I was helping a friend move this week, hence the title of this blog post. If you know me at all, you know I am very observant and use every situation as a learning experience.  So there we were, unloading boxes, furniture, toys, bikes, and everything else you have in your house.

What did I do? 

Obviously I moved things, but I watched others and HOW they moved things.  

I quickly began to place others in groups of "patients".  What I mean is that I was able to look at someone and think "Yep, if he doesn't yet he will have shoulder pain." and "He will probably have low back pain." and "So that's why he was complaining of plantar fasciitis earlier."

Now the point of this is not to demonstrate how well (or creepily I guess) I observe others around me.  


Probably the most important and often overlooked is EDUCATION.  Teaching someone how their pain started, how it has been getting worse and causing other distant issues, and how to get on the right path to health is so much more beneficial than doing these 3 things for that person.

Yes I know this goes back to the old adage of "Teach a man to fish..." but it is completely true.

If I could get you to care for your own pain problems, initially with assistance and guidance, then you don't need to depend on someone for your health.

Bottom line...

You DON'T need to seek care from your family practitioner, orthopedist, physical therapist or chiropractor forever and ever.

Get treated and reduce the pain, figure out what is aggravating or causing the problem, obtain quality advice from a trusted healthcare provider, make specific lifestyle modifications (nutrition or exercise most likely) and follow up with a provider on a semi-regular basis (every 6 to 12 months?).

By the way, I'm in the low back pain group.....

Be Blessed!
-Anatomy Geek 

Anecdotal evidence.

What is that?  Observations made in clinical practice that do not provide definitive proof but may support rationale (that's the super dorky definition)  In simple terms, this is when a physician notices changes in a patient's condition through a form of treatment that has NOT been fully illustrated in research.  

Anecdotal evidence is what defines certain aspects of healthcare.  Let's face it, science is fantastic!  BUT, there are a lot of patients that have benefitted from treatments even though the exact mechanism of action (MOA) is unknown.  I include myself in the category of very scientifically-minded clinicians.  However, not every single treatment I perform has definitive proof or an exact MOA.  From the perspective of your family physician, not every medication they can prescribe offers definitive proof or an exact MOA.  We are all in the same boat.....

Let's look at gabapentin (commonly known as Neurontin).  This is a drug that was originally used to treat epilepsy and neuropathic pain.  It's chemical structure is similar to GABA, an important neurotransmitter.  Unfortunately, we do not know exactly how gabapentin effects epilepsy and neuropathic pain (although, there are theories).  The MOA is somewhat understood.

Now let's look at chiropractic manipulations (sometimes known as CMT).  This is a treatment originally used to treat neck and low back pain.  It's physiologic effect on the body involves the movement of certain joints and local tissue effects, like reduced pain.  Unfortunately, we do not know exactly how manipulations cause local and/or global effects in the body (although, there are theories).  Again, the MOA is somewhat understood.

Hopefully you recognize the similarities.  So, what is the point of this blog post then?

There are clinicians that prescribe medications (some of which the MOA may not be fully known) and clinicians, like myself, that perform treatments (again, some of which the MOA may not be fully known).  

 I am not trying to defend anecdotal evidence as superior to clinical research.  There should simply be a place for anecdotal evidence in daily practice; as clinicians (regardless of specialty) we all need to recognize the importance of anecdotes.  

IF we all agree that healthcare should be based in science, why are there discrepancies between professions?  Ultimately, healthcare should be about providing care to patients. What I am trying to say is that there needs to be a give-and-take when it comes to anecdotal evidence.  Medical professionals, ALL of us, should stay grounded in science without ignoring observations made in clinical practice that could benefit patients.

Isn't that what you want your doctor doing?

Be Blessed!
-Anatomy Geek


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    Erik Korzen DC is a chiropractic physician and educator.  He is passionate about re-defining the chiropractic profession and is somewhat of an "Anatomy Geek".


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