We would all like to think that our doctors are perfect, always catch every serious condition, and are our saviors from every harm. Sometimes though, as with any profession, mistakes can be made, one detail may not be followed, or a complication may not be noticed. Red flags are symptoms that are warning or danger signs for practitioners. If you say a red flag symptom in your history, you should immediately have your doctor's attention.
First of all, if your doctor is not (or did not) take a good complete history of your complaint, or rushed you through the process, please see another provider. You deserve to have someone listen to your complaint, and form a real diagnosis. Many practitioners, as time goes by, start to see general trends and start to diagnose patients before they even talk to them. You have a choice about your healthcare, and it should be very important to you.
Next, make sure to tell your practitioner everything about your condition. Does it get worse at night? Have you lost weight? Can you pick up 5 pounds? 1 pound? Was it from an accident, or it just started for no reason one day? Most practitioners like to lead the discussion of how your pain started, so answer their questions, but at the end, make sure to mention anything else that they did not ask about. Remember, what may not seem important to you, can be the diamond that we are looking for, to help us know how to treat you.
Luckily, most conditions that people go in to see chiropractors for are non life-threatening. Not many people die from a muscle strain, or a fixated joint in the spine, or a headache. There are, however, some conditions that have similar presentations to normal aches and pains. That is what most chiropractors are trained to filter out through a through history, exam, and watching the course of treatment, carefully. We need your help though. Doctors are only good at diagnosis when a patient is able to help paint a complete picture of their symptoms, risk factors, and general health.
If you have any of these symptoms, MAKE SURE that you tell your provider, as these can be the symptoms of a more serious condition.
- Persistent or high fever
- Unexplained weight loss
- Shortness of breath or tightness in the chest
- Pain that wakes you in the night
- Changes in bowel or bladder habits
- New episodes of back pain after the age of 50
- A family or personal history of cancer
- Trauma to the area
- Pain with no apparent cause
This is not a comprehensive list, but contains some of the most important symptoms that your provider should know about. On a final note, if you are seeing a provider, and your condition is not improving, worsening, or is recovering very slowly, you have every right to seek another doctor for a second opinion. To those of you that already see a chiropractor, I hope they do these things for you. If you are searching for a new chiropractor, please find one that is thorough. It might just save your life someday.
About Author / Additional Info:
Thank you for reading, I hope it was informational.
Michael Armatis, DC,
Armatis Chiropractic, Roseville, CA