Health, Money and Movies
By Dr. Molly Casey
There’s not an area of this society that money doesn’t influence. Have you thought of it in regards to your health or the health care you receive? Most haven’t, but why should we think anything different when it comes to the business of keeping you healthy? Or keeping you fed cheaply. Or keeping you on the road in a gas-powered automobile.
Asking questions in regards to the health care you receive or the options you have available is the essence of making an informed decision. Thought of in another way, it’s about getting to the root of the issue.
The Health Care Example
The health system as we know it here in the U.S. goes a bit like this: You, the patient, go to your MD for some specific reason/issue, your doctor gives you a diagnosis, and then often prescribes a medication for treatment. Two observations are key.
First, this practice in general is less about preventative care and wellness and more targeted toward symptom or sickness management; though it has a time and place, being successfully healthy is a result of daily practices and whether or not we are engaging with the cornerstones of health.
Second, have you ever wondered what fuels the prescription of one medication over another when both are aimed at treating the same condition? The correct answer would be something relating to the current scientific research that backs up/shows the efficacy or power of this drug over that drug with regard to your condition. All great, right?
Oh, but wait a minute -- who runs the research that comes up with these results and has the optimal health and safety of consumers in their best interest? This is an important, valid question. Are these neutral parties conducting the research, thus creating results with the least amount of bias possible? Are they following clear scientific standards for research analysis and ultimately feeding doctors the cleanest and most truthful information out there to best serve their patients -- you?
The Money Trail
Health care is a business. Money is made when you, the patient, are sick, not healthy. It’s that simple. The pharmaceutical industry is a very large industry. Did you know pharmaceutical companies can sponsor textbooks and, in fact, do for a majority of medical schools? Did you know it is common practice that top governmental research employees (who are directly in charge of studies at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to transition into highly paid executive level jobs in private pharmaceutical companies? No one can tell me this doesn’t influence (and hasn’t influenced) the research results and the practices/guidelines of doctors who render your treatment and ultimately your health.
The exact same thing occurs with politicians in and out of highly-paid private sector positions in pharmaceutical companies -- these are the folks creating healthcare law. Lastly, this practice occurs with well-known media faces (doctors). This influences what information gets out to the public -- how much, when, and in what fashion. Many believe these practices are clear examples of what unethical and biased can look like. These are the major influences driving the healthcare industry in this country! If not biased, it does give one pause to think about how and why a particular brand of medication ends up in your medicine cabinet.
The Tough Questions
Movie documentaries over the past several years have been an excellent source of eye-opening information with regard to health and wellness and current practices in food and medicine. Michael Moore has made a pretty good career asking questions seeking to discover the connection between Points A and B to reach Point C.
Without asking those questions, chiropractic may never have become the largest natural health care profession in the world, not to mention the conservative choice for treatment of back pain in America. Chiropractic seeks to locate the cause of the problem, not simply provide relief from pain. Said another way, chiropractic care makes a much better vitamin than it does an aspirin, and those who participate in it are better for it.
I strongly encourage you to start asking deeper questions about your health, your health practices, and about the source of your health information (where, from whom, and what do they have to gain). Agencies, and people you’ve always simply trusted as the go-to, may have more skin in the game than you know.
The quality of your life is directly related to the quality of questions you ask. Have you heard that one before? It definitely applies here to your health!
Dr. Molly Casey is a Doctor of Chiropractic who practices in the Los Angeles area. She works twice a week at The Joint’s Glendale, CA clinic.