Seeing is Believing: Pain Isn’t Always Visible

Far too often, patients experiencing pain are prematurely convinced of a narrative perpetuated as a result of imaging (ex: an MRI revealed a bone spur); however, some ailments are normal products of aging and other factors meaning they may not be the causes of pain at all. Only by using a skilled observational approach, such as those implemented at OSPTC, can the causes of pain accurately be identified.

Why Musculoskeletal Pain Comes Back

The problem with western medicine or medicine performed in the United States is that there is an apparent failure to or at least a failure to attempt to understand the causes of pain and to treat that pain at its source. Believe it or not, despite their comprehensive training, most doctors receive very little educational support in diagnosing and treating pain-causing disorders. This claim is supported in a recent publication titled, A Nation in Pain: Healing Our biggest Health Problem, by Judy Foreman.

girl-leg-painIn her work, Judy claims, “Pain is a bigger problem than heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, combined!” This is the problem that I experience on a daily basis; patients come in to the clinic with an issue that is causing pain. They have already been processed through a system that merits seeing a medical doctor at which point they get an MRI or X-ray, and taking pain pills; the subsequent prescription is for pain pills for anywhere from four to six weeks, yet the results yield no evident relief.

I find it interesting that when I first meet with a patient and inquire, “What are you here for today?” that the answer is always the same. Responses I receive such as, “I have herniated disc,” and “I have a bone spur,” reveal that the patient has already received professional medical information that leads them to believe they are broken.

To this I ask ‘why?’ Just because one has been told that an MRI or X-ray shows an anatomical variation, which invariably must be the cause of their pain that does not make it so. The reality is that most changes seen on an MRI or X-ray show normal changes within the human body that are the result of aging but that have no bearing on pain.

The Placebo Effect

Considering the following claim that MRIs and X-rays are no good at diagnosing pain complaints. Those are useful only if my therapist and I are unable to find anything wrong during our routine therapy exam. The real problem is that once you have viewed your X-ray or MRI, you start to believe that what is happening is abnormal and the cause of your problems. Once you start to believe this, it is difficult to remove your pain through conventional intervention.

This is because 30% of any treatment is placebo, which means that if something is meant to work, it will work to a degree of up to 30% because you’re relying on the narrative that it is intended to work (and therefore, it must work). On the contrary, if you do not believe the placebo narrative, there is a 30% higher likelihood that any proposed intervention that it will not work.

The Significance

So, why is this issue concerning? It’s problematic because 30% of treatment left subject to the placebo effect is actually the most important part of any treatment you try. In other words, if you visit a surgeon or physician and are made to believe that you have a bone spur, then you will not believe that any treatment for any ailment other than a bone spur is beneficial.

Thus, before you accept the diagnosis resulting from imaging or even another MD or chiropractor, consider the healthy, non-invasive, results-driven alternative approach of a physical therapist at the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center (OSPTC), and let their doctors figure out why you are really in pain, and let them help you fix it.

With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. Rather than relying on images, these medical experts read your body’s signals to understand what problematic before treating real issues. Let Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC diagnose, treat, and resolve issues causing you pain.

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