactly what is wrong with you before you see an osteopath. Do not allow them to overstep their bounds.
Prevention
As they say in sports, “The best offence is a good defense”. That means putting all your emphasis on good health and the prevention of disease. This you can do by yourself. It starts with a healthy diet of good organic fruits, vegetables and organic meats. It continues with daily exercise and a good nights sleep and finally a good assortment of supplements taken every day to cover any gaps in your program. Then if you are fortunate, you can avoid most of the health care that is available to you.

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