By: Steve Ibach
A conversation with a client yesterday reminded me of an important part of modern medicine – a part so important that it indeed may be the cure for everything. It is so important that doctors use this invention of modern medicine above everything else, and patients often demand it, whether they need it or not. I am referring, or course, to the pill. Not “the pill” in the sense of keeping babies from away, but the more general sense of the cure all for everything – the pill for whatever.
The solution to nearly every ailment in modern medicine is to write a prescription. Does your back hurt? Here is a muscle relaxer and a pain killer. Do you have a cold? Here is a decongestant, antihistamine, and a maybe even an antibiotic. Are you stressed at work? A little Xanax will make you feel great!
Don’t get me wrong, I love modern medicine. Drugs are a wonderful invention and the measured use of them is very helpful in treating patients. However, in part because our health care system only allows for 10 minutes of consultation with your doctor per visit, prescriptions, which take about 10 seconds to write, have become the cure all for everything.
My client yesterday is a perfect example of doctors overusing, or even misusing, their prescription writing power. My client is a young women who has been suffering from low back pain for years. The cause of this pain was not diagnosed by her physician – instead he has given her narcotic pain killers. She tried a chiropractor on her own (yickes!) which did not help and finally ended up with me. In the absence of a doctor’s diagnosis I performed my own assessment and found a severe imbalance in her muscles – one that can easily be corrected by a few neuromuscular massage sessions, exercise, and stretching. This is a story that we see so frequently that we are almost numb to it.
Medical Doctors are among the most educated professionals in the world. They have extensive training in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, microbiology, human anatomy and physiology, pathologies, and much, much more. However, after medical school it seems that these highly trained professionals forget the basics and don’t concern themselves with finding the cause of a medical problem when a pill will get the patient on his way so he or she can move onto the next patient. After all to make any money these days under our health insurance system, doctors have to treat a bazillion patients every day – there is no time to spend with you.
Every medical problem has an underlying cause. If your back hurts there is a reason. If your leg is swollen there is a reason. If you are getting headaches there is a reason. Many doctors no longer spend the time looking for these reasons. They don’t even try when a pill will appease the patient and at least partially alleviate his symptoms.
I could go on and on about the unnecessary dispensement of prescription drugs and the lack of diagnose by doctors. I have dozens of examples from clients.
The point of this post, however, is this: you need to take charge of your own heath care and demand the answers you need. We need to stop pretending we are satisfied when the doctor gives us a prescription. Demand answers!
Why is my back hurting? Maybe, you have a bulging disc, week hamstring muscles, a compressed nerve, etc. Once you know the cause you can find a real treatment.
Why is my child always sick? Maybe she is allergic to something in your home? Shouldn’t your doctor help you find out instead of constantly giving your child an antibiotic without also working on finding the source of her constant ear infections?
Ask the questions and find the route cause of your problem. If your doctor cannot or will not spend enough time with you, you should consider changing doctors. Ask to see a specialist, physical therapist, massage therapist, etc. Ask to get blood work or other lab tests done. This is especially important if you have a chronic problem – one that is recurring or won’t go away. It may not be practical to spend the time and money to get to the route cause of your one time back ache (taking a pain killer might been an acceptable solution for a week or so), but if you have chronic back pain don’t you deserve an answer?
Remember this is your responsibility as much as your doctors. If you go in expecting, or even demanding, a prescription from your doctor, that is probably what you will get. If you go in looking for answers, you will have a harder road ahead of you, but the answers can be found. Medical Doctors usually get into medicine because they want to help people. If we show them that we want real help, we can help them change the system and get back to the basics – diagnose and find a cure.