Spine specialists have the distinction of being experts in the human musculoskeletal anatomy and are well respected throughout the medical community. A great number of specialists also actively diagnose and treat back pain, which is where my problem with these doctors generally begins.
The scope of this particular article is not to detail the variety of spinal experts in the medical and complementary sectors. Instead, it is to expose many of the problems I see with the dorsalgia treatment sector as a whole and suggest some possible solutions to these epidemic issues.
Back pain patients suffer horribly. This is a basic fact which is lost on many doctors. Suffering is hard to empathize with unless you have gone through it yourself. All too often, I see care providers who really could give a damn about their patients on a human level. Sure, they care enough to do what they are trained to do in order to make lot$ and lot$ and lot$ of money and they provide the type of care which prevents them from getting sued, but that is about it.
No real concern. No real compassion. No real humanity.
Of course, this is not universal, but it is a growing trend within the medical system and certainly seems to apply to many back pain specialists. IMHO, these greedy and seemingly soulless types should have pursued another vocation, since medicine takes certain character traits which they are sadly lacking.
While it is true that physicians must pass all manner of tests before licensure, none of these requirements will guarantee that the doctor possesses good character, ethics or morals. These are all important attributes of any good doctor.
Ok, so here are some random thoughts and facts about back doctors that I thought might be worth sharing with all of you:
Doctors are one of the only professions who get paid regardless of their success or effectiveness. Cure or no cure, they earn the same huge income. How can I get a gig like this one?
Back pain treatment is known to be almost universally ineffective immediately or eventually. Most patients with chronic back pain never truly recover. This is despite many patients remaining in active treatment for decades without any real results. What a scam!
A vast selection of specialists choose to treat almost exclusively via one of 2 sometimes horrific choices… Drugs or back surgery.
Well if back surgery had any real hope of providing a permanent cure, it may be worth the effort and risk, but statistics clearly show surgery to be one of the worst possible treatment options long-term. It is sad, but profitable.
Doctors seem to enjoy complete immunity from accountability in their treatment results. The only exception is if they do something horribly wrong and actually get caught. Iatrogenesis is an overwhelming problem in the medical system with doctors injuring and killing patients daily. Some experts estimate the costs of iatrogenic error being as high as the ravages of AIDS or even cancer. I tend to believe this is true.
Medical costs keep rising (as do insurance premiums, I know, since I pay my own… ouch!) despite treatment results being so lackluster. What am I paying for here? Typically nothing but disappointment.
Is this a scathing article? Sure. Is it all true? Sure. This is the truly scary part of it all. It is all true. Medicine has fallen into the commercial trap where the goal of getting ahead economically, at all costs, has far surpassed the Hippocratic ideal more than ever before.
Human suffering has become a way to riches, so why stop it, ever? No way, keep that cash register ringing. No one will know the difference. Just keep feeding patients more of the same old lies, misinformation and mythologies and they will keep paying. Well, I, for one, am not willing to sit silently and be a victim. I will speak my mind, even when the opinion presented is far from popular.
I do respect spine specialists (most of them, at least) and I do give them the benefit of the doubt. I know they have difficult jobs and some patients can push them to the limits. However, when I see something I do not like, I will speak up and if they try to silence me, I will make them be accountable to the highest powers possible. After all, someone has to or God knows what some doctors will try to get away with.
DISCLAIMER: If you are a doctor reading this and are not mad, then nothing here likely applies to you. I am sure you know what some of your colleagues are up to anyway and are not shocked by anything contained herein. If you are one of those hotheads who is going to write to us, all pissed off, then look in the mirror first and ask yourself,
“Why am I so mad?
(unless everything here is true and applies to me?)”
I invite patients to write in and share their own doctor disappointments and stories about spine specialists on the back pain forum.