The Future of Health Care is Now

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Imagine a health scenario where patients receive care that promotes health rather than simply preventing disease. Where patients feel empowered to take charge of their health and are able to access different models of care in addition to their yearly check-ups to stay healthy. This is not mere fantasy, and in many health care centers this is a reality. For patients suffering from chronic pain, alternative methods of care may vastly improve their health outcomes.

Models of self-care such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture or even as simple as taking a walk can do wonders for an individual’s overall health. Robert Bonakdar, MD, a physician at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, Calif., recently joined Dr. Wayne Jonas for a podcast. In the episode, Dr. Bonakdar specifically addresses the concerns of pain patients. Chronic pain affects more than 100 million Americans and their needs go beyond management.

“It’s not about here’s a drug that’s going to help X, but here’s an approach, starting with diet and then adding other things like stress management, that are kind of a win-win-win.” Said Bonakdar, “I think that’s what is different about integrative medicine. It’s about looking at how a condition fits in the big picture of a patient’s health and how can you then approach this complex picture in a way that’s patient centered.”

In addition to his work at Scripps, Bonakdar is also the president of the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM). Dr. Jonas was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the AAPM in which he stressed the need to change behaviors and create health. These changes include lifestyle, inclusion of integrative medicine and a focus on patient-centered care.

“Having gone through medical school and residency, it seems natural that when someone is in pain, you’re going to use the best medications, you’re going to use the best exercises, diet, supplements and mind-body therapies,” Bonakdar remarked. “We also understand that working with our colleagues who are message therapists, chiropractors, et cetera, is the best way to approach pain.”

It is through associations such as AAPM that medical professions are able to share their success stories and also learn from each other. While many physicians are currently integrating their practices, health care professionals can come together as a team to provide the best possible care for the patient.