When I talk to my clients, I say that I am not a doctor and they should always get their doctor’s advice about their medical condition. However, in my experience in reading medical records and deposing orthopedic and neurosurgeons, the doctors really only have five tools in their medical tool kit to get people better who have suffered an injury to a joint or to the back. Those tools are:
1. Rest and medication;
2. Physical therapy to strengthen and help reduce muscle spasms;
3. Injections, either steroids or an anti-inflammatory, directly to a certain site in the body or to block nerve pain;
4. Surgery to cut out or trim off the body part that the doctors know has been damaged, or surgery using screws and bolts to stabilize a spine which they think is unstable;
5. Repeat steps 1-4. The doctors have no other alternatives than those four steps.
If a person has chronic pain, doctors will try to reduce the pain with narcotic medications, biofeedback and different forms of therapy. Such treatment is similar to the first four tools that the doctors have in their tool kit. Pain management uses different variations of those tools.
It is important to understand the limitations of the doctors’ tool kit so we can help the client ask good questions about treatment choices. We help the client make certain their symptoms get properly reported to the doctor, which is the best way of getting the maximum recovery from their injuries.