Why Doctors Misdiagnose and Improperly Treat Pain

Using Non-surgical Pain Treatments

As I began my private practice in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation I began to notice that many of my patients who had pain had seen the other doctors ( in fact some had seen several). Many of these patients were misdiagnosed and/or improperly treated. Many of these patients told me their doctors didnít seem to spend the time necessary to understand their pain conditions. In some cases these physicians would become confused or frustrated with the patient, as they simply did not know what to do about the pain.

Please note that the failure of these physicians to treat these patients has more to do with their medical training than with their qualifications. Very little is taught about treating pain in medical school. Internists or primary care physicians learn mostly about treating internal organ disease and systemic problems (such as high blood pressure and diabetes) and not that much about treating pain. Neurologists specialize in both painful and non painful brain and nerve conditions and little about muscular, skeletal, joint, ligament and tendon problems.

Orthopedic physicians and neurosurgeons specialize in the treatment of surgical pain conditions. However most pain conditions do not require surgery and can be successfully treated by nonsurgical methods. Unfortunately I have seen too many patients who have had unnecessary or unsuccessful surgery. I have also seen many patients where surgery was recommended, but not done and were successfully treated by nonsurgical means.

I have a unique perspective about this topic.  I am not a surgeon, but did require a couple of  back surgeries to successfully treat my low back and leg pain.  Only a small percentage of patients will require surgery.  As a nonsurgical specialist in treating and diagnosing pain, I can be unbiased in telling patients when I think surgery may be necessary and refer them to an appropriate and conservative surgeon.