Should I wait or Should I Go (Will it really go away?)
Every week I hear people say that they believed their pain would go away and they ended up worse by trying to self manage pain that they did not really understand. I always tell patients that pain is just a symptom of a greater problem or the tip of the iceberg. Somewhere someone is trying to stretch out the tight area, later finding out this made them lock up and experience pain that can sometimes be incredible. Others, hurt themselves, and then believe they can medicate themselves out of their miser. Four weeks passes and other symptoms that are seemingly unrelated come about and they believe they have a life threatening condition. Of course, when I finally have the opportunity to check them out, what may have required a couple of visits now requires many more because they have gotten much tighter over this period of time due to their belief that it should go away.
Suggested rules for a healthier life and happier back and neck
1. If it does not feel right, it isn’t – see us as soon as possible.
2. If it feels tight and you need to stretch, stretch the opposite side. This is counter intuitive but usually the tight side is straining.
3. Medication only hides the symptoms and is not a great long term solution.
4. When it comes to the musculoskeletal system, most primary care doctors will either medicate you or refer you out. Treating and evaluating the back and neck is not what they do best. On the other hands, we will not do blood tests and treat blood pressure issues and administer medications. In other words, we should be your primary care doctor for your back, neck and extremities. They should be your primary care doctor for the internal organ systems. I will always refer you to your doctor if I believe the problem is more serious (rarely it is). Your trust in me and my reputation depends on it.
5. If it is sore more than a day or so, it is not just a sore muscle and you need to get it checked out asap.