When a patient enters the teaching clinic with an acute presentation, the natural reaction of student clinicians is to think of a remedy that will palliate the symptoms they are experiencing. We want our patients to feel better, and we certainly do not want them to suffer.
Recently I’ve become more aware of how this method of treating the symptoms rather than treating the cause is so fundamentally different from what I have been taught in school. In certain situations, it is very appropriate to prescribe something that will give the patient immediate relief. But is it always the right thing to do? The example I am thinking of is treating Springtime allergies. Patients come to see their Physicians wanting some form of relief for itchy, watery eyes, a runny nose or postnasal drip. It’s natural to say try this tea, tincture or supplement to help you feel better.
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