The Medical Blind Spot Continues

The latest evidence of the woeful state of care for Psychophysiologic Disorders (Stress Illness) comes from my local newspaper.  In a Health column, we find the following question from a reader:

“I have severe back pain but my MRI appears to be normal.  What are my options?  Can you help?”

The “answer” is provided by the physician director of an “Advanced Pain Management Center.”  The doctor begins by reporting a study that found herniated discs in about 30% of MRIs done in people who had no pain (the converse of the questioner’s problem).  The logical conclusion from this research is that herniated discs do not always cause pain.  A further inference is that in some patients with both pain and a herniated disc, the pain is not caused by the disc but by some other cause.  The doctor could then have pointed out that this “other cause” (most commonly unrecognized life stress) might be responsible for the questioner’s pain.

Unfortunately, instead of explaining this, the doctor perseverates on the concept that there must be a diseased structure responsible for the questioner’s pain.  Outrageously, with no mention of the statistically most likely cause of unresolved psychosocial issues, he suggests a plan of additional tests including specialized x-ray studies and/or diagnostic nerve blocks.  These are uncomfortable (they involve long needles), risky, unlikely to be of any benefit and generate generous fees for the physicians who perform them.  The doctor concludes by inviting the questioner to call his office for an appointment.

The old expression that “when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail” applies here,  particularly when you are well paid for hammering. My colleagues on the Board of Directors of the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association (PPDA) have observed this neglect of the psychosocial causes of symptoms in countless patients, providing ample motivation for us to bring light to this darkness.

Tags: , ,

207 Responses to “The Medical Blind Spot Continues”

  1. Lou says:

    Isaiah got arrested for pilfering hairy herrings

  2. Emma says:

    Nice works and i love the design�s.

  3. First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question which I’d like
    to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and
    clear your mind before writing. I have had difficulty clearing my mind in getting my
    ideas out. I truly do enjoy writing however it
    just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally lost simply
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips?
    Thank you!

  4. Corazon says:

    I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative
    and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the
    nail on the head. The problem is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about.

    I’m very happy that I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.

    Review my page: vacations packages in Costa Rica (Corazon)

  5. My family all the time say that I am killing
    my time here at web, except I know I am getting know-how
    all the time by reading such nice articles or reviews.

    my weblog: Luxury Vacations Packages In Costa Rica

  6. My brother suggested I might like this blog.
    He was totally right. This post actually made my day.
    You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for
    this information! Thanks!

  7. Thanks for sharing such a nice opinion, article is fastidious, thats why
    i have read it completely

Leave a Comment