Wouldn’t it be great if our body came with an attached set of rules, instructions, an operator’s manual if you will, with an unabridged section on troubleshooting. It would be user friendly with simple instructions, lots of "how tos," color diagrams and fold out pictures. No, I’m not talking about an anatomy book. Staring at an anatomy book in the middle of the night won’t help you calm the indigestion that’s keeping you awake or make your headache go away, nor will it help resolve the less tangible symptoms like worry over finances or troubled relationships.

Ones’ physician hopefully will help us decipher the sometimes strange and frightening symptoms of pain and dis-ease in the body. But what happens when we don’t get our answers, or worse yet we get an answer but there’s no known cure?

One third of all Americans are now choosing to look beyond the traditional medical model for help. The world of alternative/complementary health care has become a multi- billion-dollar industry and everyone wants a piece of the action. The American consumer has spoken, and business in turn has responded.

Here in lies the problem. What do I buy, who can I trust, what will work? Many individuals rely on a friend, family member or neighbors’ experience with a particular treatment, therapy or supplement. When it doesn’t work, we’re only further confused.

When unrelenting pain and discomfort are the driver it is easy to fall prey to bogus treatments and therapies that are doomed from the onset. Which brings me to the golden rule, always seek professional help. This is not to say you shouldn’t trust your intuition, but rather that you might not be able to readily tap into it due to the intensity of the problem leaving you vulnerable and grasping for answers.

When clients present to my office with chronic pain I find it is sometimes helpful to share my own experiences with a long illness, how I worked to find answers and mixed traditional with complementary medicine. During that trying time I worked with three nutritionists, and a lot of other holistic professionals gleaning my answers and gaining strength. Each in their own way urged me to have a set of rules, an owner’s manual that I could with a little practice learn to decipher and use to be well.

Here’s what they taught me-

Put yourself in their hands, but if a trial of a few weeks does not bring improvement, move on.