Why Treating Regularly With A Primary Care Provider Can Keep You Alive
Having a family practitioner keeping tabs keeps you right where you need to be
You would not believe how often my chiropractic patients either do not have a family primary pracitioner, or if they have gone for medical care, it's been to an urgent care type facility randomly for care. There are several reasons why this is not an ideal way to handle your healthcare. Let's discuss a little more in depth.
What is a Primary Care Provider?
First, let's cover what a primary care practitioner (PCP) is. A PCP is basically a healthcare provider but can also act as a hub or a navigator. Let me explain. PCPs are often your first contact in the healthcare system for an issue or health-related complaint you may be experiencing. They are best known for their ability to treat common illnesses and helping you prevent any issues that may be on the horizon.
Research is very clear on this; having access to a PCP directly and very favorably impacts your health and your ongoing well being and your relationship with your PCP can be a long-lasting, lifetime relationship. As it should be.
This is in contrast to treating with an urgent care or a similar facility when you get sick. The difference is that you have one provider that you have a professional relationship with that knows you, knows your condition, has tracked your health, and can make sure you're on track to not miss any mile markers. I'll explain more momentarily.
Reasons for having a Primary Care Provider
It is incredibly important to establish your 'medical home'. That means you have someone you can turn to when you're faced with a scary illness and you have someone who has the answers, or knows the people that have the answers, that can help you navigate the waters. It means there is a consitency to your care. A constant that you do not get by going to various urgent care type clinics for care. For care that could and should be handled by a PCP.
PCPs provide access to specialists. Many times, in order to obtain higher level care, a referral from a PCP is necessary. PCPs work with specialists and experts like neurologists, oncologists, and orthopedists to ensure they have all of the information about you they need so they can do the best job for you.
PCPs make sure you don't miss your mile markers. What I mean by that is that females should have a mammogram at a certain age. Males should have their prostate checked at a certain age. Females should have a bone density scan at a certain point in their lives while everyone should get a colonoscopy within a certain age range. Mile markers should not be missed and doing so significantly puts people's lives at risk. Just doing some simple lab work once a year has the potential to uncover future issues lurking under the surface that can then be addressed early and effectively. Those that keep their regular PCP appointments yearly are actually much healthier according to research because they are doing the right things right on time.
Did you know that having an established PCP means fewer hospital and ER visits? That's right. Studies show us that those that visit their PCP regularly have fewer visits to the ER than those not having a PCP. Most likely because those not having a PCP wait too long before seeking care and delays can become very serious when it comes to one's health.
It is common for patients to see their PCP for things like:
- Illness Care - they have an earache, a bad cough, sinuses, a cold, or something similar
- Preventative Care - this is when a patient is trying to stop illness before it comes about
- Early Alarm Bells - you might see your PCP when you are making sure there are no early alarm bells or harbingers of bad, more sinister illness lurking. Things like cancer in progress or diabetes. When it comes to conditions like these, you absolutely would rather know before than after the fact. When you find out after the fact, treating it successfully becomes much more of a challenge.
- Chronic Condition Management - PCPs are excellent at helping patients control long-lasting condiitions like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and COPD. With the help of a PCP, you can typically keep these issues under control. Without the help of a PCP, many spiral too far out of control to get back on track.
- Hub or Navigator - PCPs are very good at recognizing the need to refer a patient to a specialist and can get their patients there for more specialized, advanced care for their condition.
There are lots of very good and very reasonable reasons to find a reputable PCP to establish care with. One word of caution; don't go to the proverbial 'pill pusher'. If you go to a PCP that has a pill for everything on Earth, that's not a positive sign in my opinion. It's lazy medicine and not of particularly high value.
For example, I once fired my PCP after several attempts to put me on drugs that I just did not need. On one visit in particular, I had had a rough morning and my blood pressure was high. It didn't help that I was signficantly overweight at the time. He tried to put me on life long high blood pressure medication. I had him put the brakes on. I asked him, "What if I lose weight, get more sleep, and learn to relax a bit?" He said we could give that a try. On the next visit six weeks later, I was below normal.
The point is, sometimes, counseling, encouragement, warnings, and optimism can do wonders rather than a prescription for pills. There are times when pharmacological intervention is the most appropriate and there are times when it is not. Find a PCP that knows and understands that. On the other hand, if you only go to the PCP to get pills and you're not happy if you walk out of a provider's office without a prescription, you would do well to re-evaluate your views on healthcare as well.
Also, find a PCP that is on top of research. If you have a progressive PCP that knows treating pain is, according to the American College of Physicians and American Family Physicians, a broad management protocol that can and should include chiropractic, exercise, massage, acupuncture, and more prior to sending to pain management, surgeons, and/or sending out for MRIs, then you probably found a good PCP. As a sidenote, in addition to having a highly qualified PCP, Creek Stone Integrated Medical here in Amarillo, TX also provides all of those services mentioned and more.
If you do not have a PCP of your own or you have one you are simply unhappy with, call us here at Creek Stone Integrated Medical and make your appointment with our Amarillo Medical Provider. There is little to no wait. We can usually get you right in and get you taken care of immediately. Medical services offered at Creek Stone include primary care, hormonne replacement, management of chronic conditions, illness care, IV therapy, trigger point injections, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, B12 injections, medical weight loss, COVID/strep A/B, and flu testing, and more. Creek Stone's PCP can help you stay on track and navigate the healthcare waters with ease.
While you're at it, as mentioned, don't forget; we also offer a Fellowship-trained orthopedic specialist chiropractor, targeted exercise/rehabilitation, acupuncture, massage, and more right here under one roof.
Get established with a medical home and be healthier and more active throughout your life.
Dr. Jeff Williams, DC, FIANM is double Board Certified as a Fellow in Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine and Orthopedics as well as a Fellow in Chiropractic Forensics, and chiropractor in Amarillo, TX. As an Amarillo chiropractor, Dr. Williams treats chronic pain, disc pain, low back pain, neck pain, whiplash injuries, and more. Dr. Williams is also the host of The Chiropractic Forward Podcast (https://www.chiropracticforward.com). Through the podcast, Dr. Williams teaches fellow chiropractors and advocates weekly for evidence-based, patient-centered practice through current and relevant research. If you have any questions for Dr. Williams, feel free to email at [email protected] Learn more about Dr. Williams and his practice at https://www.amarillochiropractor.com.
Dr. Williams was voted Best Chiropractor In Amarillo in the Best of Amarillo 2020. Dr. Williams's full-time Amarillo chiropractic practice is Creek Stone Integrated Care at 3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T, Amarillo, TX 79109. If you are searching for a chiropractor near me, Dr. Williams is your Amarillo Chiropractor.
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