Shocking comeback for an old treatment

They say that everything comes back in style eventually... and all I can say is, I'm not looking forward to the return of bell bottoms!

Thankfully, I don't think we're in danger of THOSE returning anytime soon.

But there's something else -- something medical -- from the days of the bell bottoms that is coming back.

Docs are dusting off their shock-treatment machines, plugging them back in, and zapping away.

Sure, it's painful. Sure, you could end up with hair like Kramer from Seinfeld (which, let's face it, was NEVER in style).

But some docs claim that shock treatment was given a bum rap... and that when done "right," the devices can jolt away everything from pain problems to mood disorders.

Now, a new study is thankfully trying to put those machines back into landfills, where they belong.

It shows that just about every claim being made about them is either wildly overblown or completely nonexistent.

Some docs are turning to the machines instead of prescribing painkillers, which is a noble goal considering the nation's opioid problem. But the study finds zero evidence they work for any kind of pain at all -- including headaches, joint pain, musculoskeletal pain, and fibromyalgia.

Researchers have also found that it's not effective for mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

About the only thing they found is "low-strength" evidence that the zaps can help -- just a little -- in people who have BOTH depression AND anxiety.

If there's any good news, it's that today's shock therapy is a lot milder and more focused than docs used in the "bad old days" when some folks were zapped to the brink of insanity.

But it's still a shock. You'll feel it, and it's not exactly pleasant.

Your doc will promise that there are no long-term side effects, but what's the use if it doesn't work?

There are much better ways to deal with all of the problems supposedly treated with shock therapy, starting with bringing something else back into style: common sense!

Nearly every condition supposedly treated by shock therapy can be handled with a simple back-to-basics approach to medicine.

Pain conditions, for example, often get worse because doctors just try to mask the pain with drugs rather than find and fix the cause.

As long as that cause remains, the pain is bound to get worse -- and it can get so bad that you might actually consider shock therapy if a doc offers it.

Same goes for mood disorders including anxiety and depression. Most docs medicate the symptoms rather than target the cause.

By definition, holistic medical doctors look at the big picture, hunt for the cause of each problem, and then work to fix it -- often without medication.

If you're in the San Diego area, I can help. Make an appointment to see me here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine.

Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

And don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!