Functional Medicine Seeks Root Causes of Illness

Chris Turnpaugh

One of the basic premises of functional medicine is patient-centered, individualized care that focuses on getting to the root causes of disease. Another basic premise is making the individual the healthiest they can be so that they don’t have to treat every ailment that comes along, which is difficult when there is constant underlying inflammation. It is much easier to keep someone healthy so they are less susceptible to illness or dysfunction.

Functional medicine practitioners use evidence-based medicine—clinical acumen combined with the latest research—combined with the patient’s wishes. This means listening to the patient and understanding their viewpoint and reworking treatments collaboratively. A great functional medicine practitioner has a wide breadth of knowledge, from autoimmune conditions to Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal infection.

The skilled functional medicine practitioner takes a detailed history that includes previous exposures, current exposure, lifestyle, and psychological history, as well as genuinely listening. Sometimes listening and hearing what a patient has to say is a huge clinical tool.

They also look at a wide variety of blood tests or other tests to show functionality within the body, placing all these different criteria together, coming out with a plan and moving forward to increase the health of the host or the health of the individual—not merely treating disease, but treating the dysfunction at the root of the disease process.

This type of practice involves more labor up front by the doctor and the patient, but the goal is to lead to long-term outcomes where there is lack of disease and dysfunction in the body, allowing the patient to grow old gracefully with age.

There is a true mind-body-spirit combination, which is why patients see not just the doctor, but also the functional psychologist and nutritionist. Patients should not settle for a lack of disease state, but rather total physical, mental and spiritual health. That is what functional medicine practitioners collaboratively work toward with patients.

Chris Turnpaugh, DC, board-certified in chiropractic neurology, leads the team of doctors taking a holistic and functional approach to health care at Turnpaugh Health and Wellness Center, located at 310 Lambs Gap Rd., in Mechanicsburg. For appointments, call 717-795-9566. For more information, visit

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