Health Options: Creating A Logical Order When Choosing A Doctor

Decision-making-skills-squirrelYou would think this topic would be simple, but the fact is, most people choose doctors without clearly thinking whether the doctor chosen is the best person to address the problem. If a person experiences tooth pain, they would likely schedule an appointment to see their dentist. This makes sense. If a person experienced productive coughing which produced green colored mucus (indicative of a bacterial infection,) they would likely schedule an appointment to see their primary medical doctor. This makes sense. If a person injured their back, neck or extremity who do you think they would likely call and schedule an appointment with?

In most cases, they would call their primary medical doctor. Is this the best choice of doctor for this type of problem? A primary medical doctor is limited by education and clinical experience in treating musculoskeletal problems. They can diagnose sprains, strains, dislocations and fractures, but are more limited in differentiating subtle conditions related to the spine, joints (spinal and extremity) and muscles.  This is not a criticism, but rather an important identifying limitation of a primary physician’s skills.

ALL TYPES OF DOCTORS HAVE LIMITATIONS.

If a musculoskeletal (back, neck or extremity) injury was suffered, the primary physician would have limited treatment options as well. They could offer pain meds, anti-inflammatory meds and or muscle relaxers. The problem is, none of these medicines FIX the ROOT CAUSE of the problem. They simply attempt to reduce the symptoms? If the CAUSE was based on MECHANICAL dysfunction in the neck, back or extremity, the SOLUTION must also be MECHANICAL. Chiropractors, Orthopedic and Neurological Surgeons are better choices in these situations because they offer expertise in diagnosing and correcting musculoskeletal dysfunction. Chiropractors perform spinal or extremity adjustments that are safe and effective for restoring proper biomechanics and function which prevents or slows down the degenerative process AND in doing so relieves the symptoms by FIXING THE PROBLEM. Orthopedic and Neurological Surgeons perform invasive surgical procedures that require recovery and often follow up therapy to restore function. It is an aggressive approach that is costly in physical pain and financial expense.

Breast-Lift-Surgerychiropractic-vs-medicine

Now that you have this background information, can you guess the order that many people follow to address their back, neck and extremity pain issues? They will commonly:

1. Seek a primary medical doctor and pursue a course of pharmaceutical drugs to treat the pain. If the pain dissipates, they consider the problem “cured.” This is similar to using anbesol on a tooth problem. If the pain “goes away,” has the tooth problem been “cured?” This approach is a primary reason most people suffer arthritis and degenerative disc disease (often resulting in disc herniations) as they age. By simply addressing the PAIN instead of the PROBLEM over the years, degeneration finally catches up leading to conditions that greatly diminish one’s quality of life.

2. If the primary doctor’s treatment is unsuccessful, Orthopedic or Neurological Surgeons are commonly the next doctors consulted. There are multiple invasive procedures they can use to try to block nerve pain. Ultimately, they can perform various surgical procedures attempting to stabilize the condition. Commonly scar tissue becomes a complication requiring follow up surgery within a few years. Although these types of physicians address the mechanical problem, the methods used are aggressive and commonly have adverse side effects that may require lifetime pain management. There is also a much higher risk for long term disability using these professionals to address the problems.

3. Chiropractors are frequently a “last ditch effort” to correct the original mechanical problem. There is a lack of awareness of the skills that Chiropractic Physicians possess that has “blinded” the general public from using this approach as a viable option early in the process. They may first be seen several months to years after the injury. Yet, even with this delay and limitations imposed on them by procedures other doctors have provided, Chiropractic Physicians continue to help their patients achieve improved quality and improved function far above their medical colleagues when it comes to musculoskeletal health. How do they achieve this? Chiropractic Physicians approach these problems holistically and incorporate the various components the body needs to heal itself rather than repeatedly “taping the leaks.” Good health requires regular maintenance. The object is NOT to get healthy and then return to a lifestyle that caused the original problems. The object is to modify and constantly refine our approach to our life needs in order to keep our bodies healthy and functioning at optimal levels.

This is the chiropractic difference. 

Can you now see the problem the consumer faces when choosing a doctor?

To emphasize and clarify this point, if you experienced pain in the lower abdomen on the right side of the body after eating a big meal would you follow these options in the order listed?

  • Go to a medical doctor for pain medication. If unsuccessful,

  • Go to a surgeon for exploratory surgery and possible removal of an organ to relieve the pain. If unsuccessful,

  • Go to Rite Aide and buy some Pepto Bismol to alleviate the gastric discomfort (or even better, buy some peppermint and ginseng to alleviate the pain.)

I think most of us would agree that common sense would rearrange the order for addressing this condition. The least aggressive approach ( in this case, Pepto Bismol, peppermint or ginseng) should ALWAYS be used first unless a life threatening condition exists or permanent disabilities would result from delay of treatment.

Returning to our back, neck and extremity pain situation, Chiropractic Physicians are licensed doctors trained to diagnose, treat and/or refer for conditions best treated by other specialists or health care providers. They provide the most conservative form of treatment with a high reliability rating that (most importantly) addresses the ROOT CAUSE of the problem and limits further spinal and extremity joint decay IF the patient complies with chiropractic care AND the parameters of self care designed by the Chiropractic Physician for the patient to follow at home. This could help large numbers of people in our population AVOID the need for surgery as well as prescriptions for pain, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxers commonly needed as a result of recurring episodes from never having addressed the underlying CAUSE of the original back, neck or extremity problem.

By starting with the Chiropractic Physician, intervention would occur sooner reducing the cost in pain and finances while maximizing recovery. If pharmaceutical intervention could assist the process, the Chiropractic Physician would consult with the patient’s primary Medical Physician to ensure the best possible outcome. If the patient wasn’t satisfied with this outcome, invasive procedures including surgery would always be a final option.

If you have never scheduled a chiropractic office visit, I would encourage you to do so. While healthy, you can establish a baseline (as is done in any doctor’s office) to help determine what steps (if any) are needed to avoid developing spinal and extremity problems (such as arthritis, disc degeneration, disc herniation and other mechanical problems) or treating existing problems to minimize the damage they can lead to.

Chiro_Is_Diff

Creating a sensible order when making health choices is important. It makes most sense choosing conservative options FIRST.  Chiropractic Physicians have effectively and conservatively improved the quality of many lives while saving many people from unnecessary surgery.

If 2016 is the year you decide to begin that new lifestyle to improve your quality of life, why not contact a good qualified Chiropractic Physician to help you through the process. I suggest referrals from people you trust as well as a FREE initial consultation to meet the doctor and make certain you’re comfortable with their experience, results and suggestions. Working with a chiropractic physician to restore and or maintain health is a much better approach and experience than focusing on disease and the ongoing cycle of maintaining chronic ill health (high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, obesity, cholesterol, etc…)

quoteEdison600

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36 comments

  1. Nice post. I think some of the problem lies in the way some health insurance plans are set up. When I had my accident, I had to go to my primary doctor for a referral. I am embarrassed to tell you, you are the first Chiropractic Physian I have ever known. No, one ever suggested it. Perhaps my surgery could have been avoided.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is interesting that we boast about the United States and the freedoms it offers EXCEPT when it come to health care. Our system attempts to dictate which doctors can be utilized. In my opinion, if we had an “Any Willing Provider” system where any doctor willing to accept a certain reimbursement fee for service could be utilized, patients would be able to find doctors they were comfortable with and the insurance companies would pay the same claims. A win-win scenario. Since this doesn’t exist, the consumer needs to find multiple doctors willing to discuss their health concerns to create the best “game plan” to achieving maximal health.

      Your comment regarding the lack of awareness of Chiropractic Physicians demonstrates what a poor job my profession has done educating the public on the services we offer. I hope my writing contributions help enlighten consumers and provide additional choices they might not have been aware existed. For years, I took care of post surgical patients. Naturally, different approaches need to be used based on the type of surgery, but surgery (in and of itself) does not rule out the possibility that chiropractic care can still offer benefits to reduce scar tissue formation and adhesions as well as keeping the rest of the body from following a degenerative path.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Doc, here I am shaking my head. I learn from your comments. My next MD appointment will last a little longer than usual. Sorry, I veered from the subject with the health insurance comment. Thank you for everything.

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    2. In the UK through our NHS, we too would have to see our primary care advisor – the GP (General Practitioner) and then get a referral from there. There are a lot of hoops and I’m sure there recommendation for most things would be the cheapest and easiest option – probably not chiropractors because that would cost more for the ongoing health visits etc. and they are pretty pricey unless you have private insurance or a lot of money

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We could really use another overhaul of the health care system in the USA. But as the good Doc usually recommends, we need to be more proactive with our own health care decisions. So, when we are offered the easiest or simplest solutions we need to question our MD. Pleasure chatting with you. Happy and healthy 2016.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The UK like many national plans has a difficult balancing act as well. It might be financially less expensive to follow the route starting with the primary GP, but the potential cost in TIME, (scheduling with multi specialists and multi diagnostic procedures) and potential SUFFERING (due to a delay in care) is an issue to contend with. I have heard from several UK residents that out of pocket costs for doctors (including Chiropractic Physicians is expensive.) If we think about it, it really comes down to VALUE. We pay a lot more for organic food because we value our health and the benefits organic offers over non organic and GMO. If the Physician (Chiropractic or Medical) was seen as adding VALUE to our lives it would be much easier to pay for the services. Personally, I would rather pay more for a doctor and see them SIGNIFICANTLY LESS FREQUENTLY (because of my ability to remain healthy) than to pay less and see the doctors more and maintain a reduced quality of health. Something to think about?

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        1. I do appreciate that point. But in the UK, a GP (primary care doctor) is free via NHS and so will every referral you receive from that Doctor. So going outside of this free service is not a viable option for a great deal of people because as much as it is valuable, it isn’t affordable unfortunately.

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          1. It is unfortunate that our most precious commodity in life (our health) can be too expensive to maintain without government or private health insurance intervention. I understand the reality, but remain saddened none the less. In the United States, when a third party pays for health care, the value of the service becomes less important. The system becomes abused because people feel entitled to compensation for their premiums paid. They seek health care less for optimal health and more to “get their money’s worth.” This process will never help people refocus their efforts to maximize their own health. This is why I want people to rediscover the power they possess; to empower them with better decision making skills to achieve the level of health they choose.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post.
    We have a system here where you go to the General Practioner for everything and it is he who decides to escalate all issues or deal with them in house. If you have back pain you can go to a Chiropractor but boy are they expensive – at least $600 per month and that smarts for sure.
    If it is more serious then a trip to the hospital is usually the best way forward but sitting in Accident and Emergency for several hours is so off putting, people generally suffer.
    You can get Chiro help on the National Health Service but it is LOOOOOONG winded and you are usually well by the time you get an appointment!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am not well versed in your form of national health care. A primary doctor is supposed to refer to the appropriate specialist if they are not the best physician to handle the malady. This is not always the case here in the U.S. This is why I wrote this piece. The consumer needs to play a bigger part in seeking out the best choice. By organizing a team of doctors to discuss the condition, the patient would be able to make a better informed decision.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It works very similarly and quite well in this country I think. The only issue is the timescales so we pay to go private in a bid to resolve body issues quicker and thats when the costs come in. Our NHS is weighed down with people calling an Ambulance because they have a cold or are feeling a bit sick so they go to A and E. These idiots are a burden and so the Government advertises Public Service Broadcasts to make them think before they ask the emergency services for help.
        Unbelievable really. Think about the ailment and sensibly consider your options. Crikey, when I broke my leg I drove home 30 miles and laid on my bed taking pain killers before I thought about calling the 111 (non emergency advice line) number when the operator was amazed at what I appeared to have done to myself and insisted on sending an Ambulance! I was still unsure until a Paramedic took one look at my leg and told me that I definitely needed to go to hospital!!

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        1. Thank you for filling me in. Something tells me you have a high threshold for pain! Between your broken leg and the dangerous bicycle seat that has given new meaning to the phrase, “that’s ok, I’ll stand,” I am sending (across the ocean) a giant bubble for you to wear to avoid further injuries. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks Doc, I think I need it!!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I sure wish my dad would have seen a chiropractor for his spinal stenosis rather than a surgeon. Surgery went bad, with major complications resulting in more surgeries, an almost fatal infection, a feeding tube and permanent nerve damage. I’m convinced too that all that time under anesthesia triggered the dementia. His life has been a disaster since he the original surgery about 8 years ago. Thanks for another informative post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am so sorry to hear everything your father has gone through. I wrote this article so people would have a better understanding that choosing a doctor for any condition is an important task. To assume our primary medical doctor is capable of wearing “all hats well” is unlikely. Although they are supposed to refer when a better option is available, the reality is health care is a business. It can be difficult to refer a patient when the doctor realizes they are referring their source of income as well. It becomes the consumer’s responsibility to develop a group of doctors they trust and to get multiple opinions to make the best decision for themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Jonathan. I think too there is a general bias against chiropractors among many traditional doctors and they won’t consider referring them unfortunately. My dad was always the type to want to “take care of the problem” and at the time surgery seemed the best way to do that. My advice to anyone considering any type of back surgery is to really research all non surgical options first, including chiropractors.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. In my opinion, the consumer is smart. They don’t care about biases, they care about receiving quality care that helps them achieve good health. Any doctor showing prejudicial bias (Medical Physician to Chiropractic Physician or Chiropractic Physician to Medical Physician) should receive disciplinary action if the patient’s health is compromised by these biases. If ALL doctors stayed focused on providing the health care service that was in the best interest of their patients, EVERYONE would benefit. I am confident as greater truths about our health care system are revealed, the consumer will begin realizing greater available options and seeking out those with the highest levels of success.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. great post…. I have he best MD….she is young and listens and then gives her advise and if she doesn’t know the answer we find it together……So important to have a physician you believe in no matter the specialty…thanks again for the great post…kat,

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The doctor you have found is the type of doctor I enjoyed working with. The services we offered to the patient complimented each other and provided a more thorough evaluation and treatment protocol producing superior results. You are fortunate to have found your doctor.

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      1. I looked for awhile before I accepted her…I actually interview my MD’s..I don’t mind paying for a visit to meet and greet….its so important to have the same views and goals for my health….I am fortunate to have found her…she would like you too!!!

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        1. You did your due diligence. This is exactly what I have written about to help people find doctors that work well with their patients. Many simply throw a “dart” at their provider list and use that person regardless of the quality they receive. This will never help people achieve improved quality of health. I am really happy you found this physician. With your striving to improve your own life, your physician can be a great asset.

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  5. You hit this on the head. I have been going for 5 years now. went straight to him when I had the car accident and the pain showed up during the next few days. Regular dr like you said including xrays, then the orthopedic, then pain medicine then physical therapy too. I went to chiropractor. No xrays, pain medicine or then more tests possible. He solved my whole problem and no meds at all. I did do physical therapy during his sessions.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was a family practitioner and saw very few car accidents. Pain is pain and is brought about through various activities (and inactivities.) The Chiropractic Physician does offer a unique perspective both evaluating and treating health concerns. We also maintain health rather than merely correcting symptoms. I’m glad your experience has been so positive.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Advocate for Mental Illness and commented:
    I went straight to the chiropractor after my car accident. No xrays were needed. He could feel. No pain meds. Give this a read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you again for helping spread the word. I hope people begin to recognize that options are available even though they may not be typically discussed by their primarily M.D.

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      1. You are welcome. I believe in this.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    When I lived in Boston, MA, I had the privilege of being accepted into the Marino Center for medical guidance. I found that having access to both naturopathic and traditional medicine was highly effective. I live too far away now, but I am a firm believer that this hybrid approach is the way to go to maintain optimal health.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Each participating professional health care provider offers a piece of the puzzle to help improve the quality of lives. We have sacrificed this concept in the name of PROFIT and lost focus on offering our patients the best options available. I hope my articles stimulate people’s minds to view health and health options from a wider perspective. I believe many would benefit.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I particularly like the way you talk about modifying and adapting your lifestyle approach once you have had corrective treatment so as not to fall back into old bad habits and patterns which recreate the problems!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I believe this is one of the biggest mistakes most people make once symptoms reduce. In most cases, the problem continues to exist (just without the current symptoms)and gradually causes greater damage by following repeating the original patterns of behavior and lifestyle that were responsible for the problems in the first place. We need to begin listening to our bodies and modifying behavior before the damage becomes too extensive and destroys a person’s physical and mental ability to live the quality of life chosen.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve had doctors refer me to physios, but never to chiros. It isn’t covered where I live, so it’s an out of pocket expense unless you have third party insurance. A lot of people can’t afford to pay, so that may also be a reason they don’t go. For me, I have to choose between physio, massage, acu, and chiro care for the same lump sum of coverage and I’ve had better luck with massage and acu than with anything else. One chiro I had actually listened and only did ART on me rather than adjustments but he moved 😦 I’ve had bad experiences since but I would go back if YOU started to practice again 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Finding quality physicians that work well with patient needs is a difficult task. I certainly understand the expense, but each of the fields you mentioned treat the body in different ways; they are not substitutes for each other. Using objective as well as subjective criteria for determining results is important. Most people base their experiences on “how they feel.” If they “feel better,” the experience is viewed positively. Realize that “feeling better” may also be a temporary “fix” by addressing the symptom rather than the root cause. Although feeling better is certainly important, it should not be the only criteria used. When braces are placed on teeth, the experience can be painful, yet objectively the patient will be better off (if the procedure is done correctly.) Restoring functional spinal movement by correcting segmental dysfunction is imperative to prevent typical osteoarthritic changes from developing as a result of mechanical aberrations. There are dozens of chiropractic techniques that can create this outcome. Acupuncture and Massage have important benefits, but do not address this condition. This is just one example of a difference between providers and why “feeling better” may not be a good stand alone gauge to judge the efficacy of treatment.
      I strongly believe a good Chiropractic Physician is an integral component of a health care team. Don’t let the expense be the overriding factor. Preventing degenerative health conditions resulting in better quality living creates a great value in doctors even if not covered by insurance. For all my years in practice, I was a “non participating provider” in 99% of the insurance plans. This meant that my patients saw a value in the services I offered and chose to reach into their pockets and pay for care rather than having a “third party” insurance company pay a doctor that might have offered less quality care. Confidence in a physician has great value. It’s never worth compromising one’s health for a dollar (in my opinion.) We only get one chance with the bodies we are born with.
      Thank you for the lovely compliment at the end. 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think that I forget that sometimes, that it isn’t all about how I feel when it comes to my back and neck. When you deal with chronic pain, the main focus is to “make it stop” and band-aid solutions often do that…for awhile. Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my approach!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Most people think in those terms. My exposure to multiple health conditions opened my eyes to this realization. For me, the “Big Picture” outweighs a potential hiccup in temporary discomfort. I respect everyone’s personal decision as they make choices about how they wish to address their health issues. I offer this perspective because it is shared infrequently and can impact lives greatly.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. If I can’t figure out the problem to fix it myself, my chiropractor is the first person I call. My insurance doesn’t cover it (and soon he won’t be taking any insurance…obamacare has killed businesses not to mention I pay a thousand dollars a month and my coverage is terrible and a 5k deductible per person!) Any way, a good chiropractor is the way to go. When my son injured his foot/ankle (ice hockey) so badly (swelled grotesquely huge) “doctors” told us he needed surgery. We went to our chiropractor and after x-rays…indeed he had several fractures, with special light therapy etc., our chiropractor helped heal my son WITHOUT surgery! The doc was surprised at how fast he healed. My son is sort of like Wolverine! He heals scary fast. We all do actually. It’s worth it to us to pay out of pocket for chiropractic care. He has healed many issues for us, where I know with other types of doctors, we would have been handed meds and told to come back in six weeks! Gah!

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  11. So glad to see your experiences have been so positive. I think a good quality Chiropractic Physician adds great value to achieving better health.

    Also loved hearing about your ACTIVE CHILD. They are becoming an endangered species! 😀

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