What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine seems like a very generic term and not the easiest to understand. However, thanks to some prominent doctors like Dr. Oz, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Joseph Mercola the public are becoming more familiar with this style or medicine. To better understand what Functional Medicine is, I think it’s important to contrast the two different types of medicine.

Traditional medicine uses drugs and hormones to treat a dysfunction or a disease for various conditions. The standard model of care is to get a list of symptoms or complaints and through a history, and possible labs, determine a disease that is then treated. This traditional type of care in my opinion works very well for acute disease, trauma, infection and emergencies. I believe the doctors that treat this way are doing a great job; however it leaves a gap in care. This gap in care has created the need for Functional Medicine.

Functional Medicine is here to fill the gap in healthcare. Functional Medicine, once again, gets a list of symptoms or complaints and through a thorough history and possible labs looks more at the patient’s dysfunctions more than the disease. If a dysfunction or disease is found, then the journey begins on “WHY.” Functional medicine doctors don’t treat the dysfunction or disease only, but treat the root cause of the dysfunction or illness. Is the root cause due to poor nutrition, lifestyle, food intolerance or sensitivity, bacteria, hormone imbalance, environmental toxins or environmental/physical/emotional stressors, these are questions that need to be answered.

There are 5 basic principles to Functional Medicine.

1) Every individual is unique in every way, but most importantly genetically and biochemically. So Functional Medicine treats the individual uniquely to support the individuals normal healing mechanisms and enables the body to create healing; which in the end prevents the need for long-term or possibly life-long care.
2) Functional Medicine is deeply science based to understand the body’s complicated network of biochemical reactions, in order to treat the patient at the cellular level.
3) Your body is designed to self-regulate. This means that your body has specific functions that work on their own to restore normal functions and bring your body to its optimal health.
4) Your body can heal itself. Your body capabilities have been around for a lot longer than “modern or functional medicine;” and because of this it has been dealing with illness and disease for centuries. It has been designed to heal itself, and honestly, we are just scratching the surface when it comes to learning everything there is to know about the body. Our goal with Functional Medicine is to facilitate and initiate this healing process by reversing the effects of our quickly changing “modern lifestyle.”
5) Health is more than the absence of disease, but a state of optimal function. Functional Medicine is to optimize the body to prevent dysfunction and disease when possible.


Below are links to help you better understand the treatments and options that we provide here at Alta Mountain Chiropractic.


Our focus at Alta Mountain Chiropractic is on FATIGUE caused by adrenal issues, nutritional imbalances, sleep disturbances and poor lifestyle. 


Important Items to read about: (still under construction)

Sleep, It Can Make or Break You.

Vitamin D- Why do I Feel Like Crap Without It?

Vitamin D – Chances Are Very High That You’re Vitamin D Deficient!


Why I do Functional Medicine:

After graduating and starting my practice back in 2007, I have seen a lot of patient with muscle, nerve and joint pains also known as neuromusculoskeletal pain. Over the last decade I have seen many of those patients respond well to conservative care and improve quickly. I’ve also seen others that have taken much longer to respond and some that need repetitive care and those that have not responded well at all. Well, my goal with practicing has always been to help people improve their health and returning to normal life as quickly as possible; however, I wondered why some respond so much better than others. Often, patients come to my office and would tell me they have a new pain that started without injury and has been getting progressively worse. Their comment is often, “I think it’s that I’m getting older.” Which, this doesn’t sound like an odd statement, until you start hearing it from twenty year olds.

People of all ages are getting intense bouts of pain for relatively minor issues; and because of this it has sent me on a journey to add more to my practice and to try and help those people with this repetitive pain from minimal or little cause. So I first thought the problem must lay in the person’s posture! I really thought that’s what I need to focus on, I needed to correct the way people stand, sit and work and that would resolve these reoccurring neuromusculoskeletal pains. So I proceeded in additional training in posture and manual therapy to work and release the muscles and I’m now certified as a “Posture Expert.” Well, as a Certified Posture Expert, I can tell you that posture is very important and it has helped me reach a lot of people that needed help, but it wasn’t the answer I was looking for. So this started me looking again.

That’s when I found Functional Medicine and I started to look at the missing connections to my patient’s neuromusculoskeletal pains. I now better understand what some of my patients were missing. Pain is often the result of dysfunction whether that’s mechanical dysfunction from improper movements or internal dysfunction from nutrient imbalance, prolonged stress that raises and distorts hormones in the body or a long list of other causes; whatever the cause of these dysfunctions all can result in pain and often chronic pain. A large number of patients aren’t in a state of disease but in a state of dysfunction. The goal of Functional Medicine is to find and determine the root cause of a person’s dysfunction to help the patient’s body correct the issues.

My goal is to continue to grow our Functional Medicine foundation here at Alta Mountain Chiropractic and to offer a variety of natural treatments to help restore dysfunction and your body’s natural healing.

Dr. Nathan T. Eldredge DC CPE