Alleviating Pain: Without Medication
Jun 26, 2013 11:38AM
By Megy Karydes
Dr. Kim Martin
Many Americans suffer from chronic conditions, including headaches and migraines, arthritis, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease and diabetes. Others are in constant pain due to a herniated disc, failed back surgeries or carpel tunnel syndrome. Although they are chronic, sometimes we may feel that symptoms aren’t severe enough to merit a doctor’s visit or we simply accept them as a signal that we’re getting older.
Dr. Kim Martin, a chiropractor at Northbrook-based North Shore Health Solutions, asserts that we don’t need to live this way, and while the solution may not be apparent at first, finding the root cause of our aches can provide great relief and allow us to enjoy life more fully.
“We have a saying hung up in our office that reads, ‘They don’t make one pill to a bottle,’” says Martin. The meaning is that many patients go to the doctor and get a pill. The pill may work and the patient feels better for about three months, but then they feel sick again, so they think the pill didn’t work and they are back. It’s a cycle from which many cannot break away and one that American pharmaceutical companies are all too willing to support, she explains.
Martin is certified in functional medicine and practices it at her clinic, choosing not to use drugs as a form of treating patients. Instead, she looks at the overall picture, not just the immediate symptoms, to narrow down possible causes. “I’m looking to see where all of the puzzle pieces fit within the larger picture,” she says. “It’s a case of what comes first, the chicken or the egg? Sometimes you don’t know, and you need to look at things from a different perspective.”
For example, when someone comes to see her complaining of stomach pains, it may be related to the stomach, but it also might be the pancreas or low blood sugar, “all of which could be due to toxicity in their bodies,” she adds.
Martin performs comprehensive metabolic and neurological exams with her patients, and through a series of tests, they work together to pinpoint the problem, rather than just mask the pain using medicine. “The metabolic exam is a blood test that tells me your sugar (glucose) level, as well as your kidney and liver function,” says Martin. “In many cases, you may even feel fine, but the results from these tests may show something different that we need to address now so it doesn’t worsen as time passes.”
More often than not, diet is to blame, she says. “If you look at the food pyramid from the 1970s, you’ll notice that the same diet make-up is what farmers used to fatten up their cows and pigs before they were slaughtered,” says Martin. She sees a direct correlation between what we eat today and the increase in adults with Type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. “You have to be careful about what you eat, because what we put into our bodies affects our brain,” she adds.
The positive news is that many of our aches and pains can be eliminated through proper nutrition, exercise and nutritional supplements, rather than more trips to the pharmacist. Simple things, like adding more water to our diet, can be a great start. “Most people are dehydrated, and that affects our brain, since the brain is 70 percent water,” notes Martin. “People need at least half their body weight in ounces of water. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking at least 75 ounces of water each day.”
Martin realizes that it isn’t always easy for patients to take a proactive approach to their health by monitoring their eating habits, but it’s crucial for both their health and well-being. “People need to take responsibility,” she adds. “Better health without the aid of harmful prescription drugs is possible, but we need to work together and make sure we’re on the same page,” she says. The doctor invites individuals to set up an appointment to learn about the options and benefits of visiting her clinic.
To learn more about Dr. Kim Martin and North Shore Health Solutions, located at 1446 Techny Rd., in Northbrook, call 847-715-9060 or visit NorthShoreHealthSolutions.com.
Megy Karydes often covers health topics as a freelance writer. Find her at KarydesConsulting.com.