Let’s face it, most people don’t ask for professional help when it comes to dealing with pain, especially if it’s a new pain and not something following a severe accident or injury. Forget about asking two separate medical professionals for treatment advice on the same problem, or getting a second opinion. In my experience, people mostly just deal with the problem themselves. But, why…?
Maybe My Problem Will Just Go Away...
Each person’s perception of his or her pain is intimately intertwined into his or her own individual psyche and emotional state of mind. So, first off… it’s a personal thing. It’s also cultural, it’s also macho, it’s a lot of things that are very psychological. But second, and more important to the relevance of us, most people don’t seek help because most everyday problems really don’t need a certified medical opinion to resolve. The problems simply get better on their own. The beauty of the human body is that it is essentially designed to heal, or adapt and compensate, allowing us to then move onward and upward and forget about the old problems that once held us back.
Most people have some form of ache or pain from daily activity, and many have the pain in multiple parts of their bodies, especially if they're into their senior years. Just think about the logistical implications of everyone seeking a physician for each pain being experienced at each particular life moment. The doctor’s clinics would be completely filled at all times, with waiting lists going on for the next three to five months. You simply would never get in.
In my experience, most people usually deal with stubborn pain on their own — through advice of friends/co-workers, books, the internet, or whatever — until the pain either goes away on its own, or it doesn’t. Typically this is about the two to three month mark, depending upon the severity of the symptoms. Although, not unheard of, some people will postpone getting the proper treatment for years at a time.
Perhaps you fall somewhere in between that exaggerated timeframe. Whatever it is that has pushed you to this point outside of your comfort zone, I am glad that you are finally here.
First Things First...
Have you at least seen a physician recently, that is within the past month or two, for your condition? If you haven’t, then stop reading and go now!
Then, when you come back from the doctor’s office, continue reading…
This article is called “seeking a second opinion” for a reason. I am assuming that you already had your pain or dysfunction at least cleared and screened by a licensed and capable medical professional. It is simply not worth your time wasted, and your health jeopardized, due to something simple being overlooked because you simply “didn’t have the time.”
That’s not imagining; that’s imaging — medical imaging. That means you must get the appropriate diagnostic tests used to see inside your body in order to make sure that there’s no life threatening problem or weird condition, which is manifesting as superficial pain. Unfortunately, I have known occasional cases where a seemingly benign back pain or knee ache was actually something much worse, like cancer.
The True Story of Brandon with Back Pain
I’ll never forget my patient Brandon who came to me because of chronic low back pain with terribly stubborn hamstring tightness. The masseuse that he had been seeing for a couple of months already had been working hard to try and relieve the tension in his legs. He was being stretched at least a couple of times a week and getting deep tissue massage to break up scar tissue. Every manual therapy technique under the sun was used on Brandon’s legs, and always providing only temporary relief. The masseuse kept on saying that Brandon’s condition was just very stubborn — which it really was — and that he just needed to keep on getting more and more massages to break up the fascial adhesions — which really wasn’t true.
When I first talked with Brandon in my clinic, and actually listened to his story, I could tell that his leg tightness was unusual, possibly be due to a degenerative spinal condition. Many times, pains and tightnesses in the legs or arms can actually originate from the spine. That’s just anatomy. So, naturally I asked him about any X-Rays or MRIs that would have screened out serious pathologies. He hadn’t had any, and really questioned if it was necessary. Most people have busy schedules, and they just don’t like to deal with the hassle of going to the doctor, then getting a prescription for an MRI, and then going to the radiology office, et cetera, et cetera.
Thankfully, Brandon did take my advice and saw an orthopedic doctor within a week, and got the MRI of his lumbar spine. It turns out that he had severe spinal stenosis with a cyst pressing on a nerve, and needed surgery to prevent his condition from progressing to paralysis. The severe tightness he was feeling in his hamstrings was actually a symptom of compression on his spinal nerves that traveled behind his legs. It would never have been cured with massage, and probably not even with my physical therapy or acupuncture treatment either.
What Does Brandon's Story Have to Do with Me?
There is a common saying in Chinese medicine that “severe conditions require severe interventions.” It seems intuitive, doesn’t it? You do not want to delay the appropriate treatment so that the underlying problem becomes harder and harder, if not impossible, to cure. But unless you have actually been diagnosed with a severe problem, it is really hard to objectively say that you would jump right into surgery. That is why you need a second opinion. Even more so, you need an advocate.
Brandon eventually turned out okay, after a long six month recovery process. He was never really cured of his leg tightness — it was just manageable with physical therapy, occasional anti-inflammatories, and some home exercises. But, if he had done nothing he would have been confined to a wheelchair.
The moral here of Brandon’s story is obvious — don’t delay! Let’s start the dialogue about your problem on level ground, that is, screened and imaged by a licensed MD.
Now, as you stand outside the doctor’s office with a list of prescriptions clutched in your hand, you may start to feel overwhelmed, even frustrated with the whole, sterile, medical-experience of it all. A moment ago you had it under control, now you regret having a “diagnosis” to deal with.
You’re probably thinking, “Where do I go from here?”
Reach Out To Us Today
If you have a health and wellness concern that you are looking to have a second opinion on, reach out to us and schedule a complimentary consultation today.