The vital importance of talking to your patient!
Again and again and again I go on about how important a proper assessment is for a correct diagnosis. You MUST actually talk to and examine your patient! The variety of medical testing available is fantastic, MRI scans and X-rays, nerve testing, blood tests . . . the list goes on and on (and in some private hospitals on and on and on again!). And these are fantastic at giving you insight into many things that we just couldn’t know before. BUT, and this is a huge BUT, you must still examine and speak to the person in front of you!
The person who best understands what they are feeling is . . . the person feeling it. A consultant should always consult the patient. And examine them. Probably get them to take off some clothing (well maybe not in summer here but . . . ), move them around a little.
Without this most basic of interactions all the tests in the world aren’t going to give you the full picture. And this means that the diagnosis might be wrong. Without a proper understanding of the actual problem how on earth do you expect to get the right solution?
An actual, real life case study – Danielle came to see me in September. After actually speaking to her I was able to make a correct diagnosis which means she was able to avoid surgery. Surgery that she didn’t need, that wouldn’t have fixed the problem and would probably have made her feel worse.
“In late July and throughout August this year, during the night, I began to experience numbness in my fingers and hand extending to my upper arm on the right side and occasionally in my fingers and hand on the left.
At first I thought it may have been because I had slept awkwardly and ignored it. But when it became a regular occurrence I started to become concerned, although not enough to see a doctor and seek some advice. I thought if I ignored it and didn’t worry about it, it would probably just go away. It didn’t!
One night at the beginning of September I was awoken by completely numb fingers, hand and arm and extreme nerve pain. I was shocked and very concerned. In the morning I could barely use my hand to do clean my teeth or brush my hair, although as the day progressed the level of pain and numbness diminished; but night after night the pain increased and day after day, I could not perform the simplest of tasks properly – like picking up a kettle, or using a knife and fork, writing or typing.
I finally went to see my GP. The GP said that although it sounded like a classic carpal tunnel syndrome case, he would like me to have an electrical nerve test to rule out the chance that it may be a problem with my neck. I had the test which confirmed carpal tunnel syndrome because I had a moderate compression in the nerve in my wrist. I asked the practitioner who performed the test if they thought physiotherapy or any other alternative treatment would help with my condition. They said if it was a mild compression, alternative treatment would possibly help, but probably only temporarily but with a moderate to extreme compression only an operation would sort it out. My GP said the operation was a very simple one with very little downtime. He also suggested a splint and some nerve tablets may be of help in the meantime.
I did not want an invasive operation or the medication because I believe in a more holistic approach and thought there had to be another way.
About two years previously I had some successful treatments done at Bodyworks. I thought if there is one person who would give me a clear explanation of my condition and the alternative treatments that were available was Estelle. So I telephoned her and she saw me straight away.
Estelle asked me if I had a problem with my neck, I said no, but later during the appointment whilst she had explained many important and clearly understandable facts about the working of the nerves and their relation to the rest of the body, I explained that I had had a broken rib and other smaller injuries from falling down the stairs 9 months before. It became clear that what appeared to have been an isolated incident in my wrist was traced back through my arm and neck to my rib.
During 3 appointments Estelle treated me with lymphatic drainage, ultra sound and physiotherapy and she taped up the weak areas to give support. I began to sleep better and upon waking during the night I still had numbness, but the pain had started to disappear. It was the same throughout the day, intermittent numbness but little or no pain.
I then had an unfortunate setback where I had a minor impact injury to my wrist and the pain went back up in the other direction through the wrist to the arm and neck. The nerve connection line became very clear!
Estelle treated me again and because the area was inflamed and congested she suggested I also had a course of MRT treatments as they could go deeper than physiotherapy and would help to open up the area. I have had 6 of the 10 MRT treatments. The machine is very comfortable, relaxing and (for me personally) sleep inducing which is a brilliant bonus! I have also had 2 physiotherapy appointments on the 1st and the 6th day of the MRT. The vertebrae that were tight and blocked are beginning to loosen up making it easier and less painful for physiotherapy to be performed. At this stage I feel some aches and pains throughout my shoulders and ribs because it feels like some deep work has been done. I now sleep every night knowing that I am getting better, any pain will continue to diminish, and the numbness will go in time. I am having the root of the problem cured which brings with it longterm wellbeing. The right treatment makes the body work!
Thank you Estelle”
If your doctor / therapist / consultant doesn’t take the time to talk to you, look at you and examine the problem . . . please think about whether they are treating you or just your test results.
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