What is Holistic Health?

Holistic Health is best defined as an approach to medicine that treats the entire person, not a particular organ system.  In chronic pain management, for example, we deal with chronic pain.  Chronic pain has a cause, it has a character (dull, burning, tearing), it has a modality- never pain vs mechanical pain.  Each in turn needs to be addressed.  But what is the difference between pain and suffering?  Pain is the result of the disease process itself, the damaged disk or the compressed sciatic nerve.  It can be acute, chronic or more commonly chronic with flares of acute pain.  Suffering involves the response of the patient to the pain.  Constant pain in a young person, one that reasonably expects to be active and pain free, is very depressing. Their activities are limited more than their peers, and emotionally they suffer.  There is a psychological aspect to their pain, we refer to that as suffering.

The Holistic Approach to Chronic Pain

To treat chronic pain holistically, we first address the cause, then the specific type of pain- tailoring our management to deal with inflammation, pressure, or nerve pain for example, using a variety of traditional medications such as NSAID (motrin like medicines), long acting narcotics (methadone is one), short acting narcotics (norco is an example).  To address nerve related pain, we may add a medication such as neurontin (which is used for seizures) or elavil (an antidepressant).  We also may use non-traditional medications such as cannabis to help with chronic pain, and the combination we develop for each patient is designed to control their pain with the lowest dose of medication needed, counting on synergistic effects between each medication to potentiate the relief.  This is the Denali Way of Pain Management.

The Psychology of Pain

The psychological aspect of suffering is also something that needs to be addressed.  We work with our patients to make sure they understand what medications can and cannot do, what a reasonable expectation is from those medications, and how to take them properly.  We also make frequent referrals to address the psychologic aspects of their suffering- evaluation of their stressors and coping mechanisms are very helpful.  We call this addressing the ‘Psychology of Pain’.

Denali Healthcare Serves Kalamazoo and Portage for Holistic Health

Denali Healthcare serves Kalamazoo and Portage with a full range of holistic health services including marijuana friendly pain management services, suboxone therapy for addiction, and medical marijuana certifications.  Denali Holistic Health Services include counseling, acupuncture, massage therapy and an association with the Compassion Resource Center of West Michigan for caregiver referrals, education and fellowship.  Denali Healthcare is a true Holistic Health Center serving the Kalamazoo and Portage area.