One of the most upsetting things I hear when speaking to other chronic pain sufferers, or just any person seeking medical attention, is that they don’t like what is being done but because it is a doctor, and therefore a position of authority, they are complying anyway. This is one of the worst things you can do, you should always question and always educate yourself on the available options. Never just take what you are given without asking the whys and hows. This holds true for any medication Western or Herbal, do not ever treat any medication of any sort as mostly harmless. If it is strong enough to work, it is strong enough to be bad in large doses. Be smart, know as much as you can about anything you do or put in you. You are much more in control of your pain management, or medical treatment of any sort, than you think!
This is something I have had to learn for myself the hard way, not all doctors are created equal. Many are just in it for the money, no real care for you, it is just the most expensive procedures so they can get a fatter pocket. This issue is rife within the Pain Management section of medical treatment. I had to go through many, many pain doctors until I found one that would listen to my requests. I did not want to be put back on opiates for another two years, and I wanted a medication that was less addictive and did not make me feel so awful. Before her, I was just handed a script, and told to just take it. And when I told them I was still in pain, I was offered even more powerful, and addictive medications. Nothing was done to find out why I was hurting. I felt they were not listening to me, and my pain wasn’t being addressed properly, and I was right.
This goes the same for Chiropractors as well, don’t them just adjust you then ask questions. They should sit and talk to you, ask you where the issues are and then only adjust the issue areas (unless of course you both discover a new one). If they are just adjusting whatever they want willy-nilly, you can end up even more injured.
A grievous sin of the Western medical community is just slapping a band-aid on some symptoms and considering the patient treated. Just treating symptoms and not attempting to attack the root cause of the issue is something I can hardly stand to hear. It is upsetting for me, because I have experienced it and it only leads to more suffering for the patient. If the doctor is not treating the root of your issues, you definitely need to start looking for a new one. You shouldn’t be handed pills as a solution for everything.
So just like finding a good life partner, you have to go through a lot of weeds to find a flower when hunting for a good doctor. Here is a list of things you should do to help yourself find a good doctor.
Read Reviews & Check Online
Google them! Look on Yelp, any site that has reviews and testimonials from existing patients. Look for things like “listened to me,” “receptive to input,” etc, etc. And also look at satisfaction, did they feel they were well treated and issues resolved. Did the doctor fix the root cause, were they asking for input from the patient on their treatments, or were they just band-aiding things. The NY Times wrote a great article on how to do research on doctors before visiting them and it is a great resource for online places to look up reviews, go here to check it out.
Speak Directly to Patients
If you can, this is a great way to find out about a doctor, if you have friends or relatives with pain issues ask them who they use, and why. Look for support groups for chronic pain online and in your area, ask them who they are seeing and if they are listened to. Are their issues being treated to their satisfaction? This is a lot like reading reviews, but you get a much better idea of a doctor when speaking to people about who they see and why.
Talk to Nurses
They are the best resource ever is Nurses. Nurses always know the good from the bad doctors and will usually be happy to share that information. Hospital Nurses are easy to talk to and you can sometimes just call a Hospital and request to speak with them. You can also look online, there are sometimes Nurse lines depending on your area.
Ask Your Insurance Provider
Call your insurance and go to their sites, see who is available, if they are rated. Find out what will be covered and not with visits before you go. No one likes a surprise bill or charge. Insurance providers can be a great resource for you in finding a list of available doctors in your area.
Talk to them, do you like them? Do they seem nice? Are they interested in what you have to say? Your doctor should be someone you trust, someone you can say “Hey, I don’t think this is working can we try something else?” And they listen, and provide you with options. You should feel comfortable with your doctor and feel you can trust that they are giving you all the available information, and receptive to your input.
If you would like another article on how to pick a good doctor check out this article.
Do Your Homework
Like I always say, educate yourself because no one will do it for you. Make sure you know what you are taking, or having done to you. Ask your doctor questions, then look things up for yourself get as MUCH information as possible. Make sure you aren’t taking medications that will react with anything that is prescribed to you by other doctors (trust me I have had this happen, it pays to check for yourself). And remember you can voice your opinion, if you look something up and you don’t think it is a good idea – tell your doctor. They should be able to discuss this with you and provide either a better reason why, or an alternative option.
Finally, remember your doctor and you should have a relationship, a give and take from both sides. Not just you taking what they give without question. Empower yourself, and you will receive better care overall, and all the hard work you put into finding that awesome doctor will pay off.