Will This Doctor Really Help?

The doc walks in saying - "did you know?". Never a great way to start. Maybe, just maybe this doctor will be the one to actually help...


Your back pain, numbness, and nerve issues may be due to your disc degeneration OR  it could be due to your scoliosis OR your hypermobility OR your hip degeneration, and labral tears, OR your pelvic and SI joint arthritis. 

What was really a surprise was that I hadn’t been diagnosed with any of those issues other than disc degeneration. 

My new doctor, a Sports Medicine Ortho DO, is a great doctor who is very interested in rare diseases like EDS, MCAS, and others.  

What a blessing to find a doctor like her! 

For the first time, in my 60 years, she looked at my entire spine and hips, hence discovering many new issues.

She explained that the issues are likely interrelated so she created a plan to slowly work through the issues with injections and focused PT.  

What a relief to have a plan!

She was very confident that the plan would uncover and address the underlying issues.

Finally, a doctor who is looking at the bigger picture…who knows and understands rare disease…and who lays out a plan on how to move forward! 

Life is great, right?  

Well…  It’s been over two months and if I’m honest, my symptoms are getting more concerning and I’m feeling worse than when I first saw her.

I’ve had one injection that didn’t help much. The next injection is 4 weeks from now. I wasn’t allowed to schedule the second injection until knowing if the first helped.  Since we are talking about a series of 4+ injections to figure out the core issue, it could be months from now. 

At this point, I’ll admit that I’m a bit frustrated and skeptical about finding just one issue leading to fixing ALL of my issues. 

Is it time to get rid of this doctor? 

Probably not but it is helpful to be aware of the following:

  1. Doctors know what they know.
    Doctors specialize and train in specific areas.  That is what they learn the most about and the lens that they view issues through. They say that surgeons like to cut and with this doctor, her tools included injections, adjustments, and PT.  It’s not right or wrong - just important to be aware of where they are coming from.
  2. Doctors believe in their perspective and specialty.
    Not only do doctors view issues through their lens but the possible solutions they consider first are the ones that they use.  So, it is natural and expected that this doctor assured me that her plan will work just as a surgeon may recommend surgery.  
  3. Doctors have very little concept of time.
    Doctors see a huge number of patients on a daily and weekly basis so they don’t have a good sense of the amount of time between our individual appointments.  Most leave the scheduling to someone else so don’t realize that their first available appointment isn’t for 6 weeks even when they tell us to follow up in two weeks. As much as this greatly affects us, doctors are often unaware of this.  

Is this doctor a wonderful doctor?  Absolutely! 

Is this doctor the right fit and the answer to my issues?  Maybe... 

Ultimately it’s up to us to decide if a doctor's approach and way of helping make sense for us. 

To hedge my bets, as my father used to say, I’m also seeing a pain medicine doctor who is doing EMG testing on my nerves and muscles.  With this additional information, I will get a better sense of the urgency of the issues and If the Sports Medicine doctor is unsuccessful, I’ll be ready to move forward and find someone else to help me.

Wish me luck!  Numbness and nerve pain is concerning and no fun to deal with.

Have you been in a similar situation?  How did you decide when and if a doctor’s approach was the right one for you?


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