You have a general idea of what to expect from going to see a traditional doctor: you go in, you wait, the nurse calls you, you’re asked why you’re there, etc. However, since functional medicine involves looking at your body as a whole rather than just what you came in for, you may not know what to expect from a functional medicine examination.
In truth, functional medicine examinations hit on a lot of the same points traditional examinations do. However, they’re typically much more in-depth. Patients are often left pleased in feeling like the doctor actually took the time to listen to them and to understand what’s really going on, rather than brushed off and sent on their way with a prescription in hand.
Here’s a basic overview of what you can expect from a functional medicine examination. Bear in mind that everyone is different, so each examination will be different. There’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all, especially in the realm of functional medicine.
Expect To Go Over Your Health History
Just like any other medical provider you start seeing for the first time, a functional medicine doctor will go over your health history with you. They typically do this more in-depth than you may be accustomed to. They don’t just want to know about issues relating to why you’re seeing them today, they want to get a good picture of your health history as a whole.
This is because in functional medicine, you’re always trying to get to the root cause of a problem. You don’t just want to treat the symptoms, you want to treat what’s causing the symptoms. The same symptoms could have quite a few different causes.
You can expect to go over any medications that you’re on, your prior medical history, and your family’s medical history too. This review of your personal health history is likely going to be more meticulous than you’re used to, because in order to ensure that they’re doing everything in their power to help you, doctors want as complete a picture as possible of what your health has been like.
In a functional medicine examination, you won’t just talk about your medical history, but also about your lifestyle, your environment, genetic factors, and more.
Expect A Physical Examination
You know when you go to a traditional doctor’s appointment for pain and they’ll do a quick examination of the area that pains you? You can expect a physical examination from a functional medicine doctor, too.
At a functional medicine examination, your doctor isn’t just looking at the area that hurts, but at your body as a whole. They want to get a good idea of your physical health, such as your vital signs, your weight, your strength, and your balance. This, combined with your personal health history, helps them to establish a baseline.
You May Need Tests
If needed, your doctor may order diagnostic tests and specialized blood tests. While the above two factors are pretty much a given with any functional medicine examination, this is where things can splinter. Some people may not need any tests while others may need multiple different ones.
It depends on you, your health, and your circumstances.
Expect The Appointment To Last Longer
Unfortunately, traditional medicine has gotten a reputation for trying to get patients in and out as quickly as possible. Many people complain that they only get to talk about their issues for a minute, maybe two, before their doctor starts telling them what it could be. Many people do not feel heard, and many appointments only last a few minutes. This can be very frustrating for the patient, especially if you had to wait for a long time.
This is something many traditional doctors feel chagrined about too, as many care deeply about helping their patients.
However, this isn’t something to worry about at a functional medicine examination. While traditional doctor appointments are usually 5-25 minutes long, a functional medicine examination can be anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours long. It depends on your needs. Functional medicine examinations take longer because the doctors ensure that they truly understand why you’re there and are examining everything that could be impacting your health.
This doesn’t just apply to current health issues, but also to prevent potential future ones. If your doctor sees that you are at risk for a certain health condition, they will guide you to lifestyle choices that can minimize that risk.
Do You Want To Schedule A Functional Medicine Examination?
At its heart, medicine is a field of healing. Both traditional and functional medicine doctors care about helping you get better. As you can see, both examinations are quite similar. If you had an attentive traditional doctor, you may note that this sounds exactly what your appointment with them was like. If so, that’s lovely, as that’s how medicine should be!
Life Health Medical Center provides functional medicine services. We’re here to help you get to the root cause of your symptoms. Contact us today to schedule your appointment and let us help you on the path to recovery!