Updated: Oct 19
About two years ago when meeting a potential personal training client, I could not place his familiar face.
Towards the end of our meeting, I had a vague recollection of the spinal surgeon who worked with my oldest son 11 years earlier.
When I asked if he was a doctor, he confirmed he was and had, in fact, been my son's doctor.
My son broke his back playing football on homecoming night. There were two breaks, one on both sides of the spine. One was a clean break, and the other was jagged and crooked.
Both breaks miraculously stopped right at the spine. After many weeks of therapy, braces, images, and doctor visits - the breaks did not heal. It was at that point we were referred to Dr. Terrence Crowder.
Terrence was instrumental in healing our lives, but not through surgery.
After a few visits he pulled me aside to discuss some concerns he had - but not regarding his spine.
This once vibrant, larger than life young man was feeling the weight of losing scholarship offers, friends fading away, chronic pain, and what felt like the loss of his identity and future.
His response to this was unexpected, "his back is no longer the primary concern, managing his depression is.
....In fact, I do not recommend surgery. If the breaks were going to slip, they would have by now. Plus, there are no guarantees he would not have pain after. But we do know he has to heal emotionally to move forward in life".
I found a program that was right for him, but the organization hesitated because of his medical situation. Dr. Crowder signed the liability forms required for him to go. Today, my son is married to the love of his life, has 3 beautiful sons, and a baby girl on the way. He has an emotional resilience that many notice and comment on. Though his back has some mobility issues from time to time, he was healed.
Terrence's approach to see his patients holistically helped him discern all my son's injuries - not only the ones seen through scans and images. And not only the ones that require conventional medicine to intervene.
There is increased advocacy in health care professionals for an holistic approach to health care, rather than conventional medicine alone. Specifically, integrating the two approaches to maximize better health outcomes.
An integrated approach "considers the whole person -- body, mind, spirit, and emotions -- in the quest for optimal health and wellness". It places an emphasis on getting to the root cause of illness and / or injury (and treating them), rather than just mending the problem or symptom at hand.
For example, if a person is suffering from chronic inflammation - a comprehensive approach would not only prescribe a steroid. It also considers sleep habits, diet & nutrition, exercise, emotional stress, and other health issues that may be contributing to the inflammation.
Groups like the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine also known as A4M, are front runners in the movement and are making great strides.
Their fellowship program attracts physicians, scientists, researchers, nutritionists, and other health specialists and advocates from all over the world.
The goal of the programs is to redefine modern medicine and in becoming “the established global leader for continuing medical education in longevity medicine, metabolic resilience, and whole-person care.”
The Need for Change
Dr. Crowder is part of the A4M group and introduced us to their programs. As a nutritionist and experienced fitness professional, I was both intrigued and inspired when attending one of their conferences.
Top experts from around the world presented compelling research, data, and alternative care options, many promoting nutrition and exercise as primary sources for health care. I was impressed, to say the least.
My husband, a Nurse Practitioner, also attended. We are firm advocates that nutrition and exercise are the foundation to health. These two components hold the key to preventing and healing most health problems. We were thrilled to sit in a room with medical experts who shared data supporting this.
Terrence's own life’s experience is what led him to find A4M. As he approached 40, he started feeling chronic fatigue, experiencing unexplained weight gain, and other symptoms he was concerned about. When he went to his personal physician, he was told his blood work was “normal” and this was part of aging.
As an accomplished physician himself, he knew there was a better answer.
He started talking to colleagues, researching ideas discussed, and attending relevant medical conferences.
Terrence shared, “things talked about at A4M described me personally. These were things I should know about, but didn't. And I am a Board Certified, fellowship trained surgeon.”
Terrence found a new personal doctor who practices a comprehensive approach to medicine. Along with his doctor treating the metabolic issues he was experiencing, he exercises four days a week and manages his nutrition properly.
Additionally, he joined the A4M and is studying to broaden his own understanding and capabilities as a physician, specifically studying Metabolic Medicine and its benefits.
Personally and as an accomplished spinal surgeon, Terrence concludes there is a need for change in some of the ways we approach healthcare. It is time to “push beyond the traditional standards of healthcare and disseminate the latest and most innovative clinical strategies in modern medicine” - A4M.