A subjective indication of a disorder or disease, such as pain, nausea, or weakness
The current medical system has set itself up in a way to minimize the amount of time a physician spends with a patient. It is a simple concept. Too many sick people, too many cases, and not enough time for doctors to cover them all.
Unfortunately this has led our health status into a melting pot of undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, over tested, under analyzed patients. So many physicians do not have time to spend taking a thorough history, so instead of listening to the concerns and complaints of a patient, and going through all of the symptomatology that the patient presents with, it is common to order an excessive amount of unnecessary tests to come up with a diagnosis.
While attending Palmer College of Chiropractic, I learned the most valuable thing about being a physician.
80% of our diagnosis should come from the history of the patient. We need to speak to patients for as long as it takes to come up with a very concise decision that supports the indication to do additional testing.
If you look back at the top of this article, you will see that the very definition of a symptom explains it perfectly. Symptoms are a SUBJECTIVE indication of a disease or dysfunction. Listen to what the patient is saying, but more importantly understand how the body works so you can utilize the information that is given during a thorough history.
The process of coming up with an accurate diagnosis of a patient starts with a physician’s understanding of the human body. There is absolutely no cookie cutter flow chart to be followed that will work on every single patient. Certain dysfunctions can be expressed differently in every patient, but you have to dig deeper.
When a patient discusses a symptom, it is just the tip of the iceberg. You have to know everything about that symptom. You have to know which questions to ask and how to interpret the responses. Lets go through a scenario:
A 39 year old female patient presents with mid to low back pain.
Symptom: back pain.
Some physicians will immediately lean toward an X-ray to rule out things. Some might automatically prescribe a muscle relaxer. NSAIDs are always suggested. Maybe ice, massage, or even electric stimulation.
Chiropractors are famous for immediately linking to a spinal subluxation and an adjustment will fix it up.
What questions should be asked?
Location of the back pain? How long has it been going on? Does anything relieve it or make it worse? All physicians understand the whole OPPQRST bit, but do they use it?
Is a kidney exam indicated? Gall Bladder stones? Lumbar disc derangement? Did they fall and break a rib? Diverticulitis?
The point I am trying to make is this; a symptom as simple as back pain can have many different diagnoses. There is any amount of testing that you can order to search for the correct condition. The true physician will minimize the cost to a patient by ruling out some of the differential diagnoses, and minimize any testing required.
Pain is definitely the most common symptom that encourages a person to seek medical attention. Low back pain being number one in the US.
The symptom of pain seems to be the one hardest to deal with, the hardest for a patient to overlook, but there are so many more symptoms that must be analyzed by a physician that is seeking a true diagnosis. Symptoms like, restless at night, weight gain, low body temperature, elevated pulse, frequent urination, and so many more are how the body expresses its state of health.
The body will tell a physician a story. They just have to listen to it. More importantly, they must not look at any patient with a predetermined mentality of what is wrong. This is how a misdiagnosis happens.
The most common complaint that I hear from patients is that their primary physician doesn’t really listen to them.
Has this ever happened to you?
It is probably not the physician’s fault. They work in a health system with too many sick people, and unfortunately, testing is profitable and major hospitals are a business. All business’s like making profit, so the more testing they order, the more money they make.
I like to be a cost effective physician, but even more so, I like to be accurate. It is not hard to come up with a diagnosis if you just listen, and ask the right questions. I order tests when needed. I order imaging if necessary. They are NEVER my primary source of coming up with a diagnosis. I run at about a 90% rate of using diagnostic testing to confirm what I already determined from a thorough history. I only test if my safe, non-invasive treatment plan is not providing the results I think the patient deserves. Physicians have to start being fair, and not going beyond their expertise.
The New-Start Difference
We analyze symptoms, or objective findings to conclude a status of health. The system is designed to save money on unnecessary testing for a condition that is indicated with simple symptoms. At New-Start, all we need to know is exactly how you feel. What symptoms you are suffering from. We use this to give you a very thorough description of your health status.
If you are interested in learning more about how New-Start is changing the health care system, feel free to schedule a FREE consultation with me. It could change your life.
If you want to know how healthy you are, fill this entire quiz out as accurate as you can, and The New-Start Solution will give you a very concise report on where your health stands.