Why Pain Isn’t Always Where It Hurts

Why Pain Isn’t Always Where It Hurts

April Blog - pain pictureWhen we are in pain, we focus on what hurts. It’s the logical thing to do. Our whole healthcare system…actually, our whole society is geared to fixing one thing at a time and not looking at the whole picture.

Instead of trying to find why the pain is occurring, physicians seem to band-aid the issue, send you on your merry way, only to have the issue pop up again. The root of the issue may be something in a different area of your body and not noticed by the ER or family physician.

Did you know that 9 out 10 sciatic nerve issues that pass through the ER are actually muscle contractions that could be resolved with therapeutic massage!

Here’s the typical scenario: You are in extreme back pain and go to the ER. Once there, the physician prescribes pain meds then will send you home. You are left to contemplate the looming possibility of back surgery. You weren’t given any suggestion of alternative treatments that may make invasive surgery unnecessary.

Let’s stop here. I want to make it clear that I’m not against the value physicians provide. I know and respect many physicians and I believe in their mission of providing the best care possible. What I believe is broken is the “mindset” we, as a society, have surrounding our healthcare.

Physicians are trained to focus on what is broken and fix that one part. Specialties were developed for that very reason: focus on fixing one part of the body. Here’s the issue, the body is a complex machine and a problem that presents itself in one area of your body, may very well have origins in an entirely different part of the body.

We, as patients, are conditioned to focus on the part of the body that is broken and want a quick fix. We seek the care of a physician to make us better, and make us better quick!

April Blog - pill pictureIf doctors and patients would slow down, they could step back to evaluate the whole picture of what is going on in the body and maybe get to the root of the health issue sooner, without the trial and error with RX meds and side effects. Instead of being the last resort, they would offer alternative therapies earlier in the treatment process.

Not long ago, I was doubled over with pain shooting through my mid-section. I couldn’t stand it any longer and I needed to go to the ER. Within minutes of being seen by the physician, he suggested surgery! What?! He pronounced my gall bladder as being the culprit, mainly because of my age.

I hadn’t even had an ultra-sound to confirm the diagnosis. This didn’t sit well with me. I needed to be sure before I was convinced that surgery was the right path. I stood my ground and insisted on an ultrasound and thankfully so! What was assumed to be a gall bladder issue turned out to be an ulcer.

If I hadn’t insisted on slowing down and investigate further to see where the root of my pain really was, I would have gone through surgery unnecessarily. Worse yet, I would still be left with the problem I originally went to the ER for.

I sit here and think of the thousands of dollars the surgery would have cost and all the time I would have had to take off work with the real issue not fixed and am flabbergasted. Mine is not the only story like this. Many of us struggle in staying well and finding the real root of our pain but are stuck in a healthcare mindset that is clearly broken.

It will take time, but I believe that our mindset will change. We will educate ourselves, learn better ways of self-care and see a movement where the traditional and alternative healthcare provider will work together to achieve a whole-body care approach.

Have you struggled with our “quick-to-fix” healthcare mindset? Drop me a note and tell me your story. I’d love to hear from you.

Author Info

Michelle Heniff

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