Every day millions of Americans are faced with making decisions about what they should do regarding their healthcare issues. Every single medical condition or situation has multiple options when it comes to treatment. So how do you decide what the best course of action is?
The best recommendation I can make, simply put, is to make your healthcare treatment choices based on least invasive to most invasive. Seems like common sense, but too many people opt for risky, invasive medical procedures without even considering less invasive, safer, and more natural options.
More invasive procedures come with more risk. This risk can include a wide variety of adverse outcomes. And far too often, it is after the procedure or treatment, when the patient has suffered side effects, collateral damage, or a failed outcome that they realize they should have sought a different type of care.
Back surgeries are especially risky. And these risks are often glossed over as the patient signs the consent form. If asked about these very serious risks, many doctors will slough them off as very rare occurrences. I can say that I see many patients in our office that have had failed lower back surgery. Many of them are no better than before the surgery. And a lot of them are actually worse. A high percentage of them regret doing the surgery, are frustrated with the outcome, and wish they had exhausted all other less invasive options first.
No matter what condition you have, it makes great sense to seek out all of your options. Once you have these options, sort them out in order of invasiveness and risk. You have to keep in mind that every single drug on the market has a list of possible side effects (adverse effects) that are possible. And every surgery, no matter how small, comes with possible adverse outcomes, and most, if not all, run the risk of failing. Even most medical procedures and tests come with risk. This is why it is just as important to weigh your options when it comes to the tests your doctor wants to run.
Now, I am not saying that the procedure or test that is being recommended is not the best or most necessary thing needed, but it warrants asking questions, seeking alternative options, or possibly declining the recommendation all together if you find the risk outweighs the reward.
Some simple questions would be, do I absolutely need this test or procedure, what are the risks with this test or procedure, are there less risky options? This last question is a little tricky. The doctor or healthcare provider you ask will not likely think about any answer outside of what their office or facility provides. So, they may say that there are no less risky options, and what that usually means is that their facility does not offer any less risky options. I can assure you that in most cases, there are other options, and many would be far less risky.
Think of this… has your medical doctor ever recommended seeing a homeopath, a chiropractor, an acupuncturist, or the use of herbs, essential oils, or natural supplements? The best doctors certainly do, as we get many referrals from local doctors and clinics, but most doctors never do. Why is that?
My first course of action, assuming it is not a life-threatening, emergency situation, is always the safest, most natural, and least invasive option. I know that if the less invasive options fail, I always can move on to a more invasive option. On the other hand, if you start with the more invasive procedure first, you might end up with unrepairable damage, in some cases leaving you with no other options.
I regularly see patients that feel they made a mistake by not seeking a less invasive, safer option regarding their health care. They wish they would have come to someone like me first, instead of last. While we can often still help these individuals, occasionally they are left with no options. Medication or surgery may be the best thing, but wouldn’t it be smart to exhaust all other options that do not come with so much risk? And if you get push-back by your medical doctor, or your questions are met with arrogance, anger, or frustration, then remind them that the third leading cause of death in the United States is medical errors. Yes… our so-called healthcare system itself is responsible for more deaths than diabetes and obesity combined. So… start with the least invasive options when making healthcare choices!