The Role of Functional Medicine in Chronic Disease Management

Dr. Steven C. Davis, Chiropractor

For centuries, the general model of healthcare followed the same approach: a pill for an ill.

That therapeutic route is the epitome of conventional medicine — and the opposite of functional medicine.

Where conventional medicine focuses on using visible symptoms to diagnose a condition and develop a treatment plan, functional medicine focuses first and foremost on identifying what is causing the symptoms and considering underlying emotional or physical factors.

In a way, while conventional medicine treats the symptoms, Dr. Steven C. Davis, Chiropractor, noted that functional medicine is more concerned with treating the person as a whole. Functional medicine is more of a holistic approach to healthcare — and it’s becoming more popular in today’s age of personalized medicine. 

The Chronic Disease Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6 in 10 adults in America have a chronic disease, which covers everything from heart disease and diabetes to arthritis, cancer, and stroke.

Even more alarming: 4 in 10 American adults are living with more than one chronic disease. 

In the U.S., chronic disease is the leading cause of disability and death, but there are millions who must manage a chronic disease day after day, month after month, and year after year. With functional medicine, also known as integrative medicine, many are finding targeted ways to cope with or even overcome certain diseases. 

Research has increasingly brought to light the value of functional medicine, especially in the United States where lifespans have increased but chronic disease rates remain very high. To functional medicine practitioners, treating the whole person rather than just the disease is seen not as an alternative therapy approach, but as the primary one.

Functional Medicine 101

Functional medicine focuses on the root causes of disease within individual patients, factoring in lifestyle choices, genetics, or environments in personalized treatment plans. In general, the goal is to improve one’s well-being by addressing any issues throughout a patient’s collection of physiological systems.

The physical symptoms of a chronic disease are just a starting point within functional medicine. From there, doctors gather important information on a patient’s lifestyle, environment at home and at work, activity level, sources of stress, family history of medical issues, and the role that discomfort and pain play in their everyday life.

From there, underlying symptoms of the chronic disease can be targeted. For example, heart disease may stem in part from mitochondrial dysfunction, while diabetes can be impacted by inflammatory imbalances.

Biochemical uniqueness is a pivotal principle of functional medicine, with achieving a balance of spirit, body, and mind — internally and externally — as the main goal.

Dr. Steven C. Davis, Chiropractor

The Importance of Functional Medicine

Despite groundbreaking technological advances, modern medicine falls short when trying to combat many forms of chronic disease. 

Functional medicine, however, is making inroads through its patient-centered and customized plans that do not simply treat chronic disease symptoms on a temporary base. Instead, it offers potential long-term solutions for partial or even complete chronic disease relief.

By focusing on the mechanisms behind a condition, functional medicine is often the avenue to more effective treatments and longer-lasting recovery.

In the 21st century, it has become increasingly clear that those who are ill need far more than just a pill.

Dr. Steven Davis
Dr Steven C Davis