My wife and I are having our basement painted. With five kids, the basement is an important place in our home.
Without a second thought, we called the painter who we’ve used for years. He told my wife that he would send an estimate.
She said, “Why? It doesn’t matter. We’re hiring you.”
Isn’t it great when you get to a place where you unconditionally trust someone? We don’t have to worry about our painter taking advantage of us. We have no doubt that he’ll give us a fair price, show up on time and do a wonderful job.
When we evaluate and choose an individual or company to provide a service – painters, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, lawyers, accountants – we want to build a relationship with them so we have the confidence that we’re in good hands.
I think of myself as one of those people.
When it comes to pain, it’s important to remember that you get to choose the people who will help you.
It works the same way for doctors. I work very closely with other medical professionals – neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, pain management doctors, physiatrists, OBGYN, internal medicine and others. We trust one another to do the right thing for each other and, more importantly, for our patients.
Just like it can take a long time to find the right painter, plumber or electrician, it takes many years in clinical practice to find the right doctors and build those relationships. We need to be comfortable with the people who take care of us, especially when it comes to treating painful conditions.
The musculoskeletal system is comprised of very-pain sensitive structures. Joint conditions like arthritis are extremely painful. Muscle pain, a torn ligament, tendonitis, and a ruptured, bulging or herniated disc cause a lot of pain.
This pain shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to be your own doctor. Don’t just take over-the-counter pain medication and assume it will eventually go away.
When pain doesn’t go away, you routinely use over-the-counter medication, or you have pain that radiates down your arm or leg and feels like electricity, you need to seek professional help. Taking this step can be overwhelming.
What do I do? What type of doctor do I go to? What type of treatment do I need?
These are the kinds of questions that are best answered by a doctor who serves as a point person for the diagnosis and treatment of your pain.
You need to find a doctor who will listen to you and recommend the right radiological testing (MRI, CAT scan, x-ray, etc.). This doctor should be open to an integrated approach to treating pain, using both conservative (chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy, etc.) and medical (medication, surgery) methodologies.
Your doctor should evaluate your health based on all tiers of the Pyramid of Health. In other words, pain isn’t just physical. You’re not just a back, a foot or a shoulder. You’re a complex being with various systems that must be balanced in order to function properly.
You need to find the right point person, who can refer you to the right team if necessary, for further evaluation and treatment. Build a relationship with a doctor you trust not only for their knowledge and expertise, but for their genuine desire to help you feel better.
This isn’t always easy. Just like we may choose the wrong contractor or accountant, we may not find the right doctor at first. Keep looking.
When you find the doctor who makes you comfortable, and you build a relationship based on trust, the peace of mind you have from knowing you’re in good hands will be as valuable as the treatment you receive.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.