A naturopathic physician’s take on combining the best of alternative and conventional medicine.
I just returned from visiting OHSU, a great hospital here in Portland, Oregon, where my mom is recovering from spinal surgery. I posted the above photo on social media along with a caption about my gratitude for the surgeons, the hospital staff, and the science (including the COVID vaccines Mom and I both received) – because all of these allowed my mom to receive a successful surgery and allowed me to visit her during recovery. A friend commented on the photo that she was so happy to see a doctor embrace ALL medicine – natural and conventional – because she feels that most people often think it has to be one or the other, but not both.
All of this has gotten me thinking about my medicine – naturopathic medicine – and the intersection it has with conventional medicine.
I am a licensed naturopathic physician, trained in science, medicinal herbs, nutrition, therapeutic exercise, spinal manipulation and bodywork, nutritional supplements, homeopathy, and (shocker) prescription medications. I can administer vaccines or B12 shots – whichever is needed. I prescribe compounded medications such as low dose naltrexone or bio-identical hormones, regular antibiotics for bacterial infections, and epipens for my patients who have severe allergies. I am trained to suture wounds and perform minor skin surgeries (though I don’t do so currently in my private practice in Portland, Oregon). Gynecology exams, yearly physicals, and ordering labs and imaging such as mammograms and DEXA scans are all part of my scope of practice as a naturopathic physician in Oregon.
Some of the most common questions I get asked are:
- If I establish care with you, will you tell me to stop all my medications?
- Will you tell me not to get surgery?
- Do you oppose all vaccinations?
- Are you opposed to conventional medicine?
The answer to all of these questions is always NO. And then there is often shock, surprise, and, finally, relief on the faces of those I care for. We are so used to having only one choice, which, of course, is a very narrow view of medicine. Every single intervention available to us should be used judiciously, and this is the way I practice – the right remedy at the right time in the right dose.
If you have low energy and have had all the appropriate testing – and your results are fine – we might discuss testing your hormones and cortisol with saliva testing to get to the root cause of your fatigue, or we might do food sensitivity testing to determine dietary issues that could cause the symptoms. If you have severe back pain that is not improving despite great holistic treatment, then it’s time for an X-Ray, MRI, and possibly a referral to a surgeon such as an orthopedist or neurosurgeon. A tumor needs assessment and (often) surgical removal. Low mood or anxiety may or may not need medication – sometimes it is the answer and sometimes proper supplements and diet changes can be enough. There is no right or wrong – we just have to find the right solution for YOU, in the right dose, using all the resources available.
Book a session with Dr. Jennifer Karon today. Call or text 503-244-0500 to schedule.