Your Doctor Is Important!!

First of all, thank you all for tuning into this blog. I hope that the information is helpful and allows people to become better informed consumers of our healthcare system.

What prompted me to begin this blog is a situation that I see occurring with greater frequency in today’s healthcare system and economy. I see people that are not qualified medical professionals (personal trainers, yoga instructors, pilates instructors, massage therapists), providing medical advice. And the confusing thing to me is that people actually seek out these people for advice. It’s true that some of them do have other credentials as a chiropractor, nurse, or physical therapist maybe, but most do not. I don’t know if it is an accessibility issue because they can get information quickly or that they don’t want to seek out their physician because of cost, but this raises a red flag for me.

What I observed was several people at the gym seeking out a personal trainer for advice on aches and pains they were having. The personal trainer then proceeded to provide them suggestions on exercises and stretching. One incident that was extremely disconcerting was a young soccer player that twisted her knee and the father was asking the personal trainer what to do. Instead of recommending that the father seek a medical professional for his daughter, the trainer proceeded to recommend exercises which included jumping and hopping without having looked at the girl’s knee (Not that the trainer would have known what to look for even if they did).

What if the girl had a meniscus tear? Without a proper evaluation and assessment, what may have been a non-surgical condition could have progressed to a much more serious tear requiring surgery. These are things that a medical professional could have ruled out first and at that point the strengthening could have proceeded. Perhaps under the guidance of a physical therapist or someone else the doctor is comfortable with.

Doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, athletic trainers and other certified medical professionals have 1000’s of hours of experience at school and in the clinic. They pay for their education for a reason. They are armed with information the general population has not had access to, and their job is to share it for people’s health benefits. Most fitness professionals have not had this type of training.

Seeing a doctor for aches and pains that happen is very important for another reason. Your doctor can order tests to rule out other medical issues as the cause of the pain. If the cause of pain is musculoskeletal, than exercises or stretching usually will help. But there are times when the pain is caused by a pinched nerve from a disc in the back or neck or another structure like a tumor. The aforementioned medical professionals have the skills to determine what warrants further medical care. They know how to prevent you, the patient, from making the condition worse. Fitness professionals do not!!

I’m just hoping that people learn that doctors are important. With the Internet, sometimes people may feel they don’t want to wait for the doctor’s appointment or pay the co-pay for the office visit, but doctors possess a wealth of knowledge and information to help people heal. They have access to cutting edge procedures and technology. They can provide referrals to other professionals to help. I know that it costs money to visit a physician, but tell me, would $20 for an office visit be too much if it prevented a $10,000 surgery?