It's not Just Growing Pains: A Guide to Childhood Muscle, Bone, and Joint Pain, Rheumatic Diseases, and the Latest Treatments

By Thomas J. A. Lehman | Go to book overview

23
Alternative Medicine

Vitamins and Supplements

Whenever I finish explaining a new medication and a parent asks me, ‘Is there another choice?” I know that something is worrying him or her. One of the biggest problems in medicine is fear of side effects. It’s a lot like flying. When you get on the airplane and the flight attendant talks about the life jacket under the seat in front of you, you cannot help but think, ‘If there’s a real chance we’re going to land in the water, I’m getting off this plane.” Surely, the flight attendant feels the same way. However, the government requires that passengers be informed about the life jacket and other safety precautions. Similarly, physicians are required to tell you about possible side effects of medications. If they thought there would be any serious ones, they would not give you the medicine. However, the physicians and the flight attendant are required to give you this information because no one knows for sure when something might go wrong.

You cannot get to a far away place without the risks of driving, flying, taking a train, or taking a boat. You cannot treat illness without the risk of side effects. Whether you take the prescribed medications, buy over-thecounter medications, ignore your problem and figure it will go away, or buy health food “cures,” there are risks associated with every choice. The only difference is whether or not those risks are clearly explained to you. The physician is required to do that, but you have to read the warnings for yourself on over-the-counter medications.

A quick search of the Internet for the words “rthritis+alternative+cure” turned up over 120,000 Web pages. Searching for “arthritis+diet” turned up over 500,000 Web pages. Some recommend you avoid red meat, some recommend rub-on creams, some recommend “dietary” supplements.

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