With the rise of chronic disease, prescription medications and an overly complicated medical system, functional medicine is becoming more and more sought after by patients seeking a more holistic approach to healing. Dr. Borrego’s approach to medical care is making a huge impact on the quality of life for many San Diego residents and so we are thrilled for the opportunity to introduce you to her practice.
Dr. Cheryl Borrego has been practicing for more than 25 years after graduating from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic. In 1993, she and her husband established San Diego Chiropractic Wellness; bringing the “lifetime of experience” they received from practicing in the largest and most prestigious chiropractic hospital in the world. This hospital saw over 800 patients a day. Dr. Borrego was one of only four doctors on staff and one of the only two women chiropractors hired in the hospital’s history.
Dr. Borrego has studied and instructed modern dance for over 25 years and she has been the chiropractor on staff for the San Diego Dance Theatre and San Diego Ballet for more than 15 years. Dr. Borrego has, over her long career, implemented functional medicine into her practice. She is fully qualified to deal with any health related problem from weight loss and diabetes to autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Borrego’s goal at San Diego Chiropractic Wellness is to provide the greatest relief and improved health in the shortest amount of time, because “your health is our business.” We thank Dr. Borrego for taking time to talk with Grace Care about her practice. Here we feature her recent interview for you!
Can you describe for us how functional medicine is different than conventional medicine?
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease. We engage both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership because we know this will bring about a quicker and more permanent result.
I will use a tree to illustrate the difference between functional medicine and conventional medicine. In order to keep a tree healthy and allow it to flourish, you need to support the most basic and essential elements first: The foundation. We are speaking of the roots and soil. Similarly, if a tree is not healthy then the first place you should look for answers is in the same foundational elements. For example, if the tree has its leaves curling up, turning brown and falling to the ground, you would not hire a person to iron and paint the leaves green and reattach them. This sounds ludicrous but would actually be similar to the approach that is taken by conventional medicine, which tends to look at symptoms (leaves) and treat those symptoms by prescribing drugs or surgery. This approach really neglects the more fundamental aspects of health such as those found in the roots and soil.
Conventional medicine treats all patients with the same diagnosis the same. The focus in functional medicine is completely different. We address the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms. Functional medicine asks the vital questions: Why do you have this problem in the first place? Why has function been lost? What can we do to restore function?
When you come into my office expect to spend the first visit discussing your history, lifestyle, work environment and genetics. As a functional medicine practitioner, I look for the underlying cause of dysfunction and work to restore my patients back to health through lifestyle changes, dietary/herbal supplements, exercise and relaxation techniques.
What interested you most about looking into functional medicine?
I have been practicing Chiropractic for 25 years with really great results. However, I saw many patients coming to my office after seeing different MD’s and with a suitcase full of different medications. For example, often they will have a pill for heartburn, high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. These are chronic lifestyle diseases! These pills are only treating the symptoms of these diseases and most will take these medications for the rest of their lives. They usually would leave my office feeling much better in their lower back or neck, but still continued to have many different health problems. This frustrated and confused me because I felt I was not treating the whole person. So, I began to look for other possibilities in treating and giving relief to these patients. This is when I discovered functional medicine. It just made so much sense and gave me the answers I was searching for.
What should a new patient expect on their first visit?
I have a very thorough six-page questionnaire that they fill out and it asks questions according to organ functions. This helps me to focus my questions during the consultation.
The initial consultation is one hour and I add another 45 minutes for the exam. I usually have the patient begin a weekly food journal before the first visit so that I can see and address any problems in this area. At the end of this visit I am ready to order blood work, hormone panels, adrenal tests or any other test I feel will give us important information in approaching the health concerns of the patient. The patient usually leaves the first visit with some practical information they can implement into their lives.
For someone new to learning about nutrition and healthy eating, what are some simple things you recommend?
I usually recommend eating fresh, fresh, fresh! Stay away from bagged, boxed and processed foods that are heavy in chemicals, preservatives and additives. Drink lots of water and get out and take a walk in the fresh air every day.
What advice do you have for elders who want to stay healthy and active?
The answer to staying active is motion. The body was meant to move and when our joints lose their mobility, is when we start feeling pain and experience dysfunction. Dance, walk, or ride a bike. Do something you love and derive a lot of joy from doing; this gives a double benefit to your body.
I recommend that my patients who cannot get to the gym for one reason or another, turn on their favorite music and dance in their living room. This is guaranteed to make your day happy!
For more information, please visit the San Diego Chiropractic Wellness website at www.sandiegochiropracticwellness.com.