An osteopath by training who specializes in family medicine, pain and acupuncture, author Gary Kaplan runs the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Virginia. He is also a clinical associate professor at Georgetown University in the department of family medicine. He argues in his book, Total Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Chronic Pain and Depression that doctors sometimes focus on symptoms without getting to the root cause of a patient’s problems and don’t always listen to the patient’s entire history to look for cumulative patterns and evidence of how disease has evolved over time.

Drawing on new theories about the role of inflammation in the body, Kaplan argues that tiny cells known as microglia in the brain secrete inflammatory chemicals as part of the body’s response to trauma or infection. He suggests, that over time, there is a cumulative effect, as every infection, injury, trauma and emotional blow triggers the same reaction. Eventually that leads the microglia to go “haywire”, sending out inflammatory chemicals even when the trauma that caused them is no longer present.

Kaplan believes the response can appear as pain, anxiety disorders, chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, or PTSD.

Integrative medicine is a hot topic in health care these days, and even traditional providers offer alternative and complementary therapies that “promise to treat the whole person.”    6/30/14


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