As debilitating as back pain can be, it is sometimes symptomatic of other issues in your body. Doctors don’t know everything and often their focus is based on past experiences and area of expertise. They have had success in certain areas and may not always focus on the right diagnostic tests for a new patient’s chief complaint.
They rarely have the vested interest that the patient does in trying to get to the root of the problem. This is especially common with back pain conditions.
Too often it’s assumed that the source of the discomfort is a musculoskeletal problem from a chronic injury. Often times, problems with other systems in the body can manifest in the back. These are known as visceral somatic reflexes.
For example, Gall bladder problems are notorious for producing pain in the right shoulder blade and the presence of kidney stones can produce severe pain in the upper lumbar area. It sometimes takes a thorough exam and case history review to bring it to light.
In my own practice, I once received a referral for a patient thought to have Multiple Sclerosis. They had most of the signs and symptoms but they did not check out neurologically. It turned out to be mercury poisoning from eating sushi 3x a day for weeks on end. It was a test for mercury poisoning which nailed the culprit.
By contrast to some practitioners, most patients have thought deeply about their symptoms and are usually right about their diagnosis. They are only trying to find a receptive ear to hear them out. Due to the time limitations of the office call, practitioners don’t always get it when it comes to listening to their patients.
All too often it’s the patient who is always right. For a patient, it is best to use the internet wisely. Google your symptoms and present a complete picture as possible to a doctor who will listen intently
Searching Google with your symptoms can also be a good idea with prescription medications. Drugs can be scary and unpredictable. Know what you’re getting yourself into. It was E.I. Lilly himself who said, “the drug with no side effects is no drug at all.” We all to watch for ourselves and be our own best advocate.