Expert Q&A: Talking to Your Child's Doctor About CAM Therapies
Discussing complementary therapies for juvenile arthritis can be tricky, but this expert tip may help.
Question: I am interested in complementary therapies for my daughter with JA. I want to discuss these with her doctor, but I’m not sure he will be open to the idea. What’s the best way to start the conversation?
Answer: You are wise to want to discuss these therapies with your daughter’s doctor, but I understand your concerns in doing so. Complementary therapies can be a touchy subject with some doctors, so the way you approach the subject is important. Saying things like “I’ve done my research” or “My friend says we should use this” may not get you the response you want.
Instead, I recommend starting the conversation with more open-ended questions such as “Are there any other treatments we can pursue?” or “I have been reading some things and I am curious about x, y and z. Do you have any thoughts about them?”
If we doctors are standoffish, it’s usually because we don’t have enough information to adequately answer your questions. But it’s a conversation you must have – certain complementary and alternative therapies may interact with medications or have dangerous side effects. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but your child’s doctor should be aware.
Austin Dalrymple, DO
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
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